Everywhere you look these days, you’ll find home organizing advice!
Some of the best practices are pretty consistent.
The old adage: ‘like with like’ is one of the best ones to follow when considering how to organize your home and make it most efficient.
Here are some of my best tips to organize your home for school time success. These great back to school organizing tips will help you get set up for more sanity with your school-aged children! And even if school started weeks ago – really it’s never too late to implement some of these organizing strategies to restore more sanity!
Home Organizing Strategies for Working Moms to Stay Sane!
Set Up Home Spaces For Sanity
There are certain things that you can rely on as true when it comes to organizing. One thing is – that MUCH of staying organized is in how you set yourself (and your space) up to begin with. When you clearly define how a space should be used, and then set yourself up for success – people who use that space, or casually come into the space will use it according to how you set it up.
(And If you’d like to take advantage of a great DIY program to set your family up for success – click here to learn more about it and enroll!)
The key areas you’ll want to master to ensure sanity in your home set ups are:
Create Your Message/Mail Center
Set up a space where you can process all incoming papers, messages and correspondence. If you have school-aged kids, you know that there are typically MANY things that come home weekly from each of your children. So, your message center should work for both incoming and outgoing mail. Other things to include in your mail center (or at least nearby) are a shredder, garbage bin, paper clips and file folders to hold incoming papers. Label the folders so everyone can figure out your process, and act accordingly. We usually have folders for: Mom, Dad, Each Child-School, and then I also create a folder for each extracurricular activity the kids participate in. This includes things like church, sports, and boy scouts. This way – every paper that comes in has a place to land.[Tweet “A Landing Zone is an organizing essential for a busy #WAHM”]
Set Up A Landing Zone and a Launch Zone
A Landing Zone is essential for a busy family. I think of it as a staging area for everyone who is coming and going in and out of a space. The staging area should be periodically checked, and seasonally updated to include everything your family needs for each activity. Some people are lucky enough to have a mud room or an entry way that serves this purpose… but if you don’t you can turn nearly any entrance into a Landing Zone – to hold the essentials. Things you may want to accommodate could include a place for coats, shoes, keys, purses and backpacks. Be sure you set your landing zone up to include what MOST people need or bring in MOST of the time. When things have a ‘home’ and everything has a place to land that has been appointed for this purpose, things stay much more organized.
Design A Family Calendar
I say – the bigger the better! The family calendar is a great way to ensure everyone stays on top of all the different tasks and commitments of your growing family. We’ve graduated to an online version now – since my kids are late teens, but when they were younger – I invested in a huge calendar that I laminated and updated monthly with the kids. It kept everything in their views and helped us stay organized.
(For more great tips – check out my DIY program to organize your family for success – click here to learn more about it and enroll!)
Create a Lunch Zone
Pick an area to contain everything your kids need to pull their lunches together quickly. I’ve designated a place in my cabinet for pre-packaged lunch-sized items. We replace items weekly and usually stock up on Sundays prior to school starting. Our kids can easily reach items they want to include daily. I also designate space in the refrigerator for cool items like yogurt, cheese sticks, applesauce and deli meats. This saves everyone a lot of time, and makes it really simple to see when supplies need to be replenished.
Create A Homework Zone
We established a homework center early on for our kids that contained all supplies they needed to complete their homework. For a long time (especially when they were young) I dedicated a kitchen drawer that served as the holding place for everything they needed. I used plastic see-through boxes that snapped shut to contain pencils, markers, tape, scissors, a stapler and crayons. As they’ve aged, our homework center is no longer centrally located, but the practice of having a homework center has moved and grown with them. They have areas in their rooms that include everything they need, and also carry a mini ‘mobile’ homework center in their backpacks so they can take advantage of wait times and knock off simple assignments on long bus rides home.
Identify Your Go Bags
Whenever one of my kids started an extracurricular activity, we’d set him up with what I called a ‘Go Bag’ to contain everything he needed for that activity. For instance, we had one for swim, Soccer, Tae Kwon Do, Dance, and Drama – each bag contained different supplies, fresh socks, uniforms, shoes, or whatever they needed for that activity. By assigning different bags to different activities – it was always easy for them to grab and go. Of course – these bags need to be maintained and checked periodically to remove any sweaty – icky stuff that may lurk inside! Go bags make staying organized easy! (Hear more tips to stay organized with this DIY program – click here to learn more about it and enroll!)
Make The Most Of Car/Travel Time
In a recent online article, I read that most of us spend 4.3 years driving a car… that’s a lot of car time – So, to make car time more manageable and organized, it’s important to set yourself up for success in your car too. Most moms will have small things on board like hand wipes, pens and napkins, but there are other supplies that can make the most of car time with the kids. Some of the essentials that we use often are: Tissues – invest in a multi-pack of small purse-sized tissues and toss them in door wells or behind the seat cargo areas… when you need a tissue, you’ll be happy you have one. Car games – when you’re fed up with the umpteenth request to play the alphabet game, it may be time to resort to some quiet games. Pick up a word search book at a dollar store near you soon!
Design A Flip Reference Information Center
I’m not sure about you, but even in this day and age where we’re all wirelessly connected, I still have (love and use) a flip stand for our family reference and information center. Ours is magnetic so it sticks to the side of the fridge, but it’s located in the kitchen and contains our most loved and used information. I store our seasonal checklists for maintenance, the annual school calendar, our personal phone/contact list, take out menus for our local favorite restaurants, as well as key reference information (schedules, contacts and hotlines) for each of the kids’ activities. I find it so helpful to have the actual paper – and I also use it to keep our shopping list out in the open. When we run out of groceries that we need, all we need to do is pull out a grocery checklist and check off the supplies we need to replenish.
Your Sanity Assignment
What key organizing idea above is most appealing to you? What is missing from the list? Do you have additional organizing sanity strategies to share with other Mompreneurs who are reading? Please scroll down and share your comments below!
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