Here are three of my favorite tips for family life and home organization!
1. Morning Routine Checklist
A few months ago, I found these task charts with sliding buttons. Because my children can’t read, the task stickers they come with are perfect for creating checklists for young kids to follow independently. These checklists hang on our refrigerator, at their height. Currently, we’re only using the checklists to help foster independence in our morning routine. There are five things they do each morning: wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth, and put on shoes.
As our children get older, these charts will become more advanced, but right now they’re perfect for helping us get out the door more easily in the morning. We simply say, “What’s next on your checklist?” instead of repeating the task over and over. (Note: I meant to buy the custom “routine” chart, not the “chore” chart, but it works exactly the same . . . I just don’t love the word chores!)
2. Shared Calendars
Having both a Google Calendar and a paper planner has worked great for our family.
- Google Calendar: When I create a Google Calendar event, there are two things I always do for family activities . . .
1. Create a Notification (the alarm icon): The default selection will set your phone to notify you one hour before and 10 minutes before, but you can also change how far in advance you are notified and whether by phone or email.
2. Add a Guest: I add my husband’s email address to all family events. He gets an email to accept the event, and once accepted he will then get the same notifications that I created for the event.
Google Calendar helps with recurring events, like swim lessons, as well as far-out events like dentist appointments, trip dates, extracurricular activities, etc. It keeps us both on the same page regarding what’s coming up.
- Paper Planner: I keep a paper planner on our kitchen counter. The two key features of any planner for me are . . .
1. Thick pages: So that the ink from my favorite pens does not bleed through.
2. Vertical weekly layout
Below is a sample layout for a week in January. I prefer the vertical columns so I can lay each day out chronologically with the morning tasks at the top of each column, and evening tasks/events at the bottom. The vertical layout helps me to visualize each day from start to finish. The paper planner allows me to add exciting tasks like going to the grocery store and doing laundry, without hundreds of sticky notes around my house or my phone buzzing with mundane reminders.
3. Bins for Everything
We have bins, bags, boxes, and baskets everywhere for home organization! When things have a place, everyone can find them. I can’t recommend this enough. Included are pictures of some of the storage bins, baskets, and bags around our home!