You know that mom, the completely together one who is always arrives at the bus stop on time, her children look immaculate, the daughter with a fantastic braid that looks like it took forever to do. Her son is standing there with a cake box with a homemade cake (that would rival anything on Pinterest) for his birthday celebration at school. And as you run up, puffing behind your children, you notice that her youngest has his library bag and you slap your forehead! You forgot it was library day for the primary class! She also looks fabulous, and you know it's because she went for a run this morning, like she does every day. And you know this for a fact because you see her run past when you groggily open your bedroom curtains each morning, that is, if you've dragged yourself out of bed early enough.
How does she do it!?!?
Why do you always feel behind? How come it seems like everyone else has it together? Will you ever feel like you aren't drowning in to-do's?
Here's a little secret...
You don't need to do it all to be on top of your life and to stay organised!
It's not about having a perfect, clutter free home ALL the time, it's about making sure that you and your children are happy and on top of things for the most part. And I'm not just talking about picking up their rooms. It's not just about having homes for toys and school supplies. It's about schedules, chores, school work and having everything they need as they go out the door each morning.
Stay tuned to the end of this post for a free checklist to help you stay organised.
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The internet is full of ideas, there are Youtube videos, and IG pix and Pinterest boards dedicated to labelling toy bins and organising clothes, but that won't make you an organised mom. It's a way of life, a collection of habits and it's something you can learn! Totally doable my friend!
Today we are going deeper, to the more fundamental basics to maintaining organisation. It's not a one and done kind of thing! However, once you've got a handle on the fundamentals, it becomes a LOT easier to keep up. Then you can label the entire house if you like, but first you've got to lay down the foundation and make that mind shift and create small but mighty habits to change your life and those of your children for good. The pretty labelled baskets are the icing and cherry, sprinkles etc on that fabulous, homemade, organising cake!
Here are 7 things that Organised Moms know and do, and you can too:
1. Understand WHY you are doing this.
It's not to have a spotless house and pristine children. What's that saying? Trying to keep the house tidy with children is like trying to shovel the driveway when it's still snowing. Nah, it's not to keep up appearances or to have a magazine worthy home!
You are doing this so you can LOVE on your children more, instead of yelling at them to find their shoes and hurry up. So you can play a board game with your children instead of cleaning up their messes. Make fab memories instead of spending time searching for that darn permission slip that was just here yesterday.
2. You are teaching your children to be responsible.
Quit doing everything for your children. Nothing bothers me more than parents who let their child run wild in public and then go around cleaning up after them, at any age! Give them jobs to do around the house and make sure they do them! Mine all have a list (1 job for every year in their age, my 4 year old has 4 daily jobs, my 16 year old 16 of them!!) that they must do every non school day before they get any screen time. They take turns emptying the dishwasher, taking out the garbage/recycle/compost and I expect their rooms to stay tidy.
Make them finish anything they've signed up for. This teaches them respect for their coaches and teachers. It also teaches them not to give up. Success is usually accompanied by perseverance and hard work. It also usually comes soon after we decide NOT to give up!
3. Give both yourself and your children some grace.
No one is Perfect. You will miss a birthday party or forget to send in a form, it's bound to happen. Apologise to your child and then give yourself some grace, it was a simple mistake and everyone makes mistakes. Hopefully, the tips in this post will keep mistakes like this to a minimum in the future.
Your children will also make mistakes. Some requiring more discipline than others, but remember to be kind to them, they are only human. Small humans who are still learning how this big world works.
A good way to reduce the amount of mistakes you and your children make is to reduce the amount of activities they are involved in. They don't have to do everything! It adds stress to their little lives, they need time to rest and play and so do you. Keep clear time in your schedule and theirs, take care of yourself. Less stress and less activities means less opportunity for mistakes.
4. Have a Plan for everything.
This is a big topic because there are a lot of things to plan when you have children, if you do have a plan, your lives will run a lot smoother. You need to plan in time for chores and decluttering, time to meal plan and cook, when to fill out forms and deal with all those school papers. Have a plan for dealing with toys, memorabilia and what you all are going to do during long car rides or while waiting (quick drive-by soapbox moment: stop giving your children your phone to entertain them while waiting!). And as moms we are always waiting for our children aren't we? While they are at lessons or activities or the doctor or dentist. Develop a plan for anything in your life that doesn't seem to be working for you.
5. Everything needs a place in your home.
Make a list of all the things that you routinely are searching for, school forms, library books, gym bags, keys etc. Anything and everything that you waste precious time scouring your house looking for. Now for each of these you are going to create a spot in your home where these items will live, ALL the time ;)
We have a shelf by our front door for our library books. When the children want to read them they come here to get them and put them back when they are done, so when library day comes along, all we need to do is grab their books. There's also a cupboard dedicated solely to those 'extra' bags, those bags they need to take once or twice a week, gym bags, pool bags, and music bags. Again, it makes grabbing them super easy. I have a spot on my kitchen counter where my children deposit all the forms and papers they bring home where I can deal with them. For more info on this, check out my latest class with Big Picture Classes, Plan Your Back to School. This class is not just for those first days back at school, it's designed to help you stay organised all school year long.
There's also a large shelf in a cupboard in our dining room where the younger ones do their homework with extra scribblers, pens, pencils, erasers etc. And rulers, oh how they go through rulers!!! I even tried the so-called unbreakable ones, they snapped sooner than the regular ones ;)
Another place you need is an 'out the door spot'. Ours is simply along the wall right by the front door. The night before, the children place any bags or extras they need in this spot. After, I pack their snacks in the morning, I put their school bags there. They all grab their things on the way out the door, I usually leave last and make sure everything is gone, there's often a sad little gym or library bag left behind ;) I suggest this place be highly visible and shouldn't get hidden away. A basket by the front door is perfect.
6. Have a Morning Routine for you and your children.
One of the most important parts of a morning routine actually starts the night before! Plan in some time in the evening to prepare everything they will need for the next morning and put anything that's ready in your 'out the door spot'. Don't forget to get the children to help.
Having a Morning Routine will let the children know what to expect every morning, so there are no surprises. Mine know that they have to have finished eating by 7:20, dressed, washed and teeth brushed by 7:30 so they have time for shoes, coats and to grab their bags and be out the door by 7:35 to catch the bus.
To help create a morning routine for your family, check out this blog post 7 Steps to Create a Morning Routine that is Peaceful, Powerful and Perfect for YOU There is even a free morning routine workbook, to help you get it figured out.
7. Have ONE calendar for the whole family.
Everyone should have their own planner for school work and activities and of course, you'll have your own pretty planner, but ALL the family's activities and tasks should be written on ONE calendar that you check every night before bed, and every morning so that nothing gets forgotten. I have a whole lesson on this in my new class Plan Your Back to School.
There are lots of things that you should be writing on you calendar besides doctor's appointments and soccer practice. Some things to include on this calendar are tests and assignments, school trips, theme days, show and tell, fees that needed to be sent in, gym and music days. If you've ever been in the school yard (or in the FB/whatsapp group with other moms in your child's class) and a mom said something that triggered you to say 'oh, yeah! I completely forgot, thanks for the reminder!' these are the things that go on the calendar. Use a calendar that works best for you. I use a wall calendar, my mind works better with paper, and everyone in the family can see it. You can also sync your calendars digitally with your older children's phones and set alarms on your own phone. My phone is continuously ringing some Doctor Who or Star Wars alarm to remind me of one thing or another!
There you have it! Those are the basic, fundamental ingredients for a fabulous homemade, organising cake! (Sprinkles are optional, but always preferred!) Pick one of these ideas, try the one that gets you jazzed up the most and start there. Implement it today and work on it until it becomes a habit, and keep on adding the rest of my tips until these habits become carved in stone and you are that Organised Mom that has everything together and the other moms all envy you!!
I've got a great checklist to get you started! Print it off and hang it in your kitchen or add it to your planner. Click the button here to get yours.
Pop on over and check your email and you'll find your checklist waiting for you!