School is back in full swing and if you’re anything like me, your plate just got a lot fuller. With after-school practices and homework to juggle amongst other things, there are only so many hours in the day.
How I’m Staying Organized
One of my biggest challenges as a mom to four kids is staying organized and one step ahead of the chaos. Over the years, I’ve developed a few systems that have helped, but it’s still a struggle at times.
Nonetheless, these are the best ways I’ve found to keep a household with a lot of moving parts and bodies running as smoothly as possible.
Color It Up
From laundry baskets to dinner plates, we color code just about everything around here. By labeling laundry baskets, I can sort the clothes in the baskets quickly and the kids are responsible for folding and putting away their own clothes. We bought a cheap set of dinner plates from Target a few years ago in four different colors so each kid has their own designated plate. When we are serving dinner, it makes it easy and painless for my husband and me to remember which plates belong to each kid. This helps us avoid disasters like our condiment adverse child accidentally getting ketchup on her plate.
Lay It Out
We have marker boards for everything from the monthly schedule to the week’s meal plan in our house. The monthly calendar is color-coded so that each child has their own color and activities can be understood in a quick glance. There’s nothing worse than taking the wrong kid across town to soccer (not that I’ve ever done that). We also have marker boards for a running to-do list, grocery list and the meal plan for the week. By keeping the meal plan on the fridge, I can take a quick look every morning to see what I need to set out or prepare ahead of time for dinner that night.
Hang It Up
Keeping homework organized can be a real challenge with four kids. In order to try and tame the paperwork piles, I have hanging clipboards near the kitchen where I can clip important papers and homework for each child separately. I also keep color-coded files (there I go again) for each child in a magazine holder for storing more long-term paperwork like physical forms and records. Sorting those papers by individual kid makes it much easier to find something when we need it. For me, physical clutter equals mental clutter so it’s important to keep papers organized and off the counter.
Throw It Out
This might sound bad, but I save very little of my kids’ schoolwork. Unless something is really special or adorable, that stuff goes straight into the recycle bin. Those things that I do love find a home in a bin that’s way overdue for an organization session. But at least I know where everything is.
Staying organized with a herd of kids can be a full-time job. With some good systems and some pre-planning, however, it is possible. Take the time to put strategies into place that will work for you and your family and if something’s not working, don’t do it anymore.
I’d love to hear how you manage the chaos. What do you do to stay organized during the school year?