How to KonMari Your Diaper Bag

5 tips to avoid the #diaperbagblackhole.

How to KonMari Your Diaper Bag

*We’ve partnered with JJ Cole to help streamline your momlife. Admit it: you probably overpack your diaper bag. And we know it’s for good reason: we mamas need to be prepared for anything and everything! But an overpacked diaper bag can quickly turn into a black hole, making it impossible to find what you need in a pinch. So we’re partnering with JJ Cole to help you apply Marie Kondo’s “KonMari” method of decluttering and organizing to the place your momlife needs it most: your diaper bag. We recently enlisted our gear editor and founder of King Kidlet, Natalie Gentile, to help NYC mama of two Fallon Carmichael Santiago clean out her #diaperbagblackhole. Below, she shares the 5 tips that helped whip Fallon’s JJ Cole Bucket Tote diaper bag into shape. Want to win the JJ Cole Bucket Tote Diaper Bag that Fallon’s using in our story? Share what’s currently happening inside your diaper bag on Instagram stories with the hashtag #diaperbagblackhole for your chance to win! Don't forget to tag @wellroundedny and @jjcoleusa. We'll announce the winner on May 1. 1. Get organized. The key to an organized diaper bag is having a designated spot for every single item. Not only will this keep your bag tidy, you won’t have to rummage through to find a pacifier when your baby is already at a level ten freakout. JJ Cole’s Bucket Tote has 12 pockets (including 2 side bottle or sippy cup pockets), but you can also use zipper pouches for bottles or snacks, diapers and wipes, spare clothing and so on. Bonus tip: Include one removable pouch for your personal items such as your wallet, sunglasses, and favorite lip gloss, this way you can easily toss it in your purse for date night! 2. Pack less stuff. You can immediately lighten your load simply by reducing the quantity of products in your diaper bag. Instead of carrying an entire pack of baby wipes, opt for a travel-sized pack. Better yet, just throw some in a ziplock bag, and off you go! If you have a tendency to overpack, though, opt for a diaper bag with padded shoulder straps, or use the JJ Cole no-slip grips™ (they come with the JJ Cole Bucket Tote) and let your stroller do the carrying. 3. Keep the toys to a minimum. Keeping your little one entertained is important, but you don’t need to carry the whole toy store around with you. Instead, I suggest choosing one or two small toys, then swapping them out every few days to keep it interesting. 4. Stay in season. If you leave the house and it's 75 degrees, you probably don't need an extra sweatshirt, ski pants and winter boots for your know, just in case. Make sure the seasonable items you tote around are actually in season. 5. Maintain, maintain, maintain. Ok, so your diaper bag is now organized, but how do you keep it that way? Every morning, quickly check your diaper bag’s stock of formula, wipes, etc. Then give it a deep clean once a week: wipe down your changing pad (JJ Cole’s Bucket Tote has a matching one tucked inside) and tidy up any errant crayons or cheese stick wrappers that made their way to the bottom of your bag. Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded.  

SHOP JJ COLE DIAPER BAGS JJ Cole Bucket Tote Black Aztec, $69.95

JJ Cole Bucket Tote, Red Trellis, $69.95

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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