The key to maintaining a calm and ordered home is organization. Of course this can be easier said than done when you're in the midst of preparing school lunches, dealing with tantrums, or managing general household chaos.
The best way to introduce order into your home is to step back and take time to think about the routines and processes in your house. Give yourself some time to implement some new strategies and then feel the relief as your home life starts gliding along smoothly.
1. Wake up before your kids.
Whether your kids wake up at 7 a.m. or 6 a.m. (or earlier!) it's a great idea to set your alarm for before they wake up. Using your kids as your own cuddly wake-up call means you start the day on the back foot.
Waking up 30 minutes before your cherubs, or even 10 minutes before they do, gives you a head-start on your day. In this time you can wash your face and be dressed before the morning chaos begins. And if you wake up early enough you might even get the chance to have a quiet cuppa in peace and read your Facebook headlines.
2. Write a checklist.
It's very typical for each family to have a routine. You may not realize it, but each morning and each evening you will follow the same steps to get out the door on time, or get the kids into bed.
Create a checklist for you and one for the kids to complete too, that clearly shows each of your responsibilities. Stick your lists on the fridge and work your way through it each morning and afternoon e.g. make bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, stack dishwasher.
If your kids are still too little to read, a list with pictures works well too. A checklist likes this prevents that feeling of overwhelm, and keeps you all focused on getting chores out of the way before it's time to play — or update your Facebook status.
3. Prepare a meal plan before your weekly grocery shop.
Writing a weekly meal plan is an easy strategy when it comes to staying organized. There are some great products on the market, but a plain piece of paper works just as well!
Simply take the time to think about what each family dinner meal will be for the week ahead and write them down. Once you have done this you can check the fridge, pantry, and freezer to see what ingredients you will need, and quickly write out a shopping list.
Keep your meal plan on the fridge where you can easily see it. Then each morning if you need to get meat out of the freezer to defrost you can, and everyone can quickly see the meal that needs to be prepared that night.
4. Be disciplined.
As the day wears-on and your kids are finally in bed, it's easy to want to sink straight into your couch with a glass of wine. But hold-off for thirty minutes! Take the time to get out your kids' clothes for the morning, prepare their lunch boxes, and pack their bags. Once this is done give your kitchen and lounge room a quick tidy-up. This way you can start the morning with a fresh slate — a clean and ordered home.
If you're completely exhausted, just rinse any dishes, wipe down your sink, and pick up ten things off the living room floor before at last falling into bed!
5. Keep a calendar.
Having a calendar on your fridge or in a central location is a great way for the whole family's activities to be jotted down where everyone can see them. When a note or invitation comes home or into your inbox write the event into your calendar straight away so you don't forget about it. If a calendar is too old-school for you, use the calendar in your smart phone or one online. Add all the information for any commitments — dates, times, address, and what to bring. Even set a reminder a day ahead and a second reminder 10 minutes before you're due to leave so you won't forget, or be late!
Creating a more organized home take time and some discipline to implement these new strategies. Change is always hard as you adjust to doing something new, but once these habits become part of your everyday, you'll quickly wonder how you ever managed without them!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.