Hope you and yours had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday!

The baby and I were happy to have Daddy and big brother home for almost a week. We also had a house full of family visiting from out of town, which makes any holiday a bit warmer. The daily chaos, disrupted bedtimes, late mornings, frequent excursions and overindulging in sugar is now coming to an abrupt halt.

Normally, I’d be panicking. I’d be twirling around my house like a tornado trying to prepare for getting back into the grind. After experiencing one too many stressful Mondays, I finally invested some time and minimal expenses into getting more organized and tone down the chaos a few notches. It has made life much easier and even after almost a week of crazy, I’m feeling prepared for getting right back into the swing of things come Monday morning.

Here are a few tips on how to get organized for weekday success.

  1. Organize school clothes for the week. If you have a toddler or preschool age kiddo, you have more than likely experienced power struggles over choosing clothes. Heck, even I waste more time than I’d like to admit trying to choose my own clothes in the mornings. Nevertheless, I finally found an awesome Daily Clothes Organizer that allows me to choose outfits for the entire week and still put a little fun into the whole process of getting ready. Athletic clothes go in the PE day cubbies. Any other items that he needs to take to school, for example, on “Sharing Day” goes in the cubby as well.  My guy likes reading the day of the week, pulling out his clothes and getting ready all by himself. Phewf.
  2. Decide on a packed lunch menu for the week . We now have a chalkboard menu of packed lunch ideas to cut the thinking out on mornings. I don’t always follow the menu for the week, but it still helps having options listed in a visible area to provide ideas. Also, all packed lunch items are placed in designated areas in the kitchen and pantry to avoid having to scavenge when we’re working against the clock.IMG-20151029-WA0001
  3. Have a grab and go station in your home. We have an area by the garage door that has all grab and go items needed before jetting off. Chapstick, sunscreen, hats, umbrellas, backpacks, laptop bags, diaper bag, and shoes are all in one spot. This makes the last few steps before loading up the car move along quickly.IMG_20151129_233342822
  4. Have a “catch all” hamper. We have a two-story home with the laundry room on the second floor. My older one likes to come down in his PJs and get ready downstairs. This means his PJs need to go back upstairs but who has time to run up and down the stairs in the morning? Also, having an 8 month old means we collect lots of soiled burp cloths, receiving blankets, and toys throughout the day too. So a perfect solution for not having piles of random items laying around (which means constant clean up) is to have a “catch all” hamper. We take this upstairs at the end of the night and empty it in the laundry room in one trip. This helps keep the downstairs somewhat clean-er.
  5. Keep extracurricular activity bags ready. If there are items that are needed for after school activities, keep those bags ready to go. For example, my son has swim class once a week. Instead of putting his swim trunks and towel back in the drawer after laundry day, they go right back in the tote. The tote stays in the grab and go station by our garage door (revert back to #3). I even throw in some packaged snacks in the tote itself so my guy has something to munch on after class and it’s one less thing I have to remember to grab.
  6. Stock up on necessary grocery items. If you’re running low or completely out of go-to foods in your kitchen, make sure these are replenished by Sunday night. This is most important for breakfast and packed lunches. We have a magnetic wipe-board on the side of our fridge. When something is emptied or frighteningly low (we have a picky eater on our hands so some things we just can’t live without), it gets written on the board. The person going to the grocery store takes a picture of the list on his/her phone, which then becomes a mobile shopping list. Items are then wiped off when the kitchen is restocked upon returning from the grocery store excursion.IMG_20151130_240607461
  7. Keep baby essentials at arm’s length. I love baskets. It might be a bit of an obsession, but I have baskets all over my house to attempt at staying organized. I have three baskets in my family room: 1. A basket filled with burp cloths and receiving blankets. 2. A basket with diapers and all other diaper changing items. 3. A basket full of small, portable toys and books. When I need to grab a few items on my way out the door, I don’t have to go searching. Most of the things that I need for a quick trip are easily accessible. I also keep the diaper bag filled with wipes, diapers and change of clothes, so there’s less I need to replenish with every trip.
  8. Have a box in your car for emergency items. Keep a basket or box in your trunk that holds any emergency items: sweatshirts, hats, umbrellas, undies, etc. Having this little security blanket in the car is helpful for any last minute disasters. Check out other related tips on the I Am Mall-Mom blog post.

Finding new ways to simplify mornings is a work in progress, but these recent updates have definitely been a time saver and sanity saver too. Happy (Cyber) Monday!