Do you ever look at your best friend’s super organized life and wonder how she does it?
It’s not hard, but it does require some persistence. Half of disorganization is bad habits that have been allowed to carry on. If you want to change, you can try and do it bit by bit, or you can go ‘cold turkey’ and get everyone in the family on the same page!
Ultimately, busy moms have to be organized or things would fall through the cracks: forms wouldn’t be signed, mittens would be lost and the all-important uniform wouldn’t be clean for the upcoming game. If you’re struggling a little to get on track and stay organized, here are a few tips to help you along the way!
Everyone has their jobs to do
Start by establishing everyone’s routines and chores (if they didn’t have any before). To make mornings easier, each kid needs to know their routine.
Example? Get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, put all necessary items in backpack, get outerwear on (in winter, you need to allot extra time for this one!) and be at the door, ready to go by 7:45 a.m.
Then they need a reverse routine, for when they get home, that might include proper putting away of lunch bags, hats and mitts, any forms that need to be viewed by parents, and so on.
Chores are the perfect way to create good habits. What kids learn is that they are part of a collective, the family, and have to do their share of the work. Even very small children can be taught to put things away in bins.
If your family hasn’t been in the habit of routines, it will be a bit of a slog at first. You’ll spend a lot of time reminding them to get things done, possibly even getting down to the “3-2-1 consequence!” countdown. But over time, the effort spent in getting the kids to adhere to new habits and routines will pay off.
Keeping ‘stuff’ organized
In order to keep some order around the house, every item that comes into the house must have a ‘home’. Hats need hooks, mitts need baskets, shoes need racks, and coats need closets. Spaces around the house that are just dumping grounds for ‘stuff’ have to be a no-go moving forward.
Traditional areas that get cluttered are mudrooms, closets, and kitchens. Spend some time re-organizing closets and storage spaces and sharing with everyone in the family where everything makes tidying a snap.
Kitchens, in particular, tend to be the room where everyone congregates, and where things get dumped on the counter: paperwork, mail, lunchboxes, and odds and ends. The best way to deal with all of these things is to build a command center.
Building a command center
- A command center can be a corner of the kitchen where there are spaces for everyone to put things in their proper places. A good center is whatever you works for you, but here are some ideas:
- Have a calendar for the family schedule, that everyone can see, so everyone knows what’s going on at a glance;
- Create a place to note shopping list items, and remind your family that if they don’t note that they ate the last granola bar, more won’t be purchased;
- In-baskets are a great way to encourage kids to put forms and other school items where you will see them;
- If space permits, having a spot for each member of the family will help to make sure that they check their basket, to pick up the now signed form or homework, before leaving in the morning!
- Hooks can be used to place empty lunch boxes, rather than on the counter.
Meal planning for the win!
Ask most moms and they’ll tell you that the task that takes up the most time is shopping for and preparing meals. This too can be sped up, with a little planning. Preparing a meal plan a month at a time, and shopping only once a week, ensures that you can take advantage of specials, as well as using up ingredients to avoid waste.
Examples? If you’re going to buy a BBQ chicken at the store, plan for the use of the leftovers for lunches or the next evening’s dinner. If your two kids have activities on Tuesday, plan a dinner that can be eaten on the run. If you wait until the day of to plan meals, you’re going to end up at the drive-thru more than you’d like!
Staying organized is a question of starting as you mean to finish: if you organize your living space and plan ahead, you’ll be able to stay on top of whatever comes your way!
Marty Basher is the home organization expert at Modular Closets. Modular Closets are high-quality and easy-to-design closet systems you can order online, assemble and install yourself, in no time at all. Using closet modules (closet units you can mix & match to design your own closet that fits your space and meets your needs), homeowners everywhere are empowered to achieve the true custom closet look- for nearly 40% less than standard custom closets.
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