Daily life with kids is always going to be complex and complicated. It’s hard enough managing our own day-to-day, let alone the schedules, mess and emotional needs of everyone else as well. It’s no surprise that most mums have ‘be more organised’ at the top of our wish list at the start of every year.
The thing is, if you put some systems and routines in place, you are going to feel so. much. better. I know this because I used to avoid routines, schedules and even being neat like the plague (I was too artistic, creative and freeee to be pulled down by schedules, you see). Eventually, I realised that having a rigid structure was actually the only way I was ever going to be free. When we find ways to help us be more organised, we create more time in our day.
Structure allows us to streamline things to free up time for us!
So while it can feel daunting and undoable, putting some time into being more organised is actually the key to a better family life. It’s really all about routines and habits. Getting a system going and sticking to it is crucial. The sticking to it part is the hardest, of course. Remember to give yourself plenty of breathing space.
Also helpful: A quick guide to organise daily family life once and for all.
Now, before we launch into the routines that are going to help you streamline family life, a word on clutter. We can KonMari away all we like, but the biggest tip I know is this: don’t buy clutter in the first place. The time to think about whether something ‘sparks joy’ or not is before you get to the counter, or before you add to cart. Ask yourself this: do I actually need this? The answer, 9.9 times out of 10, is no. How you organise your stuff is not revolutionary. Not buying it in the first place is.
5 big ways to be more organised this year
1. Set up macro routines
Apart from not buying clutter, macro routines are the #1 thing that will make the most difference to how oranised you feel. Meal planning is a macro routine (learn more about a quick and easy way to meal plan here). Getting things ready the night before is a macro routine. When and how you clean the house is a macro routine. If you formalise these rituals and turn them into habits, you can substantially reduce your mental load.
2. Commit to micro routines
Micro routines are all the little promises that we keep every day that we know our tomorrow self will thank us for. Here are some of my micro routines:
• Folding the clothes straight off the line and putting them away – I used to leave baskets of clothes to mount up and topple me over. Now I just get on with the job, no matter what.
• Deal with paper immediately – if I touch it, I have to deal with it. Action, file or recycle. Simple as that.
• Dishes are done straight after dinner – we used to leave them sitting around, hovering over our night, waiting to attack us. Now we get them washed, dried and put away as a family (or you can just stack the dishwasher… I don’t know why, but we rarely use our dishwasher…)
• Make homes for odd things – our keys live in the cupboard by the kitchen door; school papers in the in box on my desk; spare change in the jar in the drawer; library books in the tin box in the bookshelves; school bags in the drawer by the front door; and on it goes.
• Quick tidy before bed – I make sure to tidy away one day before we greet the next. I try to get my kids to do this one in their rooms too, but it’s never stuck.
The Sunday Box is a deadset game-changer.
3. Keep a family calendar
I stick mine to the door in the kitchen. It’s the one place the family knows to jot down anything that is supposed to happen in any given week. It keeps us on track and lets everyone know what everyone else it up to. You might prefer an electronic version, but despite trialling quite a few apps, I have yet to find one that is as effective as a paper calendar. Cozi was probably the closest.
Get your free printable family calendar here.
4. Write it down
We will never, ever remember all the things. I carry a notebook with me at all times to keep track of to do lists, unexpected appointments, money I’ve spent, ideas that crop up. All the things. I also use the ‘All day’ appointment setter in my Google calendar to make a quick ‘three things’ list of what I want to get through in any given day. That way it’s top of mind the whole day. Don’t over stretch yourself, but do write things down so you are committed and ready to tackle what needs tackling.
5. All hands on deck
Mums, our kids are older now and more than capable of pitching in to help us be more organised. I have been slack in this department, but a hurricane is coming, kids. Baton down.
Truth is, it’s mega frustrating training kids up to standards, but infinitely worthwhile. Here are just some of the things that our kids can be responsible for:
• Keeping the kitchen tidy, including dishes
• Washing their bed linen once a week
• Washing, folding and putting away the clothes
• Washing the car
• Mowing the lawn and other gardening
• Cooking dinner a couple of times a week
• Vacuuming and dusting
The possibilities are endless. With a bit of assistance and a few reminders, there’s no reason why the kids can’t keep most of the housework ticking over for us. What kinds of things are your kids doing around the home?
Got more good tips to be more organised?
Images by Plush Design Studio