I belong to a bulletin board for mothers with children who were born in the same month and year as my daughter. Today I came across a post from one mother who was asking for tips on ways to keep her life organized. She said she wasn´t able to keep up with it all: the house, her kids, the job, the bills, the appointments, and the activities. I´ve felt like this a lot lately, now that my daughter is entering toddlerhood and becoming more active and my business is consuming more and more of my time each day. I jotted down a few of the ideas and thought I´d pass them along.
1. Keep a family calendar. List all activities and appointments. Check the activities for the next day each night. Before going to bed, gather together needed supplies for the next day: insurance card and immunization log for doctor visits, equipment for sporting activities, lunches, and other necessities.
2. Keep a notebook in your purse. Use it to jot down ideas, grocery needs, and errands as they pop in your mind.
3. Make lists. Of everything: what you need to get done (in order of importance), what you run out of in the fridge, items you need to buy for the home. One night per week, organize this list into one. Mark off what you have done. Not only will this keep you organized, but you´ll also be able to see what you have accomplished each week: sometimes this is hard to do when you´re buried beneath everything.
4. Pick out clothes the night before. Not just for you, but for your children as well. Have them help choose what they want to wear, down to socks and shoes. Place the pile in the same spot each night so that when your children rise in the morning they can easily find them.
5. Wipe down counters at the end of each day. Do the kitchen counters after cleaning up from dinner and the bathroom counters after teeth have been washed. This will keep them clean and clutter-free.
6. Hire someone to come in and deep clean twice per month. Then keep up with the light cleaning on a weekly basis.
7. Clean one room per day. Set a timer for fifteen minutes and while your kids clean up their play area and/or room, zip around one room dusting, vacuuming, straightening, and sweeping. It´s amazing what you can get done in that short period of time if you only focus on one area.
8. Deep clean on weekends. Do a more intense cleaning that involves mopping and scrubbing.
9. Toss in one load of laundry per day. Keep a hamper for each person in the house and rotate (if you have a big family) or keep a hamper for lights, a hamper for darks, and a hamper for towels.
10. If you have a flexible lunch hour, use this time for errands. Pack a sandwich and stop at the bank, pick up the few items you need from the grocery store, or stop at the post office. This will free up some time on the weekends and after work.
11. Make sure everyone is pitching in. Teach your children at an early age what clean up means. Turn it into a game if you have to, but make sure that at the end of the day, your child(ren) are helping to clean up their space. This will help you out not only in the short term in keeping a clean house, but also in the long term, as you are teaching responsibility for one´s things.