Whether you’ve got one little one or a whole house full of children, it’s challenging to keep your home and family well-organized. Read on for some great tips on how to beat stress and save time by becoming everyone’s favorite super-heroine: The Worlds’ Most Organized Mum.
Even superheroes need sidekicks, and that’s why the first tenet for becoming the World’s Most Organized Mum is getting your kids on board with your idea. Creating an orderly home will only drive you round the bend if your brood (and husband) don’t help you keep it that way. So, the first step to supermumdom is to empower your children to help you organize your home.
Make Everyone a Checklist
To this end, many mothers swear by the efficiency of checklists, for both themselves and their charges. It might seem daft at first, but having a checklist states the exact steps of each routine will save you time and stress when you’re trying to herd your children off to school in the mornings. So, for example, keep a laminated, bulleted list that says “make toast and tea, eat, wash up, dry, put away” in the kitchen. Affix it to the fridge at kid-eye-level and stick name labels on it so that each member of the household knows it pertains to them.
In addition to the group lists, each child can have his or her own personalized laminated list. Have them use a felt tip marker to check each task off in the morning, and simply rub the marks off each day before sleep. As an example, your daughter’s morning check list might be: “wake up, wash face, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, fix hair, feed the cat, gather school things.” Even children who aren’t reading yet can have lists that feature cute sketches or clip art for each directive. Don’t be afraid to use art and funny fonts and colours for older kids too, as the cuter you make it, the more fun it will be for them to complete it.
For baulkers, consider a star system. When your child shows you a completed checklist, give him a star sticker on the calendar. Then, when he has accumulated a row of stickers, award him a special treat or privilege. Not only does this teach children the responsibility of earning something, but it builds enthusiasm for your organizational project.
Think About What Can Be Easier
When you’re making your checklists, spend some time thinking about which tasks or routines you need to make easier for your household. For a week or so, make notes about the tasks that take you more time than they should or cause undue stress. Is it when the kids need to do their homework but can never find their pencil cases, even though they just had them a minute ago? Or, is it that you’re running late for your son’s football practice each and every weekend because you just can’t get him away from his computer games? Or, is it that your house keys simply have grown legs overnight and hidden themselves — every morning?
Make Sure Every Item Has Its Rightful Place
Once you know what tasks or times of day are least organized, you can set about trying to streamline your processes. If keys, pencil cases and those little things that make up the bulk of our possessions seem to go missing more often than not, you need to create zones where these things “live.” It might sound a little obsessive, but everything in your home should have its own home — a box, hook, basket or shelf where it will always be. If some things, like pencil cases, are needed in two places but always seem to be in a third, then you might settle for duplicates. Have a set of school stationery supplies in your child’s school bag, another at the table where he or she does homework and perhaps a third in the area where family art projects are done. While you might consider buying extras wasteful, it might actually be a cheap alternative to the time you lose looking for things.
Checklists, as mentioned above, when combined with a strict “everything has a place” will take you far in making your home the most organized on your street. But, what is the secret weapon for a woman who is making organization her superpower?
An adherence to schedule. The most organized mums have clocks in every room of their homes and use kitchen timers (or their mobile phones) to make sure that no task takes longer than it should. This takes some discipline, but does wonders for your stress level and the tidiness of your home when accomplished.
About the Author: Gina Byrnes is a Liverpudlian mum of two who was a personal assistant in a busy office before she turned her organizational skills to her at-home office solutions business. A lover of checklists, she even has one for the dog — who might learn to read his before her husband does.