As I look around my house, all I can do is sigh. Somehow, my vision of life and the reality of my house don’t match up. (Well, some of it does.) I have a happy Nugget and a happy Hubs. We’re all clothed and fed. Most days, I can see the floor. What more can I ask for?? (Answer: to be an organized mama.)
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I feel like I’m racing against time to clear the clutter and organize my home before Nugget #2 arrives. Thanks to learning through trial and error and watching other moms, here are some habits I’ve observed to be highly effective for keeping oneself (and one’s family) organized:
Ten Habits of an Organized Mama
1. Empty the car as soon you get out.
I know as much as anyone how hard this one is. And I am guilty guilty guilty of leaving things behind…gum wrappers, sweatshirts and Nugget’s coats that pile up in the back (because you never know when you’re going to need 4 different outerwear options!), half empty bottles of water…
I’ve noticed that many times, people’s cars match their homes. One of my friends, God bless his soul, had a car whose interior looked exactly like the inside of his home. It was filled to the brim with stuff. Since I don’t want my home to look like a junkyard, I must tackle my car.
It’s hard for me to carry Nugget, being 29 weeks pregnant, along with the diaper bag and whatever else I acquired during my journey out of the house–let alone the junk that accumulated in the car! But I will make a concerted effort to empty the car every. single. time.
2. Write things down on a calendar/planner/phone calendar.
Prior to having Nugget, I could remember ANY and ALL things. Now…I have no idea what I did an hour ago. In our house, we have a master calendar that hangs on the wall and is visible to everyone. To help me be a more organized mama, I put everything into my phone calendar as well as writing it on our master calendar. Hubs also adds to the master calendar.
In spite of this, we still showed up an hour early to our tax appointment this year! LOL
3. Check mail daily and recycle/throw away junk mail immediately.
I am tempted to just put the recycling bin directly underneath the mailbox! It’s safe to say 99% of the mail we get is junk. And yet…the impulse is to glance through the pile for fun stuff (birthday cards, wedding invitations) and dump the rest on the kitchen table. Lately, I’ve been taking the mail and dropping it directly into the recycling bin before it even has a chance to land anywhere.
4. Put things back (in the same place) as soon as you’re done using them.
Ah…this is a tough one. Especially since we live in a three story house. But, when and where I can, I do try to put things back right away. It eliminates the need to do it later! One less step.
Piggybacking off of this point…keeping the diaper bag packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice is a huge time saver. Replacing things as they get used (diapers, wipes, clothes) and putting things back in the same place you found them (e.g., wipes in the front of the bag, diapers in the inner compartment, etc.) helps keep me sane.
5. Throw/give unnecessary things away.
Wrappers, boxes, packaging…get rid of it. Again, right away, as soon as you open it! No need to keep the packaging! This also applies to stuff you no longer use. Give it away to someone who will. Just get it out of your home.
6. Every item needs a home.
This one’s a tough-y for us. The ratio of house space to amount of items amassed is greatly disproportional. Simply put: WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF GIVEN THE AMOUNT OF SPACE IN OUR HOUSE. I am positive there are people with far smaller living spaces with neat, tidy, organized homes. Anyway. We need to get rid of stuff and then find homes for the stuff we DO keep.
Some of the things I use to be an organized mama:
7. Clean/organize a little bit every day.
This makes sense, right? If you leave things to pile up, it becomes daunting and overwhelming. Do a little every day and…it’s less overwhelming.
A big culprit of “OMG…What?!” in our house is the fridge. Produce, leftovers, and condiments get sucked into the refrigerator vortex, never to be seen again. Until three months later, when Mama discovers a science experiment growing in the back. Do yourself a favor. Scan the fridge at least once a week and toss out old food!
8. Label/color code things.
Once upon a time (pre baby), my closet was organized by color. Now, I’m lucky if the clothes made it from the dryer and into the closet! But seriously, if you have the time, color coding things, labeling bins, organizing things by height…can be fun and strangely satisfying.
9. For every new thing that comes in…one must go out.
Easier said than done, right? Especially if you are a saver (as opposed to a purger) like me???
10. If you haven’t used it in a year…let it go.
This one is super hard for me because in the back of my mind, I think to myself, “But maybe I’ll need it someday!” No. Just no. LET IT GO!
*UPDATE* Since this post was first written, I had the baby! Peanut is now 14 months old. Nugget is almost 2 1/2 years old. Realistically speaking, the car does NOT get emptied out every time and my house looks like a toy store/laundromat explosion half the time. But, we are happy!
What are some tips and tricks you use to stay organized?
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