When you have kids, everything changes. One big change I’ve noticed is that everything is plastic! Plastic tables and chairs, plastic toys, plastic bins, plastic trays. And it all gets dirty, dirty, dirty! Play-doh, crayons, food, mud, and all sorts of things I don’t want to mention. And how do I clean up this assortment of messiness? Well, not with an assortment of cleaners, that’s for sure. Almost exclusively, I use plain old vinegar and water to clean. Now I have several other novelty cleaning products, but vinegar is my cleaner of choice. Here’s why:
-It’s a natural cleaning product, none of the harsh chemicals found in most cleansers. This is a great quality when you’re constantly cleaning kid’s items!
-It is also a natural disinfectant. It can be effectively used against bacterial, mold and mildew. While it won’t kill all bacteria (for certain areas, such as cutting boards used for meat, I still don’t use plain vinegar), it is extremely effective as a basic cleanser.
-It has so many other uses. How many of your other cleaning products can you use to soothe a sunburn AND make a baking soda volcano?
-It is oh-so-cheap, which I oh-so-love!
Anyways, I keep a bottle of vinegar in my kitchen and also in my bathroom for daily upkeep. It works great on all those plastic kid’s items so I always keep it full!
Speaking of plastic…if you have small children, chances are you are familiar with these:
My kitchen looks like Rainbow Bright swooped in and swapped most of my ‘real’ dishes with hers. So many small pieces can cause an organizational headache. So I decided to re-organize my kids dish cabinet. Here is the before:
Now it wasn’t completely horrible before. I could still get to everything. But there were certain things about it that were so inefficient and I hate that! I also have a baby who is just about to start on bottles, so I needed to be able to access bottle stuff AND toddler dishes. So here is what I did:
-I got rid of stuff I didn’t use. Now this seems obvious, but there were a few things I couldn’t let go of for the longest time, like that cute cup with the kid’s name printed on it (but leaked when you actually used it) or the spoon that was part of an adorable gift set, but that was completely flat, so it couldn’t be used as an actual spoon (it was really more of a cute stick).
-I put hooks on the cabinet door for bibs.
-Instead of a silverware basket, I switched to a cup as a silverware holder. Well, it’s technically a can covered in scrapbook paper. (idea from http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/)
-I then just did a basic organization of everything that was left.
Here is the after:
Not only can I get to stuff for both crazy kids, but it looks nicer, uses the whole space well, and I got the bibs out of my ‘dish towel drawer’! This took about 30 minutes to do and has such a great impact already!
-It’s not always necessary to keep things just because they were gifts. If they are not functional or you don’t like them, then dig deep and find strength to get rid of them!
-Organize up! Maximizing vertical space creates more places for things. For example, when I got rid of the basket of silverware and switched to a can, I created space for teething rings and pacifiers.
-Small projects can make a room so much more functional. By concentrating on a small area that you use a lot, you can create a much more organized environment without investing a lot of time.
My life in plastic is so much nicer now!