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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

Last week, we chatted about purging while pregnant – the whys and hows. It made me think about how purging and cloth diapering go hand-in-hand.

*record scratch*

Hubba, whaaa? How can that be? Especially when many of us want to #buyallthediapers??

All I really mean is that I’ve noticed that many families that cloth diaper are all about living simply, too. We all have TONS of different reasons for cloth diapering, but we can all agree that life is a bit simpler not to have to run out and spend money on disposables on a regular basis (once you get your wash routine down, of course). It’s just one less thing to worry about.

Sure, some of us have a super basic stash consisting of flats and covers, while others have a huge stash featuring the latest prints and colors. Some have all one brand (if it’s Thirsties, we appreciate that!); others like to try tons of different brands (which is equally okay!). But, no matter how large our stashes, we’re simplifying our lives by taking control of our diapering situation in an economical, environmental (not to mention adorable) way.

So, since purging goes hand-in-hand with organization, I thought it’d be fun to see some great cloth diaper organization methods from across the Internet today. Eye candy time!

ClothDiaperChangingTableSetUp - Copy
* This one from Prefolds Love is a perfect set-up, and the organization descriptions are great for first-time CDers.

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* From Cherry Blossom Love, this solution could work whether you’re CDing one or multiple bambinos. It looks simple yet stunning at the same time, doesn’t it? There are tons of wall-hanging solutions out there, too, if this one interests you.

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* I’ve personally been drooling over the idea of purchasing having a friend who lives near Ikea grab me a Raskog rolling cart for our own limited space scenario. So, this set-up from Diaper Dirt (be sure to check out her adorable video, too) has my heart aflutter.

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* This one from Hello Bee looks deceptively simple, but the organization is stellar. Look closely. See the labels? Perfect if you’re not the only one who will be diapering your little one, or for keeping track of brands and how to use them properly. Genius!

There are tons more ideas out there (we love you, Pinterest…oh yes we doooo!), but be sure to stop by Dirty Diaper Laundry to see Kim’s list of inspired CD storage.

So, how do you control the fluff? We’d all love to know your cloth diaper organization strategies, too! Describe below or share pics in our Facebook post for this blog entry.

Whether it’s early or late in your pregnancy, it’s never too late to do some purging. I should know – I’ve undertaken some form of decluttering at every stage of mine so far. I know it can be exhausting sometimes to even think about going through stuff (or getting off the couch at all), but even just tackling one drawer can give you a huge sense of accomplishment.

So, why is pregnancy, of all times, a good time to purge? While it’s an absolutely wonderful time filled with excitement, that excitement can easily turn to anxiety. (Again, I’m speaking from experience. ;-)) Making room for a new little life can mean uprooting other parts of your life. Rooms may need shifting around, the fun baby clothes, toys, and accessories need a place to live – to say nothing of your own constantly shifting wardrobe. Getting on top of it all can help you feel calmer, in control, and a little more prepared and mentally ready for what’s to come.

Here are just a few tips that I’ve found helpful while dealing with my own purging adventures (which are, admittedly, not fully complete yet):


1. Don’t overdo it. As with anything in pregnancy, it’s easy to do just a little too much and overextend yourself a tad too far. You’re used to getting a task done in a certain amount of time, and especially if you have other kids in the household, you’re probably a whirlwind when you have a chance to devote the time to any job.

I have problems remembering this with most tasks I undertake lately. When I finally find enough motivation to get off my behind, I want to push through until it’s D-O-N-E. But, sometimes they can’t get done in one afternoon. AND THAT’S OKAY. Our bodies are naturally more fatigued during this special time, and while I’m not saying that we need constant pampering, we need to heed our body’s warning signs. And if your husband raises his eyebrow upon seeing a pile of clothes in the middle of your bedroom still to be sorted…remind him. 😉

Oh, and keep hydrated, especially if you’re working in a stuffy attic or basement. I forget to drink the allotted amount ALL the time, and particularly when working on chores. Oops. And NO HEAVY LIFTING! Another mistake I’ve made more than once.

2. Make a list. This is my answer for all of life’s stresses, even if the list ends up getting lost in a pile I was decluttering. Ahem, yeah, that’s happened. Simply writing out what needs to be done lets my brain relax a little and actually visualize and focus on the tasks rather than the overwhelmingness of it all.

So, in my case, we’ve got a small house. Whether we find a larger house before this little one comes is anyone’s guess (ACK!), so we’re planning and making adjustments to our current living situation to accommodate two adults, one preschooler, one newborn, three cats…and a partridge in a pear tree. This involves shifting an office to house said newborn, utilizing unused storage in our son’s room, completely overhauling our basement storage (which also involved painting everything, for some reason), and purging all of our clothes. Oh, and continue working on our house just in case we need to put it on the market at a moment’s notice.

Without making a list and following tip #3, I’d be a basketcase of worry.

3. Chunk the purging into smaller tasks. Ahhh. Isn’t it nice to cross things off your list? This is why I don’t write lists that say “Organize basement.” It would take all summer to cross it off and would make the task seem insurmountable.

Instead, writing a master list is a good start, but try making bullet points for each small task. In my case, I was ecstatic just to get the bins of baby/toddler clothes sorted and purged as well as I could. Check! The task this afternoon will probably be going through my underwear drawer. Yup, just one drawer, but with all the various sizes I’ve been fluctuating through, it’s a job I’ll be happy about when it’s done – and I can close the darn thing.

See? Slow and steady really DOES win the race. It also helps you pick and choose what you’re up for doing depending on your mood and energy level. If you’re not in the mood for an in-depth project, just try grabbing the stack of already-paid bills and paperwork to organize on your lap while watching your favorite show. You’ve not only splurged on some Downton Abbey time, but you’ve checked something off your list. Look at you go!

4. It’s not a big deal. If the decluttering gets done, great! Pat yourself on the back and put up those swollen ankles; you’ve earned it. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. And not every job needs to be completed to perfection. Seriously! Does that word even exist in reality?

I’ve heard so, so many mamas tell stories of the baby coming early, or simply faster than they expected 9 months to go. It’s rare that they were fully prepared, with the nursery ready to go with weeks to spare. For us, we finished ours after our first son came, but the important stuff was ready to go and clean. (Remember that they often don’t make use of the nursery for awhile, anyway.) As far as this second baby? Who knows. And this is totally normal. I’m considering making one of those frou frou art prints for the nursery but instead of an inspirational saying, writing “It is what it is.” The baby will never know. 😉 (J/K…kind of.)

The main things need to be done: a hospital bag packed (sending your husband home for clothes can be a disaster!!!); diapers should be purchased and prepped if you’re cloth diapering from the start; at least a few days of outfits, onesies, and blankets should be washed; and at least a bassinet or pack ‘n play (or whatever you’re using) should be ready to go. Even if you’re formula-feeding, you may want to wait on purchasing a particular brand or type considering the hospital will give you the rest of the stuff you’ve been using while there (and quite possibly free samples); you also don’t know if the brand you buy will be different and possibly cause tummy troubles, so wait and ask someone to pick some up for you after you get home. Sure, there’s tons more you could do, but these are pretty much the bare basics.

There’s always something you wish you could’ve finished or cleaned or organized or purchased or zhuzhed, but in the end, the baby will come and, as long as you’re both healthy, everything will be fine. That perspective has helped me…a lot.

Anything you guys would like to add to the list? Have any of you undertaken some purging projects lately (whether pregnant or not)? I’m not a purger by nature, but the 1,000 sq. ft. footprint of our house has made me appreciate the job greatly!

Our family has been on the hunt for a house for about a million years, it seems. In reality, we’ve been casually looking for a couple of years, but our search has gained urgency with the coming of our second child in November. With two adults, one preschooler (is it weird that I want to continue calling him a toddler at three?), three cats…and now one more little one, our 1,000 sq. ft. home seems to be bursting at the seams. We adore our home and it’s served us well, but it’s time.

I’ve learned that, as with much in life, the best house for us will “happen” when it’s meant to. So, I’m not too stressed about whether we find our new spot sooner (ie before November) or later (ie before our oldest enters school…or college). Because of this, we’ve taken a hard look at our space to figure out what will double as a nursery if and when the time comes.

We’ve got three small-but-functional bedrooms, one of which performs office duties, currently housing several bookshelves, two desks, and walls full of my husband’s quirky comic art and pieces we’re proud he’s written. Oh, and a Katharine Hepburn autograph. (That’s mine. ;-)) It’s kind of a hot mess, honestly. After realizing that a crib and toddler bed won’t fit in our son’s room (and, honestly, with potty-training, a new “big boy bed”, a new sibling, and the possibility of moving, we don’t need to add one more reason for him to revolt!), I turned to the office with a fresh set of eyes.

Since I hardly ever use the office (except for, honestly, to store piles of my paperwork and books), it’s time to move my DIY parsons desk to the basement and clean out most of my stuff. Poof! Room for a crib. Purging some books and storing the ones we don’t need at-hand will allow room for baskets/bins to contain some baby paraphernalia. Oh, and our son only uses his dresser, so we’d probably utilize his closet for baby clothes and cloth diaper stash storage (pulling a handful of diapers and clothes each day to hang out in the little one’s room as needed).

With a spark of “what if” comes the next logical step: an exorbitant amount of time spent perusing Pinterest. Since our house has a unique set-up, I actually searched for several ideas for small nurseries as well as shared space nurseries, whether office-related or not. So, maybe if any of you are in the same under-sized boat, you can glean some inspiration from the spaces and ideas I stumbled upon.



This is a great “if the room were big enough” toddler/infant room sharing scenario. You can see the crib peeking out in the right corner, and the fun, cohesive styling in the room somehow suits both ages. Shoes Off Please also has a great general nursery-and-toddler-room roundup.



Ahh, Buzzfeed strikes again! Here’s a great list of tips hacks that will help anyone who’s trying to make raising a little one work in a small space. We already do several of these (hidden storage is a must!), but others are simply genius.



This one from The Sweetest Digs may very well be my favorite. Unfortunately, we have far too little by way of “white furniture” and mama’s only got so much energy for painting stuff. But, the design and utilization of space is giving me tons to work with, mentally!



The Glittler Guide gives me hope that a pretty cluttered mishap of a “before” can turn into an “after” like THAT.
These things can happen in real life, right? RIGHT??



Here we go with the white again. But, it’s still a very realistic interpretation of a shared nursery space, isn’t it?
I know I’d love having this replace our current office monstrosity!

What about you folks? Who has a less-than-traditional nursery setup? Let us hear your tips and tricks for making it work! We’d considered co-sleeping but don’t think it’s for us. We will, however, have the baby with us for the first couple of months in a bassinet-type scenario, so that gives us even more time to find a larger place. 😉

My son is only three years old, but “back-to-school” is still an anxiety-heightening phrase in our household. See, although we’re not doing preschool yet, I’m a school librarian. I LOVE my kiddos at school and enjoy things once the routine returns, but this year will be a whole new ball of wax with a maternity leave come November; my son was born mid-July, so I didn’t have to figure out the logistics of that the first time around.

Not to mention that being afforded the opportunity to stay home with my son all summer is not something I take for granted. I cherish the time we can spend this way, and every single year I go through the same emotional roller-coaster heading back to normalcy. It’s pretty tough.

And, thinking of all the unknowns children face when going back to school – a new teacher, new classmates, possibly the prospect of a whole new school or schedule (even a change in lunchtime) – it can be daunting. For kids who crave a routine, it’s even scarier. It breaks my heart to see the first week tears and stress the little ones (and even the not-so-little-ones) endure during morning drop-off.

But, I’ve learned some ways to cope. Whether you’re sending your first one off to school or have been doing this for years, I thought I’d share some tips that may help keep things calmer for both child and parent.


Go over your schedule early and get everyone’s bodies into the routine. Ugh. I honestly hate this one, but it genuinely helps. Start with a casual conversation about what time they’ll leave the house (whether by bus or car), and discuss a realistic time to wake up. Start getting everyone up a little earlier each day so that the first day doesn’t feel like jet lag for everyone. It definitely makes for a less frazzled start!

Read back-to-school books. There are tons of books for starting school (from Wemberly Worried to First Day Jitters to Llama Llama Misses Mama for littles to Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! and Wonder for older readers), so if your child has an easier time relating to a book, just head to your local library together. Read together or independently, but be sure to follow-up on their thoughts.

Talk about any worries or fears in advance. Some children handle transition smoothly; others become suddenly introverted and their worries don’t rise to the top until the very last minute – like in the school hallway at 8am on the first day. If you notice any changes in your child’s behavior before school starts, talk to them about it. Allow them an open space to discuss any feelings without telling them that things will, simply, “be fine” or that “it’ll get better once you get there.” Sure, that’s probably what will happen, but the anxiety beforehand is often the worst part. Think about a time that you were scared or anxious (before a big presentation or when starting a new job) and validate their feelings.

Stock up and prep while things are still relatively calm. If your school year hasn’t yet begun (sorry if it has!), make a list of favorite meals and healthy snacks that your family loves. Pick a handful that you can make now to freeze for later use. It sounds silly, but just having a stockpile of healthy muffins or meals (and lunches like these healthy “real food” options) on hand alleviates tons of morning and evening “what do I make?” stress. Oh, and if you can at least start prepping lunches the night before (and remember to thaw the meal or set up the Crock Pot), it’ll save even more worry!

Plan your meals. Use the aforementioned list of family favorites to create a meal plan, either weekly or monthly. Make sure the first week or two are full of comforting, easy-to-make (or unthaw/cook/serve!) meals. You’ll be far less stressed (or apt to grab fast food), and having a sit-down meal together at the end of the day will give your family a chance to touch base about the activities of the day. Also, aren’t there so many emotions tied with meals? We look forward to the meal knowing we’ll be having our favorite spaghetti and meatballs or sloppy joe recipe that night.

If all else fails, role play. If your child is having true fears and anxiety about going to school, have a further discussion and try a role play scenario. Even we grown-ups lose more energy worrying about the unknowns of life than what we eventually endure. So, ask what exactly it is that worries your child? Is it unlocking a locker? Go through the steps of unlocking one in advance, having them practice, and talk about who they can seek out to help if they have an issue. Or is it an issue of making friends? Role play, pretending to be a fellow student sitting next to them in class and allow your child to practice talking to and connecting with another child.

And, of course, if there’s a greater underlying issue (a past case of bullying or an academic problem), feel free to contact the school to see what suggestions they have for a smooth transition into the new school year. Be proactive and positive, and maintain that attitude with your child to help empower them rather than enable them.

So, how many of you have already begun school for the year (if your child is of school age)? Does anyone else want to hide their head in the sand until the very last minute? Who’s homeschooling, and if so, do you go all year or take a summer break?

And, is anyone else looking forward to at least the “pumpkin everything” that autumn brings? (Fall is my favorite, BTW, once the back-to-school anxiety has subsided. ;-))

Since we’re expecting our second child in November, I’ve noticed one huge similarity between our first and second pregnancies: People all have an opinion as to the fact that we’re not learning our child’s gender. BIG opinions.

And I get it, I do. The first question we generally hear after people find out that we’re expecting is, “Oh! What’re you having?” Is it really a given these days that parents find out what they’re having? According to our local hospital, pretty much. My sister and I are the rare difference; many months can go by without that “It’s a…!!!” surprise moment in the delivery room.

I have heard that it’s becoming the “in” thing not to find out. If you know me in “real life,” you know that my husband and I are (proudly) as dorky as they come, so it’s clearly not why we’re making this choice. We just know that there are very few really incredible surprises left in store for we “gotta have it now” humans these days. We also love keeping things simple and down to basic gender neutral decor and clothing (we have loved ones who will overbuy! Can’t wait to use our own hand-me-downs instead), so planning ahead isn’t really necessary.

One fun thing I’ve seen/heard a lot about are all the wives’ tales for “guessing” the baby’s gender. I thought, for anyone who may be waiting to learn their baby’s gender OR who may be planning a fun gender reveal party, it might be fun to share all the ones I’ve learned. Just for fun!

gender predictions

1. No morning sickness, it’s a boy. It’s a girl if you’re having any nausea. If this is the case, I’m on my second boy; I had less nausea this time and wasn’t very nauseous at all the first time, with zero actual sickness. However, my poor sister was horribly ill all 18 months of her two pregnancies and has a girl…and a boy. 😉

2. A higher heart rate (140+ BPM) means it’s a girl; lower for a boy. To say nothing of the fact that they all have fast heart rates earlier in the pregnancy.

3. If you crave salty foods, it’s a boy; sweet, it’s a girl. We’ll see if this is true; I’ve craved salty stuff both times.

4. If dad gains weight, it’s a girl. If his weight stays the same, it’s a boy. Not touching this one.

5. It’s a girl if you get acne due to the increased levels of the female charged hormones. A girl “steals” her mother’s beauty. Anybody else LOL’ing yet?

6. If the linea nigra stops at the belly button, it’s a girl. If the linea nigra goes all the way to the bottom of the rib cage, it’s a boy.
Got nothin’.

You’ve got dry hands – it’s a boy. Or a super dry Upstate New York winter. Whatevs.

More hair on your legs than normal, count on a boy.
Can’t say that I remember my experience the first time, but it is a lot less noticeable this summer…huh.

9. If your face swells and gets rounder, it’s a girl. Long and narrow face, a boy. Mine looks normal, I think…but my brother would crack an immature joke. 😉

10. Cold feet, a boy. Um, so I’ve been expecting a boy my whole life? #alwayscold11. If you find yourself clumsier with pregnancy, it’s a boy. If you remain grounded and still in control of your body, it’s a girl.

11. If you’re clumsier with pregnancy, it’s a boy. If you’re physically grounded and stable, it’s a girl. Again, every day of my life…clumsy.

12. If you’re carrying low, it’s a boy. If you’re carrying high, it’s a girl. Is there such thing as a middle carry? There I am.

13. Speaking of carrying, if you’re carrying in front, it’s a boy. All around your middle, it’s a girl. I think front, mostly.

14. Loop your wedding ring in a piece of thread and let it dangle over your belly. If the rings swings in a back and forth motion, it’s a girl. If the ring moves in a circular motion, boy. I haven’t done this yet, but it’s one of my favorites – just for the fun of it, really. There’s also a string-and-needle variation.

15. Or, just skip all of the above and go for the gold: a Chinese Gender Predictor. Clearly, it’s a girl. That, and my 3-year-old son insists it’s a girl. Insists, I tell you.

Let me know if you’ve had any of these wives’ tales tell you your child’s gender accurately! And, of course, please feel free to add any that I’ve missed in the comments! (I know there are dozens upon dozens more.)