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10 Ways to Become a More Organized Parent

Today’s parents are juggling more activities, obligations, work commitments, and family matters than ever before.  If you’d like to add a bit more order to your family’s life, Mighty Mommy has 10 ways you can become a more organized parent and increase the harmony in your home.

 

By
Cheryl Butler,
October 21, 2013
Episode #252

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Today’s parents are juggling more activities, obligations, work commitments, and family matters than ever before.  With life continually getting busier, there is one thing that can make the difference between a calm and peaceful household and a chaotic, overwhelmed one—organization!

With a brood of 8 kids, Mighty Mommy knows firsthand about the extreme importance of being organized—it’s the key reason I’ve maintained my sanity for the past 20 years!  If you’d like to add a bit more order to your family’s life, Mighty Mommy has 10 ways you can become a more organized parent and increase the harmony in your home.

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Tip #1:  The Home's Entryway

One important step in keeping your family on top of their game is by keeping your entryway—the traffic hub of your home—as efficient as possible.  Even if you only have a small amount of space, create a basket for shoes and boots, kid-height hooks for backpacks and everyday jackets, and a tray or drop-off area for mail and your child’s school papers. 

Get your child into the habit of emptying his backpack with you before or after dinner so you can process the important papers like field trip slips or notes about upcoming tests. By doing it in the same location, you won’t have stray papers all over the house.  Use this area for putting their school things out the night before to save time during the morning rush.

Tip #2:  The Car

Face it, most of us spend a large chunk of our days in the car—driving back and forth to work and shuttling our kids to their activities.  That's why it's a good idea to keep extra supplies in the car. Allocate space for non-perishable snacks, extra outfits for unexpected spills, bottles of water, diapers and an emergency pacifier if you have babies, an extra $20 bill stashed for emergencies, and activities to keep kids happy and busy during car rides (I have coloring books, travel games, and Barbie dolls or stuffed animals). Basically, gather whatever your family relies on for comfort or would make your life easier if you were to be delayed or in the car for long periods of time. Arrange these items neatly in a basket (I use a plastic laundry basket) and take inventory of what’s there every month in order to replenish.

Tip #3:  The Everyday Bag

A good friend of mine shared an idea that I thought was brilliant.  She keeps a large, see-thru tote bag by her front door and places everything in it that she needs for routine errands and chores, such as library books to be returned or paperwork that needs to be completed, as well as her to-do list. She brings the tote with her whenever she leaves the house. This way, she never forgets a task and also has a project to tackle if she gets stuck waiting in line, which saves her time when she’s at home that she can instead spend with her family. 

Tip #4:  The Weekly Menu

How often do you shop for groceries?  Do you find yourself straggling into the market on a daily basis because you’ve forgotten ingredients or have no clue what you’re serving for dinner?  The biggest sanity saver for my large family has been meal planning.  This does not have to be complicated.  Most families enjoy staple meals such as pasta and meatballs, baked chicken and rice, or fun foods like tacos or grilled cheese. 

Make a list of 10 meals your family enjoys on a regular basis and incorporate those into your weekly menu.  When you go shopping, be sure and have the menu plan with you so you don’t forget any key ingredients.  Leave nights open for leftovers, breakfast for dinner, or take out.  When you don’t stress over “What’s for dinner?” each night—you can relax a bit more and spend your extra energy on projects that will benefit your family.

Tip#5:  The Cheat Sheat

It goes without saying that having a calendar system is a must to keep your family organized. But in addition, I also have some cheat sheets that I have laminated and keep taped to the inside of one of my kitchen cabinets.  I include emergency numbers for police/fire and also the following info:

  • phone numbers for Mom and Dad at work, the pediatricians, our neighbors, and babysitters
  • over-the-counter medication dosages for my younger kids
  • any allergies
  • everyone's social security numbers, which I always end up needing for some form or another

On a separate note in the cabinet, which I point out to sitters, grandparents, or my older children, I've written our names and address, our phone number, and the kids' ages, weights, and birth dates (which doctors and emergency personnel often need to know).  I just record this info after each of their check-ups to keep it updated.

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