How to be an Organised Mum

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Thank you to reader Renee for sharing her Organised Mum thriving at home tips. With a family of 4 kids, this full-time mum has a 14year old in high school, a 5year old in prep, a 4year old in kindy, a 1year old at home full-time and a working husband. With such a busy family life, Renee has learnt that ANY housework is better than none, so she works hard and does what she can.  “I have a few things that I have learnt along the way or from other mums, so its a continual learning curve for me.” Thank you to Renee for sharing these tips on how to be an Organised Mum with us:

How to be an Organised Mum

I have many days I run out of patience and it gets frustrating to say things 4-5 times, and sometimes I just want to stop and sit down too, but it’s so rewarding when you step back and look at your family and the achievements you have achieved. Time goes wayyyyy too quickly, and your children will not be babies for long, nor will they stay young forever.

How to be an Organised Mum

Time Management

Make school lunches the night before – this is a good way to avoid running out of bread, fruit, yogurt etc. It gives you time to get back in your car and get the missing food items you need to make your school lunches with. You can also rethink the lunch ideas if you need to for healthier lunch options. A morning without a good start makes for a long day of chasing your tail. Check out the Bento range of Lunchboxes available in Kat’s store.

Freeze school lunches where possible – Pre-make sandwiches and freeze home-made or store-bought cookies and muffins to make things easier for yourself. That way you can just chuck them in the lunch box in the morning, and they will defrost by lunchtime. At least you have an emergency stash on hand this way, incase you do run out of bread. Baby bottles can be washed in the dishwasher and sterilised after. You can do this from around 6 months of age. 

You can find HEAPS of tried and tested freezer friendly recipes perfect for school lunchboxes in my Lunch Box Recipe Cookbook. Creating stress-free mornings, healthy lunches (the family actually eats!), and saving money on your grocery bill really can be as easy as pie!

  CHECK OUT: The Organised Housewife Lunch Box Recipe Cookbook here.

Lunch Box Recipe Cookbook by The Organised Housewife

Plan a menu and shop with a list – it takes me 20-30mins and coffee to sit down and write out dinners for the week and write out the necessary groceries that I need to buy.  Kat shares her family’s menu plans each week, so check them out for some inspiration. Kat also has several Meal Planners available which are great for this kind of thing.

Get yourself a comprehensive weekly planner or wall calendar – bringing all your ‘to-dos’ together into once convenient (and very pretty!) spot is the best way to streamline and organise life. The Organised Housewife Wall Calendar and Weekly Planner are literally overflowing with fancy features that make creating a calmer, more coordinated and less stressful life – that’s also filled with precious spare time and self love – super simple.

  GET ORGANISED: with The Organised Planners.

The Organised Housewife 2020 Weekly Planner and Wall Calendar

Create a recipe folder – I have a recipe folder with all the meals I have cooked and then I also have a folder labelled “to try” where I have ruthlessly torn pages from magazines or cookbooks. I only have a few select cookbooks that I keep on hand these days because it was just getting ridiculous the number of cookbooks I was hoarding, so I made it my mission to go through and copy or rip out the recipes I liked and then toss or donate the rest. Kat has a similar system here.

  DOWNLOAD HERE: The Recipe Organiser here.

Cooking bigger batches for dinner – I cook 2 packets of tacos, spaghetti or a big lasagna pack so that I have a few portions that I can throw into the freezer for future lunches, saving me some time with cooking.

Pre-chop and bag items – Something that I am trying to do when time permits; which it rarely does, is pre-chop and bag items for these planned dinners. I cut the rump into strips and then freeze it, or I put diced chicken in a bag with the marinade sauce and put that in the freezer until I need it. Read more details here about pre-chopping fruit and vegetables. Also, check out some of Kat’s Bulk Baking Recipes.

Declutter once a week – I don’t mean a BIG declutter, but I do fill a bag or box with broken or unwanted things and toss them, donate them to charity or simply give them away. I honestly don’t know how we get so much stuff in this house! If you need help decluttering, sign up to Kat’s Declutter Challenge and get on board.

Program EVERYTHING into my phone – I put everything into the calendar section of my iPhone and set myself reminders for things like a community dress up day. I set myself a reminder for one week prior to an event, so that I have time to organise a costume. When school photos are on, I remind myself to make the payment on time and order the photos that I want. I read the school newsletter and put in dates that relate to my kids, otherwise, I KNOW I will forget these things.

Homework caddy – My recent addition is a homework caddy, which is a little storage toolbox style box with pencils, glue, crayons, sharpeners and the all-important sticky tape that 4-5yr olds think will fix everything! Amazingly, since I created this, everything has been put back in the box and the caddy goes back in the office until needed again. You can find some clever ideas on homework nooks here and here.Organised Homework Nook / Station

Room Cleaning Race – My 4 and 5year olds play a race against each other to clean their rooms every 3rd or 4th night, and mummy and daddy will help them sort the clothes only! It seems to be fun to them, so try it with your kids and inspire them to clean their rooms through a game. Here are some tips for Organised Storage ideas.

NO screen time before school – Unless my kids are fully dressed, and that means shoes and socks, their bags are fully packed with their lunchbox, drink bottle, library bag, home readers, sight word lists etc, I don’t let them use any technology. Only after everything is ready, I’ll let them watch a bit of tv or let them on the iPad for a bit. Here are 10 ways to limit your kid’s screen time.

Washing

Kids can wear clothes more than once – Try to limit the washing! There is no reason that kids can’t wear a school uniform twice in a row without being washed unless they have spilled something on it.

When you ask the kids to clean their rooms – Tell them to put everything on the bed so you can see what needs to be put away. Items like clothes that have been thrown on the floor or crammed into the cupboard can be sorted to see if they’re clean, dirty or unworn. Otherwise, expect it all in the wash basket.

I recently read about colour coding towels –  Colour Code 3 towels of a set colour to each family member, this way everyone knows whose towel is whose. This is the next project I want to do when money permits.

My Sanity

When kids get cranky – When my little girl gets cranky, I find a change of environment helps both of us. I take our lunch outside and let her crawl and toddle around. It helps her to forget that she was cranky in the first place.

When my boys were 2/3yrs – And I needed a break, I’d fill a muffin tin with shaving cream and a few drops of food colouring in each compartment to make different colours. I would give them a paintbrush each and set them up in the bathtub to paint the empty tub. Why not since it washes away so easily and they just LOVED it! Here are some more kids activity ideas to consider.

 

Organised school storage system – I have to thank Kat for the school storage system idea because it’s one of the systems that I have implemented into my own life.  It’s from stuff masters and the boys know that as soon as they get home from school, they must follow these steps. Check out Kat’s 20 practical school bag storage ideas.

  • put lunch box and drink bottle on kitchen table
  • put school bag away
  • get out of uniform (i am working on the hanging up or wash basket bit with them still. We’ll get there.
  • Hang up hats, sports uniforms, library bags, ties etc. This way everything is located in one spot!

 

WHAT IS YOUR BEST TIP TO STAY ORGANISED WITH KIDS?

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21 comments

Caley September 24, 2015 - 6:22 AM

So many great ideas – thanks for the tips! x

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 28, 2015 - 7:17 PM

Renee was so lovely to share her tips!

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Julia K September 24, 2015 - 7:50 AM

My two main tips are 1) to have an excellent wall calendar and 2) my “household organisation” binder

1) Calendar
Having a great wall calendar is a help. I have a large calendar on the wall right next to my desk.
ALL TIME COMMITMENTS are immediately written on this calendar and I also use it to manage our finances.
Regular time commitments such as dance classes, soccer practice etc are written on the calendar in black.
Other time commitments (eg picking my husband up from the airport, sleepover dates) are written in blue ink.
As I receive a bill in the post, I make a note of the amount eg Telstra $250 in red ink on the due date. The bill then gets filed in date order in my “payables” folder.
I check the calendar regularly and this keeps me organised. I usually pay the bills once a week and this way I know when to move money around in our accounts and I don’t pay late fees or interest on credit cards.
My children know to check the calendar for any commitments.
I have experimented with many calendars over the years and have gone back to the “More Time Moms” family organiser. The only downside with this calendar is that it is produced in Canada so all the holidays are North American ones – not Australian. However, I am sad to say that I have not found anything as good locally. The advantages are as follows:
* The calendar is BIG and has large squares for each day so there is plenty of room to write in all my families commitments
* It is a 16 month calendar (running from Sept 2015 through December 2016. This is great for when you get all of those notes at the end of the year pertaining to the next school year and avoids having to scribble on the bottom of your December calendar – you can go right ahead and note your January and February commitments down in the proper spot !
* The calendar has matt finish pages so it is EASY to write on (I hate annoying shiny paper for calendars – so hard to write on)

2) Household Organisation Binder
This is simply an A4 sized lever arch binder with a stack of dividers and plastic sheet holders. Each divider pertains to a section of your life eg School, Dancing, Medical, Travel etc. It’s like a huge “pending” tray that holds all of those temporary bits of paper eg notes for dancing, airline bookings, prescription repeats. Eg if I make a travel booking, I’ll note the details on my wall calendar and file the paperwork for the flights / car hire / accommodation etc in a plastic sheet holder under travel. It is great to have everything in one place and I don’t lose things.

Hope these tips help someone.

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Renee September 24, 2015 - 8:18 AM

Hi Julia,
I recently found a great Large wall calendar at officeworks $18.95 AAG month wall calendar…
I’ve been searching for a large calendar also.. It’s only 2016 (Jan -Dec) that I have seen but looks like what your after ?

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Julia K September 24, 2015 - 9:35 AM

Thanks for the info on the Officeworks Calendar Renee – I’ll check it out.

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Catherine July 3, 2016 - 9:24 AM

I get a large family calendar from Kikki K

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Miss Maudy September 25, 2015 - 11:14 AM

I’m a fan of those family calendars that have a column for each person – I used to get the Ultimate Family Organinser which had big spaces as well as six columns (one for Reg’s roster, and one each for the four of us, the dog and birthdays) BUT of course, when one has found the perfect calendar, it gets discontinued. I’ve used the Kikki.K one for the last two years and it’s not bad. There’s enough columns, space to write extra stuff on the bottom of the calendar, and it comes with stickers which is always fun. I use that in conjunction with a weekly planner that goes on the fridge (it has rosters, childcare, after school activities, which sheets are due to be changed next, the meal plan… It’s awesome, and I really notice when I don’t update it)

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Amanda Palmer September 26, 2015 - 10:23 PM

Hi have you looked at the kikki-k large family calendar? I find that quite good a column for each Hamilton member & a square each for each day? I’m not familiar with the one you use to compare but it’s Australian?

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 28, 2015 - 7:18 PM

Great tips Julia a household binder will help to keep everything organised 🙂

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Tracy September 24, 2015 - 7:22 PM

I’ve just recently returned to full-time work, after 19 years of being available and present in our home and for my children. This has required a whole other level of organisation I have required since I had my children!

The biggest deal-breaker for me was coming home at 5.30-6.00pm and having to cook dinner. I. Just. Couldn’t. My 19yo has taken over this aspect of our family’s routine. She helps me with meal planning (partly a Uni assignment for her) and the shopping, and then she organises getting meals cooked. She is home from Uni two days a week, the other two kids cook one meal each in the week, but she is home by 4.30pm. On Friday’s we are all over the place so everyone gets their own food. This has been such a blessing to me, but it’s also been good for our kids to learn some valuable life skills they’ll need when they leave home.

As for cleaning, I am about to approach a friend to outsource. We are all capable and competent but we are all majorly failing on this front.

I still make lunches fresh, first thing in the morning. I hate “old” sandwiches and my kids are right there with me. I do this before anyone else is up, when the house is peaceful and we prevent the “I need all the space” fights in the kitchen. I’ve also found that my 15yo son won’t take lunch if he has to make it himself. It’s one of the last things that I still do for my kids and it feels like one small way I get to remind them I love them in a tangible way. Once they leave high school the deal is over and they figure it out on their own.

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Miss Maudy September 25, 2015 - 11:20 AM

I totally agree with outsourcing – I had to let my ‘staff’ go when my partner finished work a bit over a year ago. He’s been working casually for the last six months and I have struggled so badly (because it’s apparently *my* job – sore point, long story, many sighs abound, and I’ve re-hired my ironing fairy). Now he’s back working full time, I am looking into a cleaner because I just don’t want to. Ever.

Dinner is 70/30 my way most nights, although it would average 60/40 over the course of the week. I cook the vegies and he cooks the meat.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 28, 2015 - 7:20 PM

What a wonderful daughter you have to help you!

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Bec September 24, 2015 - 7:43 PM

This seems to work in house. I have four children – 6, 5, 3, 3 years and although they are young they can still help out.

“Ten Things” – before we leave home in the morning everyone needs to pick up and put away 10 things (sometimes it’s more and sometimes it’s less) This can be their own 10 things or just random things lying around the house. They count as they pick up and I don’t seem to get many complaints and because there are 4 of them, that’s 40 things I don’t have to put away.

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Julia K September 24, 2015 - 11:06 PM

Bec – I think your “10 things” tip is brilliant !

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Bec October 15, 2015 - 8:21 PM

Thanks Julia! Picking up and putting away is one of my least favourite things!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 28, 2015 - 7:21 PM

Love this so much I’m going to go share it on the facebook page, brilliant!!

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Tania February 26, 2016 - 11:27 AM

Hi, I love this website, all great tips. I have an 12 year old boy and a 14 year old girl. I am looking for an easy routine for them that shows they are getting older and have more responsibility with out pushing them. Can you help??

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Karen July 1, 2016 - 11:31 AM

I work fulltime also and have recently started getting the groceries delivered. Why did I not do this sooner. I already meal planned and make a list so it is not a big change other than I don’t have to physically go to the shop. I spend less money too as I don’t pick up extra bits and pieces while walking around.

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Sharon July 30, 2016 - 2:31 PM

I just started click and collect at Coles & love it!!! I can shop online as I run out of stuff & meal plan, then put it thru by 1am to pick it up after work or mothers group. Saves so much time & energy when working part-time & having a 7 month old breast-fed baby!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife August 1, 2016 - 9:49 AM

that’s a great system Sharon, I haven’t tried click and collect yet.

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Marianne Refer February 25, 2017 - 2:45 AM

Great website and great tips. Thank you. In my house there are 3 things everybody have to remove from their room/office every morning and before bedtime, including dear hubby. That is laundry, trash and dishes. This does not make the room completely tidy, but it helps a lot.

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