We’ve all been there. We make those New Year’s Resolutions with hope in our hearts and a dream of being truly organized by this time next year. Just think of it! A clean spring, stress-free summer, an organized autumn, and a wonderful winter! It’s all part of the plan, but wait. What is the plan?
Soon, taking one child to basketball and another to choir practice leaves your plan to have home-cooked dinners 6 nights a week out the window. Emergency car repairs and a sprained ankle tripping over the quickly piling up laundry put your gym plans on the back burner. And before you know it, it’s half past summer and you still haven’t taken down your Christmas tree.
We have good news! We don’t have all the answers, either!
What we do have is an amazing community of parents and caregivers, each with their own struggles, and their very own answers! We’ve put together a few of our favorite get-organized-ideas from mom bloggers, Pinterest, and trouble shooting our very own lives to help you make this the year it all comes together! (Or at least the year you get children in at least twice to see us!)
First Thing’s First! Write it Down!
A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline! So the first thing to do when deciding on your resolutions this year is to write them down. Typing them out is nice, but studies show that actually taking a pen to paper and seeing your goal written in your own handwriting has a significant effect on your brain, making this goal just a little more real to you!
Many gurus, motivational speakers, and life coaches insist that you must word your goal as if you are already experiencing the change you’re hoping to make. So instead of writing down: I will lose ten pounds this year, you would write: It’s December of 2019 and I’m pulling on my favorite pair of old blue jeans that didn’t fit this time last year. I feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic!”
If your goal is to become more organized, you would write: I’m getting ready to take my children to school. They have plenty of time to eat a healthy breakfast without anxiety or urgency. They were able to find their own clothes, their homework and backpacks are ready, and their lunches are packed. We have plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company before calmly heading into school and on to our next destinations today. We have plenty of time!
Doesn’t that feel great? Ok, now back to the real world. How do we make that your new reality? It’s not easy. If it were easy, we would all have flawless hair and peaceful children and fresh baked goods on the clean counter when they come back home, but none of us do!
And that’s ok! But getting organized will take a bit of the fire drill out of your mornings! So let’s start.
Fun Blogger Alert! Organized Mom has excellent tips on everything from creating a recipe binder to making your own holiday ornaments! She details an excellent system for keeping only up-to-date clothes in your kids’ drawers and closets, which makes getting rid of outgrown or out seasoned clothes a breeze! And without all of those extra clothes clogging up your kids’ rooms, getting ready in the morning will go so much faster! Not only that, you’ll end up rewashing clean clothes a lot less often! Let’s be honest, when your child pulls out shorts in January and you tell them to change, those shorts go on the floor, and then into the wash. It never ends! But now, maybe it can. For five minutes.
Packing your child’s lunch always sounds like an easy idea, but by the time morning arrives you count it as a victory that you got them to eat something besides a handful of dry cereal on their way out the door. A bit of time invested immediately after you get home from the grocery store can save you countless morning headaches!
When you start unpacking your groceries, start by filling the sink with vinegar and water. Dump all of your fruits and vegetables in and let them sit while you put away everything else. Start a pot of water to boil, and fill it with a dozen eggs. While the eggs boil, chop carrots and celery into sticks, broccoli into florets, and cucumber into slices. Pack them into Tupperware. Dice onion, celery, and carrots and set into its own Tupperware. Now you have sides ready for lunchboxes and salads, and mirepoix ready for cooking.
Set fruit out into a bowl, ready to eat or toss in a lunchbox on the go.
Cool the eggs and return them to the egg crate. Clearly mark the carton as “boiled eggs” so nobody tries to bake with them!
Now you have easy lunches ready in a snap, and it really only takes about 15 minutes!
Have a calendar available and in sight of your whole family. Give each family member their own pen color, and mark practices, appointments, and chores in their own color. This makes it easy to see at a glance who has a birthday party to go to this weekend and who has soccer practice!
While filling in your family’s schedule for the month, look ahead a little bit! Schedule their physicals and dental exams now! Many pediatricians require a few months’ notice to schedule a physical, and you don’t want to wait until June to find out that there’s a waiting list to get in for your school’s required checkup! And with time to make two dental appointments this year, be sure you’re getting the most out of your benefits by getting your children in every 6 months for a cleaning!
Your kids really can do things for themselves. They don’t want to, but they can. You often find yourself doing all of the little tasks you assign to them because it’s only a 5-minute task, but you’re doing 40 of them a day, and it adds up! Give your kids a chance to earn screen time, play dates, and allowance by putting away their own laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and picking up the play room.
When you have those extra precious minutes back, you’ll find tension easing for everyone in your home! You actually have time to hit the gym, wash your hair, and schedule your own doctor’s appointments! Let’s be honest, when was the last time you made it in for a full physical or dental checkup of your own?
Here is where the tough love comes in! If there are so many toys, crafts, and clothes in your home that you simply can’t find a place for everything, that’s your cue to downsize! Don’t wait for spring cleaning, start now.
Remove any clothes that don’t fit. For the parents, too!
The Open Door Mission accepts all gently used clothes and gives them to those who need it the most! While you’re at it, drop off any toys that aren’t being played with, and appliances that aren’t being used!
Youth Emergency Services offers clothes, food, and other resources to homeless or at risk youth in Omaha. Consider donating gently used shoes, clothes, and outwear to a child who doesn’t have all that you’ve been able to provide for your own children.
The Women’s Center for Advancement would happily rehome and clothes that no longer fit, offering women escaping poverty or abuse a fresh start!
Keep two bins by the dryer, one for giving away and one to use as cleaning rags or quilting pieces. Inspect each item for overuse and fold neatly before donating.
With less clutter, fewer clothes to wash and rewash, and the overall feeling that you’ve done something good for your community, you’re more organized and ready to take on 2019!