7 Ways I’m Childproofing My Home With A Second Baby On The Way

7 Ways I’m Childproofing My Home With A Second Baby On The Way

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The first time I had a baby, “childproof” was a new word to me — it sounded like the title of an action movie. Now, I can look around any house and see a danger factory brimming with risk and potential hospital visits in every direction.

I babyproofed my house for my first child and was able to mostly keep it intact. Yet, over time, I have let my guard down. As he has aged, cleaning supplies have been more easily accessible and the child locks that used to keep the cabinet doors secure have been removed. The safety plugs have been removed from the sockets, and the coffee table my mom suggested we get rid of in the living room has found its way back into place.

Being a parent is petrifying as is, and babyproofing a home is one way to exorcise the things that keep a new parent awake at night (besides a crying baby). Now that baby number two is on the way, I’ll be returning to some of the above mentioned tricks and adding some oldies but goodies back in.

With kid one, I installed baby gates pretty early on, and I was glad I did. Though babyproofing comes with an inherent set of hassles and slows down the day-to-day motions of adults, they protect the little ones, which is the priority. I went with those classic tan-colored metal gates which aren’t pretty, but they do keep a child who is at the learning to walk stage from tumbling down the stairs like a bowling ball. Knowing my child would have a barrier to keep him from sleep walking us all into a potential ER visit helped me sleep better at night.

Strict In-Home Shoes-Off Policy

I see the disgusting things people leave on the ground, which is why I insist people take off their shoes when they come into the house. I consider this a form of kid-proofing because it means I have to vacuum, mop, and scrub to keep the home safe for my kids that much less. But I went one step further and got a cute shoe rack where people can both place their shoes and comfortably sit to take their shoes off and put them back on. It helps immediately get the message across when someone steps into my home that this is a shoe-free zone, and makes it easier for them to comply. Plus, as I mentioned, it’s cute.

My husband has this interesting “everything must go” policy, whereas I’m a person who keeps things to get use out of them. But when you live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, these two concepts have to meet somewhere in the middle. Sadly, we did get rid of this play area after baby one outgrew it, and we will be bringing it back. It’s flexible, so you can form it into a circle or square, and even use it outside in the grass. I lined the bottom with blankets to make it cozy for him to play in, and sometimes even climbed in there with him and took a nap, knowing he was safe while I snoozed nearby.

I take a daily prenatal vitamin and a daily vitamin C, and when my first was younger, I got into the habit of using a “childproof” pill box. The seller made a good point when advertising the box that “no box is 100 percent child-proof,” and this is an important piece of parenting 101: You think you’re doing it the way you’re supposed to, but children are like little genius robots, and they pick things up and figure them out in incredible (and incredibly frustrating) and sometimes dangerous ways. This isn’t a new one, but a reminder to adopt this item in your life if you have a baby coming.

Some cannabis companies have jumped on the bandwagon and even started selling locking boxes for cannabis products — another great idea if you keep any kind of recreational drugs in your home. It’s a cheap no-brainer.

Cabinet and Door Handle Lockers

In addition to those little plastic doodads that make opening cabinet doors harder, I also implemented knob covers that wouldn’t let my little trouble-seeker open up our closet or the bathroom and bedroom doors. These were great for gaining privacy in the bathroom, and for keeping cleaning supplies and freshly folded towels out of reach, which would be a complete delight for him to rifle through and toss around, much to my chagrin.

Foam Padding On Everything

When my firstborn was on his way, my mom recommended I remove a table from the living room. I did, but as my son got a little older and a bit more self-aware, I opted to return it because I kept kicking my drinks over. To compromise, I covered the edges with a peel-and-stick foam padding strip. I put it on anything that was pokey or potentially forehead-smack inducing. It was super easy to use and inexpensive — a terrific combo. Plus, it comes in a rainbow of colors to match all the furniture.

Other Things I Don’t Even Know About… Just Yet

One awesome thing about parenting is that with every month, year, generation, we get smarter and figure out answers to potential problems and hazards in advance. In just a few years, there are new, stylish solutions that will make parenting easier for anyone having a baby this year (including me).

This Is Exactly How to Write an Apartment Address

This Is Exactly How to Write an Apartment Address

It’s one of those things you expect everyone to understand. When it comes to writing out an apartment address, most people were taught how to properly do so in elementary school… or so you thought. In contrast to what you may believe, there’s actually a lot of confusion out there. In fact, search engines are overflowing with questions from people trying to determine the best way to ensure their packages and mail arrive on time and intact. Here’s a breakdown of the correct wait to address mail when you’re sending it to an apartment.

It’s easiest to write out an apartment address when you’re mailing an envelope. After all, there’s no confusing boxes to fill in like when you’re shopping online. A good rule of thumb is to use the three-line system that requires your legal name to be written on the first line. On the second line, write the street address and unit designator. That should be followed by the city, state, and zip code on the third line. It’s not that your mail won’t arrive at its destination if you put the unit number on its own line. In fact, it will probably be fine. However, this is not the specific way the United States Postal Service prefers it to be written.

Whether it’s a piece of mail or a larger package, it’s absolutely vital that you use a unit designator. These unit designators are the specific abbreviations that make it clear where inside the street address a piece of mail should end up. According to the United States Postal Service, the most common ones are “APT” for an apartment, “BLDG” for a building, and “FL” for floor. Those are followed by “STE” for suite, “RM” for room, and “DEPT” for department. For something that’s just referred to as a unit, the designator is just “unit.” Easy enough.

While many of us use just the pound sign to signify the number of a unit, the USPS specifically says it should not be used as a secondary unit designator if you have another option. While your mail will probably get to the correct destination if you use the pound sign, there must be a space between the pound sign and the secondary number. 

If you’re trying to address something that’s being sent internationally, things get a bit more complicated. That’s because each country tends to have rules that are slightly different. Stick to the previously-mentioned system for the first two lines, using the name followed by the street address and unit designator. However, things change a bit when you get to the third line. Depending on where your mail is going, the third line should have the city and postal code. Follow that up on the fourth line with the country, ideally in capitalized letters.

There are always additional specifics that should be considered when you’re addressing mail. For instance, if you’re sending something to a friend who lives in an apartment with several roommates or works in a busy office building, you may want to write “Attn” before their name to specify attention. When you follow the tips and tricks the postal service specifies, you have a greater chance of having your mail land in its intended place. 

Megan Johnson

Contributor

Megan Johnson is a reporter in Boston. She got her start at the Boston Herald, where commenters would leave sweet messages like “Megan Johnson is just awful.” Now, she’s a contributor to publications like People Magazine, Trulia and Architectural Digest.

Bored With Your Laundry Routine? Try Hanging a Disco Ball, According to “The Laundry Guy”

Bored With Your Laundry Routine? Try Hanging a Disco Ball, According to “The Laundry Guy”

For many people, laundry is a dreaded household chore. Even after you’ve finished washing and drying your clothes, you still have to fold them and put them away — it’s seemingly never ending. But according to Patric Richardson (aka the Laundry Evangelist) of the Discovery+ series “The Laundry Guy,” it doesn’t have to be. Instead, he says these small tweaks to your washing routine can actually make laundry day your favorite day of the week! 

According to Richardson, sometimes you just need a change of perspective to get over your laundry day dread. “Ultimately, I believe we don’t have to do laundry, we get to do laundry,” he says. “If you see the act of washing clothes as taking care of your loved ones (including yourself) it is so much nicer.” 

If that’s not enough, he recommends trying to turn laundry day into an opportunity to relax. “Enjoy the process, add a few niceties like a drink and something to listen to, and maybe it won’t be your favorite chore, but it will be much easier,” he says. “You know, someone out there loves going to the dentist, so you can love laundry.”

Make your laundry room a fun space.

Instagram is full of photos of farm-style laundry rooms that favor light colors and minimalist decor, but Richardson says a distraction (and a dose of fun) might be exactly what your washroom needs in order to become a space you’ll enjoy going to. “Hang a disco ball in your laundry room, add something to listen to, and take a beverage,” he says. “If you tell everyone you are going to do laundry, they will leave you alone … I promise.”

No laundry room? No problem.

Don’t worry, you can still take advantage of Richardson’s tips even if you don’t have a laundry space of your own. “To customize a shared space, take some headphones, a snack, a big comfy throw or hoodie, and a killer book (“Laundry Love” for example),” he says, adding that the key is to make yourself comfy while you are waiting on the washer and dryer. “Many laundry spaces now have Wi-Fi, which makes things easier for sure, but you can always download your favorite laundry music or podcasts.” 

Richardson’s other favorite trick for those who rely on a laundromat to get their clothes clean: Turn it into an opportunity to socialize. Invite a friend so that you can catch up while you wait for your wash to get clean, or plan a call with a long-distance friend. 

Tackle it all in one day.

Okay, maybe Richardson’s tricks won’t make you love doing laundry, but they can certainly help improve the process. And if you follow just one tip, make it be this one: Get it all done in a single sitting. That means washing, drying, folding, and putting away all of your laundry on the same day. If you’ve turned your laundry space into a place you enjoy, doing it this way will really lighten your load (pun intended). 

Lauren Wellbank

Contributor

Lauren Wellbank is a freelance writer with more than a decade of experience in the mortgage industry. Her writing has also appeared on HuffPost, Washington Post, Martha Stewart Living, and more. When she’s not writing she can be found spending time with her growing family in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

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I Used the “Temptation Bundling” Method to Get My Exercise Routine to Stick

I Used the “Temptation Bundling” Method to Get My Exercise Routine to Stick

Shifrah Combiths

Contributor

With five children, Shifrah is learning a thing or two about how to keep a fairly organized and pretty clean house with a grateful heart in a way that leaves plenty of time for the people who matter most. Shifrah grew up in San Francisco, but has come to appreciate smaller town life in Tallahassee, Florida, which she now calls home. She’s been writing professionally for twenty years and she loves lifestyle photography, memory keeping, gardening, reading, and going to the beach with her husband and children.

Here’s How You Can Use Color to Make Your Small Space Feel Much Bigger

Here’s How You Can Use Color to Make Your Small Space Feel Much Bigger

When it comes to trying to make a small apartment feel, well, not small, there are the go-to design tricks you’ve probably heard before: adding mirrors to create more light and depth, hanging oversized art that pulls a room together, and using double-duty furniture to prevent clutter, to name a few. But one overlooked yet very accessible tactic is utilizing light and dark colors to create designated spaces within your limited space — and the team at Clodagh Design is spreading their knowledge on that very principle.

Clodagh, founder of Clodagh Design, and Jose Achi, Director of Design Development, recently spoke with Apartment Therapy inside the Miraval Berkshires, a wellness resort in the Berkshires, Massachusetts. They designed the resort to have both compressive corners for individual or intimate gatherings as well as spacious areas for mingling, creating intentional spaces within one large space. And while it seems impossible to replicate a similar dynamic in a tiny apartment, they reassure that by using dark and light colors in a correct manner, you can create similar, intentional sections, no matter the square footage.

“Dark color compresses, and you don’t realize it, [until] you open up into a lighter area,” Achi said. And while small apartments are restricted with square footage, Achi explains that entryways are a great way to infuse compression and expansion with color. Paint your entryway a dark, moody shade, and then allow for the connecting living space to be a light color, which makes it feel much more expansive with the contrast.

In addition to color, Clodagh mentions that directional lighting can also create a feeling of compression and expansion, which is good to keep in mind so you don’t unintentionally make your space feel smaller when adding lighting fixtures. “The lighter expands, the darker compresses — down lights are compressive, up light are expansive. So you’ve got to balance your light very carefully when creating space through lights,” Clodaugh said.

Since mostly everything is easily visible in tiny apartments, Achi recommends utilizing indirect sources of lighting so you can create a glow versus dots on the ceiling, not only for design but functional purposes (aka all corners are lit equally).

So the next time you’re looking to lean into tips for making your small space feel larger, think color and light. Those small shifts between dark and light contrasts can go a long way.

Nicoletta Richardson

Entertainment Editor

In her spare time, Nicoletta loves marathoning the latest Netflix show, doing at-home workouts, and nurturing her plant babies. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, AFAR, Tasting Table, and Travel + Leisure, among others. A graduate from Fairfield University, Nicoletta majored in English and minored in Art History and Anthropology, and she not-so-secretly dreams of exploring her family lineage in Greece one day.

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