5 ways to a more organised and stress free household

As the new year gets into full swing,  the holidays come to an end, little ones start out at playgroups, kindergarten, schools or high school (or in my case all of the above), we start thinking about the organised and smooth sailing ship we are going to steer out of the somewhat bumpy and treacherous conditions of years or months gone by.

I have recently had quite a few emails asking me how I manage to stay organised, remain appear in control and fit everything in, whist keeping a busy household of 7 ticking along.

Firstly let me say, it is not always organised (teachers reading this will know I have lost the odd excursion notice or forgotten the time of a training session) and I am not always completely calm and in control (my kids will vouch for this).  I do think however, to get through many of the things I set out for myself, time and experience have taught me a thing or two about keeping it all moving along with minimal stress.

To help remind myself, and to help any of you a little apprehensive about how to tackle the year ahead, I have outlined some of the things I attempt to do regularly to ensure a greater chance of remaining sane and relatively calm whilst still achieving all some of what I need.

Morning Walk/Exercise

Luckily for me, I am able to get up early before the rest of the house and go on a quick walk before my husband leaves for work. This is the time I go over in my head what needs to be accomplished that day and the order I will do it all in (obviously this needs to be flexible however, as things often change at the last minute….kids needs to be picked up from school with a bump to the head, one falls asleep just when you were going to do the groceries etc). Trying to get some form of exercise at any time however is important not just for physical health but for a bit of ‘me’ time too.

Morning routines

My morning routine is crucial to start the day off on a positive note. One of the first posts I wrote was about Morning Routines:Getting to school without the nagging and yelling…and it is still something I adhere to and has worked well for me. If however, the morning routine goes belly up, it is important to regroup and move on. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it will more than likely be different tomorrow. If it isn’t, have a look at what is going wrong and set about finding a better way.

Meal Planning

Something I am determined to keep up this year as it has so many benefits. It saves me money by visiting the supermarket less and saves on food wastage. It also means there is less chance of buying last minute take away meals that are obviously more expensive and less nutritious. And it definitely saves on stress levels. Nobody likes getting to 4pm and having to think what to cook for dinner! This year I will have a rotation of 4 weeks worth of meals. Remember to keep in mind what activities you have on particular nights of the week so you are not trying to cook a roast when you all get home from footy training at 6.30pm. And look ahead each week to see what you have on and what needs to be tweaked to make the meal planning work. Some people I know work with a theme, such as roast Monday, stir fry Tues, Slow cooker Wednesday, Pasta thursday etc and just change the version of these meals. Find something that works for your family and once you have it set up it will be one less thing to worry about each week. (you probably still have to cook it though!)

Housework Help

I don’t mean employing a full time cleaner here, although that would be nice, but there are other small ways you can keep on top of housework before it gets out of control!

Get the kids to help! There are plenty of things you are probably doing that could just as easily be done by the kids. I wrote about this early on in What are you doing for your kids that they could be doing for themselves? I have noticed a big difference with the things my 3 year old does for his age in comparison to what  my older boys did. This time around (parenting the younger 2 as opposed to the older 3), I have been far more conscious of this. As a result the 3 year old never leaves a table without taking his plate to the dishwasher, he makes his own bed and cleans up any spills. I never put as much expectations on the older boys when they were little, so subsequently they needed a lot more training to get out of early lazy habits!

These couple of tips I read a while ago from Nicole at Planning with Kids and they are really effective.

Never leaving a room empty handed: Every time you go upstairs or to the other end of the house or to the laundry,  do a quick scan to see if there is something you can take with you (or put in the bin). It is amazing how many things get moved from room to room or out of place that ends up looking like clutter.

Nightly Reset: This is another idea that means doing a quick ‘reset’ of the house before you go to bed to ensure you are starting with a clean slate. Pick up the clutter, (get kids used to putting away toys at the end of the day) and scan the room for ‘stuff’ that doesn’t need to be there. Sounds boring but much less stressful to do a little every night.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

I know this kind of sounds a little cliched but I really think that if experience has taught me anything…..it is to step back and look at the bigger picture. When I look at some mums and the things they stress about (which of course I did too first time around) I just want to say to them….”hey…it doesn’t matter”. If you miss the kids reader one night they will still be OK.  If you put the same movie on twice because they are happy lying on the couch watching it…well then that is OK too. There will be other days to feed them a nutritious lunch, read their stories, do a craft project or build a lego construction. Cut yourself some slack, be content that for the most part you are doing a great job…..and you are far more likely to enjoy a stress free less household.

Sometimes little changes can make a big difference, so work out the biggest challenges you face, and set about implementing ways to make happen more smoothly.

When all else fails, take heed of the above quote “Sometimes the most important thing we do in a whole day is the rest we take between two breaths” Ellie Hellisum

As well as Nicole at Planning With Kids, Simone at The Organised Housewife also has plenty of tips, charts and great ideas to help keep you organised and Lou from Smarty Pants Kids has some gorgeous family organisers, roster charts and routine printables to keep you on top of everything.

Do you have any other tips that help keep you on top of things? Or what do you think you could do better?

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This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Ai Sakura

    Great tips! I love to wake up earlier before my family does as well to settle my own things and mind before getting into the day’s rush!

    1. Martine

      Yes…a little ‘alone’ time is so important!

  2. Janet

    I practise the”Never leaving a room empty handed” rule but hubster says that I am just easily distracted – because when he calls me to come and see something I always stop to pick something up along the way, there is always something that needs to be put away in the right spot … sigh. Men just don’t get it do they?!

    1. Martine

      No they don’t! lol

  3. Sabeen

    Brilliant tips! I love nightly reset and never leave a room empty handed, two steps I follow relegiously in our house. However, I do need to get the kids more involved with housework, to their credit though, at the moment they are brilliant kitchen helpers 🙂

    1. Martine

      Well it sounds like you have pretty good system going already!

  4. Never leaving a room empty handed. That is a brilliant idea! I am so gonna try that. I must admit I am already trying to get my 14-month old to help me with tidying up her toys of an afternoon. Once we finish watching Play School I ask her to help me put blocks back in containers and books back on shelves. She is slowly getting there and it helps that she thinks its a game in itself!

    #teamIBOT was here!

    1. Martine

      Great idea to get the toddler started early…it really does make such a difference.

  5. Tahlia @ the parenting files

    For some reason, the meal planning thing just does not work for me. I try, and then it just does not happen…but believe me, I wish it would work. Great tips Martine xx

    1. Martine

      Thanks Tahlia…and yes it is all about trying different ideas to find what works best for you and your family.

  6. Becc

    I am a routine lover. It helps me to get things done without thinking too much and going into a panic. I’m also there with you on not leaving a room empty handed, that is my idea of multi-tasking 🙂
    Becc @ Take Charge Now via #ibot

    1. Martine

      Yes routine is certainly a necessity in any busy household!

  7. Emily

    Never leave the room empty-handed. YES. There is always something to be taken elsewhere.

    The problem? I forget the original reason I was leaving the room. Every. Time.

    1. Martine

      Dont worry Emily..that happens to many of us!

  8. Well, reading what your 3 year old is capable of, I could be doing a whole lot better in that department! It’s a good day for us if she doesn’t fling her bowl at the floor or throw a fork at me.

    1. Martine

      Well I have certainly had a child dispose of their food with no sense of table etiquette!

  9. Jess @ myheartisyourhome

    I really need to get a morning routine happening… I hate mornings, so I tend to waste a lot of time moping around! And the never leave a room empty handed, I have heard that many times and always try to put it into play. Such a great way to keep on top of things x

    1. Martine

      Thanks Jess. I do think it is about finding the things that are most necessary for you and working on them rather than trying to completely change everything all at once!

  10. Emily @ Have a laugh on me

    I really needed this at the moment, my life is chaos at the moment and with my oldest starting school in a week I need to get my act together! Thanks, especially the part about getting my kids to help more 🙂

    1. Martine

      Pleasure Emily…good luck with the school year

  11. Deb @ Home life simplified

    Great tips! I absolutely rely on meal planning. my big change this year will be adding in the morning walk you do. We got a dog and whenever my husband is in town i am going to make sure i get up early with him to walk her alone which will be easier than the days i have the kids with me before school. it is nice to walk her on my own as i think, breathe the fresh air and connect with the outdoors all before officially starting my day.

    1. Martine

      Yes, I think a dog certainly would help the routine of a walk….just don’t tell my kids I said that!

  12. Grace

    I really, really, REALLY need to start doing meal planning! It would make my life so much easier. I hate how my day revolves around not knowing what to cook for dinner….
    Thanks for the great tips, Martine!

    1. Martine

      Thanks Grace…it really is one of those dilemmas that we keep enduring but probably doesnt need to be that hard!

  13. Beck

    I love the lazy days of Summer, but when school returns I am a lover of sticking to a routine, life is much easier and runs so much smoother when you know exactly what it is that you are suppose to be doing. Happy Friday x

    1. Martine

      Yes Beck, now that the holidays are over, it feels good to start thinking about some routines again.

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