Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Top 10 Family Organization Tips | Family Economics
Being the mom of five kids, I often get asked, “How do you juggle it all? How do you keep your kids organized?” No, it’s not an easy task, but over the years I have come up with my top 10 ways to create a little less chaos in our day-to-day lives. Below are tips you can use to keep your family organized:
1. Plan - Do your weeks fly by completely in chaos, forgetting appointments, missing kids’ practices, late night homework or running to the store for a last minute gift? An organized family plans. Take time each weekend to plan out your upcoming week of activities, appointments, project deadlines, errands and phone calls.
2. Lists - Create lists of daily or weekly things you need to do, places to go, things to buy, people to call and errands to run. In addition, create weekly grocery store lists, menus and any other lists to help you recall things.
Teach your kids to use lists and how to add to your lists, for example when they use the last of the milk they should write it on the grocery list.
3. Meal Planning - Once a week or month, sit down and plan out your meals. Create shopping lists to go along with your meal plan so you are prepared. You can even create a master meal list that will make your weekly meal planning go quickly.
4. Color Coding - Use colors to help identify which items belong to whom. For example, assign each family member a color so when you find blue towels on the bathroom floor you know who is not picking up after themselves.
5. A Home for Everything - Create a place for everything in your home. Do you keep finding piles of baseball cards lying around? Buy a card collector binder and place them inside it - now they have a home. Do your kids leave pairs of scissors, crayons and glue sitting out? Create a craft drawer or bin to easily store their craft supplies. Look around - what in your home needs a home? Create a place for everything.This will help you and your family know where things are and where they need to be returned.
6. De-Clutter - Take the time to de-clutter once or twice a year - every drawer, closet, toy box and room in your home. The less stuff we have to maintain, the more organized we will feel. Need help in the de-clutter area? Read my tips here.
7. Working Systems - Have systems in place that work for your family. For example, when your children arrive home from school, they should empty their backpacks, put their school papers where they belong and refill their lunchboxes with the nonperishable items. They then put their coat and backpack in the closet or in other storing area. Systems keep families in order so when you feel an area is out of control, stop and find a system that works for it.
8. Totes - Create totes that are ready for the on-the-go family. Have a tote filled with water bottles, snacks, magazine etc. to take along in the car while you’re driving kids from activity to activity. Have a tote filled with swim suits, towels and goggles ready to go to the gym for swim lessons and have an overnight tote ready to go to grandma’s house.
9. 10 Minutes a Night - Have every family member take 10 minutes each night to prepare for the next day. Pick out outfits, set everything by the door that needs to go, pack after school activity needs, check your next day’s list, do a quick pick up around the house, put toys and games away and do those last dishes for the night. Now you will be prepared and ready to go in the morning.
10. Say NO - Families today are busy filling their days with activities and commitments. Teach your family to say “no” by modeling it to them. Do not overbook your days with multiple activities, projects and commitments. Give your family the gift of saying no and having time to be at home as a family. You can only be organized as a family if you have time to be together.