My Favorite Home Organizing Tips
- Have a calendar available in a place you and your spouse/helpers can see. Agree that no commitments will be added without agreement, like a birthday party on a Saturday afternoon or a Mom’s Night Out during the week.
- Have routines – Whether you are home with your little ones or not, you need to have routines, or you’ll be running like a chicken without its head. Having morning/afternoon/evening routines will let you see your “open” spots on your day when you can plan to catch up on emails, laundry or if you’re lucky, to have a coffee with a friend! Having routines gives the children a sense of safety as they know what to expect and what’s coming next.
- Have the children’s belongings organized – create specific spaces for each type of activity and keep toys and clothes to an amount that’s reasonable and will not overwhelm you and your family. If you are tripping on Legos or dolls, if your home has no more “adult space” then, you should review how you can limit these items to one area of the home and teach the kids always to bring it back there (think rewards!). So often I see homes inundated by toys and I try to gently remind my clients that more toys won’t make our little ones smarter as sometimes commercials try to convince us. A wonderful book that really changed my perspective and our household is the book Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne.
- Laundry – One of the most overwhelming things for families is the laundry. It’s like a little monster that grows inside a cocoon (the hamper!) and becomes gigantic by the end of the week. Consider your schedule and, if possible, plan to have two days of laundry per week. If life is just too busy for that chore to fit in your weekly calendar, think how many outfits your kids need to go through the week and shop accordingly.
- School Outfits & Lunch– Get yourself and the kids into the habit of preparing what you’ll wear and take for lunch the night before. This alone will save you tons of time – and guessing games – in the morning, when all you want is to get everybody out of the house, on time!
- Paper – Another huge issue in most households are the papers that creep through the mail box. If you don’t have a system in place, you’ll have a problem, and you will most likely find yourself overwhelmed by it, paying your bills late, and incurring in late fees and eventually just barely keeping up with it. Gather all your bills and set up electronic payments through your bank or with the service provider. I prefer with my own bank to have more control over it. Also, go to Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne and opt out of all the junk mail that comes to your home.
- School papers – have a central station for the school papers and ask the kids to place all their papers in there. In the evening you can go through them, sign what needs to go back to school, file what you’ll keep and toss what’s not needed.
- Delegate – Include in the kids chore chart the chore you want them to learn, and to take care of: making their beds, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, these are all activities they can manage and be rewarded at the end of the day with stickers – or if you prefer $1./day which will give them an allowance they earned. We are – successfully! – using the Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne and the kids love it!
- Groceries: plan a large weekly trip to the supermarket and to make the most of it, you’ll need a menu planning and a shopping list. I know this may sound crazy, but organize your shopping list using the aisles of your supermarket as your guide. This will save you time and money.
- Finally, remember that you’re only one and therefore there’s only so much you can do on your own. We’re all trying to live lives that are fulfilling, loving and healthy. The kids will grow up, and you want to have memories of joyful times, not of perfect homes!
My little guy enjoying mama’s cuddles after a nap on the stroller!