Memory For Mommies

... Cutting through the Fog of Motherhood

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A Checklist For Staying Organized

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staying organized - the juggle

Organization is a key component for moms to maintain control of their memory and sanity. Yet staying organized is one of the major issues that moms struggle with once a child is born. At first, organizational challenges are wrapped around proper coordination with the spouse and/or other resources. But as the child gets older it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain an organized household primarily due to the child’s burgeoning schedule. Here are some tips to staying organized from famed household writer and mommy, Bonnie Rice.

 Things to do immediately:  

  • Establish a place for book bags and diaper bags. Let everyone in the family know where that spot is and place the bags there immediately, if possible. You might choose a countertop or shelf near the door, or hang a few hooks or pegs for these items. Don't wait until school starts. Do it NOW.


  • Plan a time each evening to prepare for the following day. Decide when you will read school or daycare correspondence and fill out forms and permission slips each day.


  • Establish a time each afternoon or evening when children can do homework and study, even if studying just means reading for fun, if there isn't too much homework that night. Let children know that there is time for homework, and they just might remember to bring it home.


  • Get up on time. Purchase an alarm clock for each bedroom, if you don't have enough, and show the children how to use them. Start using them. Get used to getting up at the same time every morning.


  • Cook ahead. Start freezing leftover breakfast items when you have extra pancakes or waffles. Pancakes go in the microwave for about two minutes, and waffles go in the toaster for a quick, hot breakfast.



Things to do every weekday afternoon or evening:


  • Watch the weather report on the evening news and use the information to plan outerwear for the morning.


  • Organize children's clothing into complete outfits that are acceptable for school. Let children help as much as possible or encourage them to do it themselves. Include shoes, socks, underwear, a jacket (if needed) and any accessories such as barrettes, belts or jewelry. (Use a list until everyone remembers just what needs to be set out.) You can put everything in Zip-loc-style bags or just fold or hang the items together. If you have trouble picking outfits in the morning, you can organize your clothing this way as well.


  • Lay out all items that will be taken to work or school. Book bags should be packed, diaper bags replenished, and homework completed before bedtime! Make sure any forms or permission slips (or money or whatever) are packed.


  • Set the table for breakfast. If you can put child-friendly (light) pitchers of milk and juice in the fridge, children can make their own cold-cereal breakfasts, freeing you for other things.


  • Prepare lunches. Any lunch that will survive a morning in a locker will survive a night in the refrigerator. You may want to save a shelf in the fridge for lunches. Or put lunch money into envelopes in book bags.


  • Give baths in the evening, if possible -- more hot water, more time.


  • Follow your schedule!



In the morning:  


  • Make sure everyone is up on time. You may want to let the baby sleep until it's almost time to leave, but anyone who can help out in the morning needs to be awake. School-age children can use an alarm clock, if you teach them how. This can save you more time in the morning than you'd dare believe.


  • Make your bed. Put away pajamas. Tidy up the bedroom. These are things that each family member can do.


  • Make sure everyone eats breakfast -- you, too! If cold cereal is not your style, try frozen waffles or even the leftovers from last night's dinner. It is important to eat something healthful -- and it doesn't have to be traditional breakfast food. 


  • Set the dishes to soak or stack them in the dishwasher. Family members who can walk can take their dishes to the sink.


  • Establish a morning hygiene routine for each family member. Hands and face need to be washed every morning. Hair and teeth need brushing. Older children and adults may use deodorant, make-up, etc. You may need to schedule bathroom time as children go through stages when they spend more time on grooming. Plan for it! Boys aren't much better than girls at this.


  • Make sure everyone is dressed properly. A parent may need to help in some cases.


  • Place lunches into book bags or on a counter so everyone will remember to take them. Hand them out as children go out the door.


  • Put on jackets, rain gear, hats and mittens or sweaters as appropriate for the weather.


As you go out the door, remember to make sure everyone has:


  • Lunch or lunch money


  • Appropriate outerwear (coats, rain gear, hats and mittens)


  • Book bags, diaper bags, brief cases and other necessities


  • Keys


What do you do to stay organized?



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