COPY-Keeping Your Family Organized

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Rules & Tools To Keep Your Family Organized All Year Round

Now that my kids are almost 18 and 14, we have had some years of practice when it comes to trying to stay organized all year long.  It isn’t easy and I have had to implement some rules and tools to keep everyone organized, on time and less stressed.  It really is true that good home organization leads to less stress.  Here are our family’s rules and tools that have helped achieve our somewhat organized household…I say somewhat because there is definitely room for improvement, always…but here is what has worked well for us over the years.

Manic Mornings Made Easier

Mornings can be manic so implementing a few rules and tools can help get everyone out the door on time with less stress.  Try these ideas…

*Rules - Set everything out the night before.  Backpacks, outfits, car keys, signed school papers, even breakfast foods.  If my children need a PE shirt or uniform piece washed, they know that the rule is that they must bring it to the laundry room and let me know the night before, not the morning of the day the item is needed.  If they bring it down and make the request, then I will make sure to have it washed and ready.

*Tools:

*Community shoe basket - we keep ours in the laundry room.  This way stray shoes are all kept in one place and can be found on the way out the door.  I also got tired of tripping over shoes that were left out so I toss them in the shoe basket for a quick find in the morning.

*Hanging key holder - We also have a nice key rack that hangs in the laundry room for keys.  Now that my son drives, he won’t be late due to a lost car key since all keys hang nicely in the laundry room, which like the shoe basket, is located on the way out.  Another great tool is a 3 tier hanging basket which houses homework and signed school papers and is labeled with each person’s name.  No more stacks of papers or lost homework assignments.  Again this is located in the laundry room so papers can be located on the way out in the morning if necessary.  Although I do ask that they pack their backpacks the night before.

*Clear containers set out for breakfast items - I have coffee cups and accessories labeled sitting right by the coffee maker for myself, my husband and more recently for our almost 18-year-old son who enjoys a cup of java in the morning as well.  I also have a container for oatmeal packets and protein bars so when quick and easy breakfast foods are needed, they can grab and go.

*My favorite mom morning tool – I found a set of small drawers on wheels at Hobby Lobby that I push under my makeup desk.  I simply roll it out and I have my makeup in each drawer in the order that I apply it.  So the top drawer houses my moisturizer and foundation, with my blush and powder in the next drawer.   Then since I do my eyes next, the third drawer stores my eye shadow, liner, brow pencil and mascara.  I love this system and I swear that I have shaved 5 or 10 minutes off my makeup application routine because I can find my items quickly.

In The Kitchen

*Rules – Dishes must be loaded in the dishwasher every night and not left out for me to put away.  There is just something about waking up to a clean kitchen that keeps everything moving smoothly. 

*Tools:

*Cutting boards that are labeled by food type to avoid cross contamination, which is also a great thing to teach my kids since my oldest will move out next summer to go to college.  I like the Casabella cutting boards that are labeled with graphic and colors.  I found those at The Container Store. 

*Upright  revolving utensil set that looks nice and sits right by the stove for easy access.  It is called the Elevate 100 Carousel Set and it holds six cooking utensils that include a slotted spoon, flexible turner, slotted turner, ladle, spaghetti server, solid spoon and a specially designed rotating storage carousel with non-slip rubber base.  No more hurriedly sorting through messy drawers trying to find a spatula in the morning to flip pancakes or in the evening when I need to make a quick dinner before heading out to our son's hockey game or my daughter's theater performance.  One of my favorite purchases ever that I got at the Container Store.  It is expensive since it sells for $69 but I swear by this purchase and I use it every day, so cost per use makes this a good buy for our family.

For Him

*Tools -  No rules here, just get them the tools...

*A nice storage box for their watch and rings and shelves for their closet shoes. 

*Tie rack and a belt holder.  It looks nice and keeps them organized as well.  They won’t buy these items on their own, so I got this stuff for each of them and set it up in their closets.  My daughter did this herself, which didn’t surprise me!

Streamlining A Crazy Calendar

*Rules – A family meeting every Sunday night is my rule on going through the very busy family calendar.  It is funny because my family usually whines about this, but we almost always remind each other of a forgotten appointment; practice, etc. when we go through it together.  Plus it is our way, as a family, to gear up for the busy week ahead and support each other when we are reminded that each one of us may have an important deadline, audition, tryout, etc.  We are patient with each other and are more understanding when we look ahead to the week and think about each person’s commitments.

*Tools :

*Cozi.com.  I show this every year in my get organized segment and it is still the best family calendar that I have found.  It is a free online calendar and app and it can be set up to send a master calendar to everyone’s smart phones.  I also print out a master calendar and tape it to the pantry door every Sunday night so all can check it to be reminded of my son’s hockey game time or my daughter’s dance rehearsal time.  Such a cool tool!  Try it!

In The Home Office

*Rules – Keep the clutter out.  It is so hard to not leave papers, homework assignments, bills that need to be paid, etc. by the keyboard, but this habit leads to stacks of papers that eventually become lost.  My kids know that their papers go in the hanging shelves that I mentioned earlier that I keep in the laundry room.  I also have a special drawer for unpaid bills. 

*Tools:

*A shredder is one of the best purchases you will ever make.  When you open the mail do it by the shredder and by your small inside recycle bin.  As you open each piece, file, shred or recycle right then and there.  You will be amazed how this habit will keep your home office organized clutter free. 

*The Container store sells an awesome big box with the year stamped all over it and it looks nice, too.  So now I keep all of my yearly receipts that I need to save, important papers and keepsakes in the 2015 box. If I need something from 2014, I can easily find the 2014 box and obtain that paper.  I love these boxes.  And the way each one is labeled, makes it easy to see the year on the box at any angle so you can stack and store it in different ways.  My last cool tool for the home office is the giant Ziploc bags that are sold at the grocery store.  A ton of papers and oversized envelopes can be stored in this see through giant baggie.  As an example, I label one “2015 Healthcare” and all health insurance papers go in that envelope and then in the 2015 box.  This system has worked wonders for us.

*School supply cart on wheels - For school supply storage like paper, pencils, a hole puncher, glue and more, we use a car on wheels that can be easily stored in a closet and then rolled out when supplies are needed for projects and homework.

What are your favorite get organized rules and tools?  Share in the comments section and happy organizing.  Your life will be less stressed and that is healthy for the entire family!