Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Little Organization Can Go a Long Way

As busy parents we're always looking for ways to make things easier on ourselves. Well, I am at least. If I can get things done in advance of when they need to be done, when my husband is home to entertain the three children so that I can complete an entire task before I'm interrupted, then that is a wonderful thing.

I make sandwiches for school lunches on Sunday for the week (usually only 2 or 3 days--the other days she has macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets or buttered noodles in a Funtainer). I try to buy birthday gifts within a day or two of receiving the invitation. If at all possible, I stock up on sale presents when I stumble upon them.

I plan out our supper menus 3 weeks at a time. When I buy hamburger, my husband will brown it and freeze it for me to eliminate a step for some recipes.

But one of the most time-consuming tasks is always the laundry. We never can catch up completely since we're always wearing clothes (you're welcome). But there are still things that I have done to try to make things a little easier.

First, I sort my laundry as it is dirtied. I bought 4 nylon hampers at IKEA that I use to sort laundry. There is one each for reds, lights, darks and one for towels, socks and undergarments. These were $4 each and worth every cent. I know at a glance that I need to wash whites or towels or whatever. I also know that each bin, if filled to the top is at least 2 loads of laundry. When every bin is full I have a lot of laundry to do.

To ease the morning rush, I've bought hanging closet shelves so that I can pick out the kids' clothes for the entire week while I have time on the weekend. Of course this works best if your kids are spoiled blessed with a bunch of clothes and if they really don't care what they wear.

I store skirts and shorts on the upper "extra" shelves of Miss M's organizer.

K's closet is shorter than a regular closet so his organizer was a challenge to find. It's a cheap, flimsy one and I hope to find a nicer one for him soon. The bottom shelf of his holds out of season shorts.And since Ms. D rooms with us, her organizer is crammed between Craig's and my clothes. It only has room for 6 days (as K's does) but I just pick out their Sunday clothes on Saturday.And as I post these photos I see how messy our closets really are, but well, that's the way it goes isn't it?

What short cuts have you discovered to make life easier?


for a different kind of girl said...

I definitely have the laundry sorting system down (now, if I could just convince the boys around this place to bring their dirty laundry downstairs and not leave it on the bedroom floors!). I always try to plan any errands for the week for one afternoon (and hopefully all within a reasonable radius of each other) to avoid running around for short, wasteful trips every day.

I've got a clothing organizer for my youngest son, but I've got some work to do in there before I can make that system work.

Kate said...

I wish I had some magical thing to share to make life easier, but really, in our household, everything is made more difficult by the fact that we don't know how to organize anything. I think what would make life easier are about a gazillion of those rubbermaid tubs in my house to give everything a compartment.

Madeline said...

Nice tips! I wish I had the space for four baskets. That would be heaven. I'm definitely stealing the weekly clothing sorter idea. How fabulous is that!!

chelle said...

I like your system!

We have a laundry shoot from Becs room to the basement. So everyone in theory is responsible for placing their item down the shoot then I organize.

I too try to do much in advance although lately I am sorefully not organized, going more for a dazed, spacey mom thing.

Janet said...

The closet organizer is a great idea!

Hip Mom's Guide said...

Wait! What?! You plan dinner 3 weeks at a time? Holy moly. And I felt good if I got a week down on paper. Girl, you've got organized down. Don't sweat it. They will get bigger and do their own laundry one day!

As for the closets, try the "what if we moved?" plan every 6 months or so. Take it all out, and only put what really belongs in there back. Beauty! The other 5 months, just look away.

angi said...

Great ideas! I've wanted those weekly laundry sorters for years, and now my kids are finally getting better about just picking something & putting it on :)

As for dinner, I love to cook ahead, but do not do it often enough. Even browning hamburger ahead helps - I do that weekly. We usually have spaghetti & tacos every week so I cook it all in one day, then heat the next meal up the other day.

Something so basic that I just started (embarrassed to admit I am just getting this) - I keep file folders for each of my kids on my desk where I keep the important school info. Before, I'd be searching high & low for school handbooks, etc as needed. Now it is all right where I need it.

Damselfly said...

I love your do-ahead ideas! Very clever. I should do more things like that. said...

I like your hamper system. -- Plus, the lunches in advance too... however, the lunches are a huge challenge for me, even when I do them in advance.

The closet systems seems to help everyone get organized and ready for the week -- except my kids would never let me pick out even a sock!

Our mudroom is unheated, so I have them pull out their boots, and shoes, mittens and coats out in a pile on the register right before bed so they'll be warm and ready to go.