How To Go From Being Overwhelmed Mom To 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.
First Things First: 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 a 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.
Start Successful Morning Routines
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 8am, this child will wake up at 7:05am.
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 which 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
- Sports equipment
- Change of clothes
Your mornings are about to get better!
Lists And Plans
List are great, but they can also overwhelm one. 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 outweigh 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”.
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.
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, etc.
This is a simple and incredible tool for keeping organized.
That’s My Bag
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
- 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.
They Grow So Fast
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
Friend your kid’s friends’ parents – it can be helpful and you might even make some new friends yourself.
It Takes A Village
Community – work together with friends or your kids’ friends’ parents. Organize car pools to school and other events. A supporting community can be very helpful.
Friend your kid’s friends’ parents – it can be helpful and you might even make some new friends yourself.
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!