I won’t even pretend to be an expert on home organization. My friends will start to chuckle if I try, because they know I’m as scatter-brained as the chaff in the wind.
This trait, however, causes me to look even harder for practical ways to keep things running more smoothly in our large family. I offer humble, simple ideas; this is where I hope all you moms who actually “have it together” jump in and help us!
At our house, we have implemented, off and/or on, some of the following:
- Routine. However rigid you need this to be, some sort of routine is important, especially for children . For some, this means a daily chart, broken into 30 minute intervals (whew…makes me tired.) For us, it means we have a basic order of the day which I refer to as “our rhythm.”
Breakfast/chores/Bible reading/school reading/lunch/older children school while younger ones nap/free time/afternoon chores/prepare for supper…
- Limit outings. Everyone is in a different season, but for us, going anywhere is a major act of Congress. We try to really evaluate the importance of an extracurricular activity against the added stress it will likely cause and make careful decisions, being very selective about our outings.
- Chore Charts. These help take the burden off of mom needing to repeat orders each day. We have “daily” chores and “weekly” chores. On Friday, we do our dailys plus our weeklies. That way, at least the toilets get cleaned once a week.
- Zones. Everyone has a zone or area of the house that they are to “keep a handle” on. The theory works better than reality, but it’s a good starting point. Having certain set times during the day for a quick pick up is crucial to keeping organization, especially in a larger family. Just before lunch and dinner are the two best times for us.
- Give the youngest children a job. If they are walking, they can begin to pick up things and put them away. It certainly takes more time to train them, but in the long run, you are doing yourself a BIG favor. Encourage the older ones to help train the younger ones in this area.
- Nipping bad attitudes. Of course we all (Mom included) have our less enthusiastic days. But as a general rule, Mom should not tolerate grumbling or bad attitudes about helping with the house. Establish that early. Solution? Add more chores. This cause and effect will finally sink in and they’ll decide to be cheerful to save themselves the trouble. Of course we’re after a cheerful heart, but sometimes the heart will follow the body.
*BTW, our attitude has a huge impact on theirs–don’t forget that!
- Encourage good attitudes. Sometimes, randomly in the day, even if the kids aren’t brimming over with joy, I’ll just say, “I am so thankful for such cheerful children.” It’s amazing what a simple word will accomplish.
- Universal closet. At least that’s what I call it. Not everyone has the layout for this, but we keep all our clothes in one big closet. Somehow it just seems easier to keep under control.
Those are my random hints…feel free to share yours!