A Few Tricks of the Trade From One Busy Mom to Another

Hi, my main title around here is Mom, or when my kids can’t get my attention, it’s {BETSY!!!}. 

But I also believe I have earned the titles of house nurse, Boudreaux Bus driver, tutor, chef, ringmaster, Santa Claus, janitor, Mrs. Fixit, organizer, pep squad, hug giver, and the list goes on and on.

Sometimes keeping up with life and the household gets overwhelming, so I always appreciate finding a trick of the trade. Scrolling through social media sites, I often run across those “10 tips that will change your life” kind of things and I always think “Whaaa?? How did I not know that or think of that myself?!” Now, I’m no genius. I’m just a mom trying to fake it till I make it and thought I’d share five organizational tips or products that I find work for our family and at some point in the past thought to myself “I’ve got to tell someone about this!”

Cubby Drawers

They aren’t fancy. They aren’t built in. But they have been a lifesaver for school paperwork! With four kids coming home with field trip itineraries, reminders, school picture order forms, study guides, spelling words, ARTWORK, and on and on … it all needed a home! The dining table and kitchen counter just weren’t going to cut it. My solution: Each child has his or her own cubby drawer that I simply slip all of that stuff into. At the beginning of each school year, I print out a 1st day of school sign that they hold up with their grade level on it, then I tape it onto the front of their cubby for the school year. Voila! Fancy, personalized cubbies. Every afternoon, when they say, “Where’s my study guide? Where are my vocabulary words?” I simply say, “They’re in your cubby. Go look!” At the end of the school year (or to be honest, in August when school starts again), I go through them and clean out last years junk!

For artwork worthy of keeping (come on y’all, you can’t keep it all), I bought these nifty, large zippered pouches for each child that I slip those priceless things into. This has really worked well for us for years, and I just happen to have a hallway closet that is easily accessible and big enough to tuck those totes away in.

Stuffed Animals

On the subject of tucking things away. Stuffed animals! If you have kids, you have stuffed animals. Like way too many of the dust collectors. I was a kid once. I remember my love affair with them (particularly a giant bear I snagged at a garage sale … eww). The kid in me loves them. The parent in me cringes when they come home with yet another one from the claw machine at the bowling alley or caught at a parade or when you give them spending money and they used it to buy another freakin stuffed animal! Anyway, years ago before everyone got all of their ideas from Pinterest, I ordered these seating cube slip covers from Pottery Barn, minus the foam insert cube that goes inside. I stuffed the cubes with stuffed animals and kids can use them to sit on or in my case, store them in their closets under their hanging clothes. Monogramming them was just an added touch for cuteness if they are going to sit out in their rooms for the world to see and that way, we know whose is whose.

Clogged Drains

We have three girls living in this house, which means lots of long hair being washed. I’ll totally take the blame (or really, blame them for the hormones of 4 pregnancies) for being the culprit of clogging up the bathtub drain. I lose so much hair every time I wash it; it’s a Christmas miracle that I still have a head full of hair. Anyway, I’m sure we have all experienced the slooooow draining of a bathtub. I use to buy bottle after bottle of Drano, thinking to myself that the next step is to call the plumber. Years ago, I bought a bottle of Drano and it came with a tool called a snake. That snake is amazing! It’s a disgusting job to do, but oddly satisfying (am I weird?) to see alllll of that really nasty hair that comes out. It grabs ahold of the hair and with a few hard tugs, I can add Plumber to my mom job title list. I’m talking it looks like a drowned rat has been pulled out of the drain. Drano, shmano no more … just get you a snake!

Sheets

We have lots of beds in this house, in all different sizes. I admit we have way more sets of sheets than we should and they can get to be quite the mess in the cabinet. Sometimes, when I make a bed up, it has mismatched pillowcases because where the heck did that pillowcase go?! Have you ever seen the video of the woman showing you how to immaculately fold a fitted sheet with its elastic, rounded corners? I mean really. I have tried. It’s just impossible. So somewhere along the way, I ran across a suggestion to fold your top sheet, fold your fitted sheet (like a normal person), then stuff them both inside the matching pillowcase. –Mind blown– It’s like a cute little patterned package when it’s done and they stack nicely. Who knew?! 

Cleaning Product Cabinet

Now this one everyone may already know about and you may just want to skip over this last suggestion, but JUST IN CASE someone out there hasn’t seen this idea, it’s a useful one. Buy a standard tension shower curtain rod and tense that sucker up and hang it inside your cleaning product cabinet, like so … Hang those products by their nozzles and you get double the space inside your cabinet.

I may not be the next Heloise, but I hope these ideas offer a few helpful hints for your household. What ideas do you have to share?

Betsy is a stay at home (but never at home) mom, to her four children, Maggie, Annie, Jack Henry, and Bear. She grew up in Hammond, La., but moved to Lafayette at the age of 18 to attend USL (now ULL!) After graduating with a degree in Interior Design, she married her high school sweetheart, Matt, and they moved to Shreveport, La., when he got accepted into LSU Medical School. During their 10 years in Shreveport, they had four children while Matt completed Medical School, Surgery Residency and a fellowship in Colorectal Surgery. As Matt worked long hours and Betsy was often raising the children by herself, she learned to "expect the unexpected", "go with the flow" and praise the Lord that they were all alive at the end of the day! After their 10 years there, they packed the family up and moved back to Lafayette, where they always knew they wanted to raise their family. They've been back in the area since 2011 and their lives are full of chaos, homework, studying for tests, after school sports, traveling for gymnastics competitions, and children that are growing up way to fast! Betsy spends many hours volunteering at the children's school, serving on the PTO board and driving the Boudreaux Bus! She truly enjoys every minute of it!