When I was pregnant and talking to friends about life with children, one of them said, ‘It all comes down to organisation and planning. If you get organised, things will be a lot easier.’
This stuck with me and although I’m naturally an organised person, the everyday challenges of motherhoodery have made me up my game. I’m by no means perfect and my life feels more chaotic now than it ever has done, but doing the things on this list help me stay sane.
So following my post Surviving The Mayhem of Life with a Little One, I thought I’d share a few ideas to help you get organised:
* Stock up
I learnt this from mum! Growing up she always had items on ‘standby.’ Jars of Branston, tins of beans, toilet rolls, all ready for when needed. Now I do the same. There is nothing more satisfying than stocked cupboards! To get the best price I buy in bulk where possible. This is ideal for nappies, wipes, tinned or jarred food, dried pasta, toilet rolls, washing powder and pretty much anything that has a long shelf life. As soon as I get down to one spare pack, I re-stock. Of course, life gets in the way and we still run out of things, but there haven’t been many late night dashes.
* Organise drawers and cupboards
This is where my neat-freaky nature excels. I love a well-organised cupboard! It saves time because you always know where everything is and can get to it quickly. We purposely bought a large wardrobe for Tutti’s room, so we could fit a heap of paraphernalia in there. Use age dividers to section up clothes, so you always know which ones are current. It’s also helpful to keep items close to hand. For example, the top drawer of Tutti’s changing unit has nappies, wipes, bags (we use a nappy bin except for stinky nappies) and cotton wool pads ready to go. I also keep kitchen cupboards neat and tidy (and yes, I try to face the labels forward!). It just saves so much time when you can see what you’ve got and what you’re running out of.
* Batch cooking
I need to take my own advice here. When I’m having a Martha Stewart-wannabe moment, I batch cook. This involves either sticking to your old favourites or identifying two or three recipes that seem vaguely achievable and then making them all in one day. This isn’t for the faint-hearted! I find it’s only do-able on a weekend when Hubster can watch Tutti. But on the rare occasion when I have done it, the feeling is akin to going to the gym (from what I remember). Getting your arse there is the hard part, but when it’s done you’re on a high. If like me, the kitchen is not your friend, drumming up enthusiasm for hours of cooking is hard. But when you do, that final stage of divvying up the portions into plastic containers or freezer bags is so satisfying.
* Prep your bag
As we all know getting out of the house with children can be a gargantuan challenge. The more you have prepped, the easier it is. I gave up on the nappy bag after about 6 months. I was tired of carting around a huge bag on short trips, when I only needed a few essentials. Whether you’re at the nappy bag, rucksack or handbag stage, prepping the night before or re-filling as soon as you get home, is a good habit to get into. If we’re just popping out for coffee, I’ll take my handbag and put inside a plastic nappy bag filled with a nappy, small pack of wipes and a couple of cotton wool pads. I also take a fold-up changing matt, cup of water, bib and a zippy bag with some snacks. I have a compartment where I can put extras like tissues, suncream, hand wipes etc. Obviously my bag is fairly big, but it is a proper handbag, so it’s all good!
* Buy birthday/all occasion cards in advance
I love stationery and I really love cards, so this one is easy for me. Are you always looking at the calendar and realising it’s Great Aunt Edna’s birthday today and the only card you have has Batman on it? Throughout the year, when you manage to get into a shop, keep an eye out for suitable cards. Buy a few generic ones that would do for anyone and some specific ones for your nearest and dearest. Equally, at the start of each year, fill your calendar/phone/computer with everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries etc. and regularly check the calendar or set-up digital reminders. Since little rocket man made an appearance my memory isn’t what it was, but at least I have the cards, even if I’m still late sending them!
* Research the hell out of everything
I am a natural researcher. I don’t go anywhere without knowing how to get there, where to park and the best place to eat. My schedule for our holiday to New York was a sight to behold! These days I don’t have the luxury of time, but I still try to research the key aspects of a day trip or holiday. If we get there and immediately need to change Tutti, where do we go? Half way around and he’s desperate for a drink, where can we get one? Days out with little ones are generally stressful, so try to plan as much in advance as possible. It may be a cliché but forearmed is forewarned. If you know the last kids’ show is at 3pm, you won’t have disappointed children on your hands at 4pm!
So there you go, a few of my everyday tips. What do you do each day to help stay organised?
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