I've been told that I run a "tight ship" around the house, although you couldn't tell by looking at it most days.
Here are some of the things that work for me.
- Make a weekly menu and make sure you buy everything you need to make those items through the week. I actually write down the menu and post it on the refrigerator. That way, my husband can start cooking if I'm busy and he can't say he didn't know what to make. I schedule some foods that would go right from the freezer to the oven/crock pot. That way, nothing goes to waste if we have an unplanned dinner out - it just stays in the freezer.
- Two words: Crock Pot. Nothing makes me happier than throwing in a few ingredients in the morning and coming home to a cooked meal. (It feels a little like you have a personal chef.)
- If you're cooking anything that can be frozen, double it and freeze half. I cook most things from scratch so this saves me time on nights that are a little more hectic. You do have to plan ahead and thaw the food in the refrigerator the night before. That's another reason the menu comes in handy.
- Do what you can to get ready for the next day the night before. I like to sit down and eat breakfast with my 3 year old and I'm not good at rushing. That means I need to be organized in the morning. (Because I don't want to get up any earlier than I already do!)
- Let your children help you. Many times you'll find my 3 year old cleaning/cooking with me while I wear the baby in my Boba wrap. It might take me a little longer, but I'm actually killing two birds with one stone - getting some necessary tasks done while spending quality time with the kids. I've also taught my 3 year old how to sort laundry. Another chance to spend time together while reinforcing colors, etc. (I'm pretty proud of that one.)
- Use the tv to your advantage. If you know me, you know I have a child development background. Before my second son was born, I was not a big fan of tv for children. Before my first was born, I swore my children would not watch tv. Things change... I allow my 3 year old to watch age appropriate shows while I'm busy doing other things. He doesn't watch them all day and it keeps him occupied (a.k.a. keeps him out of trouble). I enjoy watching tv once in awhile, too. It's really not the worst thing in the world. (Trust me, I've read many studies on it.)
- Tackle laundry one load at a time. If you do one load each night, you'll never spend an entire day chained to the washer and dryer. I also have a system in the laundry room to keep me organized. Everyone has a basket where their folded clothes go. I also have a double bar where I hang clothes. I fold or hang the clothes as I pull them out of the dryer so they never sit in a basket getting wrinkly only to be thrown in the dryer again later. I do have to admit, our laundry room looks like a closet because I don't have time to carry the clothes upstairs very often, but at least they're clean and organized.
- Make sure things are where you need them and everything has a place. Here are some examples - I have two diaper changing areas set up in my house: one upstairs, one downstairs. Our living room end tables have doors: one has books, one has toys. Our son can play there but once things are put away it still looks like an adult space.
- Make lists. My husband and I have an app on our phones that allows us to create shopping lists that can be accessed by either of us. We also keep a running list of things we need. If we use the last of something, it goes on the list right away. That way, we're not trying to remember everything once we get to the store.
- Keep a calendar. The app I mentioned above also has a calendar feature. You can even color code appointments for different people (which I love). We can set up reminders that come as texts and emails. I also share our appointments so they can be saved on our work calendars. That way, we never forget to take time off when we need to.
Feel free to share what works for you. I'm always looking new for ways to stay organized.