I thought my life was chaotic “BC” (before COVID). I’m a mother of two youngish (11 and 8 yo) children, a teacher, and a self-published author. Then came COVID and distance learning– dirty clothes just short of the hamper, living room blankets and pillows on the floor, papers in piles on the table…
The fact that we’re all here 24/7 has brought our family closer, but it also makes keeping a clean, organized house that much more difficult.
Keeping track of and helping my kids with their school meetings and homework, while still trying to find time to work on my book business is challenging. Throw in the laundry, the dishes, the dog and 2 cats, and general upkeep and I’m up until midnight most nights, just trying to keep my head above water.
So…what’s a busy mom to do? I needed simple strategies and tips on how to keep our home more organized. After much research and trial and error, here are five things that are working for us.
- Enlist the kids help with chores!
*Stop calling them “chores”. Instead, call them “family contributions”.
*Have a family meeting. During our family meeting a few months ago, my hubby and I brought up all of the privileges our kids have by living in our home (food, toys, screentime, their own rooms etc). They also have a responsibility to contribute to the family.
*Prepare the system. Make it visual and something your children can do independently. I put three pieces of construction paper on our refrigerator. Then I wrote the jobs I wanted them to do on sticky notes. Each night before I go to bed, I stick notes in their spots according to what needs to be done the next day.
*Train the kids. Expect them to make mistakes and need reminders. Give them grace. In our home, in order for the kids to have “free time”, they have to complete their family contributions.
*Be consistent and follow through. This system has cut down the arguing and complaining. The work gets done AND I no longer have to remind them several times each day to brush their teeth. Win!
2. Everything has a place.
Dirty clothes go in the hamper. Dishes go in the sink. Blankets go in the bench. Bandaid wrappers go in the garbage. So how is it that everything gets so cluttered? Our kids don’t clean up after themselves. I got in the habit of doing it instead- it was just easier for me to put things back. No longer! Once again: family meeting and training. At first, it was very time consuming, but eventually, the kids became more aware of the messes they were making. I showed them where things go and told them to ask if they forgot. Now when they come to ask for free time, I remind them to check every room first to make sure things are put away.
3. Get rid of things you don’t need.
If we haven’t used it in six months, we probably aren’t going to use it. With the kids being home all of the time, it’s harder for me to find time to go through things, but I try to do one small area every week. The kids help me declutter their spaces every few months.
4. One step at a time.
Spending 5-10 minutes each day organizing helps! Whether it’s my desktop, an end table, or the junk drawer, when things are organized, I just feel happier, more energetic, and less anxious.
5. Get the right supplies.
Yesterday, while at The Dollar Tree, I found office supply organization trays for $1. I bought 2- one for our junk drawer and one for my daughter’s desk. Last month, I bought a lid organizer for $6 and now the lid drawer in the kitchen is much more organized. Where do you spend time searching for things? Is it your kitchen utensil drawer? Maybe buying a utensil container would help. Is it your email inbox? Create folders and sort your emails into them! Is it your car? There are bins, sorters, and trays for every area you can think of! Invest $10 to organize spaces that suck time out of your life!
I hope these ideas help your family get more organized this year! Remember: take it one small step at a time, a few minutes every day and enlist your kids to help! Have you tried any of these ideas? Do you have any other tips to share? Please comment below- I’d love to hear from you.
Check out my children’s book Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff ! With over 10,000 copies sold and over 500 5-star reviews, this book has helped numerous parents encourage their children to get organized! It’s engaging, fun, relevant and includes ideas from real moms!
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Stacy C. Bauer is a mother of 2, a teacher of 17 years and an award-winning self published children’s author. She loves encouraging and helping others achieve their dreams. For more about Stacy, visit her website. Find her on Instagram and Facebook. Find her books HERE.