How to Do Stuff One Handed

by | Feb 19, 2014 | Babies, Baby Gear, Five Favorites | 13 comments

I just happen to have a super-adorable baby, who, like all my other babies, does not like to be put down. I often wear her in a carrier so I’ll have both hands free, but if she’s fallen asleep nursing, I usually just carry her around in one arm rather than risk waking her up by trying to get her into the carrier. 

Sometimes she’s awake. But she prefers to be carried then too. 

That means I’m faced with the options of: 1. not doing stuff or 2. doing stuff one handed. Since I hate not doing stuff, I end up doing a lot of things one handed. 

Here are some things that are nearly impossible to do one handed and the things I use so I can do them anyway.

1. Floss

Flossing is kind of a pain at the best of times, and if you can do it while holding a baby, then you’re a better woman than I. But these Flosser-thingies get the job done one-handed.

2. Apply Make-Up

I really like the look and feel of Mineral Make-Up, and as an added bonus, I can apply a whole face of make-up one-handed. No liquid foundation to pour into my palm or onto a sponge. As long as I can get the tops screwed off, I’m good to go. I started off with the fancy mail-order brand, but now I just get a drug store brand at Target and I can’t tell the difference.

3. Chop

The one-handed karate-style knife chop of vegetables is recommended by exactly no one. But that stuff’s not going to chop itself. Sometimes I use my food processor, but it’s really noisy and tends to chop stuff up smaller that I usually like for cooking. My Mandoline Slicer does a great job of slicing up carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, celery, peppers, and other veggies, and as long as I’m careful, it works one-handed. (But it’s really sharp and probably quite dangerous, so you should probably ask your doctor before attempting to operate it, especially one-handed).

4. Sweep

Few things look as pathetic as trying to sweep one-handed, but somehow that doesn’t stop the people in this house from spilling stuff on the floor. Enter the Cordless Stick Vacuum. Amazon doesn’t seem to sell my exact one anymore, which is too bad, because I can run it, slide it onto the charger, and even empty the dust cup, all one handed. It’s noisy, but usually the baby sleeps through it. And, even better, kids from about three up can operate it pretty successfully. 

5. Bake

I know most people will wonder how it could possibly be worth the effort, but I really do prefer to make most of our food from scratch, and with a Stand Mixer I can mostly still do it, even while holding a baby. It mixes batter and even kneads bread dough for me. All I have to do is measure the ingredients into it, and that I can do one-handed.

bonus. Eat Ice Cream

My desire to have dessert sometimes runs up against my policy of never, ever waking up sleeping babies. I do like some ice cream with my Downton Abbey, but trying to get a scoop of ice cream out one handed must be kind of like purgatory. It’s right there, but I can’t get it. 

I prefer not to buy individually packaged foods, but we all have to draw the line somewhere, and when I have a little baby, that line gets drawn just on the other side of Ice Cream Bars. I really love these Magnum Minis in particular. They are small but satisfying and much, much easier than trying to scoop ice cream with one hand. 

Linking up with my good friend Christy at Fountains of Home for what is Five Favourites this week, because: Canada. Head over to see what the rest of the bloggers like.


  1. Micaela Darr

    "but trying to get a scoop of ice cream out one handed must be kind of like purgatory. It's *right there*, but I can't get it. " AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I love how I can hear your voice saying this.

  2. Kate

    First of all, I'm SO glad you wrote this post because I spend an admirable portion of my life categorizing things into While Holding Baby and While Not Holding Baby activities.

    Second, this chopper thingy is very intriguing to me, even though I'm generally anti-kitchen gadget. You didn't put ONIONS in your list of choppables, but onions are the single most chopped thing in my kitchen. The picture has onions. How does your mandolin slicer fare with onions?

  3. Colleen

    I know it's not your point, but can I just say how adorable your baby is? I want her.

    • Kendra

      Yes you may. We're going to keep her, but yours is coming soon enough.

  4. Christine

    hmmm…the stick vacuum looks so pleasantly light and easy! Does it work well on carpet, or just bare floors?

    • Kendra

      I have an older shark brand one that isn't available anymore. But it works great for messes and upkeep, then I pull out the big one for regular cleaning.

  5. Christy from fountains of home

    Man, if I had a dollar for all the one-handed sweeping I do every day…

    Seriously though, I've been meaning to buy a mandolin and cordless vacuum for eons.

    And tell Lulu to stop growing!

  6. Jessica Carney

    Genius. Gene. Yus. My baby wants to be held all-the-live-long-day, too… and you definitely have some tips that I am going to steal! The mandolin slicer for one-handed chopping–I'm kicking myself for not having thought of it earlier. Awesome.

  7. Hafsa

    Haha with this fourth baby I've learned to do plenty of things I've handed. I have a long handled dustpan for sweeping. And I never remember to use my food processor for chopping onions. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Annery

    Love it! Can so relate, laughed my way through your list 🙂

  9. Dr Mom

    I think once the fourth came along I learned to have the OTHER kids do much of what I couldn't do one handed! Just found your blog and I love it. Thanks!

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