The 1-Minute Organizing Hack Every Parent Needs to Know About

updated Nov 18, 2020
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My first nephew’s first word was “Grino.” This is not a variation on green; rather, it is an abbreviation of Pellegrino, the sparkling water that my parents always have stocked in their refrigerator. My other nephews (there are three) and my niece all have a penchant for fancy carbonated water. They drink a lot of it — and they can go through a lot of cups in the process.

My parents, very smartly, came up with a solution to this problem: special cups for each of their grandchildren. One has a cup with a lion on it, the other one has the elephant cup… and so on.

This can work if your little one is attached enough to her cup. It’s also possible, she’ll drink from the cup, leave it in the basement, and then want more water (sparkling or still — or maybe juice?) and that special cup is nowhere to be found.

The answer to this particular dilemma is magnets. Yes, magnets.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Take that dedicated cup, use a dab of hot glue (less strong) or superglue (the better bet, but you’ll need to clamp it while it dries) to attach two magnets to the outside of the cup, and you’ve got a vessel that can be stored on the refrigerator door. If you have one of those handy-dandy water dispensers (and a child who can be trusted to operate it!), this also puts the cup within reach, so your child can help herself to a drink.

Now that you have a the special place for the special cup, it belongs here when it’s not in use. Tell your kiddos to put their cups on the refrigerator whenever they’re done with them. If the cup’s not there when they’re thirsty, have them go retrieve it: It’s their cup! Eventually they’ll return it to the fridge by habit.

(Obviously, magnets can be choking hazards, so use a large-diameter version, and also be extra vigilant with checking that it stays secure.)

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You’ll save yourself the hassle of a million gazillion dirty cups each day and, honestly, your kids will probably love it, too. How smart is that?

Note: We recommend giving cups a quick check every once in a while for cleanliness, especially if they’re using them for things other than water. And if they’re not using that cup on the regular, turn it upside down to keep the dust from settling.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The 1-Minute Organizing Hack Every Parent Needs to Know About