Damage Control

Is it just ours or do your kids have a daily goal of seriously destroying the house?  I feel like our girls are heck bent on undoing, unorganizing, unhanging, undecorating, un-younameit.  Especially Cecilia.  My sister witnessed her tactics first hand a few months ago and dubbed her the “Master of Disaster”.  So fitting.  Because of all this fun they create with their little hands, we’ve had some serious baby-proofing to do around here and it doesn’t bode well for this mom and her hobby of interior decorating.  Perfectly styled end tables?  Nope.  They’re barren save a couple of lamps and even those have had their fair share of near-death experiences.  Prettily decorated shelving less than four feet from the ground?  I wish.  Nicely framed masterpieces branching towards the floor in a perfectly unsymmetrical frame collage?  Forget it.  Needless to say, our house looks pretty good as long as you keep your gaze eye level and up.  But, I digress.  I thought I’d write a quick little post on how we do damage control around here so let’s get to it.

Cabinets.  Once the twins learned how to crawl, it was all over.  Everything at their level was game to be victimized.  That meant kitchen cabinets.  Pots, pans, glassware…we have it all in our lower cabinets and as it turns out, heavy breakables don’t make good toys (Cecilia can wield a gleaming pot like the best of ‘em).  We needed some fancy cabinet locks but when I went to a few stores to search for some, I had a really hard time finding some that didn’t cost an arm and a leg and that actually fit our cabinets.  At first I wanted to avoid drilling into our freshly painted cabinets at all cost.  Damage control shouldn’t have to cause more damage, right?  Unfortunately, all of the locks that didn’t require drilling either weren’t long enough to accommodate our cabinets or weren’t made for cabinet doors that swing in the same direction instead of away from each other.  Boo.  That meant we had to settle on the locks that had to be drilled in.  I had a hard time finding some of those that were relatively cheap though.  Enter amazon.  I love amazon.  We have a prime membership it’s one of the best things we’ve ever spent our money on.  Not only do you get to pick from a plethora of movies and shows digitally streamed to your own tube but you get free two-day shipping on most everything (and they’re not paying me or perking me to say that…we really just love prime!)  Anyway, I found these locks (affiliate link) there and we had them installed in a few days. 
We only had to buy one pack to baby-proof our kitchen, spending around $8.  Insert a happy wallet.

They come with two parts per lock – the part that attaches to the door and the part that attaches to the cabinet itself.  That means lots of drilling.  However we realized that if we attached the door lock just right, it would catch on the edge of cabinet, thus eliminating the need to drill anything onto the cabinet.  See?
We’ve had these locks on for a year now and with most of them being used multiple times a day, they’re still keeping the girls out of the cabinets just as effectively as they did the day they were installed.  :)  When we move, we’ll probably just keep them attached unless our purchaser wants them removed in which case all we’ll have to do is remove them, fill in the screw holes, and paint over them with some leftover cabinet paint.
(Side note:  After doing a little more research while writing this post, I stumbled on these locks from Target.  They’re similar to ours but attach to doors using magnetic force rather than being drilled in.  However, they’ll run you back $29.99 for four – for our small kitchen that’d be $60!  Yipe!  But, if you’re willing to spend a bit to avoid drilling, they might be a good option.)

Closet curtains.  The girls closet doesn’t have doors so before they were inhabiting their room, I whipped up these curtains to cover the space and we hung them with curtain rings threaded over a tension rod.

Cecilia (I think Seraphia has maybe done this once) has, multiple times, played Jane (that of Tarzan) on the curtains causing them and the rod to come crashing down, each time very narrowly missing her tiny head.  We finally had to quarantine them from their own room during the day until we remedied the situation with these pole sockets that we found in the hardware department at Walmart:
photo (6)

All we had to do was drill them into both sides of the closet opening and wa-la. 
No more boughs breaking and/or rods falling.  We don’t let the girls play in either of the bathrooms in our house because, you know, toilet water ain’t spring water, but if we were crazy enough to let them, we’d probably slap some of these up on each shower curtain as well.

Gates.  We do have one gate up prohibiting the kiddos from the laundry room where they like to press buttons and wash/dry imaginary loads of laundry but that’s it.  It’s an older gate that stays put using tension vs. drilling.  If we ever move into a house with stairs we’ll have to look into getting some sort of gate that swings open.  Any favorites just in case stairs are in our future or in case anyone reading is shopping for one or five?

Other than those few things, we try our darndest (we’ve resorted to locking the door) to keep the girls out of the guestroom because of the multiple bookshelves in there and my usual pile ‘o projects in process.  Sometimes I feel like a bad mom for restricting them from making messes and just being kids but then I let loose for one second and realize that cleaning up after twin toddlers while Anthony is at work and while carrying Sebastian around isn’t for the faint of heart – and that’s me, faint of heart.  I’ll take clean and crazy over messy and insane thankyouverymuch. 

So, what am I missing?  What types of baby-proofing do you use?  Anything you’d highly recommend?  Cages?  Handcuffs?  Or do you just go right for the straitjacket?  Juuuust kidding…  ;)  As I type, the floor-length curtains in our living room are looped up over the curtain rod where they’ve been hanging out for the past year or so because I can’t seem to convince the girls that they’re not part of a ropes course.  Any ideas on how to win that battle are more than welcome too!  Sigh.  Kids.


  1. I totally quarantine the kids from certain rooms in the house because the mess gets to be too much... Cleaning up one or two rooms is not too bad, but EVERY room, EVERY day? No way!

  2. oh my!! this is exactly how i lived for years!! 4 boys in 4.5 years isn't a good thing for decorating. my house looked so barren, but i was much much more sane. i can also remember carrying around a key to my bedroom and the bathroom doors in my pocket daily. i think you are doing very well if you still have table lamps out, i never had any. but on the positive side, it is so much easier to dust:)
    your adorable girls are worth it. and one day they will grow out of it.

  3. Our book shelf is a low unit that is wide and only four shelves high, currently all of our books are stacked on top of the shelf because the boys would always pull them down, but the 1 year old takes it to an extreme and rips pages out!

    We also have closet curtains and never thought of those curtain holder things! Good thing I have a trip to the store planned today! We have lots of different baby proofs (more ghetto than i would care to admit) like a milk crate blocking wires to tv, a number of gates keeping kids where they should be, the ever closed bathroom and master bedroom doors... I figure I will get around to fancying up the place when they are older, hopefully! :)

  4. When we were moving into our house, my brother's job was to install the cabinet locks on all of our lower cabinets in the kitchen. Although I hated the idea of drilling into our cabinets, I love that I don't have to worry about Henry getting into something dangerous (and fewer messes for me). We also have gates at the top and bottom of our stairs.

  5. You'll probably hate me for this comment, but I didn't do a single thing to baby-proof our house when my little girl arrived. Perhaps she's a special case, but she stayed out of all the lower cabinets she wasn't supposed to get into (she was allowed to get into the mixing bowls and pans), and never touched anything on the shelves she wasn't allowed to. She never climbed or tugged or hung on anything she wasn't supposed to. I don't know how I got a child like that (when I was a kid there was much chaos), but it was lovely. Now that I've bragged a bit, baby on the way is sure to be a holy terror! I'll keep your baby proofing ideas in mind!

    1. Oh you're sooo lucky!!!! Maybe you can bring her over and let her rub off a little on mine! Please!

      I hope that your next one is just as good! :)

  6. Story of my life. Haha. ;)