Booze. The End. Just kidding (kinda.)
No but seriously, having 3 kids 3 and under AND a 9 year old kicks my tail sometimes. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of moving body parts really, and anything that can help the cause is welcome at our home.
1. Schedule–sorry my Type B friends, (or maybe sorry to me, I can’t survive without one) a schedule is an essential to maintaining my sanity with a bunch of small kids. We are very schedule oriented and I make no apologies about out. You would be amazed at how annoyed people get when I can’t get together because of nap times. Oh well.
But it serves us and makes life predictable for my kids. Not only do our kiddos know what to expect from day to day, but I do too. I can work in things that are important to me and our family (i.e. blogging and printing out pictures from my phone every Friday. More about that later.)
2. Uniformity–Our kids have the same overnight bags, just different colors. Why? It’s easier to pack, easier to recognize, and easier to find and there are no fights about whose is whose. Their names are embroidered on them. There are a ton of great bags and you might have your own favorites but mine is the Thirty One Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote. Best $35 I ever spent.
This isn’t an ad. It’s just what I use and it works. It’s got tons of space, tons of little pockets and packs well. All of my kids have one and I haven’t been disappointed yet.
3. Organization–A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Sometimes that means renting out a dumpster and clearing out the excess. So be it. When there is order, there is peace. Trust me. Whether it’s a toy box, Rubbermaid bins, whatever it takes. Create order in your home and it will become 100% more manageable. My favorite organizational tool was made by none other than my dear friend Shara of Woodshop Diaries. She made an 8 hook coat rack for my kiddos–2 hooks for each kid, and a little shelf on top for gloves and hats. It has been a game changer in our hallway. Where there used to be piles on the floor, now everything has a place and everyone has a hooks.
She also made this incredible side table/diaper cabinet for my living room. Shara’s a boss.
4. Routine–Ryan and I are up at 6 am every morning. WE start the day, not our kids. Our lives aren’t based around school schedules. We are up first and set the tone for our house. Summers too? Yes, Summers too. Try it. It sucks for the first couple of weeks but when you start to see how smooth things run in the morning, you’ll be a believer. Your kids become a believer too when they realize ‘hey mom and dad are already up. They’re ready. They got this.’ It was something I did as a single mom, and it’s something I do now. Anything that helps kids know what to expect day to day will help them feel like they have control over their lives. For Sophie, we created a calendar for when she went to her dad’s house. Nothing elaborate but now she knows what comes next. She can make plans.
5. iRobot Roomba–Kudos to my MIL Mona Drane for this fantastic gift. When I head out to pick up Sophie from school, I turn on the Roomba. An hour later, my floor is no longer covered in Cheerios. It’s a great investment and picks up more than you would ever dream. Do I still have to vacuum? Sure. But not nearly as much.
6. Fisher Price Rock N Play–I didn’t have one of these for my first two. For the last two, OMG, what a life saver. Forget the fact that it’s elevated and helps kiddos with reflux, ect…it’s also extremely portable. Seriously, if you’re a new mom, GET A ROCK N PLAY. You won’t regret it. It goes to Grandma’s, goes to the babysitter’s house…it’s a portable bed full of all of their feels and smells. I wish I had gotten one sooner.
7. Help–Confession: I used to think I could do it myself. My family is 3 1/2 hours away in Louisville and I didn’t want to ‘burden’ anyone so I just thought ‘I’ll do it myself! I’m tough, I can make this work.” Yeah. I struggled for a long time unnecessarily thinking that asking for help was weakness. It’s not. It’s smart and necessary. Being Super Mom is not a compliment. It’s an impossible job that exhausts all of your resources and I beg you to quit. Find someone or someone(s) who love your kids and LET THEM HELP YOU.
8. Central Command Center–No one touches our kitchen island now. That’s where the bills get paid, permission slips get signed, where everything that is necessary to run the household happens. Whether it’s the kitchen island, a desk, table or a closet, some place needs to be designated as central command. It takes a lot to run a household efficiently. It deserves a spot. I also invested in an Erin Condren Life Planner to keep everything organized and have not been disappointed. We call my planner ‘The Boss Book’ because everyone in my house calls me Boss anyway. Endearingly. I hope.
Those are some of the things I do to stay organized. What do you do to help keep things in order at your house?