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How to keep your family organized

Some might think the very title of this article is an oxymoron — but you can do it! Yes, life throws curve balls, people get sick, activities get canceled and school closures occur. Being prepared with a few simple tips, however, can help you function throughout the day without fire alarms every few hours.

woman with baby and clipboard
The Organizer

Whether you are a modern mom on the go, or an ol’ fashioned gal, keep track of all appointments, important dates and other essential tasks in one location. Some use the iPhone, others a notebook and some, even a dry-erase board in the mudroom. This will help you avoid double-booking yourself, children or spouse. Having the schedule in a place where you view it constantly will remind you of up-coming tasks and dates.

Plan B

A wonderfully put-together woman once said, “Never leave your house without your cell phone, lip gloss and plan B!” Hold true to this mantra. Not everything can go to plan. Keep a stockpile of alternatives in mind for those extra-challenging moments. For example, the dentist is running 45 minutes late, and Tommy’s appointment will be another hour on top of that. Let Tommy read magazines in the waiting room while you whip out Plan B. This could include catching up on e-mail on your phone, returning overdue phone calls to relatives or friends, or even planning your grocery list for the weekend. Your mind is always racing, and having a few extra moments to regroup and get organized will pay off.


The List

No, we aren’t talking about the last five men you dated before marriage; we’re talking about the essential numbers list. This is a list (preferably typed) on a piece of paper that’s stashed in a plastic sleeve and fits in a wallet, backpack pocket, inside zipper of a purse or a car’s glove box. A child’s list might include cell and home phone numbers for Mom, Dad, a babysitter, grandparents, trusted family friends and any other number your child might need. An ideal list for your husband or significant other could include numbers for your children’s school, doctor, in-town relatives — and (if you’re hopeful) the dry cleaners, dog groomer, favorite take-out locale and any other number you would like him to use.

Yes, the Internet is available on phones, but how much easier is it just to say, “Oh, the number is in my wallet.” Numbers for you might include all of the above plus those of your favorite hair and nail salon, a few neighbors, important work colleagues, etc. You never know when you’re going to be in a time crunch, and having those essential numbers at the your fingertips will come in handy. Internet and phone don’t work everywhere, and you might have to borrow a phone at the dentist’s office.


The truth is, each day might be monotonous yet completely different. Know that, if Susie missed soccer and Alex is late to his piano lesson, the world will still be here the next day. Apologizing for tardiness, trying to leave in time to compensate for traffic and doing your best to be polite will help smooth the way. No one is perfect, but a little advance planning and a charming personality can go a long way.

Items that come in handy on the go:

  • Planner: Any style that works for you
  • Water: Dehydration can lead to poor decision-making
  • Granola bar: Moms are sometimes too busy to grab a full meal
  • Pen and paper: Writing things down helps you remember items
  • Breathing techniques: Not Lamaze-style, but knowledge of how to take a deep breath and relax
  • Cash: You have no idea how far a few singles can go

more family organization tips

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