Our guest writer this week is Janice Russell of Parenting Disasters.
How to Become and Remain an Organized Parent
As a parent, your life is hectic. Between work, your kids’ activities, and household responsibilities, there are probably days when you hardly know which end is up. If you aren’t generally an organized person, you might struggle to keep track of everything that’s going on. In that case, becoming and remaining organized can help you manage all your tasks. Here are some cost-efficient tips and tricks to help you be an organized parent.
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Keep a Planner
Your first step in becoming organized is to set up a planner. You can do this on your phone or purchase a paper planner. Just be sure that you have enough space to set up to-do lists, record appointments, and activities, and make plenty of notes. Of course, no matter how good your planner is, it’ll be useless if you don’t keep it up. Start off your morning with a look at your planner and write in the necessary updates. Make your to-do list as well and whatever notes you need to aid your memory. Check your planner frequently throughout the day. Do a review at the end of the day and transfer leftover tasks to the next day.
Make a Morning Routine
A key to maintaining an organized life is to organize your time. A consistent morning routine is a great way to begin this practice. By starting each day with a predictable, repeatable routine, you conserve mental energy that you’ll need to be the best parent you can be. Try creating a morning routine for yourself, and don’t be afraid to experiment with it until you find what works for you.
Stay on Top of Household Tasks
Household tasks can pile up in a hurry if you don’t stay on top of them. Get into a routine as much as you can. Have a particular time to wash dishes, for instance, and set a day to do laundry or vacuum and dust. Post a grocery list on the refrigerator and add to it whenever you notice you’re low on something. Also, plan meals for a week if at all possible. That will help you avoid last-minute what-to-eat-tonight scrambles. Give your kids chores as well. Make up some chore charts with age-appropriate tasks to help them learn responsibility.
After chore time, try getting outside with the family. If you live in a walkable area, take advantage of it as much as possible by going on walks together. Not only is it a great way to spend time with one another, everyone benefits from getting some extra movement in for the day.
Your household tasks will be more manageable if you do some decluttering. Go room by room and make three piles of stuff. In one pile, put things you haven’t used and won’t. Next, stack items that you might use. In the third, place things you definitely want to keep. Sell or donate the first pile, and organize the items in the third pile using storage bins and boxes so that everything is neat and easily accessible. Now revisit the second pile and ask yourself some hard questions. Make yourself put items into the donation stack if you won’t use them or store them away neatly if you honestly think you will.
Now that you’ve decluttered your objects, it’s time to manage your paperwork. This is especially important if you work from home, and it will make you much more organized. Set up a filing system for your paper documents, or, perhaps better, digitize those documents, and store them securely on your computer. Back up all your files, though, so that you don’t lose anything important.
By keeping a planner, decluttering, prioritizing household tasks, and managing your paperwork, you can stay organized. And you might find the craziness of family life diminishing just a little.