the I-can-see-everything diaper bag

contents from left to right, top to bottom:
bags, sunblock and diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer, pacifier,
baby snack, adult snack, more baby snacks,
baby clothes and burp cloth,
wipes and disposable liner, diapers,
changing pad

Motherhood has sparked an uptick  in my obsession with being organized, and diaper bags have been a key focus in my (un?)healthy hobby of preparedness. There are many factors here, including questions of size, pocket count, cleaning ease, and whether both parents find the bag agreeable. You can have a huge bag that fits everything you might ever need or go for something more compact while making a pact with yourself to pack minimally.

What I’ve discovered in my quest for the ultimate diaper bag, though, is that no matter how well packed and organized the bag was when I left the house, it soon morphed into a frenzied disarray, a disarray which prompted panic, anxiety, and newfound determination to figure out a better system. (The urgency becomes greater when poop is involved. There is only so much one-handed blind groping among the many items in a diaper bag as the other hand holds down a wriggling baby whose bottom parts are covered in feces that one can take.)

The cause? Not being able to see everything in the bag in order to grab the one thing I needed when I needed it. And this got me thinking. Is it a possible to have a diaper bag that allows immediate and easy access to everything in it?

And, well, it is. Just use a hanging toiletry bag with clear compartments. I’m able to fit almost* everything I (or my partner or our babysitter) would need for a few hours out with baby. In addition to the quick and easy access to all that it contains, the small compartment keeps everything organized, even during the most desperate and agitated of diaper changes. The visibility also makes the task of replenishing items much easier since I can see what is running low. (Except for the wipes which are in a semi-translucent case that I love.)

I doubt I’ll ever come up with a system of organization that I don’t continue trying to improve, but for the time being, I’m happy with this rendition of my diaper bag.

The end.

*A bottle and/or sippy cup does not fit. Bringing a toy is also a good idea.


DIY Stroller Organizer

DIY Stroller Organizer with the Essentials:
Baby sunscreen, snacks (teething wafers and banana), water for Mom and baby (well, the baby’s cup is in the cup-holder, but it could have fit in the basket), sunglasses for Mom, teething toy, keys. (Phone not pictured because I was using it to take this picture.)

I love organizing things, and having a baby has opened up an enormous new realm of organizational possibilities. Take, for instance, the stroller organizer. Ten months after Hazel was born, I realized that I could no longer live without one. I needed immediate access to the essentials, and the basket underneath the seat required too much stooping and rummaging which so quickly escalated into desperation as Hazel screamed (which she often prefers to do in quieter settings, such as the public library). Hanging my purse with supplies from the aftermarket velcro hooks on the handles started as a decent substitute but soon became another source of frustration as zippers and the non-baby stuff of purse-land stood in between me and whatever thing I was hoping would magically turn the situation around.

So I needed a stroller organizer, but my tight summer budget prevented me from buying this lovely one and my non-existent sewing skills kept me from making this cute little number. What was a resourceful and broke mom who is obsessed with constantly creating better systems of organization to do?

I spend a lot of time in Family Dollar. There is one right up the street from our house*, and it’s a nice place to rest for a few minutes on our morning walks. Well, Family Dollar has these little baskets for $1 each, and I couldn’t help but think that one of these might make for a great DIY stroller organizer. And it does. I initially used twist ties to attach it, which worked just fine until it was time to fold up the stroller before placing in the back of my, um, automobile. The basket needed to be more easily removable. So I used the velcro stroller hooks I already had. Keeping the basket tightly attached (and therefore not so prone to tipping) takes a little bit of finagling, but I am still enjoying my budget-friendly organizer very much.

The end.

*I often wonder about referring to my home as a house when I don’t actually live in a house. Our home is a townhouse, sharing walls with neighbors. According to Merriam Webster, house can be defined as “a building in which a family lives,” which is quite broad and most likely includes townhouses in its umbrella definition. But it still gives me pause. This is similar to the times when I say car to refer to my truck. I left my phone in the car. Sometimes I catch myself before the words come out of my mouth, but then I always feel like I’m bragging. I left my phone in the truck, and yes, I am very proud of the fact that I drive a truck. I’ve even gone so far as to try to use the all-encompassing vehicle instead, but good golly, then it feels like I’m pointing a neon sign to my overthinking of this and everything else.**

**This makes me think of how at one point, perhaps a few years ago, I had to work really hard at saying phone instead of iPhone when referring to my personal cellular device. I am a tool for Apple products, but I don’t need to be announcing that to the world.