Staying organized in a busy world is not always easy. When the weeks are full of activities and the days are long, however, having some peace in the mist of the chaos is sometimes my saving grace. The seasons have definitely looked different depending on the ages of my children and outside pressures, but the things I know to be true about what works and what doesn’t have held true. Today I’m sharing a little girl chat on things that work to help me stay organized.
Write it Down
Whether you use a formal planner, an online system or post it notes, having a visual of the week ahead is huge for me. Being able to see what is on our plate for the week before the week even starts helps me wrap my mind around the expectations. This year I ordered a Plum Paper planner and will admit I may have gotten carried away by adding way more to one planner than I could handle. One of my biggest issues is wanting to dump all that is in my mind in one place and that is not always practical. I customized mine to have a line for myself, my workouts, meals, and each kids activities. I loved that I had the option to change the headings on each category. There is also a monthly calendar on the front page.
Have a Plan
I love the saying a failure to plan is a plan to fail. There is nothing I’d rather do when Sunday rolls around than meal plan for the week. Ha! If you just read that and believed it I would have you fooled. If you just read that and thought you found your soulmate in life then I bow down to you. I do NOT love spending time creating a meal plan or a grocery list, however, doing this on Saturday or Sunday always, and yes I mean ALWAYS, makes our week run smoother. Do we always cook the meals exactly on the day I planned? No, in fact I rarely cook the meals in the right order but the point is by writing it all down and planning my grocery list I’ve insured I have what I need to make the meals without one off trips to the store. We all know what a time waster that is!
This works for all areas not just food! If I look at the schedule and see I have to be four places at once one evening that is obviously not possible. Keith works 100 miles away so it is imperative if I need him to help in the evenings that I share that information days in advance or call in some backup.
It is also really important for me to have a workout plan each week. I may not make it every day but hitting the gym a few times or getting out for a long walk is critical for my mental health and wellness. I plan my workouts on the calendar so I know there are days if I do not drag myself up at 5:00 am there is no wiggle room the rest of the day.
Make it Easy
In my early days as a mom I thought it was only my job to make perfect lunches, do all the laundry, create all the peace. That worked right up until I added kid number three and all of a sudden I could not keep up. I also realized many of the lunches I was making were coming back home half eaten and there is nothing I hate more than wasting….food and time! So I made it easier for the kids and me. Now the food is available in organized sections in the fridge and the pantry making it super simple for them to grab their own items for their lunches and feed themselves breakfast. Yes, my kids are older now but seriously the littles have put their lunches together since they were probably four.
Taking the time to organize closets and drawers will definitely help your family (and yourself) get dressed every day without a melt down. The bathroom is another area where a little organization goes a long way to keeping the morning and evening routines on track.
Calm the Clutter
I think we are all getting this finally. More is not more! Having too much crap just means more crap to keep organized. When there is not order in our home my mind does not function well. I’m a purger by nature and we still have way too much crap. Living by the rule there is a place for everything and everything is in its place is definitely my goal. Taking some time each night before heading to bed to calm the clutter will definitely create smoother mornings.
Spend some time really looking at the flow of your routines. If it makes sense to keep things in a different place than what would normally be logical you have the right to change that! Use the resources and the home you have (not the one you wish you had) to your advantage by making it work for you.
Keep it Simple (Stupid)
Okay, so if you saw my planner in real life you would know I have issues in this department. Simple is just not as fun is it? Here’s the deal though, simple equals sanity for me. I love doing sweet things for other people but if I try to squeeze in taking a homemade meal to someone the same week our calendar is jam packed with activities that is just stupid. But, if I look at my calendar and see we have a Monday packed with activities and I also know Johnny Carrinos has buy one get one family size dinners that night, I may plan to pick up dinner for my family and another family and boom….everyone is fed. It wasn’t fancy but it worked and I’m still sane enough to tell about it. Following the KISS rule as much as possible keeps me from creating a train wreck.
If you have a family like mine with a mix of type A and type B things which seem simple to one may not be for another. It seems our biggest issue is remembering what we are suppose to be doing. Maybe not the big things but the little things! Do not discount the simple value in sticky notes in a prominent place. Need to remember to take that field trip money tomorrow? Tape it with a note to the door so it’s the last thing they see upon leaving the house.
Now, I fail at all these things as often as I get them right! We will never win any awards over here for being the most organized family. I will often be found running late and even more often have something pop up mid week I totally forgot to add to the calendar. Learning to be flexible has definitely saved my life! I am 99% more likely to be happy about being flexible when I’ve started with a plan.
Girl Chat Series