Let’s face it, life is no longer the same after you have children. Things that you were easily able to do before is no longer that easy. Now instead of doing just 1-2 loads of laundry a week, you now have 2-3x that amount. Instead of figuring out what to eat just for yourself and the hubby, you now have to accomodate the needs and wants of all your kids.
And if you’re lucky, you might just have kids who will eat just about anything…said no mother ever!
Yes, I would love to have a spotless, well organized home every single day, but that is really just wishful thinking. Unless of course you have the luxury of having a full time housekeeper, which I, and most moms, definitely do not. At the end of the day, I just want our home to be in a fairly presentable condition where I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed if we had a surprised visitor swing buy unannounced,
Over the years though, I have incorporated some helpful tactics to make getting things around the house done more easily and efficiently. And the best thing is, once you have kids old enough, you can get them involved.
One of the best ways I have learned to keep the clutter from piling up everywhere is to designate a home for everything and then stay on top of making sure things go back to its home once it has been used.
For example, we have on one specific counter a pen/pencil holder. Everyone in the family knows that if you need a pen or pencil, you automatically go there…and when you’re done, you put it right back there.
Anything related to electronics go in a designated cabinet. So any time someone is looking for some batteries or a cable for something, I know exactly where to go look.
I have my daughter use this same technique to manage all her things in her room. So now she knows which bin to go to for anything arts/crafts related or which bin contains all her lego toys etc.
It sounds like a huge ordeal to set something up like this but it doesn’t have to be. Start with reorganizing one “new home” a week for each type of item in the house. For example, all office related supplies live in this one cabinet or drawer.
If you’re feeling a little bit more ambitious, you could tackle each living space at a time and decide which items makes sense to have its designated home be there.
The tricky part is to have just one location for things AND keeping everyone on board, otherwise, you will end up right where you started from with things laying around everywhere again.
It really does save some time when you’re looking for something in particular or even when you’re putting things back because you know exactly where it should be or go. Nothing more frustrating than running in and out of each room trying to find where you think something should be and it’s not there.
Image by Markus Spiske via Pixabay
Kids and Their Toys
Are you constantly battling with your kids to get them to pick up their toys? Well do I have a treat for you. I got this idea initially from a co-worker of mine and it works wonders…if you follow through. Here’s how you do it:
The idea is called “The Never-Never Bag”. First things first, find a bag that you want to designate to collect the toys. Then sit down with everyone to discuss this “new process” and explain to the kids that from this point on, you will give them a 15 minute warning to give them a chance to go pick up all their toys on the ground. After the 15 minutes is over, any toys left laying out will go into the Never-Never Bag.
The first time I did this, my kids did not take me seriously. So after the 15 minutes was up, they said they were done. I still saw plenty of toys laying around and gave them a second chance and asked “are you sure?”. They said yes. So I walked to the yellow ball that my daughter had just bought that day with her own money and threw it into the bag.
Her eyes got wide and she yelled out in disbelief while the tears started falling down her cheeks, “No, not my ball! I don’t like this new rule!”.
Needless to say, the next day when I gave them the 15 minute Never Never Bag warning, they very quickly made sure all their toys were picked up. No more nagging, yelling or reminding them to pick up their toys every 5 minutes.
Now some may call this cruel but I say it just works. I will add in though that each day where no new toys are added to the bag, they are allowed to pick out one toy from the bag to take back. Any toys that stay in the bag for a long period of time, we donate them.
Use this idea and mold it to make it work for your kids but definitely give it a try.
Flip and Fold
If you have not yet invested in the “Flip & Fold”, I highly recommend it. This is how I got my kids to start folding and putting away their own clothes. There are plenty of different ones now and any of them will work the same. I’ve seen them sold in home and organization retail stores like The Container Store.
My kids started this when they were 5 years old. I just showed them how to lay their clothes down and they just flipped and flopped the flaps and voila, they have a neatly folded shirt. They each had a designated drawer for each type of clothing so when they had their stack of folded clothes, they would know exactly where to put it.
Now I won’t say it’s perfect every time but I’ll take it being done over perfection any day. Plus, they are learning plenty of life skills all with this one activity. Things like responsibility, ownership of doing their own laundry, organization, and being able to focus.
Not only did it help with them getting their clothes folded, they actually had fun using it so it was a win win situation.
If you’re like my family where we both work and kids have after school activities, there are some nights where it’s very difficult to even have time to eat, let alone cook a meal.
So before the week starts, we usually know what it will look like. So we plan out what to eat on which days and we make sure the meals we cook will have plenty of food to be used as leftovers for the next day.
I know some of you may not enjoy eating the same thing more than once but I’m telling you, it’s a time saver. Instead of cooking something new every single day, you only have to cook 2-3 days a week.
From time to time, we’ll also have what my friend calls, “DIY dinner nights”. You eat whatever is available in the fridge or pantry. It’s mom’s (or dad’s) night off from cooking. Yayy!
Many use the Crock Pot for dinner nights like this because you can just throw the ingredients into the pot and by dinner time, you have a nice hot meal ready to serve and eat. There are fancy ones out there now. Even ones where you can control the settings from your phone!
What are some ways you and your family keep your household in order and get things done more efficiently? Share each other’s tips and tricks so that we all can get through our day that much easier.
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