Gone are the days where new parents to be wander aimlessly around a baby store cluelessly adding items to their registry. With all the technology and information on the web, it’s just not how people register anymore. Even if you go in to a store to register, you’ve probably done lots of online research, asked friends and made lists of what you want before even stepping inside a store.

Over the years, I was surprised to see more and more friends registering on Amazon as opposed to the big box stores. As an Amazon lover myself, it seemed like a no-brainer for our registry, even without all these extra perks.

Why You Should Have an Amazon Baby Registry

1 The Reviews

Registering for baby products should require an advanced degree. You’re venturing in to completely unknown territory. It’s confusing and there’s a zillion options. No one has the database of customer reviews like Amazon does. And those reviews come in extra handy when researching the 20+ different types of swaddles on the market …. All of which to promise to keep your baby sound to sleep 😊.

2 Popularity

Similar to the reviews, Amazon will show you which product is within any sub-category is most popular. Think highchairs, bottles, burp clothes, etc.  Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that the most popular product is right for you, but it is another way to help you make informed decisions on what to register for. Being more minimalist, I thought most baby items seemed unnecessary (seriously, who needs a nose freeda? Apparently I do because I now own two). The popularity feature helped me understand what new parents liked and bought.

3 Free Welcome Box

Once you set up your Amazon baby registry, you’ll receive a free welcome box with some cool stuff inside. I’m often warry of freebies, as sometimes it can just be a bunch of junk. I was pleasantly surprised when my Welcome Box came in the mail – high quality muslin blanket, baby toy, small baby lotion, small pack of wipes, pacifier and teether. All legit items that I actually used.

4 Universal Registry

One of the coolest features that I believe only Amazon has is the ability to add items from OTHER stores in to your Amazon baby registry. Brilliant. I was pretty picky on which diaper bag I wanted and found one I liked on Land of Nod. I was hoping to get it as a gift as opposed to purchasing myself, but I didn’t want to open up a registry at Land of Nod for just one item. Instead I added the Land of Nod  diaper bag to my Amazon registry. While Amazon has a pretty ridiculous inventory of baby products, this feature is really nice for those more specialty type products that are only found at specific stores.

5 Inventory

While #4 is pretty awesome, you likely won’t need to use it too often. Amazon has an absurd inventory. And not just for baby stuff. I registered for a several items for Declan’s nursery that weren’t technically baby products: Decorative pillows to fit his black & white room theme, Laundry baskets used for toy storage, bookshelves that didn’t scream ‘baby room’.

Click HERE to see all the details of Amazon’s Baby Registry!

6 The Gift Givers

Now I know not everyone has an Amazon membership or more specifically a Prime membership. But the odds are MOST of the folks giving you a gift will. I know many of my husband’s friends have never purchased from BuyBuyBaby.com, but every one of them has bought something from Amazon. Plus buying on Amazon is much easier than heading off to a brick & mortar store.

7 On the Go

It’s super easy to add items to your Amazon baby registry straight from your phone. This may sound somewhat frivolous. Yet, I add to my registry via phone pretty often. For example, visiting a friend who offers suggestions of products she’s currently using for her little one: added to my Amazon registry in seconds. Baby stores are slowly improving their apps for baby registries, but nothing compares to the Amazon app. Also, with Amazon, you don’t have to download a separate baby registry app (unlike Target).

8 Thank You List

I’m not sure why all baby registries don’t have this option. Within your Amazon baby registry, you’ll be able to see exactly WHO purchased an item, their home address and WHEN they purchased the item. This is a great way to keep track of gifts and thank you cards, but also makes ensuring you received all your gifts really handy. In the event that you realize you didn’t receive a purchased gift yet, you can simply look to see WHO purchased it and reach out to them directly.

9 Returns

So no matter how hard you try to create the perfect registry, there’s going to be stuff you end up just not wanting. Amazon has a free 90 day return policy for baby registry items. Just as much as I don’t want to have to drive far to PURCHASE baby items, I sure don’t want to drive far to RETURN them either. I’d much rather swing over to the closest post office.

10 Completion Discount

Now most baby registries have completion discounts, but Amazon’s is with noting. You’ll receive 10% off most of the items off your register or 15% off if you’re a member of Amazon Family (which is a really great service, especially for diapers!). Keep this in mind for those bigger ticket items: strollers, baby furniture, etc.

Convinced?

Click HERE to start your Amazon Baby Registry & get your FREE gift!

 

 

 

 

 

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If you’ve got little kids you’ll want to have a 72 hour emergency kit stored in a safe place in your home! 

On Tuesday I posted a tutorial on how I’m preparing for an earthquake. It was one of those projects that was on my list of things to do way too long. You can see the post here. I listed the essentials that I thought anyone would need in their earthquake kit.

Apparently I’m not the only one that has this on my to do list, as the response to the post was overwhelming. Lots of comments, questions and compliments. One of the biggest questions I received is ‘what are you packing for your baby?’

Good question.

In my original post, I listed the supplies that I believe everyone needs regardless of who’s in their family (think: flashlight, bottled water, batteries). But it definitely gets all of us thinking? What about our children, pets and/or elderly loved ones we’re caring for?

In addition to my main earthquake kit (which would really be appropriate for any natural disaster), I also created a kit specifically to the items that we need for Declan, our 5 month old son.

Why and how to create an 72 hour emergency kit for your baby. Whether earthquakes, fire, hurricanes or any other natural disaster, you'll want to be ready!

Changing Diapers 

Wipes // I grabbed a couple smaller packs.

Diapers // I opted to pack a size larger than Declan currently wears. In the unfortunate event that we need to use this emergency kit, I’d rather have a diaper too large (or just started to fit), than too small. I packed 20 diapers, as that’s about how many he goes through in 3 days.

Diaper Rash Cream // Keeping clean may not be as easy, given the situation, but diaper rash creams can provide temporary relief for prevenTing infection.

Trash Bag // For throwing away dirty diapers.

Safety

Bandana or Hankie // This may be used for spit up, but can also come in handy as a dust mask if needed.

First Aid Kit // I opted to purchase a full kit and adding a couple of additions including baby pain medicine, sunscreen, and small containers of hand sanitizer, shampoo and lotion.

Feeding

Formula / Baby Food // Whether your little one is on solids or milk, make sure to have 3 days worth. I recommend pre-made food pouches instead of glass food containers, as those may break. Don’t forget the spoons too!

Bottled Water // If you’re formula feeding, make sure you have enough for 3 days worth of bottles.

Comfort

Pacifiers/Teething Rings // Just think of how uncomfortable your baby gets at home on a regular day. Make sure you’ve got a couple key items to keep them comfortable during this time.

Toy // I purchased an extra of Declan’s favorite toy.

Blankets // I grabbed a couple lightweight blankets for layering as opposed to thicker ones, but keep in mind the climate of your area.

Extra Clothing // I packed a couple pairs of footed pajamas, onesies and pants that were all one size bigger than Declan is currently wearing. Seattle has pretty temperate weather, but winters can get cold, so I also packed a pair of mittens and a hat. I stored the clothes in a ziplock bag which can be used to keep the dirty clothes.

Transportation

Baby Carrier // You’ll want something easy to transport your little one in. A carrier is my first choice as it allows for hands free to carry the rest of the supplies.

 

 It's important to have a 72 hour emergency kit in case a natural disaster occurs!

A Couple Emergency Kit Tips

You’ll notice that I didn’t list any type of crib or sleeper. These are large and I feel that the items listed above are more important. If needed, our son could sleep with us wherever we’re at.

I opted to pack clothing and diapers at least once size bigger than Declan is currently in. Although I plan to update my emergency kits regularly, I’d rather have these items too BIG than too small.

Make sure to check the expiration date on any food / formula that you pack. Ideally pack food with an expiration date as far in the future you can find.

I store Declan’s emergency kit along with my main earthquake kit for easy access.

 

Anything else you’d include?

 

 

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This shop, Earthquake Kit, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PoweredByRayovac #SureThing #CollectiveBias

When I look at my to-do list, I’ve got an assortment of projects to accomplish. Some small, like water the plants, and others large, such as paint the bathroom. One project that’s been lingering for too long is to create an earthquake kit with all the essentials that we would need in the event an earthquake hit. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been hearing a lot about earthquakes over the years. Whether in the news or talk with friends, I know we’re in an area that is susceptible to an earthquake someday.

I’ll be honest: SOMEDAY seems far away.

But the reality is preparing for a ‘someday’ is the most important item on my to-do list.

The first step was to create a list of what we may need in the event that an earthquake hits. The standard rule of thumb for natural disaster preparation is to acquire supplies to last at least 72 hours. Three days may not seem like a long period of time, but when a natural disaster hits, it’s significant. My words of wisdom are: don’t’ skip on your food/water supplies and make sure you have the right batteries to hold you over! We stocked our kit with RAYOVAC® HIGH ENERGY™ &  FUSION™ batteries, both known for their long-lasting power and stores for up to 10 years!! (5 years for 9v)

Here's how to put together your own earthquake kit!

Earthquake Kit Essentials

1 Water // Yes, this one is pretty obvious and it’s also the most important thing to have in your kit. A safe amount is one gallon of water per person per day for at least 72 hours for drinking and sanitation purposes.

2 Non-Perishable Canned Food // Stock up on nonperishable canned food to hold you (and your family) over for at least 72 hours. You’ll want to make sure the food is up to date and not yet expired. This may mean that you need to periodically check your earthquake kit cans for expiration dates. Make sure to also include a can opener and silverware.  I opted for a variety of foods, chunky soups, ravioli, and beans. Although not necessarily my favorite items, I knew these would keep us full.

3 Battery Powered Radio (with Batteries) // It’s hard to imagine life without instant access to the internet, television or phone. But chances are, if a natural disaster hits, your access will be limited. That’s why a battery powered radio is so important. You don’t know how long you’ll be away from electricity or the ability to charge your phones, so make sure you have a large supply of long lasting batteries, like RAYOVAC® FUSION™, which is recommended for high drain devices, like headphones, gaming accessories, remote control cars, drones/helicopters. (Guaranteed to provide long lasting power in high use devices*)

4 Lighting (with Batteries) // Flashlight was an obvious add to the list, but a battery-operated lantern is another great add. Plan to keep these running for up to 72 hours, so stock up on size appropriate batteries. I’m a fan of the RAYOVAC® HIGH ENERGY™ batteries. These long-lasting batteries are perfect for high use devices like flashlights and lanterns.

5 First-Aid Kit // Along with a standard first-aid supplies, I added dust masks, gloves and over-the-counter pain medication. 

6 Batteries // RAYOVAC is my go-to choice for all battery power needs. Not only are they guaranteed to provide long-lasting power in high use devices like flashlights, computer mouse and of course toys, RAYOVAC® batteries last up to 10 years in storage (5 years for 9v). Oh, AND they cost much less than their competitors. Fun fact: RAYOVAC® batteries {except 9V} are produced right here in America (in Fennimore, WI) and have been powering America since 1906.

7 Fire Extinguisher // We keep a fire extinguisher in the bathroom on each floor of our townhouse (3 floors). I moved the one from our main floor bath to our earthquake kit. Make sure to check the expiration date of your extinguisher. (Yep, these do expire.)

8 Tools // This is a tricky one as it’s impossible to predict exactly what you would need, if anything. But some safe bets include: rope, work gloves, matches, & work gloves. You’ll also want to include a wrench and pliers to turn off utilities.

9 Bedding // Since blankets and comforters can take up a lot of space, I chose to store our sleeping bags in our earthquake kit. Ours roll up nicely and can be used in temperatures of -30 degrees. (Yes, this city girl learned how to camp recently!)

10 Clothing // We packed one change of clothing per person. Since the climate in Seattle is pretty temperate, I opted for long one long sleeve shirt & pants, underwear and socks. I also added a pair of old tennis shoes that I was about to throw out and a rain jacket (we are in Seattle after all). The temperature in your area may fluctuate more between seasons so you may choose to include a couple more pieces. 

11 Hygienic Supplies // Now I’m not talking about makeup and toiletries, more like the bare essentials. Think: several rolls of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towels and a couple garbage bags. 

12 Whistle // The whistle may be used as a call for help. The recommendation is to provide one whistle for each member of the family as you’re taking cover. Make sure you’re able to place it around your neck for easy access. 

13 Emergency cash // Depending on the severity of the earthquake, it may take some time for local grocery stores and retailers to operate back at full capacity. This could potentially mean that credit card machines are not operating. Having cash on hand may make any immediate purchases easier. 

14 Personal Documents // FEMA created an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit with lots of information of everything you should include. At minimum, it’s important to have access to key medical documents (insurance cards), identification (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.) and financial documents (insurance policies, banking documents).

Now that you’ve got the list of essentials, search your home for items you may already have. I was able to find everything we were missing in one trip to Walmart. You can find RAYOVAC® batteries in the Battery Quad located at the front of Walmart stores near checkout. They can also be found at the checkout aisle. Since we all love a good deal, here’s a couple coupons found in SmartSource and Ibotta. You’re welcome 🙂 .

While these are our essentials that I’m preparing, I realize there will be additional items to include that are unique to our family: supplies for our dog (Reagan) and our son (Declan), medications that we may be using at the time, etc. Make sure to customize your kit to accommodate your (and your family’s) needs.

Keep your earthquake kit in a safe location and make sure all family members are aware of where it's located!

Storing Your Earthquake Kit 

Keep your earthquake kit in one or two easy to carry containers, such as a camping backpack, storage box or waterproof bag. Make sure it’s easily accessible in a cool, dry place such as your basement, garage or closet. It’s also a good idea to have multiple kits, since you never know where you’ll be when an earthquake strikes.  We made one for our home and one for our car. Admittedly I wasn’t excited about storing additional items in my trunk, but in the event of an earthquake, roads could be damaged for days making it impossible to get home.

Earthquake Emergency Plan

Write down all the important phone numbers: family, friends, and neighbors, plus our work and school information. Include the number of your electric company so you can get updates.

Decide on a meeting place in your neighborhood in the event that your home isn’t safe to stay at.

Make sure everyone in the family knows where the earthquake kits are stored.

Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid a fire hazard.

Have a place to stay out-of-town if you need to leave your home (with a friend or relative).

Practice your plan!

I’m so glad we’ve got this project complete, but wishing I would have tackled it even sooner. Once we compiled our list of essentials, we simply found the items around the house and shopped for the remaining.

*Money Back Guarantee: Contact 1-800-891-6091 or www.RAYOVAC.com/MBG for more details. Restrictions apply.

 

 

 

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These are the 10 things professional organizers really wish their clients knew!

The secrets of professional organizers!

The work of professional organizers may look like lots of pretty ‘after pictures’ after some ridiculous before photos. But to get to those pretty after photos, we see a lot of stuff. I mean a lot.  I get it. I’ll admit there’s spaces in my house I don’t want anyone to see. But there are some tried and true tips that really make a huge difference in keeping your home clean and organized. Here’s the biggest things that most professional organizers cringe when they see.

Secrets Professional Organizers Wish You Knew

1 Not respecting capacity limits

Yes, there should be a home for everything, but that home shouldn’t be cramped. My rule of thumb is that no container or basket is my house is more than 75% full. Not only does it make it easier to find what’s inside, it allows for a margin of error (aka – when you need to fill it just a little more). Hey, we’re not perfect 100% of the time 🙂 .

2 Keeping unwanted items

You know what items I’m talking about … the ‘what if someday my toaster breaks and I need a new one’ scenario. Just saying. There’s a common rule with clothing, if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, get rid of it. My rule for non clothing items: if you don’t use it in the last year, it needs to go (I’m accounting for seasonal items). And that’s pretty lenient. Oh and this includes gifts from relatives that you never use, the paintings that you’ll eventually get around to hanging on the wall, etc. If it’s been over a year, it’s out.

3 Holding on to something because it cost money

 Now one rebuttal I often hear when purging is “but it was SO expensive”.  I get it. I hate wasting money. Hate. An expensive dress that I only wore to one wedding 4 years ago. Extra suitcase sitting in storage that hasn’t been used in a decade. But let’s think of it a different way: how expensive it is to waste that storage/closet space with something you’re not using. That becomes a pretty expensive storage space.

Professional organizers spill all their secrets

4 Not putting things away

Ahhhhh. It’s like nails on a chalk board to me. Once you use something, put it in it’s home. Or at VERY minimum, have a junk drawer to get those items off the counter and tables. The better option is to simply put items away after you use them, but I’m giving you a little slack with the junk drawer. Your welcome.

5 Full refrigerator

I’m not talking about the inside. I’m talking about all those magnets, photos, art projects and mail that’s hanging all over the outside of the fridge. Get rid of it. No matter how clutter free the rest of the kitchen is, when the fridge is full of papers, the entire kitchen is a mess.

6 The messy entryway

First impressions are a real thing. And a messy entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house. Whether it’s baskets, hooks, cabinets, you name it. Find a way to get that clutter away. Remember, not everything needs to be stored at the entryway. Keep the essentials – coat, shoes, hat, key, sunglasses, bag. Move the rest to a more appropriate spot.

7 Entryway paper clutter

Speaking of the entry way, this seems to be the popular spot for paper clutter. Now I’m all for placing mail and paper documents near the entry way, but, there’s got to be a system. So next time when you grab the mail and need a place to stash it, it won’t have to go on the kitchen counter. It will go in the entry, via an organized process.

top pet peeves that professional organizers really want you to know!

8 First shopping then organizing

If I won the lottery, my first stop would be splurging at the Container Store. I’m a sucker for the latest organizing gadget as much as the next person. But and there’s a big BUT …. more organizing products don’t make a room more organized. Organizing makes a room more organized. Before rushing out to the store (or Amazon) to solve your clutter crisis, really evaluate your STUFF. So often, it’s more a matter of purging, grouping like items and finding a new place to store them that solves the problem. THEN if you do end up needing more baskets or bins, you’ll have a better grasp of what to purchase.

9 Not utilizing labels

So obviously I like labels. My master closet has almost a dozen of them. Joking aside, labels not only help you keep your system working, it’s hugely beneficial to others in your family that may not be as excited about organization as you are. Surprise surprise, Joe doesn’t share my enthusiasm for labeled baskets in our master closet. But he does know where things go.

10 Not finishing the laundry

We all have good intentions when we start the laundry, whether you’re the type who does laundry daily or has a weekly routine. But starting laundry and finishing laundry are very different things. Nothing screams ‘I’m disheveled and I can’t get my house organized’ like unfinished laundry.  Yep, it’s one of those unfortunate things that you don’t get credit for accomplishing (no one says wow your house looks so great and is free of half finished laundry), but everyone notices when it’s not finished. Finish your laundry. You’ll feel better.
These are the top 10 pet peevse that all professional organizers wish their clients knew! They're easy quick fixes that make a huge difference!

 

 

 

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We all know those people. Those people who look perfectly put together. Those people who are never flustered. People who always arrive on time. Scratch that. Those people who are always early.

Yes, some people have more on their plate than others. Some people spend more time getting ready than others. And some people are just perfect. (We hate those people.) But for the majority, those that are always on time tend to follow these rules:

1 Google Maps

They LOVE Google maps, not only so that they know HOW to get to where they’re going, but so they know WHEN to leave. Google Maps will show traffic and public transportation delays, which becomes immensely helpful in determining WHEN to leave the house. But as great as Google Maps is, it’s far from perfect. In fact I don’t know anyone who can walk as fast as Google or any buses that show up on time like Google says they will. So plan accordingly and add at least 10-15 minutes to your Google Maps directions.

2 Entryway

They designate one place to leave their jacket, work bag, headphones, and any other items that are carried every day, whether at a command center or near the front door. Same goes with keys. There’s ONE spot that their keys live ALL THE TIME. They know that they will forget where they put them if it’s not in that same spot. Skip the morning drama and have these essentials right by the front door.

Top 10 ways to arrive on time to everything, including remembering where you put your keys!

3 Mornings

Speaking of morning, they skip the snooze. Yep, that’s right. The alarm goes off and they get up. Let me repeat, alarm goes off and they get up. That extra 5 minutes of not so great sleep isn’t worth starting the day off behind. Mornings are too important to snooze.

4 Scheduling

They’re not scheduled back to back to back because they know SOMETHING will run late and alter the entire day. Those people who always arrive on time likely also love to be productive and gets lots done throughout the day. Yet they know that one late meeting or traffic jam could toy with the entire day’s schedule. So they’re smart about their time. They never schedule events too close together. And if they’ve got extra time before meetings, they know how to fill it.

5 Downtime

They’re OK with downtime. Meaning that they know how to fill the time when they arrive early for a reservation or show up to a doctors appointment 15 minutes ahead of time. Not only do they know how to use that time, they use it productively. They’re updating a grocery list, they’re responding to emails on their phone, they’re cleaning out their purse.

6 Alarms

Alarms aren’t just for waking up. People who arrive on time often set alarms for important events during the day. They have an alarm letting them know when they need to leave a social gathering, when they need to call an Uber or when they need to start on a project.

7 Plan

They plan EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING. Calendars aren’t just for important events. Punctual people not only show up on time, but they plan out their days. This includes travel time, down time and those not so exciting activities (think laundry). They also know that just because something is planned doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Flexibility is key when planning out their day. Adding activities to their calendar creates the best chance of accomplishing everything they want to do.

8 Time Suck

They’re not late for events because they don’t check their email or voicemail right before they leave. They also don’t check Facebook. Let’s repeat, they don’t check Facebook right before they’re supposed to go somewhere. Whatever your guilty pleasure, what we think will only take a minute or two often sucks you in for much longer. Don’t let yourself get sucked in. Especially right before you need go to somewhere.

9 End

People who arrive on time end their tasks on time. You can’t be on time for the next activity if you linger to long on the current one. They map out their day in advance, taking time to really think about how long each activity / event will take before adding it to the calendar. And if an event starts to run long, they find a way to wrap things up.

10 The Unknown

They fill up their gas tank when it reaches 1/4 tank. Yes, I’m serious. Yes, this is tip#10. But not just the gas tank. They always have a snack with them, they keep napkins in their car. Simply put, they prevent the unknown last minute delays the best they can.

Here's our list of the top 10 things that people do who arrive on time. Incorporate these easy solutions to be punctual and organized throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

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