October 17, 2023

Maternity Leave home organization and other to-dos.

I think in The States the idea of starting maternity leave before baby comes/before due dates might be an odd one.  When I first moved here and people were starting leave at 34 weeks pregnant I was very confused.  With Isaac I started at 38 weeks and with Lilah it was about the same (I think? I can't remember).  With twins I opted for 35+3, which seems early except they have an eviction date of 38 (or 37... I'll find out tomorrow).  

So either way, I am off work and happy to be done.  It's weird to try and "make the most" of a very undefined time period.  

We have full childcare on Tuesdays-Thursdays so those are my at-home days where I strike a balance between resting and getting things done.  Today was a "getting things done" day... I finally made it to our local Homesense to purchase new baskets for organizing toys in the side board.  I could no longer deal with this as our lounge:

Chaos!  With the addition of side board baskets (5 for £12) and a bit of a toy shuffle it now looks like this:
The side board was also in chaos, which is part of the reason so many toys were out. The kids instantly put things in the drawers even though the drawers are supposed to be for grown up things.  .  Here's a before:
Although it does look like there is empty space this is partly because of all the chaos in the rest of the room and because those drawers are shoved full of toys too. The games/puzzles were fine but organized in such a way that kids couldn't put them back... which of course meant it wasn't organized at all.  
Here is after:
I don't have anything in the drawers and the puzzles can now come out and go back in without causing chaos.  The baskets are separated thematically... Peppa Pig, cars, and dinosaurs to name a few.  this means kids can put things away, or if everything is out I can put all the baskets on the floor and sort quickly rather than stacking.

The other project I tackled was shoe project.  We've always been a shoe-minimalist household but recently the kids have had so many new shoes - Isaac got school shoes and PE shoes, Lilah got a bag of cute hand-me-down shoes from friends.  Also, the baskets we bought when the kids were 1 and 3 are not containing shoes for 3 and 5 year olds:
please look beyond the jumper/jacket chaos - that's a project for another day
I picked up two new baskets at Homesense (£12.99 each but I love the color too much), put away the summer shoes, and now kids shoes look like this:
Basket project is now officially complete!

The other project I have on my "to do" list is to finish the family photo albums for September.  I finished and ordered Isaac's age 4-5 album, so I just need to start Lilah's 3-4 album and fill in the family album for September.  

Do you love baskets? Does organizing soothe your soul or are you clutter-blind?


  1. Organizing soothes my soul, hands down. I am actually quite organized, but my downfall is that I have too much stuff. So even my junk drawer is tidy, but full. I have tried to not just move stuff to a different place this year, but to actually give it away/throw it away, which is harder that just organizing it!

    Your sideboard and closet look good! I don't even think the jacket situation is too dire! It is nice that you have a couple of extra weeks to get a little bit of decluttering done, as I am sure you will not have much time in a few weeks and it will feel good that you got it done beforehand.

  2. ORGANIZING SOOTHES MY SOUL. It's one of the best things I can do for "self-care." Everything looks amazing. And yes, I love, love, love baskets (or really any organizational aid, bonus points if it's aesthetically pleasing).

    Living in Canada it's actually expected for women to go off ahead of their due date and that's factored into the maternity leave!

    Everything looks amazing and I'm so glad you have some time to tackle these projects before the babies arrive because, yes, soothing for the soul...

  3. I agree, it's really weird in the US that you're supposed to work until you go into labor and then only have 3 months off. I'm starting to see increases to 16 weeks in some states but still...geez there is nothing that critical about work.

    I'm good at putting things away and like a tidy area, but not so great at decluttering. When there isn't enough room in the drawers anymore is when I finally get motivated to declutter.

    1. It seems crazy to me to work up until you go into labour and then take 3 months off... because if you're in the middle of something it's sort of hard to disappear for 3 months. The longer the break the more important it is to tie up any loose ends before you go - but also I can understand with only 3 months off people wouldn't want to "waste" the time off without their babies.

  4. Oooh I love seeing these before and after photos! How satisfying!

    I live in the US and did not begin maternity leave until the day before I was induced. Since my kiddo was super late, that meant I spent MANY WEEKS dealing with increasingly infuriating questions about "why are you still here?" and "where is that baby?!" So I can see the value in starting leave early!

    1. Towards the end of my first pregnancy someone came into my office and said "do you want me to put a tarp under your chair just in case?!" and this was at 38 weeks! I think that here you are not allowed to work past your "due date". It would be so frustrating to be overdue and get those questions... it's frustrating enough to be "nearly due" and get those questions.

  5. Organizing DEFINITELY soothes my soul...and give me all the bins and baskets :) You did a great job - even with small space, it's so satisfying to get things organized!

  6. I am not clutter-blind, but I mostly refuse to do anything about it. LOL. I find that I have good intentions with organizing tools like baskets, but will eventually always end up going back to my slovenly ways. I aim for organization, but mostly end up in disorganized land!