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.
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. Find loads of freezable school lunch ideas here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!