Happy Tuesday: How to Store Toys in an Expedit/Kallax Shelving Unit

OK, this is a totally random recommendation today, but I’m honestly so excited, after years of pondering this issue, that I have to share. I have finally figured out a good way to store toys in our IKEA Expedit shelves. Years ago when I was in a studio I bought two 5×5 Expedit shelves, and they’ve held up through multiple moves. I could never quite figure out how to store toys in them, though — the shelves are too deep to put little toys in (they get lost) and not wide enough for big toys like Tonka trucks. I’ve tried to store toys on the shelves in clear plastic shoeboxes, but those were a poor use of space.

We finally placed a massive order at Walmart for locking storage bins (our littlest one enjoys grabbing any toy he can find and throwing/hiding them anywhere he can get to, so our previous open toy storage situation was NOT working) and OH MA GAH some of the bins fit the Expedit perfectly. IKEA still makes the shelves but has renamed them (with some modifications) the Kallax series — I will note that if you have the space, a tall tower like this one (1×4) is excellent turned on its side as a toy bench for toddlers. Anyway: the two sizes of bins that fit the best are the 15.5-qt. latching boxes (sold in sets of 4 for $17.88, pictured above with the blue latches) — you can stack two in an Expedit shelf — and these bigger 24-qt. latching boxes (buy one for $6.47, or 4 for $22 pictured above with the green latches). You can fit at least one clear shoebox inside the 15.5-qt. boxes and 2 or 3 in the 24-qt. boxes for further organization/subdivision of blocks or whatever.

(Why yes, I do go insane with my label maker, thank you for noticing.)

Postpartum Tuesday: Nylon Biker Diaper Bag

Marc Jacobs has a whole line of biker bags, and they get a lot of good reviews from customers. I kind of like the edginess on this diaper bag, and it also looks enormous, so if you’re someone who needs to carry a lot of stuff, this is for you. I also like that it’s not too fussy — I don’t think a husband or other male caregiver would complain much about having to carry this kind of bag. This is $295 at Nordstrom and has a foldable changing pad and detachable shoulder strap. Bloomingdale’s has the colorblocked version. Marc Jacobs Nylon Biker Diaper Bag

Here’s a more affordable option.


Everyone Thursday: Ella Packable Tote

These packable totes are great for traveling — especially if you’re the kind of person who enjoys switching bags when you travel and you don’t want to take something bulky. You can just throw this in your suitcase, keep it in the back of your car, etc. It comes in the tie-dye print pictured as well as solids like black, navy, and a very happy bright red. It’s $225 at Zappos but also in various colors/prints at Amazon starting at $186. Tory Burch Ella Packable Tote

A couple of more affordable packable totes at Zappos are from Tumi and Lilly Pulitzer.


Feeding Tuesday: Berry Washing Bowl and Colander

I bought a berry washing bowl — it’s like a tiny colander — sort of by accident a while ago. I got it through a catalog I had when I was reading Hellobee a lot and was obsessed with all the cute little lunches they were making for their kids. I bought some stuff that we don’t use any of today, but we do use the random colander we picked up as part of that order. (Unfortunately, I don’t remember the catalog!) We use the colander all the time — it’s great for washing berries or anything else for your kids that you want to rinse off quickly without pulling out the huge colander. I use it for draining cans of green beans all the time. This one is significantly fancier than the one we originally got, and what’s particularly nice about this is that you put the colander in the bowl and you just hand your kid the whole thing — the water continues to drain in the bottom of the bowl. This one also has a top to it, which is nice. It comes with the small bowl, the small colander, and the lid, and it’s sort of a pretty, happy red color. It seemed expensive to me when I bought it, but I’m very happy with the purchase. (FYI, it is not microwavable.) It’s $14.99 at Amazon. OXO Good Grips 3 Piece Berry Washing Bowl, Colander


Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Fancy Diaper Bag When You Find Out You’re Pregnant

The case against fancy diaper bags | CorporetteMomsHere’s a fun question for you guys: what would you tell new moms NOT to buy? What did you buy that was a waste of money or a mistake for your family? For me, the big answer to this question is a fancy diaper bag — I now advise all of my friends to NOT buy a fancy diaper bag when they find out they’re pregnant.

(Pictured: a lovely $1400 Burberry diaper bag to consider if you don’t want to listen to this advice!)

All of my friends and I made this mistake: the second we found out we were pregnant we started looking for fancy diaper bags.  Resist the urge to do this! At least until after the kiddo is born and you’ve been using a diaper bag for a little bit of time and have a better sense of your needs (and the level of grossness that often comes with babies).  For example, the one that I bought (a very nice Rebecca Minkoff one that’s still available) I ended up hating, because I didn’t want a two-handled tote bag — one handle would fall off my shoulders, and I felt like the whole thing threw my balance off further, particularly if I was babywearing.  It also didn’t fit neatly over the stroller handles (or underneath in the basket) — in short, I used it about three times.

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Teething Tuesday: Sharky Brush

Whoa: I didn’t know the makers of the uber-popular banana toothbrush now have a bunch of teething products available in other shapes.  I like this electric blue shark (because of course I do), but they also have an octopus-shaped teether, a corn cob teether, and a banana brush in pink and blue. (They’re all linked on the product page on Amazon.) They’re all 100% food grade silicone, dishwasher and freezer safe, and free of “BPA, latex, phthalate, and toxins.” This little sharky is an Add-On item at Amazon for $4.67.  Sharky Brush