Tuesday, December 30, 2014


When we redid the kitchen, we (purposefully) ended up with empty spaces. Empty drawers, empty shelves, empty cupboards - all of which I expected would be filled with "baby stuff" when the time came.

Well, the time came...and stayed...and exploded everywhere. The baking cupboard became the baby cupboard (for baby food items, not...misbehaving infants), the pots & pans drawer became the baby-safe odds-and-ends drawer (think vinyl lunch bags as opposed to cast iron pots), and eye-pleasing, clutter-free counter space became the new baby-item drying rack location. Decorative bowls or baskets are either overflowing or have been removed to create more storage space for ALL THE BABY STUFF.

Jam-packed cupboard where I can never find anything...with the decorative addition of a never-
referenced conversion chart, empty hooks (for measuring cups), and a breast milk storage guide.

Former fruit bowl = current "I don't know, just stick that random baby item there" bowl.
(Also note decapitated giraffe-measuring spoon on ledge.)

It definitely doesn't bother me that our sweet baby girl has a lot of baggage, so to speak. We're lucky to have what we have. The problem is that our overall spaces are becoming less functional and more frustrating, primarily because I haven't been intentional with where everything is going. Sippy cups, bibs, food pouches, spoons, bottles...I've just been shoving them in a cupboard or basket and calling it good. But lately we've hit a new stage in feeding her, both in terms of moving to more sophisticated foods/food tools (good-bye, Baby Bullet; hello, insane variety of cups to try and then soundly reject) and in terms of breastfeeding coming to an end (time to pack away all the pumping items YASSSSS). Likewise, Rowan was apparently a very good girl this year, and Santa + ridiculously generous family members = more stuff. Stuff that we're excited about and grateful for, no doubt - but still stuff that needs to go somewhere, including some fantastic new art supplies.

So, it's time for some early spring cleaning! Solstice cleaning? What can I say, I love a good to-do list this time of year. Here's what needs to happen:

  • Sort toys. Rowan has outgrown some toys and has a plethora of new ones. The hardest part of this for me is deciding what can be retired for now. Her pull-to-stand activity table? Her push walker? Stacking rings? She still gets joy and entertainment out of these; are they worth keeping on the main floor, where they take up so much space? Parents - any tips on choosing??
  • Reorganize the baby food cupboard. Time to pack up the infant stuff and either move the remaining essentials (utensils, bowls, cups, food pouches, bibs) to a better space, or make the current space way more user-friendly. Glass baby food jars hopping out of the cupboard when I open the door is not what I consider "user-friendly."
  • Do some moving and shaking. I still need to switch our CD collection to a CD binder (we're not ready to go totally digital with our music yet) and make some tough ("tough") decisions about my tapes and records - all in the name of moving them out of Rowan's reach and creating more storage space for her toys. Our board game cupboard and TV cupboard could stand some consolidating as well, which might actually create space for Rowan's art supplies.
  • She doesn't use her magnet board for anything except removing all the magnets in one fell swoop. Fun as that is to clean up seventy-two times a day, there must be a reason she's not motivated to use the board. Location? Developmental level? The fact that I stopped letting her eat the magnets when they started splintering? Time to get to the bottom of that, especially if that space is going to be the art space, and figure out whether and where to keep the magnet board.
This space next to the pantry bugs me...not well-utilized at all.

I need to do some major Internet stalking and figure out how other parents organize kid spaces. I hate to take toys away just because I can't figure out where to put them, but I get super overwhelmed when there's not a spot for everything. Plus, Rowan's a helpful cleaner-upper right now, and having designated places for specific toys facilitates that big-time. My biggest question marks:
  • Puzzles - how do you store them so that they're accessible, but so the pieces don't fall out everywhere?
  • Stuffed animals - stupid */&#$ing stuffed animals are unattractive and take up space, but are sooooo loved (and therefore impossible to get rid of).
  • Bulky plastic primary-colored toys - the pull-to-stand table, a grow-with-me chair, a huge truck, an entertainment cube. She uses them often and likes them a lot, but some are ugly and all are too big to be shoved into a bucket, box, cupboard, or storage ottoman.
  • Toys she's clearly outgrown - the swing, the Exersaucer, the Rock 'N' Play: They're all piled up in our basement and probably growing rat babies and spider colonies. WTF do I store them?
Hoping I can get moving on these projects while J.J. is off work over the next week! I'm open to any suggestions from veteran parents...and by "open," I mean "seriously, tell me what to do before I panic and default to a cleansing bonfire followed by a philosophical shift to only playing with sticks and bedding." Whatever works, right?

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