5 Tips to Help Keep You Organized
I realize I’m stepping into Organized Mom’s territory here, but her post about homework got me thinking about a few things that have helped with not only homework in my house, but staying organized in general. I used to pride myself on being super organized. A place for everything and everything in its place was my mantra. But since becoming a parent, it’s actually something I’ve struggled with. A super organized, neat mom plus tons and tons of things to keep track of from school and child care, plus a child with ADHD resulting in things constantly being touched and moved equals chaos in my book.
So, I’ve come up with a few things that have worked for us and definitely help keep our family on track.
1. A family email address. Up until last year, my husband and I only had our own email addresses. I always listed mine on school forms etc., but was constantly forwarding things to my husband so he could see notes from school, invites to things or responses to questions we’d asked the teachers. So I created a family email address that forwards to both mine and my husband’s primary email addresses. Now we both see notes from teachers etc. in real time and I no longer feel responsible for keeping tabs on everything.
2. A portable homework “pack”. We have a million and one crayons, pencils and
dried up markers, but I was tired of tracking them all down when it came time to do homework. So, during all the back to school sales, I headed to the office store and bought fresh supplies for each of my kids (most were in the $1 area).
They each have a plastic envelope containing a new pack of markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue, glue stick, pencils erasers and scissors. Everything is labeled so there is no confusion at clean up time. Each night, at homework time, they grab their packs and get to work.
3. A color-coded family calendar. I know it’s old school and low tech, but we use a good old fashioned white board calendar with different colors for different family members’ appointments. This can easily be replicated online, and there are many apps and services that assist with this, but none of them have worked as well as the combo of this calendar and sending each other “meeting” invites for things like kids’ doctor appointments or late meetings at work.
4. Google docs. I love Google docs. I create one for everything. I just started a Christmas 2013 list so I can jot down the ideas for gifts I keep having. Because you can share them, my husband and I both have access. We have our grocery list on one so we can list out the meals we have planned along with the ingredients we need. With the Google doc app on our phones, my husband and I can both access the list, which we keep as a running tally, any time we need to. Now there is no excuse to skip shopping because the list is at home.
5. A mudroom space. We had a space in our kitchen that we used for coats and shoes, but the hooks weren’t big enough and shoes were all over the place. The backpacks kept falling and in the winter there wasn’t anywhere to keep snowboots. So, I spent a few months perusing Pinterest and figured out something for the space we have. Now, there’s a place for everything and everything can stay in its place…at least until the kids get home. BTW, I was amazed to find how many DIY “mudrooms” there were for practically any space, no matter how small.