Organize your time with a family command center

Organize your time with a family command center
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Most of us have a calendar hanging up somewhere in our home, and some of us may even have a meal planner calendar. When we hear the words “command center,” usually images of something decorative and organized come into our minds. Did you know that a command center doesn’t have to be anything big or elaborate? It just has to work for you.

Back in the day, I used to have this big elaborate command center in our home office. It looked great, but it ended up being too overwhelming.

So I tried to simplify it a bit. This, too, worked for awhile.

We began to realize that this wasn’t working, and it didn’t have anything to do with how elaborate it was. It was due to the fact that the command center is in a room that we barely enter. Your command center should be somewhere you will walk by it multiple times of day and see it.

For now, our command center looks like this:

But, after our kitchen remodel is complete, I’d like it to look like this:

I would use the frames to post quotes or scriptures, and our school schedules. I also love the basket at the bottom for bookbags and lunch boxes.

Stay tuned! Our command center is about to get a major underhaul.

Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Cleaning Routine

I don’t know about you, but cleaning is a struggle at my house. My house isn’t all that big but it is time consuming to give it the attention it needs. With two children and a full time job, it is even more difficult sometimes to get the house clean.

Before I share the things I have learned, I want to make it clear that I have not completely figured it out yet. These are just a few tips that are helping me work toward finding a balance, even though I have far from found that balance.

1. Develop a routine and stick to it

Developing a routine and sticking to it as much as possible is a great way to have a cleaner house. We have tried to assign small duties to each night, allowing for flex time on the weekends to catch up on any tasks we have missed. We try to perform the same specific duties each day, but perform a different task each night. Here is our weekly checklist:

You will notice that starting the washing machine each morning is on the list. We have a washer with a delayed start and I use it daily. I throw laundry in the washer before going to bed and set it to finish as I’m getting up. This way, I wash and dry a load of laundry before leaving the house, and have one more load to complete when I get home. I still have to fold them and put them away, but the waiting game is over.

2. Delegate!

You don’t have to do everything, and you can’t. Assign chores to the other members of your household. My oldest daughter is eager to earn a small allowance for her own money, and she doesn’t mind helping me around the house. Pay your children to help you, convince your significant other to help you, but stop trying to be solely responsible for all the cleaning.

3. Set aside time for extra attention

I try to have a deep cleaning day one Saturday a month where I tackle cleaning tasks that don’t necessarily need to be done weekly, but still need a little extra love. These are areas like baseboards or dusting the door and window moldings. You could even break these deep cleaning tasks up and do one each Saturday. It’s all about your schedule and making things work for you.

4. Be reasonable

Sometimes, you won’t have time to clean because you’ve had a busy day. Or maybe you did clean, but something happened and your room is no longer clean. These are the moments when you must have grace with yourself. Your house can’t be perfectly clean all the time but neither can anyone else’s house.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips for simplifying cleaning. As I said before, I am still working to simplify cleaning at my own home, so if you have any tips for me, I’d welcome them 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

I blinked in June and suddenly, it was August. I’m not sure where summer went, but wherever it went, it left quickly. My oldest daughter starts school next week. The school supplies have been purchased and the school clothes have already been washed and put away. But what else can we busy Mamas do to ensure we are all better organized for the coming school year?

1. Plan ahead

Plan out outfits, meals, and even lunches. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Make lists of everything you need to do and buy in the coming week and review it often. The better prepared you are, the better you will handle those unforeseen circumstances that pop up and stress us out.

2. Write everything down

You can’t remember everything and you don’t have to try. The minute you hear about a meeting or event, write it down. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forget it. The other step is to refer back to your calendar at least weekly to see what’s coming up.

3. Do a “back to school” dry run

Wake up early one morning before school starts and drive to the school at regular time. This will help you become familiar with the traffic patterns, the route, and will help you anticipate any hazards or obstacles that may make you late. Of course, there will still be unforeseen things from time to time, but having driven the route once before helps put your mind at ease.

4. Set up a logical routine and stick to it

Does homework come with tears and tantrums in your house? Having a set “after school routine” can take some of the fuss away. Set the expectation early in the school year that homework is done as soon as you walk in the door and stick to it. I always tell my daughter that it I better to get homework out of the way first thing and then you no longer have to worry about it. Having set morning routines can also eliminate some of the morning rush as well.

5. Wake up earlier than you think you need to

Who likes being in a hurry? Not I. When I’m hurried, I get stressed and I end up forgetting things. Which stresses me out even more. Waking up earlier allows you more time but also allows you time to eat breakfast. Studies have shown eating breakfast improves brain function and helps sharpen your focus. It’s hard to concentrate on anything when your stomach is growling!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous first day of school.

Simplify Saturdays: Using Cozi to organize your family schedule

Simplify Saturdays: Using Cozi to organize your family schedule

My family has been using an app called Cozi to better organize our lives and manage our time more efficiently. So far, it’s working really well for us.

First, we loaded our family’s names into the app, and each of us were assigned a different color. Now, when we schedule events on the calendar, it’s color coded depending on which family members the event applies. Each family member then downloads the app onto their devices and logs into the family account.

We then get a weekly email every Sunday night with the schedule for the week.

We also can use it to create to do lists AND shopping lists.

You can also plan meals using a menu database, or you can input your own recipes.

You then just assign a day to the meal.

You really can use this app to organize your whole life. And while there is a premium version, the free version will work just fine. It’s also available on both iPhone and Google Play for Android.

I really encourage you to give it a try.

Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Morning Routine

Simplify Saturdays: Simplify Your Morning Routine

I don’t know about you, but mornings are the most stressful time of day at our house. We are frequently in a hurry, the kids are lagging behind, we’re angry and yelling….you get the picture. Side note: it’s usually because someone doesn’t want to wake up.

We are far from having “smooth sailing” mornings, but I feel like we are getting closer. Today, I am going to share a few things we’ve learned that make our mornings run more smoothly.

1. Do as much prep the night before as you possibly can

The night before, we get our clothes ready for the next day. We pack lunches. We lay out the necessities for tomorrow’s breakfast. We put water and coffee in the coffee pot and set the timer. We put our book bags by the front door. We get everything ready for the next day that we possibly can.

2. Check your agenda the night before.

If you’re like me, you’re a list maker. The night before, I like to look at my agenda and see I need to do tomorrow. I check out my to-do list and see what items are more pressing than others. I get a feel for what the day ahead might hold.

3. Get up fifteen minutes before you think you need to.

This one is sometimes easier said than done, but if you give yourself that extra 15 minutes to get moving and get out the door, you’d be surprised how much less stressful your morning is.

4. Don’t go all out for breakfast; a simple grab and go breakfast will work just fine.

Around here, we love instant oatmeal and waffles we make ahead of time and freeze. They’re quick to heat up and easy to eat when you’re in a hurry. Plus, when you have several small mouths to feed in the mornings, simple is better.

5. Leave ten minutes before you’d planned to.

When you leave early, you don’t feel rushed. When you are rushed, you are more likely to forget things. Leaving earlier ensures you have adequate time to travel safely to your destination.

What tips have you tried for a less stressful morning? Have a wonderful weekend.