With the New Year comes a desire to establish new goals and get a little more organized. It’s hard enough to get yourself on a continuous routine of daily organization, so getting 2 or 3 others on-board can be quite a task!
Here are some simple tips to bring organization to the forefront of your family’s daily schedule and help your days run a little more smoothly.
1. Family Chore Jar
This tactic works exceptionally well for families with younger children. I have three children under the age of 5 and they view this as a “game.” And hey, I’m willing to soak up that approach as long as it will last! Each Sunday, we put all of the household chores into a jar. Then, each day I let the kids take turns pulling out one chore at a time, three times each. In our house, this means 9 chores are getting done every single day (in addition to the 20 other things I’m doing daily!).
It’s important to make sure the chores are age-appropriate and that you’ve shown your child the correct way to carry out these tasks. This helps them establish initiative when doing housework and helps ensure they are getting them done to the best of their abilities.
Since there is a slight age gap between my twins and my toddler, I keep separate jars. The twins’ jar includes things like: carrying the dirty clothes bins to the laundry room, using the smaller portion of the vacuum cleaner to clean cracks and crevices, or watering the house plants. My toddler’s jar contains tasks that are a little simpler, like picking up Legos, helping “throw” clothes into the washer, or placing dishes that are handed to him into the dishwasher.
2. Oversized Communal Calendar
As cliché as this sounds, it really works. You’ll never miss a thing. While I love having my week’s plans on my iPhone or having Alexa tell me what I can expect for the day, there’s nothing quite like looking at a month’s view calendar. It’s also a fun idea to get colorful post-its and designate each color to specific events or activities. If your children are still learning their days of the week, it’s fun for them to see what is coming up that they can look forward to. At our house, pink post-its mean vacation, blue means pre-k days, yellow means activity night, green means school function and the list goes on… It’s a great way to stay on schedule as a family.
3. Plan those Meals
There’s nothing like picking your kids up from school or afterschool and the first thing they ask is, “Did you bring a snack?!” or “What’s for dinner?” And in your mind, you’re thinking: “There’s no way I’m making a grocery run tonight… Pizza delivery it is!” But, there’s a way around this chaos and constant questioning: meal planning.
Planning your family’s meals can save you from so much stress. It’s easiest to sit down every Sunday, plan out the week’s meals and then make your grocery run on Sunday afternoon. As crazy as your weekday mornings can be, your weekday evenings can be just as hectic, so having these things planned and having the essentials needed to make it happen is ideal. It’s also optimal for parents who love to budget! You’ll know exactly how much you’re going to spend on groceries, almost down to the penny. It also helps you to keep meals in rotation. Get started with The Sunshine House’s meal planning sheet!
4. Clear the Entryway
Keeping the traffic hub of your home clean and clear can provide efficiency in the mornings and evenings! Make sure everything has a place. A spot for shoes, jackets, hats, and backpacks is essential. This makes the in and out flow more seamlessly! Instead of shuffling around searching for the missing shoe, the unsigned field trip paper, or your toddler’s favorite jacket, it’s all right where you left it, and right where you need it.
My saving grace for this was this entryway locker organizer . There’s a space for shoes, backpacks, jackets – all the essentials for leaving the house. Get your kids in the habit of putting everything where it goes right when they walk in the door. It also keeps these items from being spread around the house, adding to the mess of things that need to be cleaned up!
5. Get the Car in Check
Making a system for your shuttle is a vital task. Between the morning commute, the drop-off, the pick-up, and possibly even afternoon activities – we spend a significant time in the car. Keeping your car clean and organized will be one less thing to worry about. An easy way to do this is to stock you car with supplies: bottled waters, take and toss sippy cups, non-perishable snacks, and the ever so popular car trash receptacle .
Pro Tip: Keep toys, some coloring books, and other simple activities in your car to keep your kids occupied whenever you’re ever in the car for prolonged periods (AKA- traffic). Keep these items in a bin with a lid and stash it in the back of your car.
6. Love it or Lose it
Let’s play a game: toy toss. It’s common after the holiday season to feel like your house is a little more crowded or messy than before, and this calls for a little purging. If you feel comfortable going through your kids’ toy boxes with them and choosing what needs to be donated, then that’s a terrific approach. If your kids are like mine, everything in the toy chest would be for keeps. Instead, I go through the items solo, and if they haven’t played with the toy in 3 months, it’s in the donation basket. This minimizes clutter and helps your children see what they actually have instead of getting lost in a sea of toys and making a shin-deep mess of their bedroom, playroom, and your living room.
Organization is a process, and it usually doesn’t happen overnight. But developing a routine that works for your family’s hectic schedule is a great place to start. I hope these tips make your weeks a little less stressful. Here’s to an organized 2022!