Thursday, January 30, 2020

Organization Tips for Busy Moms

A few weeks ago a friend and I were chatting about how we stay organized with all of our kids crazy schedules.  We compared what type of calendars we kept, if we were list makers, and just other general things we did to try to keep it all together without forgetting something important.  I loved hearing what she did and she loved hearing mine so I thought this might be a fun topic for a blog post.

1. Get a planner. 
I am a paper planner kind of girl. I know some people think that is just crazy and part of the dark ages, but it works for me. I have tried doing a digital calendar and I know people who have family shared calendars, but I like having a physical planner.  I like to have everything written down so I can see it in front of me, know what my week looks like, and make sure I'm not missing anything.

For at least six years I used an Erin Condren planner and it was my life. I loved the vertical daily display to keep my days organized, but eventually I found that I preferred to have something a little smaller so that I could easily keep it in my purse without it weighing a ton so this past year I bought THIS brand on Amazon.  It had the weekly display that I liked and has worked great!

2. Use an academic year planner. 
Because my family has school aged children, my brain works on the school calendar.  Of course we love celebrating the New Year every January 1st, but to me the new year starts August 1st when school begins.  I prefer a school year planner that runs July-June. That way I can have all of their sports schedules, school holidays, my PTA responsibilities, etc. written in one planner for the entire school year.

3. Write EVERYTHING down. 
I know you think you will remember things and it might be true that your daughter has soccer practices on the same day at the same time every week. BUT, it helps your brain to plan and organize your week if you see it written down. I literally write down everything in my planner...appointments, school responsibilities, kids practices, my blog due dates...everything! It might not be neat, but at least I have it all in once spot!

4. Use different colored pens.  
I don't do this as constantly as I would like, but I do try to keep things written in different colors. It helps me to easily see who has what on which days without even reading it. For example, my daughter's team color is purple, so I try to write all of her practices in purple.  

5. Keep an constant to-do list going. 
I keep a post-it note on the inside of my planner and have a constant to-do list there. Any little thing I think of that I need to do gets written down there. Once most things are crossed off that list, I copy the uncrossed items onto a new post it and will add to it.  Some things will stay on my list for weeks if I don't have time to get to them (like organizing a closet), but if it is written down it is a constant reminder and eventually I will find or make time for it!

6. Use the notes feature on your phone. 
Just because I like to write things down doesn't mean I don't use my phone at all to stay organized. I love using the notes feature on my phone. I will put things there I want to remember long term and/or have quick access to things when I'm away from home. Anytime the kids mention something they would like I add it to an ongoing list so I have gift ideas for birthdays, Christmas, etc. I keep a list of books I want to read/listen to when someone recommends them so I don't forget, I keep a list of blog post ideas, I keep our pool's address so I can remember it when we order pizza there in the summer. Just random types of things I want to have quick access to.

7. Email yourself things. 
If for some reason I don't have my planner with me I will email myself things I need to remember to do.  Most often this happens late at night when I'm getting ready for bed several things will pop in my head that I want to try to get done the next day or errands I need to run.  I'll email them to myself so when I see it the next morning I can add it to my to-do list and make sure I don't forget anything!

8. Have a family calendar displayed for everyone to see. 
I'm heading to Target this afternoon and hoping to pick up one of these chalkboard wall calendars.
I've realized that while I know what is going on, my kids are constantly asking me "What do we have today?" I feel like this would be an easy way to have their schedules displayed so they can take a look and know what our week will look like.  I'll report back after I get it and let you know how it works out!

Other Organization Tips 

*When the mail comes in the house I sort it right away. I throw away junk mail, file bills, etc.

*I do the same thing with school papers.  I'll file, sort, trash things right away. If a permission slip needs to be returned, I fill it out immediately and put it right back in their backpacks so it doesn't get lost under other papers or forgotten about.

*I keep a magnetic notepad on the side of our refrigerator for anyone to add items to.  If someone's favorite snack is gone...they write it on the list. My husband needs more coffee...he writes it on the list. I realize we are down to our last few ziplock bags while packing lunches...I write it on the list.  If I didn't do this I would constantly have my family asking why I didn't remember to get what they told me they wanted at the grocery store and it just kind of puts the responsibility on them.  If you want it, don't tell me...just write it on the list!

Do you have any great organization tips?!?  Please share them with us!!! 

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