7 Ways to Clean Up Your Family's Life
Mighty Mommy shares 7 ways you can clean up your family’s life and enjoy more time together.
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Hanging out at your child’s bus stop with other parents is the equivalent of connecting with co-workers at the water cooler. It’s a place to share, encourage, and certainly to commiserate with one another about the ups and downs of parenting. Because my kids are much older, and many are in or out of college, I don’t experience the bus stop very often now, but recently I did have the opportunity to catch a few minutes with some of my favorite neighbors, and I realized the conversation wasn’t much different than the ones I used to engage in 10 years ago at the bus stop.
We all have one thing that remains common—trying to manage our extremely busy households while balancing work and family. Regardless of how many children one has, we still face the same challenges in trying to keep an organized home life as we run in hundreds of different directions all week long while trying to maintain our sanity and preserve family time and don’t laugh too hard: time for ourselves.
In How Cleaning and Organizing Can Improve Your Physical and Mental Health the author touts that organizing your home, office, and even mind can improve your happiness and your relationships, and I couldn’t agree more. I know that as a parent of 8 kids, life gets super messy, but when things are organized and more or less in tact around our home, I function so much better and so does my family.
"At the end of the day, being organized is about having more time for yourself, and enabling you to live a more balanced life,” says Eva Selhub, M.D., author of Your Health Destiny: How to Unlock Your Natural Ability to Overcome Illness, Feel Better, and Live Longer. “Clearing away the clutter can help you make healthier choices, improve your relationships, and even boost your workout.”
While many people get their homes tidied and refreshed during the spring, the cozy season of fall is also a great time to make some changes and get your home and your life spiffied up for the cooler months you’ll all be spending more time indoors. Mighty Mommy shares 7 ways you can clean up your family’s life and enjoy more time being together.
Tip #1: Organize Your Car
Let’s face it, most parents spend practically as much time in their cars driving kids to and from school, sporting events, and practices on top of running errands and getting back and forth to work. Have you taken a look inside your home on wheels lately? Because most of us are rushing about, we may not even notice the empty juice boxes, fast food bags, beach towels, and dozens of other items lurking about under our seats and thrown in the back of our mini vans.
A great place to start organizing and cleaning is your family car. Enlist your kids in gathering all their odds and ends and getting them out of the car and either put away in their rooms or discarding all their trash. (That goes for your coffee cups too!) Once you have your car clean and vacuumed (why not go the extra mile?) place a small trash bin, lined with a plastic bag, in your car so your family can start a new habit—throwing things away at the end of each ride, rather than once every few months. An organized car will make your daily running around a lot more serene and enjoyable.
Tip #2: Organize with Apps
I work two jobs outside of my home and am very active in our school’s PTO. The only way I can survive and remember what I’m doing next is to have a functioning “to do” list. Because the majority of us have smart and iPhones, staying on top of our daily “to do” lists has never been easier because we can enlist the help of dozens of apps—many which are free.
One of my favorite organizational apps is called Remember The Milk , and I love it because it allows me to keep all lists in one place. This fun app lets you organize your tasks by day, priority, type (work, home, kids) and more. You can even look up your to-dos by proximity to where you are (via GPS) to save time when you’re out running errands. It also offers the option to send yourself reminders by email, text message or instant messenger, and integrates with your Google Calendar and Siri on your iPhone. Staying on top of your lists is definitely a great way to clean up your daily routine and give yourself a bit more piece of mind.
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.