Marie Kondo has taken the world by storm, decluttering homes around the world, and inspiring millions to learn new miracle folding techniques and ditch possessions that no longer spark joy. We’re pretty sure that as a busy mum, though, you haven’t found the time to jump aboard this trend. But organising your home with a handful of clever mum-hacks will make your life easier, and buy you back valuable minutes – and I don’t need to tell you that, with a little person to consider, your time is more precious than ever.
Now, I’m not here to judge your under-the-bed-somewhere filing system, or to suggest you alphabetise your bookshelf. But I can tell you that there is a right way to fold clothes, that baskets are your friends, and that these savvy organisational mum-hacks will save you time, so you can concentrate on spending it with your baby. Trust me, even if you’re more of a ‘floor-drobe is the new wardrobe’ kind of gal, these easy steps to create method and order at home will mean your family life gets a whole lot less hectic.
15 hacks every mum needs to know:
1) Sushi rolls
How you fold and stack your clothes makes a huge difference to how neat and tidy they look and, more importantly, how easily you’ll be able to find things. Taking baby socks as an example: do you fold them over each other at the ankle, then ball them up and bung them in the drawer?
Try this instead: lie both socks on a flat surface, one on top of the other. Starting at the toe, roll the pair into a spiral. Place each pair in the drawer, upright and next to one another.
When you look down on the drawer you should see neat rows of swirls. You’ll be able to see every pair easily and pick one out without disturbing the rest.
Rolling works for babygros, trousers, t-shirts… try it and you’ll be amazed at how it transforms your morning by removing a moment of stress and replacing it with a little boost of smug mum-ness!
2) Baby baskets
Want to go a step further? Then sorting your tot’s clothing into baskets is a gamechanger.
Each basket will have only one type of clothing in it: one for babygros, one for trousers and leggings, one for socks…. Store them in drawers or on shelves.
This way you, Dad or Nan can easily pick one item from each basket to dress your tot or pack his changing bag. It’s very satisfying.
3) Changing station
After having my first baby, I learned that carrying a tot with a dirty nappy through my house and upstairs to the changing table is less than ideal – and even less so once I’d got a toddler to entertain, too. And then I’d get upstairs and realise that I’d left the new packet of wipes downstairs...
Instead, keep a cute basket beside your sofa with cotton wool, wipes, nappies, nappy bags, a spare onesie and socks, and slide a changing mat under the sofa.
4) Meal plan
Every Sunday, I sit down and plan the meals for the week. Each family member’s name is on there, with what they’ll be having for each meal. If you’re weaning, this is really useful, as you can clearly see which family meals – or components of them – will work well for your little muncher, and what’s worth making extra of to chuck in the freezer.
It’ll also highlight times when you’re making an easy meal, and can squeeze in a batch-cook. A half-hour spent planning saves hours of cooking in the week.
5) Hall drop
Each of my children have a peg in the hall for their coat and backpack, and a basket beneath it to pop their shoes in. And my youngest is no exception! She knows where to put her stuff when she comes in from nursery, and where to find it in the morning.
This little bit of responsibility is empowering for her, and it means I’m not hunting the house for a tiny lost shoe in the morning. And it’s super-easy to restock the line of bags with daily essentials each evening.
6) Small solution
How many times have you picked up a cute little t-shirt but, knowing it no longer fits your tot, chucked it back in the drawer? Make sure everything in those nicely-rolled baskets of clothes actually fits your tot by having an extra basket to throw in the stuff that’s too little to wear the first time it’s too snug.
This should only contain one sizing of clothes so, once the next size up starts to find its way into the basket, put the contents into a zip-lock freezer bag to store, or take it to the charity shop.
7) Washing cycle
With a baby in the house, laundry can seem an endless task.
I load the washing machine each night and set it to come on in the early hours in the morning, and hang it out or put it in the tumble dryer as soon as I get up.
Getting in a rhythm really helps me to stay on top of things, and I can now do this task without thinking. It’s like the laundry chore has vanished.
8) Bedding bundles
If you’re out of sleepbags and into toddler duvets, store a whole set of bedding, including a sheet, inside a pillowcase. That way, you can grab one and you have everything you need.
Keep one of these sets under your child’s bed so you can do a quick change in the small hours of the morning, no sweat.
9) Keepsake safe
Put a large basket on top of your baby’s wardrobe. Anything related to her that you deem special enough to consider keeping should go straight in there, so you don’t find her first-ever babygro stuffed in the bottom of a drawer.
When it’s full, sort through it and decide what’s really worth keeping before you bag up the stuff to throw in the loft for the next quarter of a century – this little delay will help you to be rational in the face of teeny-tiny socks!
10) Weekly gallery
If your tot comes home from nursery with a new masterpiece every day, a stack of his artwork will build alarmingly quickly. I have a corkboard in the kitchen, where I pin up just one piece per week of my little one’s work, for just one week.
That’s long enough for the whole family to appreciate it, but short enough for my daughter to find exciting when her work gets its moment in the sun! If it’s really special, then it’ll go into the keepsake basket on top of the wardrobe.
Otherwise, to help me skip over the guilt of throwing it away, I snap a photo of it on my phone before recycling the paper version.
11) Fast access
Store items you need to get to one-handed, such as muslins, blankets and nappy creams, in open-top containers.
Rather than forking out for containers, reuse everyday items for storage.
A large jam or pasta sauce jar is perfect for storing dummies, cotton-wool balls and crayons. A pretty cardboard tissue box is great to keep nappy bags in, and shoeboxes make ideal draw dividers.
Start a tidy habit. Tell your tot that toys have to go to bed just like he does and, as you drop one into the trug or basket, says ‘night night!’. He’ll soon join in.
14) Beat the clock
Set a timer on your phone and challenge your youngster to see how many blue – or fluffy, or shiny, or squashy – things he can put in the toy basket before the alarm plays.
15) I Spy
Try, I spy a rubber duck – can you bring it to me?
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