Let’s face it—when you’re a busy mom, some days you don’t even have time to worry about how little time you have. And when the house is a mess, the kids are hungry again, and due dates are quickly approaching, your to-do list might feel like its piling higher than the dirty laundry basket. Here are some helpful organizational tips to keep the chaos in check.
1Remember That Your Time is Valuable
This tip is number one because it’s crucial. The smartest and healthiest thing you can do for yourself is learn how to say no. You don’t have to be in charge of every play date, bake sale, and soccer game. And don’t be afraid to ask for the help of your support teams, whether that be a spouse, family members or friends who live locally, or even your kids. Have your husband or wife stop by the store after work, or ask Aunt Patty to watch the kids for a night in exchange for watching your nieces and nephews another night. Set up a carpooling schedule with your friend, so you drive the kids to lacrosse on Mondays and Wednesdays, and she drives them to band practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Implement family cleaning sessions and make it fun—blast some music and encourage your kids to move and groove as they are Swiffer-sweeping the floors. Promote healthy competition and set up a cleaning scavenger hunt—whoever finds and picks up the most items on the scavenger list wins! Reward finished chores with stickers or pocket change.
Lastly, and most importantly, schedule some downtime for yourself. Even Wonder Woman takes breaks. If you’re so busy that you feel you don’t even have five minutes to yourself, physically schedule and write down moments of free time in your planner. This leads us nicely into the next organization tip.
2A Paper Planner is a Mom’s Best Friend
Technology is oftentimes super convenient and valuable, but when resources and individual pieces of information are all saved under several different apps on your phone, it can be frustrating and time-wasting to switch back and forth. Reconsider the old-school practice of keeping a paper planner, so all the notes you need to get through each day is recorded in one reliable place. As an added bonus, studies have shown that the physical act of writing tasks down helps you remember them and stay on track.
PurpleTrail offers a Mom or Family planner that has proven to be the ultimate organization tool for the busy parent. Not only do they offer a diverse selection of trendy and stylish customizable covers, but you can add custom labels on the inside pages for the names of your kids, spouse, and pets so they each have their own designated space. Between two convenient sizes – 6 x 8 and 8.5 x 11 – that can easily slide into a purse or day bag, three different cover type options, or their new library-quality, durable sewn-bound books, PurpleTrail gives you the tools to build a one-of-a-kind creation to suit your unique needs. Add on to-do list pages, notes, password list, or a fitness tracker, account tracker, or bill tracker to stay on top of all outlets of your life.
And don’t forget to schedule your down-time. This will help you commit to giving yourself a break, even if it’s for a five minute coffee break.
3Daily “Tidying Up” is Better Than Hugh Weekly Cleaning Sessions
Drop the mindset of letting clutter pile up over the week until your one designated “cleaning day”. If you think you are going to pull on your rubber gloves every Sunday to get the whole place squeaky clean, it’s only going to frustrate you during the week as you swim through a swamp of mess.
Try cleaning up small messes every day to get in the habit of daily tidying up, which is something you can easily do during those down-time moments. Wipe down bathroom counters when your kids are soaking in the tub, or do a small load of laundry every morning when you are waiting for the coffee to brew. When dinner is cooking in the oven, use that time to wash a couple rounds of dishes.
This method can even be used for other aspects of your life besides cleaning. When the kids are sitting at the table doing homework, sit with them and plan out your week in your planner. Or when you’re waiting at the dentist or doctor’s office, write thank you notes or check up on your emails.
4Think Smart About Meals
Don’t save meal planning until 5 PM when the kids are hungry and the clock is ticking towards bedtime. Pick a day where you can sit down and get your meals planned for the whole week. If you are the kind of person who likes to see everything laid out in front of you, consider getting a meal planner dedicated solely to drafting recipes, grocery lists, and meal prep. PurpleTrail makes premium meal planners for just this purpose, with cute and durable customizable covers that hold up for the whole year! Take it with you to the grocery store so you stay on task and get all the ingredients you need.
When it comes to grocery shopping, consider shopping on the weekends, or during the weekdays after the kids have gone to bed. Nothing is more frustrating than towing around unhappy children down every aisle while simultaneously trying to juggle all the ingredients in your head. If you don’t like the idea of going to the store at all, or you are just simply too busy, grocery delivery services or online shopping are also convenient options. They tend to be pretty affordable, too.
Meal prep is a Super Mom’s ultimate plan of attack. Double up recipes so you can freeze the second half for a later date. Chop up all your vegetables at one time so you can store them pre-chopped in your fridge for the next recipe. When shopping, choose your proteins wisely so they can be “recycled” into other meals later in the week. A store-bought rotisserie chicken can make chicken pot pies one night, and chicken enchiladas the next day.
When it comes to school lunches, you can prepare those the night before as dinner is cooking in the oven. Even assign your kids this task, and you can supervise—they might even find it fun to have a say in what they eat.
5Utilize Boxes, Bins, Binders, and Baskets So Everything Has a Home
Things start to pile up on horizontal spaces when they don’t have a place to live. How infuriating is it when junk starts to pile up on the dinner table? Make a box, bin, binder, or basket for everything. Set up a binder in the kitchen for coupons and take out menus. Keep a “sock box” or create a cute sock board in the laundry room to hang all the lonely socks looking for their lost mates. Start a donation box in each closet to encourage healthy purging of old or unwanted clothes. You can even set up outgrown clothing bins—one for each age group—so they can easily be stored, donated, or gifted to a family member or friend.
Implement handy rules to help control the clutter. If your child wants a new toy, encourage them to let go of an old one. When a new box or bag of things come in, send an old box or bag out.
Setup a “tool box” of things you use often to station in each room, like baby wipes, hair pins, q-tips, scissors, etc., so you don’t go on a scavenger hunt every time you need something. Label everything, either with a Sharpie or a label maker. Label boxes with their contents before you store them in the garage or attic. Label the insides of drawers and cabinets for family members or house guests to save time searching for the right tool or appliance. Label clear toy and entertainment bins with their contents, or use color-coded tape, so your kids can easily find things without your help.
At the end of the day, don’t sweat the little things. Remember what is truly important, your sanity being a big one. These organization tips will surely make all your responsibilities a bit easier to handle so you can take time to enjoy those moments of motherhood that make it all worth it.
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