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How to Go From Being Overwhelmed Mom to Organized Mom

Carol brings her two passions, love for design and for helping others, together to write articles containing easy and helpful design guides.

Learn the tricks to being an organized mom

Learn the tricks to being an organized mom

So, You Want to Organize Your Life?

You might have once been the most organized "got it all together" gal in your group, but that was BC (before children), but now you've got your own private group of small people and not a moment to yourself.

All you want to be is one of those organized moms, but you have a to-do list the length of the Mississippi, laundry covering every surface of your home, you haven't had a warm cup of coffee in years, and you just don't know how to get it all done.

Before I begin, I just want to remind you that there's hope at the end of the tunnel. Kids grow up quickly—and before you know if they'll be old enough to do some of those pesky chores by themselves, they'll want to spend more time with their friends than with you, and you might even find yourself missing them when you finally get to use the bathroom alone.

Motherhood can be overwhelming, and even all the more so when you see just how much many of your friends (and all those other masterly organized moms over on Pinterest) have things held together so well.

I get you. I've been there too. My home looked like a wreck all the time; I was tired all the time . . .

It took time, but finally, I became one of those organized moms, and you can too!

These are some of the tips and hacks I adopted to help me get back on track. I can't say I became a perfect organized mom, but things improved greatly once I introduced some of these tricks and changed some of my habits.

I'm sure that some of them will help you too. You don't have to adopt all of them, just the ones you think will help you. Try them out, tweak them to suit you and your family, and hopefully, you'll become a more organized mom before you know it.

Don't forget that everyone is different and what works for me won't necessarily work for you. This list of tips, tricks, and hacks for how to become and stay organized should be taken as a suggestion. They aren't written in stone, so just use the tips that are a good fit for you and you think will help you.

All of these tips are things that I've tried and have worked for me. All of these tips came from other organized moms who I admired and asked for advice. I'm sharing them because I've found them all to be winning tips, and I hope you will too.

How to Be an Organized Mom: Top 11 Tips

  1. Wake up before the rest of your family.
  2. Have a successful morning routine.
  3. Make lists and plans.
  4. Use a calendar.
  5. Maintain an organized home folder.
  6. Keep a tote bag with all the essentials.
  7. Buy kids' clothes that are a little too big.
  8. Do your best to keep things tidy.
  9. Keep a gift box ready for any occasion.
  10. Stay close to your community.
  11. Ask for help!
Make morning journaling a habit and your mornings will be smoother and easier.

Make morning journaling a habit and your mornings will be smoother and easier.

1. Wake Up Before the Rest of Your Family

This is one of the biggest secrets to being an organized mom and having your day run smoothly:

There you go; it’s actually quite simple. Well, maybe not in the beginning, but I promise you’ll get used to it. You have to be consistent, but once you start noticing the benefits of doing this, it will become easier.

Set your alarm for half an hour before the rest of your family wakes up (or an hour if you can) and use the time to prepare yourself for the day:

  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Drink a nice warm cup of coffee
  • Take a leisurely shower and get dressed
  • Start preparing lunch or dinner

Try this. You won’t believe the difference it makes. Mornings run so much smoother when you’re already up and dressed and have had some time to yourself. Just don’t forget that if you’re waking up earlier, you should also go to bed earlier; you need your rest.

2. Have a Successful Morning Routine

One of the most common complaints of busy moms is about chaotic mornings. It takes a little planning but you can conquer the morning monster quite easily. Get the kids into the habit of a specific morning routine.

Sit down with each child separately. All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil and go . . .

Ask them to tell you everything they need to do in the morning from the time they wake up until the time they leave the house. Write it all down. It might look something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Use the bathroom
  • Have breakfast
  • Wash face and brush teeth
  • Get dressed
  • Brush hair
  • Get my things together
  • Go to the door

Now, ask them how long they need for each task on their list, for example:

  • Wake up (5 mins)
  • Use the bathroom (5 mins)
  • Have breakfast (15 mins)
  • Wash face and brush teeth (10 mins)
  • Get dressed (5 mins)
  • Brush hair (10 mins)
  • Get my things together (5 mins)
  • Wait at the door to leave

In this case, 55 minutes are needed from the time of waking up until leaving the house.

Subtract 55 minutes from the time of leaving the house. If you usually leave at 8 am, this child will wake up at 7:05 am.

Kids love this idea; they get to decide what time they wake up and in what order they do their mornings tasks. You are just there to guide them.

Once their morning timetable is ready, type it out for them and hang it somewhere where they will see it in the morning when they wake up. In the beginning, refer them to the schedule but once it becomes a habit they won’t need to look at the chart anymore.

Another idea for a smoother morning and day is to have a typed-out checklist that they can check before going to the door. You can even add “checklist” to their morning list. This is a list of everything they need to take to school with them; these are examples of a few things that would go on this list:

  • Library book
  • Money
  • Sports equipment
  • Change of clothes
  • Homework

Your mornings are about to get better!

Planning is key to being organized

Planning is key to being organized

3. Make Lists and Plans

Lists are great, but they can also be overwhelming. I’ve come to realize that having a conventional to-do list will not make you an organized mom; in fact, it can even be detrimental.

There are many ways to keep your lists together, but I won’t go into them because I believe this is purely individual. Check out the different apps available, use a notebook or even scraps of paper, see what works for you and use it.

Having said that, I must say that it is important to plan. There’s nothing more exasperating and time-wasting than not having a meal plan. If you know what each member of the family enjoys eating, it can be easy to prepare an organized list. If not, ask them.

Sit with each of them and make a list together or give them a list of meal options and ask them to mark the meals they would like to see on your master list. This may take some time, but the benefit of having a master list that all family members contributed to outweighs this small inconvenience.

If you make school lunches, you can use this idea too. It’s a wonderful time saver and, of course, it’s always less stressful when you know what to shop for and prepare in advance.

Talking of lists, during the day when you’re out and about and you remember something you need for home, either send yourself a quick email or a WhatsApp message (these are convenient because you can record yourself talking) and add to your master list when you get home.

Another good way to keep everyone organized is by having a family WhatsApp group. It may be just you and your SO, but if your kids have their own phones, add them to the group. This is a good place to send reminders, e.g., “Don’t forget dentist apt. today.”

4. Use a Calendar

Use a specially designated e-calendar for home and family events. Synchronize this calendar with all family members to make your life easier.

Besides adding events, appointments, classes, meetings, etc., it’s also helpful to add things like the date your library books are due to be returned, service dates, dates you started to use new products (which might require being renewed), and more.

5. Maintain an Organized Home Folder

Make a folder on your computer called “Organized Home” where you can store all your information in one place. Create subfolders to store important information, for example:

  • Bank
  • Recipes
  • Jack Grade 1
  • Jill Grade 3
  • Jack’s stuff
  • Correspondence
  • Holiday Ideas
  • Paid Bills
  • Health
  • Printables

This is a simple and incredible tool for keeping organized.

6. Keep a Tote Bag With All the Essentials

A simple but excellent way to keep organized is to keep different tote bags ready for different occasions. Once example of this is a pool/beach bag. Fill a tote with:

  • Bathing suits for the whole family
  • Sunscreen
  • Towels
  • Swimming goggles
  • Armbands (water wings)
  • And anything else you regularly take with you to the pool or beach.

This way, you won’t have to waste time looking for all of these every time you want to go to the beach. You can also prepare bags for visits to the playground, library, overnight visits, etc.

7. Buy Kids' Clothes That Are a Little Too Big

Anyone with small children knows just how fast they grow. You can buy them new clothes at the beginning of the season, and by the time you reach the end of the season, their long pants will reach somewhere between their knees and their ankles.

If you don’t want your kids going to school in clothes that are too short for them, buy them a couple of items that are one size too big when you do this season’s shopping. That way they’ll have something to wear when you suddenly notice that they have grown, at least until you have time to do this season’s shopping.

Keep your home tidy and organized with a "last chance basket"

Keep your home tidy and organized with a "last chance basket"

8. Do Your Best to Keep Things Tidy

Teach your kids to do chores; it may take time to get them used to helping out, but in the long run, it will help them and you.

Put Things Back After You Use Them

Be tidy—when you're in a hurry to get things done, it seems that putting away the scissors or washing the dishes will just make things take longer, and that is true for the moment you are in, but in these cases, it's best not to live only for that moment.

Think about the next time you'll need those scissors or tomorrow morning when you have to use the kitchen—do you really want to start washing the dishes when you are on a tight schedule? Is it worth saving those few seconds now by not putting the scissors back when you'll be looking for them for ages next time you need to use them?

Make a habit of putting things back immediately after you use them and tidying the kitchen as you go along. Tell yourself that it is something that you HAVE to do right at that moment. It may take some getting used to, but after a while, it will become second nature to you, and you'll have saved yourself much time and hassle. This is another one of the most important secrets of organized moms.

Keep Duplicates of Key Items

If possible, keep duplicates of things in different rooms in the house—for example, keep a pair of reading glasses in your bedroom and another in the kitchen.

Have a "Last Chance Basket"

If your home is always cluttered with your children's stuff, toys, books, homework everywhere, get a "Last Chance Basket." At the end of every day, put all their things you find over the house into the "Last Chance Basket" and let them know that if the basket is not emptied on a certain day (have two days a week when the basket is emptied) anything in it will be thrown out or given to charity. The rest is up to them.

Make sure your gift box is always full and ready for any invitation

Make sure your gift box is always full and ready for any invitation

9. Keep a Gift Box Ready for Any Occasion

Children of a certain age tend to be invited to lots of birthday parties. This is fun for the kids but not so much for the moms who have to go out and buy gifts with every incoming invitation. The best way to avoid this is to have a “gift box” at home full of gifts, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Check your “gift box” every few months to see if you need to replenish it. Buy gifts cheaper online, and if you see a good gift item on sale, stock up on them.

10. Stay Close to Your Community

Work together with friends or your kids’ friends’ parents. Organize carpools to school and other events. A supporting community can be very helpful.

Friend your kids' friends’ parents—it can be helpful, and you might even make some new friends yourself.

11. Ask for Help!

Ask a family member to help you, or get a babysitter to watch the kids while you work, get the kids to help you, or hire a professional organizer. Not all of us were born organized.

It can be overwhelming at times, especially when you see how other moms (at school or especially on the internet) are rocking this organized mom thing. The fact that you’re looking for ways to become an organized mom shows that soon you’ll be one too!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Carol Morris (author) on February 11, 2020:


JC Scull on February 11, 2020:

Very helpful article.

Carol Morris (author) on January 14, 2020:

Great point Elizabeth, thanks!

elizabeth O on January 14, 2020:

These are all excellent points and helpful tips for moms who need that extar hand to get going. Being organized in the hosuehold is very importnat for kids.

Elizabeth O

Carol Morris (author) on January 14, 2020:

Good luck, I'm sure 2020 will be the year you get organized.

Wanderlust Beauty Dreams on January 14, 2020:

These are such helpful tips. I need to really get organized this year!

Emmanuel Damian on January 12, 2020:

For me, calendar works. List some realistic goals too by listing it all. Make a checklist. Tick them off one by one.

Carol Morris (author) on January 09, 2020:

Yes it is! Great attitude. All the best for this new year.

Autumn on January 09, 2020:

I so need organization in my life. Thank you for the helpful tips. This year is going to be my year!

Carol Morris (author) on January 09, 2020:

Thanks :)

lilyphang on January 09, 2020:

These are great organizational tips. These will definitely make anyone's life better/

Carol Morris (author) on January 08, 2020:

So was I Rosey, I thought being a mom would be a piece of cake....boy, was I wrong!

Rosey on January 08, 2020:

I was super organized before kids. That was a long time ago. ;)

Lashunta on January 08, 2020:

Waking up and getting some quiet time before the kids are up is so helpful for me

Carol Morris (author) on January 08, 2020:

Good luck Myrah !

Carol Morris (author) on January 08, 2020:

Thanks all. I agree with you Leslie, a paper calendar is great to have - I should add that to the post. I have a couple around the house as well as my google calendar.

And yes, kids grow up so fast.

Myrah Duque on January 08, 2020:

This post has motivated me to start organizing! I usually like to do it at night when everyone is asleep. I have so much uncluttering to do.

Mary Robinson on January 08, 2020:

Hey, im not a mom and these tips REALLY help me to get organized, I really need to setup a good morning routine. Working from home can be really exhausting and sometimes you just feel like you work all day! (sometimes I do) I will take some of your tips and make a good routine for me. thanks!

Kristine Nicole Alessandra on January 08, 2020:

All my kids are grown ups now. I can still vividly remember how chaotic our mornings were when they were still going to school. I am going to share this with my cousins with young children.

Ntensibe Edgar Michael on January 08, 2020:

Hehe....well, they do grow faster than hurricanes, don't they? Your guideline should be able to help out. I love how you have broken it down to the easiest bits.

Leslie L Denning on January 07, 2020:

What an excellent post. I'd add two things. I think a paper calendar on the wall is a good addition to an e-calendar. It's just good to look up there and see everything.

Also, remember that kids grow up so fast. In another 10 or 15 years, you will look around at an empty house and wonder what happened. Enjoy the great moments and try not to stress over what doesn't really matter.

Matt Taylor on January 07, 2020:

These tips and ideas aren't just only for moms! They are great for everyone I think! I live by myself and I definitely wake up before everyone else...;) hehe But seriously they are great tips, many of which I implement.

Lisa on January 07, 2020:

Great Tips, thanks for sharing!

Cheers :)

Carol Morris (author) on January 07, 2020:

Bill, don't forget to share this with your wife :)

Carol Morris (author) on January 07, 2020:

I always hope my kids will be more organized than myself, hasn't happened yet.

Ann on January 07, 2020:

I hear you sister!

This is the kind of advice that I wish I had when my kid was younger. He's 17 today so mayhe he'll need your advice instead :P

Carol Morris (author) on November 03, 2019:

Thanks :)

Hackytips on November 03, 2019:

You are doing a great job and you are a wonderful mom :)

ELIZABETH OBIH-FRANK on November 03, 2019:

This routine is very great. I really need to try this morning habit. Thanks!

Simon Starchevsky on October 31, 2019:

Great tips on how to organize your life as a parent. Thank you.

Carol Morris (author) on October 30, 2019:


Shadrack, these apply to dads too :)

SHADRACK BIWOT on October 30, 2019:

This are great tips my wife surely needs to read this she really is a overwhelmed mum

Maysz on October 29, 2019:

Such a nice tips that we need in our daily lives! Being organized is a great way to finish the task easily. on October 29, 2019:

Great tips! It actually takes planning to plan time for planning.

cyndi on October 29, 2019:

Excellent tips! I have to wake up and get the day going before I wake up the rest of my family. That is MY time to get myself ready for the day.

Vasundhra on October 29, 2019:

Aw, I am not even a mom yet but I feel so anxious when I hear about the stress and overwhelm mothers face. I created a morning routine this year, and yes it makes all the difference. I heard this advice somewhere, start the day on your terms. And that changed my life! Loved your hacks, hope moms really do feel the shift :)

aisasami on October 29, 2019:

Great tips to help those who need help and transform them into moms who can do everything!

Cassie on October 29, 2019:

It’s definitely a life saver for this mom to get up before everyone else

Nikhila on October 28, 2019:

Be it an overwhelmed mom or an organized one, moms are great. This seems very helpful for women struggling to find a balance.

Carol Morris (author) on October 28, 2019:

Thanks everyone.

Traci on October 28, 2019:

These are great tips for any woman out there!

Play2WinApps on October 28, 2019:

great tips to help mommies get back on track and in control of their lives!

Joanna on October 28, 2019:

These are such great ideas! By having a strict schedule in the morning you can definitely work around the clock and be very organised, making your life so much easier.

Carol Morris (author) on October 28, 2019:

Thanks. I know the feeling. Go easy on yourself.

Kristin on October 28, 2019:

Great organization tips. I am working on getting up earlier and having more of a morning routine.

Searcy on October 28, 2019:

I needed to read this today. I’m trying to organize my family and these tips are great

Carol Morris (author) on July 26, 2016:

Yes, I sure know what you mean about clutter. You sound like a great brother and uncle, I hope this helps your sister a little.

ezzly on July 26, 2016:

Wow fantastic, going to show these to my sister who,has 2 kids, clutter can really be so,draining !!

Carol Morris (author) on July 05, 2016:

Thanks Karen! Organizing in the evening is also a great idea, although I love being awake and dressed before the kids get up - to me this is a huge advantage. I guess you're like me, one of the few people who can drink coffee before bed. :)

Karen Hellier from Georgia on July 05, 2016:

These are great ideas. My kids are grown now but I wish I had read this when they were younger. I am not a morning person though so I used the evening after everyone went to bed to have my cup of coffee and prepare things for the next day. I did still struggle with organization sometimes though. Loved this article and I am sure it will help a lot of moms!