What's your top tip for making the family home run smoothly?
Keep up with the little stuff before it becomes big stuff. For example, every time I pass through a room, I look for things that need to be picked up, thrown away or straightened and do it as I go through that room. It keeps it from becoming a major mess I have to deal with at the end of the day.
Having a husband that helps is very important for making our family home run smoothly but giving our children responsibilities are also important. We taught them at an early age that their contributions to our household were necessary. They have chores and are responsible for keeping their rooms clean, cleaning up after themselves, completing their homework without us having to nag them and for their personal hygiene (except, of course, for our youngest).
Proper communication is the best key to have a smooth family relationship.
I use kanban2go, a free to do list that is super simple and very visual. I also rely on my icalendar. Don't know where I'd be without either. I just have to glance at each of them each morning and make any updates and I know who needs to be where and when.
All of the above answers are good, good, good. All important, all helpful, all necessary. One little cleaning secret I use like clockwork, in almost every room of the house, is a handy dandy stain remove that cuts my cleaning time in half. 1000+ Stain Remover (Winning Colours) - I use it here in Canada - you can buy it over there in Australia! I keep a spray bottle (dollar store) handy, filled with 2 parts Winning Colours (1000+) and 8 parts water and I wipe my way clean to happiness i.e. less time cleaning and more time with my 2 teenagers!!! Enjoy!
Claire from Canada
For us, it's really important to stay united and to communicate often. We have a little family "pow wow" every Sunday, in which we chat about the plans for the week ahead of us. This includes everything from appointments to meal plans and everything in-between. This allows the kids to know which nights they are free to spend time with friends and to reduce the number of surprises that may come up throughout the course of the week.
Daily pick-ups, decluttering and making sure that everyone in the family helps out.
I really feel that the WHOLE family needs to be involved in order for your family home to run smoothly. One person can only do so much! If everyone is involved in the planning process, they are more likely to follow through with the plan. Make that sure everyone knows their part and try to instill good habits early.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and "A place for everything and everything in it's place". These cliches ring true when it comes to home organization.
The most important factors in achieving a smoothly functioning home are having places for your possessions, not having too many things, and tackling disorganization a little at a time.
Messes creep up so quickly, especially when kids are home all day. The best "prevention" I have found is to make sure everything has a place and that the place is easily accessible and functional. If something doesn't have a good place it most definitely will not be put away.
Label, label, label! Even young children can find the place if it's labeled well.
One reason keeping an organized home can be overwhelming to some is that they want to organize everything in one day. Take it slowly! Spend a little time each day creating places for things that don't have a "home", and create habits of putting things where they belong.
My top tip for making the family home run smoothly is planning & scheduling. When planning for your family.... knowing your family's priorities are a must in making sure that your home runs smoothly. Our priorities are: family time, good meals, plenty of sleep and time for play & work.For our family, we want everyone to eat healthy food, so we plan our meals each week. On Monday, I plan the meals for each night for that week so we have a clear blueprint for home-cooked meals. I also like each family member to have a good night's sleep, so we stick to a bedtime routine and an appropriate bedtime for each child based on their age and their personal sleep requirement. We also schedule time for homework, family time, time for chores and time for play & sports. And of all these things go on the family calendar so we remember what is important and we can see the whole picture.
Prioritize! Be realistic about the things that are most important to your home running well and let the rest go. It can be hard to overcome perfectionism, but I've found my home is a lot more peaceful when I'm not turning into scary mommy.
I think being organized and having a clear understanding of who takes care of what chores is important. For example, my husband knows that I will take care of paying all bills and tracking our finances. I know that he will always take out the trash and get the ironing done.
That way you can trust your partner is going to take care of their responsiblities and it will help you stay more organized and worry less.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Even if it is loosely based, putting yourself and the children on some sort of schedule allows for more order and productivity in the day. I find that I can get more done. If everything does not go as planned then we can be flexible and can adapt. But if it does, that's great too!
Use an organizer and a calendar to keep track of what needs to be done and when, and buy only what is needed. This simple tip will help you keep clutter at bay, never forget an appointment or schedule and stay on top of things, easily.
My best advice is to find a solution that works for YOU. It's easy to read a blog or look at a magazine and think that if you do (or buy) XYZ your house will look picture perfect and everything will fall into place. The reality is that different organizing solutions work better for different people, and very few people live in a home that is photo-shoot ready.
Personally, we use a large weekly family calendar that is visible to everyone, marked with all commitments throughout the week so that everyone can be on the same page and see the week at a glance. We also have a pretty clear division of labor for which family member is responsible for which types of tasks (car maintenance, bill paying, etc) so that there is little confusion about who is "supposed to” do what. Lastly, I have a designated spot for mail and paperwork that requires the attention of my husband- since I am generally the one bringing in the mail and packing the school bags in the morning.
Don't have much stuff to begin with! Keep your home small, so that you don't have room for clutter. Purge every few months, instead of waiting until one big, huge annual purging week. If you don't have much stuff, everything runs smoother—your calendar, your budget, your relationships, and cleaning.
Patience, Imagination and zeal!