Friday, February 17, 2012

5 Tips for a More Organized Life

Lately, I've gotten a bunch of emails asking how I organize my day and home with the daycare and our boys. I don't pretend to be an organizational expert. I'm just striving every day to make things run more smoothly and find ways to make our time and space more efficient. However, I am one of those people who has to plan everything and I actually enjoy organizing the pantry and the closets (yes, I know some people find this weird). So, I've compiled the five things I've learned over the years that help me manage a house full of little ones and keep (most of) my sanity.

 1. Declutter - One of my yearly goals is to declutter 365 things. This can include clothes, books, toys, home goods, etc. In addition to that, whenever something new comes into the house, something else leaves. It goes without saying that having a daycare and three kids of my own means that we have tons of "stuff", but I find that the more I can weed out the easier it is to dust, vacuum and keep things organized.

2. Meal Plan - If you're not already planning your weekly meals, you really should start. With a larger family, this is absolutely essential for me. I don't have time for multiple trips to the grocery store for dinner supplies. It also gives the kids an idea of what they're eating throughout the week. We basically have the same thing for breakfast every week (pancakes, muffins, and eggs all have their own day). Dinner leftovers often become the next day's lunch menu. This means less work for me and it also helps us save money. Plus, I don't have to wake up each morning thinking "what am I going to feed these kids today?".

3.  A Load A Day Keeps Chaos Away - This is one of those Fly Lady Expressions that really stuck with me, even though in our house it's more like "Two Loads A Day"...sometimes THREE, but you get the idea :)  Prior to having kids, I was able to get away with doing laundry once a week.  If I were to try that now, I swear the boys' laundry would literally crawl out of their hampers and hit me over the head!  How do little boys' manage to smell so bad??  These days, throwing a load of laundry in the washer is one of the first things I do each morning - right after making my bed and getting dressed.

4.  Use A Planner - I seriously advocate for EVERYONE to get a planner, and not one of those electronic things - an actual 'write it out on the calendar' planner.  I LOVE mine!  I seriously go into panic mode if it goes missing.  In my planner, I have calendars for everyone's activities, menu plans, grocery lists, to-do lists, weekly/monthly/yearly goals, and craft/lesson ideas for the daycare kids.  Every morning, I check my planner to see what's for dinner and what crafts I'm doing with the kids.  In the evening, I check to see if anyone has anything big planned for school or work and make sure that we have everything prepared for the next day.

5.  Stop Procrastinating - This one should go without saying, but the best way to get things done is to actually do them.  Go ahead and unload the dishwasher even though you don't want to - you'll actually have somewhere to put the dirty dishes.  Junk drawer driving you crazy - go ahead and clean it out!  Usually, the things we dread aren't so bad once we actually get started on them.  If you're not sure where to begin getting your home and life organized, I highly recommend checking out Fly Lady or Just Mommies.  While I don't follow either of their systems word for word, they both have great ideas and tips to point you in the right direction.

What about you?  What's your number one tip for keeping your sanity and organizing your home?

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  1. Thanks for these tips! I am currently in the process of decluttering! It is a constant battle. :)

    1. Decluttering is never-ending around here!! Freecycle has become my best friend! I don't feel guilty when I'm not throwing them in the trash :)

  2. What kind of planner do you use that has all those sections? And where do you get it? I need something like that. After teaching for 13 years, I finally realized I feel lost without a planner!

    1. Up until this year, I used Amy Knapp's Family Organizer. It had room for everything!! Unfortunately, they must have figured out how great they were, because they went from being $14.99 to $59.89!! Now, I use the Mom's Weekly Planner. It has columns for each person's activities so I use the baby's column for meal planning and the "morning" section of my column for lesson/craft plans. I also keep a large sticky note for each week to jot down things we need from the grocery store. There is a "note" section by each monthly calendar where I keep the "to-do" list and monthly goals and extra pages in the back that hold my yearly goals. All this to say that I've had to adapt how I use my planner since there's no way I'm spending $60 for a planner, even though I absolutely LOVED that one and used it for YEARS!! Here's the amazon link if you want to check it out

  3. I am also working on decluttering. The hard part is finding time while still keeping up. It would be so much easier if someone could come clean the house while I organize everything.