5 Organization Tips for Stay at Home Parents

While at a networking event recently I asked Holly Wheaton of Parewell Organizing what 5 organization tips she would share with stay-at-home parents. Organization, after all, is one of those hard realities where adding a baby can feel like it has turned home life upside down.  Holly took my question and presented it to a group of moms “who navigate an incredibly difficult job with prowess, grace, humour, and humility”.

The common threads in these tips, Holly writes, emerge as the most impactful strategies.

Surprisingly, these strategies she found are not all that different from those that would a make positive impact for most anyone – but when running a household, the stakes can be much higher and the consequences of poor systems much greater.

Find your calendar

If you’re not already a calendar user, accept that you can’t remember all the things, at least not without using brain space and emotional energy you may need for other challenges. 

Paper or digital is a very personal choice – there are many blogs and articles online on the pros and cons of each. 

estee-janssens-396889-unsplashConsider what your needs are and what you want to use a calendar for – managing special dates, appointments, commitments and play dates? Keeping track of what’s happening in the schedules of others in your household? Remembering bill due dates, important renewals, vehicle maintenance, or seasonal tasks? Does it need to be mobile or centrally located in the home? 

You may need to test out different methods or apps to find the best fit, but the most important thing is to start and keep going until something fits.

Clear the clutter

Nothing sucks time or energy like mess, and studies have shown that clutter can cause hormonal patterns associated with negative health outcomes. In other words, it messes with us and can be bad news. 

You may feel like you don’t have the time to declutter, but when clutter builds up over time it becomes more difficult to manage, leaves you with more to clean and maintain and the whole situation is more overwhelming to deal with. What to do? Sell, toss, donate. Start bins in a storage area and label them sell, toss, and donate. Having these at the ready makes everyday decluttering top-of-mind and much easier.  As you move through your day and discover outgrown kids’ clothes, unused toys, or that outfit that just doesn’t feel ‘you’ anymore, place them in the appropriate bin. Minutes waiting for coffee to brew or during other tasks become opportunities to tackle one drawer, cupboard, etc. 

Over time, your house becomes less cluttered, and everything that needs to be sold, rehomed, recycled, or disposed of is all in one place. It’s much easier to schedule time to deal with the bins then get your head wrapped around a much larger and more involved task. When that clothing swap or community yard sale comes up, you’ll be ready to roll!

3sprouts_laundryhamperAs your kids become able, involve them in the process. Having clearly-labeled bins or spaces for items help kids learn systems and remember where things go. Involving kids in downsizing toys to donate to a worthy charity or program for children in need helps to teach empathy, develop their understanding of the value of things, and get them invested in the decluttering process. 
We love the 3 Sprouts Laundry Hamper at Nurtured to tame the clutter. Save 15% through the month of October and November.

 

Be a champion of routine

Get into a good routine with your kids. Consistent waking, bedtime, mealtimes, and tasks helps kids learn boundaries and manage expectations. Make sure that there is time in your day for you to be totally alone without a task, even if it’s just for 5 minutes with a coffee at dawn, or in the backyard in the quiet and dark, after the kids go to bed.

If time management is not your strong suit, consider tracking your time for a couple weeks to see where it goes, where it could be reclaimed, and anywhere your routines need improvement or adjustment. 

Embrace meal planning

heather-schwartz-493945-unsplashMeal planning and recurring meals allows for big, regular grocery days, bulk food-prep, and pre-cooking meals – a huge time-saver and sanity saver over struggling with the ‘what’s for dinner’ question or having to run to the grocery store constantly.

 

 

  • Look for one-pot, make-ahead, and freezer friendly recipes
  • Fall in love with your slow cooker
  • Make big-batch soups, chilis, and casseroles
  • Double recipes to eat one now and save one for later – great for lasagnas, pot-pies, curries, pizzas, pastas, and more
  • Freeze meals
  • Use wide-mouth mason jars to freeze single-serve lunches for you or your partner

As your kids grow, have them help with appropriate meal prep tasks – not only can this reduce your workload over time, but it builds their skills and confidence, and makes them more likely to be open to eating new or different meals. 

Release expectations. Set Boundaries.

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If you struggle with saying no, really push to get comfortable one no at a time. As a mom, demands will be put on you, people will want to spend time with you and visit, and some may even cause you to feel guilt that they don’t see you or the children regularly. Remind yourself that you do not owe anyone your time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to attend community meetings, visit extended family, etc. Of course, relationships and family are important, but you can always welcome people to come to you.  Heck, even combine visits with childcare – if a family member really wants to see the children, perhaps they’d be willing to do so while you have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in too long. 

Try to be realistic with your expectations. You may only be able to about 0-30% of what you thought you could every day. That’s not a sign you’re failing – that’s a sign you need a more realistic to-do list. Celebrate your accomplishments and let go of guilt. Raising a child and keeping a house is a full-time job. Full stop. That may not be what you want to believe, what others may tell you, or what Instagram or society would have you think is possible. Just as air-brushed and photoshopped bodies are unrealistic standards of beauty, so are many expectations and judgements placed on stay-at-home moms. 

 

Thank you again to Holly for sharing this piece.

What do you feel will be your family’s most vital tip for you to employ? I’d love to read your comments!


Holly Wheaton is a professional organizer and founder of Parewell Organizing. Parewell Organizing believes that what we accumulate weighs us down and therefore limits our potential. Life happens, and it’s often messy – no judgment here.

Clients usually contact Holly when they’re downsizing or moving, need to organize their home or office, or need to declutter and beautify their space.

Holly Wheaton is a member of Professional Organizers in Canada.

Clek introduces Liing infant car seat

Congratulations to Clek on the launch of the Liing infant car seat. The newest member of the award winning car seat family, Liing is made for infants 4-35lb and up to 32″. You’ll love the innovation of design, safety and fit. Nurtured was in attendance at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas to see the unveiling of the seat. We are delighted to welcome the Liing in 2019 to our online and in store selection.

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October 9, 2018

Award-winning child car seat manufacturer Clek introduces another industry first with Liing, the only infant car seat to offer an effortless secure installation for both the vehicle belt and for the vehicle LATCH (UAS in Canada) system, and a post-installation recline adjustment system. Paired with a metal load leg, the secure install delivers best-in-class safety performance.

Liing’s multi-position recline can be conveniently adjusted after the base is installed, ensuring the proper recline level for newborns is achieved in every vehicle regardless of the slope of the vehicle seat. The multi-position recline can be adjusted to a more upright position as the child grows.

“Parents have come to expect the absolute best in safety features from Clek,” says Chris Lumley, President and Founder of the family-run company. “With the addition of Liing, our family of products comes full circle. This is where the ride starts. Parents can now enjoy peace of mind knowing they’re providing the best protection for their child from the day they leave the hospital with their newborn.”

Convenience is paramount in all Clek products. While many infant car seats require a two-button release from the stroller, Liing has a single handle release system.

Liing is available in a selection of luxurious eco fabrics that are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, including a lightweight and stretchy Soft Jersey Knit and GREENGUARD Select Certified Tailored Crypton C-Zero. The 100% Merino Wool option is naturally temperature regulating and free of any known flame-retardants.

“Parents often ask how we came up with the name,” says Lumley. “We thought there’s no suffix more loveable than -ling, which brings to mind tiny ducklings, downy goslings and adorable darlings. Clek Liing is the newest addition to our family for the newest addition to yours.”

Liing is available in a range of fabrics and colours starting at $499.99 CAD.

Pre-orders are available for the Liing seat as of October 23, 2018. Seats will begin arriving to Nurtured in Halifax, Nova Scotia early 2019.

About Clek

Clek is a proud Canadian brand of award-winning child passenger safety seats that combine safety with ease-of-use and modern style. Born out of the world’s largest, most diversified automotive supplier, Clek offers the superior design, engineering best practices, world-class manufacturing, and craftsmanship found in luxury automotive seating today. Clek produces a series of innovative child passenger safety seat products and accessories. www.clekinc.ca 

5 Back to School Litterless Lunch Gear Must Haves

backtoschool_nurtured2018It’s nearing back to school season and that blessed time for packing lunches is calling. Do you have the lunch gear you need? Be Nurtured by exploring how to meet your growing child’s needs with these 5 back to school litterless lunch must haves.

If you’re researching what lunch gear will create a system of organization, yummy presentation and tasteful preservation look no further. Our shop selection is well thought out. Items are chosen for their durability, kid friendly open and close lids and materials you can trust. You simply provide the delicious.

  1. Bento System Lunchbox – Several well known (and warranty covered!) lunchbox sets have us all heart eyed, Yumbox and Bentgo namely. Choosing just the right number of compartments and selecting a fun colour is a breeze.  If it seems daunting, we have lots of experience helping parents navigate the start of school. So if you can make it in know we’ll tell you how clever you are for even bringing in your child’s current lunch bag or backpack if you’re concerned for fit.   Shop BENTGO HERE Shop YUMBOX HERE.
  1. Insulated Lunch Bag – Already a mainstay of our Nurtured Mealtime selection, the So Young lunch bag features a double lining interior for easy clean up and it’s machine washable. Attachable messenger bag strap plus new options like a YUMBOX collaboration (read: taller) or monochrome Wee Gallery designs make this linen insulated lunch bag well thought out and beautifully cute. 
  1. Reusable Ice Pack – A Stainless steel ice pack to be precise! Filled with just distilled water this sleek rectangle is always ready to keep lunch cool and hardly takes up any room. This Canadian mom design is brilliant, will never leak nor leave you wondering what goop exactly is able to be frozen over and over again and again. reusable ice pack
  1. Condiment Container – Small enough to fit into a bento box, this little twist top condiment container is easy to open and close – just a twist rather than a pull –  plus the lid is lined with silicone so there’s no surprises. Fill it with hummus, ketchup, yogurt dip, butter spread, the list goes on! We’ve heard so many yummy uses.
  1. Snack Bags – Reusable, washable, and zippered close Canadian made Colibri snack bags have the coolest designs plus come in handy for car snacks, after school snacks and the just-in-case-you-eat-everything-in-your-bento-box back up. Try the large size for a sandwich or a bunch of grapes still on the stem. Use small ones for tiny crackers, mini muffins, carrots or whatever keeps your little snacker reaching for more. 

Local sources for more inspiration:

If you haven’t been following the Bite Sized Kitchen blog yet from Claire Gallant it’s a must.  This local mom and chef has two growing kids and teaches children how to cook. Be sure to catch her upcoming back to school snack cooking class at the Seaport Market as well as one more giveaway collaboration this month.  

Also, it’s an excellent time of year to get to know Wendy McCallum of Simple Balance. Join one of her Facebook groups HERE and follow along with her Nutrition Consulting