How do you stay organized and not chaotic?

Tiffany - posted on 08/24/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I'm new to being a stay at home mom. I have 3 girls ages 12, 11, and 2. My hubby and I have always shared the household responsibilities. Now that I'm not working I am responsible for most of the work around the house. I don't mind doing most of the work because his job is outside the home and mine is inside the home. I just can't seem to keep it all together. I go to bed late get up before the sun and still don't get it all done in a day. I tried flylady.net it didn't work well for me. I've never been a very organized person or been good with routines. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Kimberly - posted on 08/24/2010

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Make a list of all the things you need to do around the house. Divide it up into urgent (like dishes), and not urgent tasks (like lawn cutting). Do the urgent stuff first, then do what you can of the non urgent ones. Aim for one a day. Then two. You'll get the swing of things quick enough.

The only things that are really urgent are dishes, and laundry. Don't necessarily worry about folding the laundry, just that it's clean.

Also, your girls can help you out. Try offering an allowance for specific chores?

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I wanted to add...if something doesn't get done, DON'T STRESS! Keep your family first. If their needs are more urgent or important than putting dishes away, do the dishes tomorrow.

Oh, and your 12 and 11 year olds should have some responsibility. Maybe pass off dishes and folding towels to them. =)

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I have daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

Daily:
laundry (if needed, during naptime), dishes (immediatly after dinner), bathroom (during daughter's bathtime), kitchen counters (as I'm clearing dishes into the dishwasher)

Weekly:
Vacuum, dust, change and wash bedsheets, scrub kitchen floor, grocery store

Monthly:
clean out and vacuum car, organize a closet or cabinets (eventually they all get done)

As for meals, I menu plan. I take 20 minutes to go through the refrigerator (also a good time to throw away anything that has gone bad) and pantry to see what I already have on hand. I make my menu accordingly. Don't forget to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for each day. Then I make my grocery list based on the remaining ingredients. You can do a week at a time, but I do two weeks at a time. The second week I make a quick trip to buy perishables like milk and produce. Usually my two week menu lasts almost three weeks because we end up with leftovers, get invited to eat with our parents or grandparents, or go out. That is why before I shop, I see what is left so I can use those ingredients first. It makes my grocery trip quick and painless, eliminates impulse buys, and saves tons of time.

When you get really good at menu planning, you can add couponing and sale shopping. I didn't add this in the steps above, but after I see what I have on hand, and before I make my menu, I look through our local grocery store's sales ad. If ground meat is on sale, for example, I will plan several meals with ground meat. If I have the money, I'll buy more ground meat than I need so I'll have it on hand for the next two week planning period. It saves so much money in the long run to buy more than you currently need when it's on sale, because you'll eventually use it!

Each Sunday when the coupons come in the paper (I don't buy it, I get it from my mom and grandmother) I clip the coupons I need. I have them filed by category. I only cut coupons for things I use. I throw away the rest. Buying something because you have a coupon will waste money if you don't use it. After I menu plan, I go through the coupons and see what I have that matches what is on the list. I take this time to throw away any expired coupons I notice as I'm going through them.

Menu planning really does not take that long. But I admit that going through sales ads and coupons can be a long process. I wouldn't do that right away. Ease into it. Eventually it becomes second nature. To me, it's worth it. Half an hour's work can save between 20-50 bucks! How is that for an hourly wage. ;)

Sal - posted on 08/24/2010

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make habbits for your self, for example, i never leave the house with out having the dishwasher on (or at least check if it needs to be on) and put the nappies in the bin as soon as they are changed , or tie jobs together, i fold the washing while the kids are in the bath ( i can watch them bath from the laundry), make the beds when i go for a shower, i am not an orgainsied person either so it took sometime to form the habbits, i also read the book "it's all too much" like most self help books you have to read through hundreds of pages to get 1 good idea but was worth the read- for example get rid of thnigs that are not adding to your family life, toys old clothes ugly birthday presents from great aunt daisy that are making more work for you- storing them takes room and you could use that room better. I also have found that making it easy for my family to help without them trying is also good, a laundry basket where they leave their clothes rather than where i think it should be, small dust bins in everyroom rather than 1 only in the kitchen or bathroom. i put half of the kids toys away at a time so they have only a few things to play with at a time and half as much to clean up then swap when they are genuinly bored with them. the one thing i was really struggeling with was paper....mail, bills, just pages and pages of it- they were swamping me, i would always be looking for something, they would get lost and not get paid, i had filing cabnets, in and out trays on the desk nothing worked,now i now hole punch them and put them in a folder near the phone in the months they arrived, my hubby can find them and it really took the stress out of it.and i throw out anything not important at the end of the month... it is the little things that can make the biggest difference.

Jacquie - posted on 08/24/2010

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I have a day for each task- I home-school as well so that makes it interesting, but I agree with Kimberly, it's all about priorities. Decide what you can live with and what you can't.

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