13 products that *finally* helped my family get organized

Plus, two organizational rules I now live by.

organized family products

If my mother sees this article, she is first going to do a double-take to make sure that she read the name correctly, and then she is going to laugh and laugh and laugh. Because the truth is that I have never been an organized person—but I want to be, desperately. To come home after a long day to a space that is neat and tidy and peaceful; ahh, sounds like heaven.

My desire to be organized became a need when the pandemic hit, and suddenly our home had to accommodate two working parents and three kids doing virtual learning (and a dog who is still confused by it all). What was once nothing more than unsightly disorganization quickly became a source of major stress, and I knew we needed to get our acts together.

We started with a major decluttering session, of course. Then, we incorporated two organizational rules into our daily lives:

1. Go vertical. I realized that I was underutilizing the space in my home (and causing more clutter in the process) by only thinking about horizontal surfaces (like my often totally-covered kitchen counter). Now, I look for ways to use the walls and doors to make more space (check out a few ideas below!).

2. Touch it once. If left to my own unorganized devices, I would pick up the same item 12 times before it actually makes it to where it belongs. First, the coat comes off and gets thrown on the kitchen chair. Then, I make a pile of it and all the other coats on another chair. Then, I pick them all up but get interrupted by a quick homework question so they get tossed onto the floor. Then… you get my drift. Now, I touch everything once—the item goes where it needs to go the first time I touch it. It may take longer in the moment, but ultimately not moving stuff from pile to pile really makes a difference.

These rules helped, but there was still more work to be done—which meant a little intentional shopping.

Here are the 13 products I found that finally helped my family get organized—and a few ideas to go along with them:

Skylight calendar

digital calendar

My husband and I share digital calendars which helps, but my kids were still constantly asking "What do we have next?" Enter: the Skylight calendar. It's about the size of a tablet, and we have ours mounted to the wall. It syncs with our digital calendars and displays the schedule for the day (or week or month). My kids just need to walk up to it to see what their (color coordinated) days look like! Bonus: You can use it to keep track of your grocery shopping lists, too!


momAgenda planner


I've learned that I need to use both shared digital calendars and a paper planner to really get organized—I use the paper planner for a more detailed look at everything that needs to happen in a day. For this, I am currently obsessed with the momAgenda planner. I love the weekly view and that there is dedicated space for me and up to four kids (I have three kids, so one of those spaces is for my husband and dog).


Magnet organizer

magnet organizer

Remember my "go vertical" rule? Well, this is one of the products that helps me accomplish that. It sticks to my fridge and is perfect for holding keys, coupons, pens and anything else that otherwise ends up scattered on my kitchen counter at the end of the day.


Grid-panel leaning ladder

leaning tower

Apparently, scarves and hats are not supposed to live on the ground (who knew). With the leaning ladder, another vertical solution, they don't have to anymore. It's perfect for hanging up so many different types of items—toys, sunglasses, bags and yes, the floor scarves and hats that previously littered my closet floor.


Adhesive hooks

adhesive hooks

We don't have a ton of storage space in our kitchen and it was getting impossible to find the things I needed (cooking dinner is already enough of an ordeal for me, I don't need a missing measuring spoon to get in my way). So, again I went vertical. I got some simple adhesive hooks, stuck them on a wall (the inside of a cabinet works well, too), and then hung all of the measuring cups and spoons on them.

(Check out an adorable example of this here!)


Charging station

charging station

I lose my phone exactly 17 times per day—unless I make a point of using a charging station. I have one by my bed and one in the kitchen, and they have helped so much. Plus, it helps me deal with my chronic low-battery situation.


Woven basket

woven basket

No matter how much organizing you do, when you live with kids, mess is just going to happen. Having cute baskets to toss stuff in can make a huge difference—I have baskets everywhere. You can do a super quick clean-up, and then even throw a cute blanket or pillow on top, and no one will ever know about the mess that lies within.


Combination body wash + shampoo

baby shampoo and soap

Okay, I know that at first glance body wash does seem like an organizational hack. But, I am sharing it because when shopping for bath products for my kids, I always choose ones that have the soap and shampoo combined—fewer bottles in the bathroom equals less clutter and less waste. The plant-based tear-free products from Ever Eden are always favorite. Happy kids, clutter-free bathroom.


Label maker

label maker

The more people that live in your home, the more variety you see in where things get "put away." Shoes in the toy bin and toys in the Tupperware drawer are funny, but not super helpful when you are searching for what you need. Enter: the label maker. It easily prints adhesive labels that you can place all over, and maybe eventually your family will learn that the pretzel bag probably shouldn't be "put away" in their underwear drawers.


Laundry sorter

laundry sorter

My kids get naked everywhere. They have hampers in their rooms and yet at the end of the day, every room of the house seems to have at least one piece of clothing in it. A few years ago, I bought a laundry sorter that lives on the first floor of our home, and it's been a big help. As we find stray socks and shirts, we can just grab them and throw them into the sorter, rather than bringing them upstairs to their rooms.


3-tiered cart

tiered cart

This cart has served many purposes in our home—right now it is the keeper of all the virtual school items. The kids can wheel it with them as they need to, and it's easy to get them to stash the stuff away on it when they are done. Three kids, three tiers—they each get their own! Plus, it's really cute, so I don't mind having it out and about in the house.


Magazine holders

magazine holder

I am getting better at throwing out my kids' art and schoolwork—but it's hard and I still keep way too much (it's all just so cute). So, I bought three magazine holders, which live in a bookshelf. Instead of piles all over the place, I can quickly stash the things I want to save, and when they get full, I transfer everything into a longer-term storage bin or my next favorite organization item…



artkive box

Artkive is a genius solution to the too-much-artwork problem. You order a box which you then fill up with the artwork and sentimental papers you want to save. It then gets mails back to Artkive, who turns the art into a beautiful sentimental book, It takes up less space and you'll actually look through it from time to time—which is more than I can say for the huge plastic bins that I can't even reach in the garage.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Here are the self-care items you desperately need right now

Self care is not enough, but with the news, the ongoing pandemic and just life, it can't hurt to self-pamper to make the world feel less heavy.


This week has felt like a month. Between the debate, Chrissy Teigen's heartbreaking news and now with President Trump tweeting that he and Melania have tested positive for COVID-19 it's hard to not feel overwhelmed. On top of that, we are still in a never ending historical pandemic, people are still losing their jobs and moms, well, we are at the end of our rope.

Yes, motherhood is political, and no, self care is not enough to fix burn out, but if all you need right now is to turn off your phone and cozy up to a soft blanket because you've had enough, I hear you. Hard same. So we picked some stuff for you to buy and pamper yourself. No regrets, we all deserve some self-love right now.

Here are things that will make you feel hugged:

Keep reading Show less

100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

From Adelia to Ziggy.

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play