My life as a mom can go from normal to chaos in just minutes. I may have my week planned and then comes the unexpected party at school, the homemade project for my kindergartener that I find out about like the day before, or the doctor appointment that I have to go today because my big one woke up with a fever, or the I have to go to the supermarket to buy something to feed my family because the steak that I was going to cook is still frozen, and the bill that had to be paid yesterday and now I have to pay late fees – I hate those, and my mother in law is coming this weekend and I have to find an hour to clean my house, I’m exhausted! Because of my mess, I have devised a way to organize my life and get it back in order. I’ll show you how to do it in five easy steps:
1. Put up a dry erase calendar board and small whiteboard – This saved my life. I write all the appointments and events on the dry erase calendar board and then on the small whiteboard, I write reminders for me and my family per day. My kids and husband also use it to leave me messages of what needs to be done for them, the home or our family. I have instructed my kids and husband to look at the boards for any reminders and if they want mom to remember anything they have to write me a note on the whiteboard. I tell my family if it’s not there it will not happen, and my favorite saying to them, “when in doubt, look at the family calendar and whiteboard.”
2. Put up both of these on a wall in the most highly traffic area of your home – OK the critical thing is that you put up the dry erase calendar board and small whiteboard in the area of your house that has the most traffic – in my house, they are placed on a wall in the kitchen.
3. Have your own journal to write out your to do’s in the morning – I also have my own journal/notebook where I write my daily to do list because I have way too many things in my head. And I gave up trying to remember anything. I go against current wisdom that tells you to write out your to do list at night for the next day. Nope. I write mine in the morning while drinking my coffee – my brain is more clear and well rested. I can’t think at night.
4. Use an inbox – Something that has helped me so much is an inbox. Nothing fancy, I went to the dollar store and got a bin where papers and stuff can fit. I labeled it “mom’s inbox.” I keep it by my desk in my house but you can place it wherever works for you. I get so much paper, in the mail, from work, from the kids’ schools and I just put it there. I go through my inbox once a week, usually on Sunday. I keep what needs to be done, paid, scheduled, responded, etc and I trash the rest. At the end of the week, you realize how much crap we can accumulate.
5. Learn to use a filing system – I got a regular office cabinet that I keep by desk. I bought regular manila filing folders and hanging folders. And you know the papers that I go through from my inbox, well I file them in a folder if I need to keep them. If you are a visual person like me, I take papers like bills to be paid that week, birthday party invitations, forms that need to be filled out and I post them on my dry erase calendar, with cute little magnets.
So these are my five hacks to keep my life organized. Life will always be crazy, but at least these tricks help me manage it. All I can say is try them, I’m pretty sure they’ll give you good results. Good luck!