Sure, having things in alphabetical order is helpful, but in a busy household, it won’t make things go any smoother. Rethink, reorganize, and get your family into hassle-free mode.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, but structure is the only way to force people of different ages and with different schedules to coexist as a single unit. So whip out your erasable markers and label makers!
One family, one calendar
Instead of running after your teenager, wondering when they have free time, or constantly asking your spouse about the soccer practice days, slap it all on a calendar.
We tend to separate our lives from others even when we don’t live alone. Get together as a family, and coordinate your schedules and plans on a single calendar. That way you will have a complete overview of any given day. If you set it up on a computer, you can even program it to send alerts.
Bonus: The best part of sharing a calendar is that you can create a household routine and chore schedule. Coordinate cleaning with your spouse and older children, as well as meal planning. No more excuses or “I forgot”!
Self-sufficiency and bedtime routines
This is mostly applicable to the wee ones, but older kids can pick up these habits too. Teach your kids how to be self-sufficient instead of constantly doing everything for them. It’s incredibly frustrating with the little ones at first, but it will be worth it in the end. Teach your kids simple tasks, like getting dressed, brushing their teeth, washing dishes and making their own breakfasts. It enforces discipline and makes your life a little easier, because there’s no fuss in the morning.
Also, implement a quick bedtime routine for the kids, such as laying out clothes for the morning, taking showers and having snacks ready in containers, all before bed. These are habits you can pick up as well, as they’re great time savers, and your mornings will be stress free.
Family days and meetings
When schedules become hectic, it can be difficult to maintain a connection with every member of the family. That’s when you need to get organized.
Arrange for a weekly meeting, say, on Mondays, to raise any household or personal issues. It will keep your routine on track and keep those communication lines open.
On top of that, organize a weekly Family Day — just a day every week spent as a family, preferably on the weekend. You can use your weekly meeting to plan it out and ensure everyone’s available. This kind of routine will eliminate any tension between family members and create a welcoming, wholesome environment.
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Organize the little messes
With younger kids, it’s tough enough to try to keep up, let alone have some kind of system going, so here’s how you can keep your sanity: Grab a bunch of plastic bins, and organize your child’s thingamabobs by activity. Designate a dress-up bin, a crafts bin, a toy bin and so on. It doesn’t matter if things overlap (such as scissors, glue, papers, etc.); the point is that everything for a particular activity is placed in a particular container and that you won’t have to run around looking for googly eyes or bend over backward during cleanup time. It will keep your living room or playroom looking sharp, and your child can tidy up with minimal help from you.
Learn when to let it go
Organization is all well and good, but it will never be perfect. If your spouse forgets to pick something up (hopefully never someone) or your child neglects to do a chore, it’s not the end of the world. Take a deep breath, and let it go.
Kids make messes. They tend to forget things and are crazy, wild beasts half the time, so don’t hold grudges or anger over it. While it’s important to maintain some kind of routine and a degree of organization, it’s more important to keep a positive environment in your home. A simple reminder or constructive comment is all you need to make. Save the guilt trips for a rainy day.