How to Stay Insanely Organized This School Year. (step by step planning system + free download)
The role of mom is the most challenging now than it has ever been. The demands mom’s face on a daily basis is very stressful and overwhelming. But the key to maintaining busy mom life and reducing stress and overwhelm is having systems. I take a systematic approach to every area of my mom life. Having systems help your day to day operations run like a well oiled machine. Mom life is TOUGH!!! But being organized is half the battle.
Here are some systems that I implement in my home and that have made mom life a little easier. Hopefully they will work for you too or at least give you ideas on systems you can create in your home.
A place for everything and everything in its place
Having a home for every single item you own is the key to keeping a tidy home. Categorizing items by similarity, size, shape, etc. is a great way to organize your things. Things that are used often should be easily accessible whereas things needed occasionally can be stored in hard to reach places.
Two systems that I recommend creating in your home for the back to school season is one for school supplies and one for important papers. These were always a challenge for me.
- Set your kids up for success and independence by creating a space solely dedicated for school supplies. This place should be easily accessible for kids to get and put back the items they need. It should be stocked with everything they need to complete homework – pens, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, erasers, pencil sharpeners, ruler and anything else your kids may need. This way while your busy preparing dinner, walking the dog and speaking to your great aunt on the phone, your kids can independently do their homework without interrupting you unnecessarily asking where the glue sticks are.
- Create a space to keep flyers, notes and any important papers that need your attention in one place. This way when you have the time, all the important papers that require your attention is in one organized place. I’m currently using a folder system to keep track of the school papers that are coming in. I have a section for papers that require my attention, and a section to store or file. Then every night before bed, I spend about 15 minutes going through the papers that require my attention – filling out forms, inputting important dates into my calendar, making a list of important contact info, etc.
Devote 15 minutes per day to decluttering (Pomodoro Style)
Spending just 15 minutes everyday tidying, organizing and decluttering your home can make a world of difference. As a busy mama, I find working in short intervals helps me to be more productive. This interval work method is called the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a time management method that focuses on working smarter in a shorter period of time. Set a timer on your phone or Alexa device and get as much done as you can in the time allotted. Depending on how many people living in your home and how old your kids are you may have to do this more than once a day. But I promise you it’s an effective, quick way to keep a tidy home.
I am a list junkie. I have a list of lists I need to make. It’s impossible to keep track of everything inside your head and it can get overwhelming fast. Making lists is a sure way to get everything that’s jumbling your brain organized. Whether you use your smart phone, you’re a post it junkie, you like a journal with fancy pens or you use the back of unnecessary or dated papers that come home in your kid’s backpacks, find a system that works for you and be consistent with it. Have a master food shopping list that you can edit as needed. Keep you to do list accessible and updated so you’re always on top of important tasks.
I have a master calendar and dry erase board in my kitchen. On my dry erase board is where I write EVERYTHING. Food items and other items I need to buy, reminders, due dates, etc. I have my older kids right what they need on the dry erase board. My kids usually tell me about upcoming events, or things they need when I’m in the middle of cooking dinner and I most likely won’t remember. So now in addition to telling me their needs/wants, they can write it on the dry erase board. If it aint written, it aint happening.
We also write out our lunch menu for the week on the dry erase board. This eliminates a lot of the guess work and running out of items when it comes time to making lunches.
Keep a journal
A journal is a great way to organize busy mom life. I often get stressed out and overwhelmed keeping track of 4 kids and all of their commitments. But having a consistent place to transfer everything that’s overwhelming my brain helps a lot. Seeing things written out on paper reduces stress and overwhelm and puts things into perspective. You can even organize your lists in your journal. I happen to really like a bullet journal. A bullet journal is so much more than just a journal, it’s a methodology. It’s a productivity system that helps you live life intentionally.
Figuring out what you need your bullet journal for is part of the process but once you learn how your bullet journal can best serve you, it’s a total game changer. I divide my bullet journal into 4 sections – planner, tracker, collections (lists, to do’s, goals, etc.) and as a journal.
Check out this video for more on bullet journal.
Having routines takes the guess work out of it. Life with kids is unpredictable so for me creating a constant ritual helps ease stress and overwhelm. A solid morning routine sets the tone for how your day is going to start.
I recommend waking up before your kids, doing something that serves your mind, body or soul and then get yourself ready first before your kids get up. You’re morning routine can be just 15 minutes or it can be 2 hours. You create a routine that works for you.
Similarly a nighttime routine should be something non stimulating that serves your mind, body or soul. It can be as short as 15 minutes or however long you’d like that fits in with your lifestyle.
Click here for more Amazingly Awesome Back to School Tips.
Clean often and as you go
My husband is a pretty good cook. He can definitely rock out in the kitchen. But by the time he’s done, my kitchen looks like a tornado came through. I on the other hand like to clean up as I go. This way there is less mess at the end of dinner. You can also apply the Pomodoro technique to cleaning your home. Set a timer for an allotted amount of time and get as much done as you can in that time span. I apply this technique to different areas of my home throughout the week. For me, I like that I can get all my cleaning done without spending hours at a time dedicated to cleaning. The downfall to this technique is your entire house isn’t clean at the same time. Do what works for you.
Do a load of laundry a day
So laundry just sucks. There’s no hack, trick or tip that will alleviate the burden of laundry. If you have one feel free to share. But there’s nothing more dreadful to me than overflowing hampers and laundry baskets. It weighs heavy on me and as a family of 6 this has become the norm. I need to do a load of laundry every day to keep up. If you can wash, fold and put away a load a day you are a super mom and deserve an award. I did that once and it was one of the greatest days of my life.
So often us mama’s spread ourselves thin. We don’t want to say no to people or to our kids for fear of hurting feelings. But the one who gets hurt in the end is YOU. It’s okay and necessary to sometimes say no. You don’t have to attend every play date, birthday party or social gathering you’re invited to. If saying no is what would work best for you and your family, then no it is, guilt free.
Plan it out
Long gone are the days of free time and spur of the moment things. I used to be queen of spur of the moment. Now as a mama of 4, I have EVERYTHING planned. I spend a lot of time planning. At the end of every week, I sit down and plan for the following week. This alleviates stress and helps me to stay organized.
I love planners and planning systems. I’m always trying out new planning strategies.
The 4 Step Simply Organized System
I started using this 4 step visual planning system to simplify and optimize my time and it’s been a true game changer.
Here’s the breakdown…
Step 1 – Brainstorm
Brainstorm a list of things that need to get done for the week. Use the questions on the left hand side to get evrything thats overcrowding your brain onto paper. Seeing a visual of your to do’s reduces stress and overwhelm and puts things into perspective.
Step 2 – Categorize
Take your brainstorm list from Step 1 and separate them into categories. Breaking down your to do’s visually simplifies the work load making things more “doable”.
Step 3 – Prioritize
In this step, you’re breaking down your categorized tasks even more by applying it to the ABCDE Method. This method is a simple and effective technique that places priority on each of your tasks.
Step 4 – Schedule
In this final step, you fill in your schedule using your prioritized list.
Before you do that, you would fill in any non negotiables first – appointments, meetings, deadlines, etc. and then fill in your tasks from step 3.
The more detailed you are in your planning, the more successful you will be at getting everything accomplished without stress and overwhelm.
Since implementing this planning system, my stress level and overwhelm have decreased drastically. Mom life is TOUGH, being organized is half the battle.
You can download this Planning System below.
Check out my new Back to School E-book. The Back to School Survival Guide for the Naturally Minded Mom.
Kickstart into the New School Year with this easy to read, compact, all inclusive e-book. Get actionable tasks that you can implement immediately so you can set yourself and your family up for a smooth and successful school year.
In this E-book I talk about common struggles that many of us moms face throughout the school year such as what and how to feed your family healthy meals, how to keep kids healthy throughout the school year, the all so common lunchbox dilema, how to establish routines and systems and of course keeping your kids lice free.
Hi there! I'm Danielle, mom blogger, visionary and dreamer.
I'm on a mission to help moms create a Simply Pure life of Joy + Balance + Optimal Health & Wellness for ourselves and our families.
My goal is to un-complicate life and provide moms with the tools and strategies to make informed decisions so you can live your best mom life. .
Read more about the girl behind the blog here
Want to live Naturally? Click here for my FREE Natural Cleaning Guidebook