Real talk and full disclosure.
I am NOT a type A personality who labels everything and has a color coded schedule of when to do things and where we’re going. That has never been nor ever will be me, my mother can attest to this. So if you’re looking for something like that, you will probably be sorely disappointed. However, if you’re a “creative” type who has their hand forced by life, children, or a forgetful husband into being more organized and clean, or relatively so, you’re in the right place.
I stay at home with my three children, who are all under the age of 4; two rambunctious boys and a baby girl who hasn’t yet reached the capability of destroying my house in 10 minutes. I also work part time from home and also manage my husband’s side business, all while taking my oldest to school and therapy and somehow maintaining a household.
The last part is where I struggle. I had to figure out ways to organize my life and keep my house relatively clean so that I didn’t lose my mind and I wouldn’t be TOO embarrassed if my mother showed up unexpectedly. So here are a few tricks and tips I have either made up myself or learned from someone else.
Get a Calendar.
You can be cute and get a personal planner that has tabs and stickers, and fun inspirational quotes or you can get a huge desk calendar that was donated by Waxie (yes the janitorial company) to put everyone’s “stuff” on. Whatever floats your boat. You really do need to write it down. Technology is great, and I also schedule stuff on my phone as well, however my husband doesn’t read the calendar I share with him or he’ll read it, and still forget. If I have it written down so that everyone can see it, I know we won’t over schedule ourselves or forget something important. WRITE IT DOWN.
De-clutter as you go
We accumulate a lot of junk throughout the year and I can’t wait until spring to spend a whole day de-cluttering my life. Now, I take 3-4 toys that haven’t been used in while or are broken and hide them away to donate. While doing laundry, if I come across clothing that the kids have grown out of and now one else will grow into, I throw it in a bin to donate. If the items aren’t in good enough condition to donate then they get tossed. Once I have a good enough stash to take to Goodwill or my church I just load it and go. No sifting through closets and drawers, no making piles, and no chance of my children finding that favorite toy again.
I learned this one from another mom I follow on Instagram and it BLEW MY MIND! She has a million children and a hectic lifestyle and yet manages to keep her house SO tidy. Her trick is to set a timer while she completes a task. So set the timer for 10 minutes to clean ONE room. Once the timer goes off you stop (even if you’re mid wipe). This way, I’m not spending all my day or night cleaning. Along with that…
Get the kids to help
Believe it or not, toddlers really can clean up their messes. It may take longer than if you did it, but they’re learning to take responsibility at a young age and in actuality they find it to be fun. My boys are 3 and 2, but they clean up messes, put away toys when done and put clothes in the hamper. All small things they can do, but also save me a little bit of time. If your kids are a little older, make the chore into a game. See who can put the toys away the fastest or even incorporate music into your clean up routine.
This is one I need to do more often again. Planning out meals for the week saves time and money. I created an easy template as a Word document and I list what I make every day for dinner. I write the ingredients I need if I don’t have them on hand and of what to buy for that week. It helps me focus on what I need, rather than deciding as I go, thus saving me time and money.
Use a filing system
I use my mail room in my laundry room to file at my house. However, buying a simple accordion folder to place your important documents saves you the time of searching 5 different areas for your child’s social security card or birth certificate. I don’t put everything in the folder, just documents that are important like licenses, certificates and other legal documentation. For documents that I need more regularly, like school or work documents all of that is in a cubby that I can easily access.
Give yourself grace
This is the most important and the hardest to do. You’re a mom. Most likely have a bunch of crazy people you created yourself running the show half the time. No one should expect your house to look like Pinterest. So don’t place that expectation upon yourself. Let the laundry go and play with your kids, let the dishes wait, watch tv during nap time, its ok!
There you have it. A few simple tricks to make your life a little less messy and little more managed!