Having a baby is such a wonderful, beautiful experience, but as we all know, it’s completely life changing. Whatever schedule you had going before your little bundle of joy arrived, no doubt goes out the window. You’re on your little one’s time now, and their schedule doesn’t include very much time for you to clean or take care of responsibilities. And when you do have a free moment to yourself, laundry is the last thing you want to do.
One thing to definitely keep in mind is that some days will be harder than others. We all know this, but try to remind yourself that it’s not a big deal and remember to breathe through the stress. Ever since I was pregnant, I’ve turned into a nit-picky clean freak, and it hasn’t shown any signs of easing up. So when we brought our son home for the first time and the house was wrecked within 8 hours, I thought I was going to rip my hair out. Keeping your area clean and clutter-free is more important than some people realize. It affects your mood on a subconscious level, making postpartum depression more likely to come knocking at your door. So don’t let your cleaning duties completely slip away, but don’t beat yourself up when you can’t get around to anything for a while. We only have so long to hold them anyway!
Here are some things that helped me stay clean and organized after my baby arrived:
1. Next time you’re at the store, buy plenty of hangers for your baby (and yourself for that matter). That way you have no excuse to let clothes build up. People will most likely buy your baby a bunch of clothes too, so even if you think you have enough, you probably don’t.
2. Take at least 10-20 minutes out of your day to tidy up, even if you don’t get around to everything. Everyone has heard this before, but it’s so true and it’s a key element in maintaining a clean, well-run home. It’s so much easier than letting it build up.
3. In regards to number 2, and really cleaning in general, find a time that works the best for you, and stick to it. Figure out when you’re the most motivated, or when you have the most help from your partner or family members, or when your baby typically will be taking a nap. For me, the perfect time to clean is first thing in the morning after I breastfeed and pump.
4. Buy duplicates of items you frequently use and place them in different rooms so you don’t have to search around for them every time you need them. I like to keep baby wipes and burp cloths in my nightstand drawer, in the nursery, in the living room, etc. Having extra sheets, blankets, boppy covers and changing pad covers is also great to have on hand when there’s spit up everywhere and you can’t stop what you’re doing right away to wash it. Just switch it out!
**BY THE WAY** This reminds me that if your baby has a favorite stuffed animal or lovey, buy another one or two while it’s still fairly new. It’s not only smart to have a backup in case one gets lost, but it’s convenient to switch them out when one gets dirty. But make sure you cycle through them and let them get equal love (aka: let your kid wear them out and make them equally ratty and disgusting). Some babies can feel the difference between a loved toy and a brand new one, and will reject the new one.
5. Take advantage of your phone’s reminders and set them to notify you when there’s an upcoming bill due. Almost everyone checks their phone several times a day, and this can save you from unnecessary late fees.
6. If your baby won’t let you put them down, or if you don’t like to, wear them! There are plenty of carriers, slings and wraps to choose from, you just have to find one you both like.
7. Pack your baby’s clothes away as they grow out of them. Putting them in large plastic storage bins and labeling them with the sizes that are inside is a great way to keep everything together in an organized way. It also makes it easier to unpack later for the next baby, or to give away to friends or family members that are expecting.
8. Each night before bed, write a list of all of the things you need to accomplish the next day. It helps focus and motivate you to get things done. Plus it feels great when you check things off of a list!
9. Split your goals into smaller, more achievable tasks. You might not have time to fold all of the laundry at once, but you can do a few shirts at a time. You might not have time to wash all of the dishes, but you can load a few glasses into the dishwasher.
10. If you have somewhere to go in the morning, lay out your baby’s clothes and pack the diaper bag the night before. Better yet, have your diaper bag ready to go at all times with diapers, wipes, creams, a paci and a toy or lovey.
11. Meal prepping is great, but it’s also time consuming. Sure, it saves you time in the future, but very few of us have a couple of hours to consecutively spend prepping for the week. So my solution is to meal PLAN instead. On Saturday I look up quick, easy meals that I can make in 30 minutes and plan out every meal for the week. Sunday, we go grocery shopping and try our best to only get the things on our list. This also helps save money, and you have a much easier time budgeting your expenses when you know exactly what you need and how much everything should cost. I don’t do much prepping anymore, besides making vegetable stock out of our veggie scraps or cooking some dry beans or rice/quinoa to use throughout the week. But if I’m cutting up some fruit or veggies for a snack while the baby is sleeping, I’ll cut up a little extra and throw it in the fridge for when the breastfeeding munchies inevitably hit and the baby won’t let me put him down.
12. If you use bottles or pump, having all of those bottles and pump parts organized will help you so much. Clear out a space in your pantry (or leave them on the drying rack like I do) and make it a point to put them in the same place every time. If you pump, you can seal your pump parts in a ziplock bag and throw it in the fridge in between uses, that way you only have to wash it all once or twice a day instead of every 2 hours.
13. Buy lots of baskets, caddies, trays and boxes to organize random things that feel like they don’t belong anywhere. It’ll keep you from piling random stuff on the bar or dining room table.
14. Periodically donate/throw things out that you don’t use so clutter doesn’t build up. I don’t know where the idea came from, but I’ve heard somewhere that at the beginning of the season, you should turn all of your hangers backwards, and whatever is still backwards by the end of the season, you should donate because you never wore it! Definitely a great idea!
These are the best tips I have and I hope you find them helpful! Just try not to stress. The most important thing is making sure your baby is happy and healthy. Making these kinds of changes to the way you clean and stay organized will most definitely have a positive impact on your life though. Good luck!