I still remember wailing “I give up!” I was looking at my toddler twin boys, a kitchen so filthy that it looked like a goat had exploded and a huge assignment still due for work. The boys looked back at me blankly, and I realized that there IS no “giving up.”
But I think we all get those feelings when the chaos and clutter overwhelm us. I went through a long chat session with some of my favorite girlies–a family therapist, a professional organizer, a Captain of Industry, and a mom with 16 (!) kids from a blended family. After several rounds of chocolate eclairs, we hammered out the top five habits that create an organized home. Take a look.
Five Simple Habits For An Organized Home
1. Do at least one load of laundry a day. That means washed, dried, folded, basket taken up to room, clothes put away and basket returned to laundry room. I was very good at doing load after load of laundry and then leaving all those neatly folded baskets in the basement. I fold every member of the family’s clothing into a separate basket. It’s part of the bedroom routine for someone in the family to put away clean clothes every night.
2. Have a place for everything in your home. I know that sounds alternately obvious and/or boring, but let me explain. We’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars replacing stuff that we already had. But since we couldn’t find it, it was quicker to go out and get another. It doesn’t always have to be in the place designed for it, just where those items make the most sense for you. For instance, I gave Todd our master bedroom walk-in closet and and I took two narrow ones in our bedroom. He could keep all his clothes and paraphernalia together. It made sense for us.
3. Early to bed, early to rise. Let me be honest–if I didn’t have a radio show that required me out of bed and out the door by 4:30am, you would have to set my mattress on fire to get me out. But life operates on a schedule, and fighting against it won’t help. Getting up before the kids means you can plan, put things together for the day, weep softly in the shower–I don’t care, but you’re ready to go by the time the offspring are up and tearing through the house. But this means (shudder) going to bed early, too. If you’re exhausted and bitter it makes focusing on the day much harder.
4. Create a bedtime routine for everyone in the house. This one is crucial because you cannot do it all alone. Bedtime routine includes:
- clothes laid out for the next day
- toys and “kid rubble” put away
- homework done and any papers for Mom to sign presented
- clean clothes put away
- kitchen cleaned up
That last one is so, so, SO important according to everyone on my panel of Awesome Women. Nothing is more soul destroying to waking up to a pile of dirty dishes and the smell of a ripe kitchen. And facing it when you’re exhausted is so cruel, I know. That’s why everyone has to take a chunk and get it over with.
5. Meal planning for the week. I’m new to this part, having just taken over the nightly meals. I bow to you all. But it only took a few nights of noodles and sauce and veggies before the kids started striking. “That agaaaain?” They’d whine. Of course, the other side of this is that my kids fight new foods, so I have to juggle that challenge, too. One of my favorite online planning services is free, it’s called Ready, Set, Eat! and give menu plans based on local coupon availability. Click here to get your newsletters.