If you have been reading posts on here long enough you know I have some major OCD issues. I think one of my only talents is being organized and although it is not something to brag about I thought I could give some insight on what works for our family. It is one thing to try to be organized as a single woman or even a married one but adding kids to the equation is a whole other ball game. Again, this is what works and is important to us and I realize that being organized is not super important to everyone and that is totally ok.
1. Family Calendars. I know that there is the option to use and sync iPhone calendars but for me writing something down causes me to remember something way more than if I was to type it. We have a family calendar that is in our utility drawer. Basically, if something is not on the calendar it isn't going to happen. We put church on their, doctor appts, play dates, Nick's meetings, hospitality nights, date nights, you name it. I don't color coordinate anything on there but prefer to pencil in whatever event might be going on and often will write how long the event will take and if we need childcare or not. This has worked out great for our family because it never leaves it's spot and it is a form of written communication for Nick and I to make sure we are on the same page. I would love to have a fancy planner from Erin Condren or Rifle Paper Co. but I have a plain simple one from Target ($8.99).
2. Purging. It is super easy to want to hold onto every picture, piece of clothing, and memorabilia you obtain from your kids and husband but eventually those things will take over and clutter your home. If you have a lot of storage and garage space in your home than I can see the push to want to hold onto things but I always think less is more. Each one of us has our own little memorabilia box and I include letters to the kids on their birthdays, hospital bands, birth announcements, cards etc. but besides that I do not hold onto much. We make family picture books each year so often i will take a picture of the kids holding onto their craft and put it in the family book to remember the experience by. Every month I go through all the toy bins and throw out broken toys, make piles for donations, and then organize what we currently use. The same goes for clothes for each season. If it is something we can use as a hammy down it goes in one bin , another for donation and then the rest gets re put away. Many people save kids clothes for possible future children but it is not something I have really done (minus saving Calvin's clothes and shoes from 12+ since we knew Max was a boy). Our kids really wear their clothes out since they grow so slowly and stay in the same size for such a long time. We know so many people who share their hammy downs with us that I do not feel the need to hold onto things forever since clothes are so disposable.
3. Organize and clean cabinets. My kids love snacks and I love to bake and cook so our cabinets can get hectic very fast. Usually once a month I take an hour and rearrange everything and throw out what we do not use or has gone bad. In the long run i end up saving money this way by finding spices I have needed or products I did not know I had.(We use Norwex at home, they have the BEST cloths for cleaning and I love not having chemicals in my home. Highly recommended).
4. Hospitality journal. I started a few years ago using one of Nick's black journals to write down who we have over for dinner or play dates. It is a great way to remember the last time someone has come into our home and a way to remember to pray for our friends and neighbors. If we have friends who have a certain allergy or need I will write it next to their name so I do not forget for the next visit.
5. Clean out the SUV. I vividly remember a time where I cleaned out my truck and found so many toys it was like Christmas all over again (and more cheerios than one could ever consume). No one likes going to the store and opening the door only to have sippy cups, shoes, tissues, and who knows what else falling out all over the parking lot. Cleaning the car out often saves me time so that I am always doing quick little sweep rather than spending an hour emptying the whole thing out. I also will use this time to restock our spare clothes and add a new tissue box and diapers to "just in case" bag.
6. Teaching my kids to help clean up. Calvin has really started to enjoyed being organized since it makes it easier to find the toys he is looking for (crazy, right?!). The rule in our house most of the time is we pick up one activity before moving onto the other. This teaches the boys responsibility and also makes it 100 times easier on Nick and I at the end of the day when things are winding down.
7. Have a laundry schedule. I hate laundry almost as much as I hate grocery shopping. Keeping a lose routine for laundry helps so that I am not overwhelmed with loads of laundry to accomplish in one day. I do our clothes twice a week and towels another two days. I do not do laundry on Sunday so normally a schedule would look like clothes (Monday and Friday) and towels (Wednesday and Saturday). Once the loads are complete I immediately fold and put away the clean laundry. I never understood the concept of leaving the clothes in the dryer for the day and then folding the next day and putting away later after that. Like I said I hate laundry so the faster I can get them cleaned, put away, and out of sight the better. But if time does not allow for that in your case do what works best.
8. Upload pictures from my iPhone to my cloud drive. iPhones are essential for recording the special and the mundane when it comes to raising kids but what good are they if they are stuck on your phone? I try to once a month upload pictures and videos from my phone onto my cloud drive and delete whatever I do not need anymore. The same goes for text messages and emails. I lose my phone A LOT and the last thing I need is all of my pictures and emails to be lost somewhere. From there I will update every month my pictures onto family books so that at the end of the year I do not have hundreds of pictures to filter through.
9. Make lists of what we need/want. On my phone I have a list for Nick and myself and then one for the boys on things we need and things we want. It is a running lists that is so helpful when birthdays. holidays, and sales roll around. Nick is always in need of more ties, to-go coffee cups, and books so having exactly what he is looking for on hand helps me out when I am at the store or if I find a good deal. When I am out doing errand I usually know ahead of time what my budget is so if something is not a need and we are trying to stay on a tight budget I can immediately look over the want section of my lists and be fine.
10. Have a filing system. When we were first married we bought an inexpensive file keeper and a fire proof safe for important documents. The safe holds all of our birth certificates, social security numbers, and our will. The file organizer has tabs for medical, bank, student loans, cars, insurance, bills, etc. Having a place for everything keeps the counters clutter free and is also helpful for when we need to find something. Around December I will go through everything and throw out what we do not need and reorganize what we have. There has been countless times where I have been so grateful to not have to sift through mounds of paperwork because what I needed was right where I could find it. And if you are a mom you know that time is precious and no one wants to waste it finding something.
What are some organizing tips that you do? What do you do as a family to keep things simple?