Family Organization Tips for Busy Families

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There are many benefits to family organization besides just a neater home.

In fact, the entire family can gain from getting organized. Here are some ways that organizing time, stuff, and schedules can benefit everyone in the family.

Finding Stuff

How many family fights begin with someone unable to find something? I don’t know about you but my family has been there way too times.

For example, the ever-elusive remote control seems to be missing; the family member who wants to watch TV gets frustrated and starts blaming others for losing the remote. The blamed family members get upset and say it’s not their fault, and then a big fight ensues.

Here’s another scenario: you’re trying to get out the door and your kids can’t find their shoes, books, whatever. You become frustrated and so do they, and tempers flare.

These types of flare ups set the mood for your entire day. Therefore being able to find stuff can go a long way toward creating family peace.

Designate a place for those “slippery” items that tend to cause controversy: shoes, remotes, adapters, books.

Each family member can have his or her basket to keep miscellaneous things in, and you can put a shoe rack or big basket/bucket by the door for shoes. You can also keep a list by your front door of what to check for before you leave: library books, glasses, keys, etc.

Routine

Experts point out that children feel much more secure when there’s a routine. Establishing routines is part of family organization, and can definitely make for happier family members.

Routines give everyone a sense of calm, because you know what’s coming next (to an extent, of course). Adults and kids alike benefit from a regular routine and tasks that are made into habits.

Regular Family Meetings

As you establish a routine, try and work regular family meetings into the schedule. Maybe once a week or once a month works best for your family; whatever makes for a regular time to get together and air concerns, offer solutions, and brainstorm.

Maybe tie it in with something fun, like pizza and movie night or serve a special dessert during the meeting (offices use this tactic by offering doughnuts at meetings!).

Meetings are a great time to get everyone’s schedule worked out and understood, and for family members to speak up about things that are bothering them. It’s also a good time to establish rules and make sure everyone understands what they are.

Better Communication

As families organize their time and personal items, communication tends to open up. For one thing, more time is available for spending together as a family – you’re not wasting time arguing and looking for stuff.

Also, since organizing involves family meetings, you will have more of a chance to talk things out with other family members.

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Family Organization Tips to Help You Get Started

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To get started organizing your family, it helps to get specific. General tips are fine, but really knowing just what to do can help a lot with motivating you toward your organizational goals. Following are some tips on getting started organizing your family.

Time

Organizing time is just as important as organizing your stuff. If each family member has his or her own calendar, it can become a major headache trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule.

Try having one big family calendar, such as a large, office-style calendar that can be put on the wall or laid on a desktop. A whiteboard works great as well. If you put it by the front door, everyone can see what is going on before leaving and as soon as they come home.

Have each family member write his or her schedule on this master calendar. To make it easier, assign a different colored pencil or dry erase marker to each family member. This helps you see at a glance who has the most activities and who needs to be where when.

Labels

Use labels to show the contents of toy bins, personal baskets/boxes, file cabinets, and even dresser drawers if you like. This helps you and your kids find what they want or need at a glance.

This also helps as you delegate tasks to others – you won’t be as likely to be driven crazy by kids not knowing where to put clean dishes or laundry.

Containers

It’s okay to get creative with containers; just so long as everyone’s stuff is contained!

Clear bins are a natural choice; they can be stacked, they are clear, and they come with lids. Plastic drawers are another option. For those who have a lot of small things – beads, for instance, or small collectibles – egg cartons make great storage containers. They can be labeled and stacked as well.

Chore Charts

For kids and grown-ups alike, keeping a chart with chores/tasks listed can help a lot. If you rotate tasks, a dry-erase board is a good idea. Tasks can be crossed off or erased, and this helps everyone feel more accomplished.

Routines

This ties in with time organization. Establishing routines can help children feel more secure, and adults, too, benefit from knowing what comes next on a given day.

Routines like reading the comics at breakfast or having a special snack after school can create lovely memories while teaching your child how organization can simply be made into a habit.

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Family Organization Tips for Meal Planning

Does it ever seem like the tasks of menu planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation take far too much time? Do you feel like you live at the grocery store, always running to get that one thing you lack in a recipe, or the main ingredient in what you spontaneously decided to have for dinner?

You’re not alone – many of us feel overwhelmed by the tasks involved in meal preparation. And in the middle of all that, it’s supposed to be healthy, right?

To help you with this frustrating problem, here are some tips on menus and meal planning, and how to organize family meals so that everyone is eating healthily and you’re not exhausted all the time.

The List

You probably already have a grocery list – but is it organized? It can really help if the list is laid out in the order that the store is organized.

If the produce section is the first thing you see when you walk in, for instance, then “produce” should be the first category on your list. If you have to, make your first such list when you’re in the store itself if you have trouble remembering the layout.

Include coupon notices on your list, too. If you have a coupon for an item, mark it in some way (maybe put a “c” in a circle next to the item) so that you don’t forget.

This can be especially handy if you go to a store where you use electronic coupons that are loaded onto your shopping card where you can’t see them.

The Kitchen

It’s a good idea to get your kitchen organized. Few things waste time like hunting for items that you can’t find, and few things waste grocery money like buying something you forgot you already had.

Keep things like salt, pepper, sugar, and condiments you use a lot within reach of the stove. Canned goods can be kept in the same general area and organized according to type.

Pots, pans, and appliances that you use often can be stored on the countertop, while less-used ones can go in cabinets.

Preparing the Meal

When you prepare the meal, try measuring out ingredients first, then mixing them. Multi-tasking can come in really handy – boil pasta while preparing the salad, or microwave the potatoes while you’re grilling the chicken breasts.

Another idea for quick meal preparation is to use the oven for more than one thing. Many dishes can be tweaked to accommodate a hotter or colder oven setting.

Make ahead whatever you can – chop vegetables and refrigerate them for use during the week, for instance, and make foods that can be used for other dishes during the week. Bake a chicken on Monday night, for instance, and plan for chicken salad on Tuesday.

Yesterday’s meal can be your made-ahead ingredient.

Delegate

When you’re planning your weekly or monthly menus, try to break down some of the meal preparation steps and see who else in the family can take over those tasks.

For instance, if you’re having tacos one night, then assign the grating of the cheese and shredding of the lettuce to one of your kids or your spouse; another family member can get the taco shells out and placed on plates; you can be responsible for browning the beef. Breaking down meals into simple steps that can be shared helps a lot.

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Family Organization Tips for Working Moms

Whether you work from home or work outside the home, all women work. Keeping your sanity while working and raising a family can be quite challenging, but there are some things you can do to help get things organized and less stressful.

Here are some time management basics for working women.

Being a Morning Person

You may not be a natural “morning person,” but mornings are really crucial for working women. In fact, one of the secrets to becoming a morning person is to be an evening person first!

In other words, do as much as you can the night before so that the morning isn’t so rushed and crazy. Here are some tips:

  • Pack backpacks and diaper bags the night before and put them by the door.
  • Prepare lunches (whether for you to take to the office or the kids to take to school) the night before and freeze or refrigerate.
  • Lay out clothes the night before so you don’t have to figure out what you and everyone else is going to wear.
  • Get up before your kids do so you can have time to get your act together before they’re up.
  • Prepare any breakfast make-ahead items such as cut-up fruit or hard-boiled eggs.

Come to an Understanding

It’s important that your spouse and/or kids understand that everyone has to pitch in. If both spouses work, for instance, it’s unfair for one spouse to unwind in front of the TV after work and the other spouse to start working in the kitchen.

So have a family meeting if necessary to discuss this issue; it needs to be understood that if you’re contributing to the income, they need to contribute to the housework and other such tasks.

Prioritize

It’s crucial for working women to prioritize their time. You can’t, for instance, be driving your child 20 minutes both ways to attend an activity they’re only moderately interested in.

You also don’t have time to attend every single sporting event or performance your kids are in, and it’s okay – forgive yourself and do what you can.

Simple Meals

During this time in your life, it’s a good idea to keep meals simple. A few main ingredients and quick preparation can be the rule; apply it to all kinds of meals. And in general, kids are just as happy with a cheese quesadilla as they are with an elaborate beef curry dish.

In fact, they’ll probably like the quick quesadilla better!

Keep things on hand for simple meals, too, such as jarred spaghetti sauce, frozen bread, frozen vegetables, tortillas, and pasta. Frozen chicken breasts and fish fillets can be prepared quickly, even without pre-thawing.

Buy ground meat and make it into patties; freeze, and pull them out as needed. Hopefully, implementing some of these tips will enable you to spend more quality time with your family.

Conclusion to Family Organization Tips

As with anything it takes time to figure a routine out that works. What works for your neighbors may not work for you.

That’s okay! We all live life at our own pace and it is important that you understand that. Finding a new routine doesn’t have to be hard.

Once you find one revisit it often to make sure everyone involved is still happy and it is still working for them as well. This will cut down on the chaos in the future.

Ask your family questions to help set up a routine. This will allow everyone to be a part of the new and not be left out.

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Share Some Tips!

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