These things make me happy when it comes to running this house...and keeps everyone else running smooth and happy as well. Mission accomplished.
1.) Once you have school aged children in the public school you will be overwhelmed with notes and papers to sign up for everything under the sun. This caught me off gaurd and I quickly got buried with them. In between that will be newsletters, spelling lists, and math home-work. (yes- plan for your sweet little one to bring home home-work by age 6, at least). I tried a few things and finally landed on this...
This makes my counters much more visible and usable ..for something other then holding papers. Each person in the family gets a slot and papers, bills, notes worth keeping get put in each person's spot. Everything else goes directly from back-pack, mail pile, or car to the garbage can if it is not shelf worthy. Thank you to Dave's cousin Jenny (Junk Revised on Facebook) for using this old school filer to recreate this pretty piece for me! It's doing it's job wonderfully.
2.) We don't have an office and even if we did, I'm not sure we would function out of it very well. I needed an area that was smack in the middle of where we live. This area needed to handle multiple functions, but still look pretty...in my opinion :) This is when I started visioning my "auto school zone".
With more kids, my memory seems to be less and less. Sad, but true for me. I needed a place to keep everything organized and together and in front of my face. I check in to this area every morning and every night before bed. Here you'll find...family calendar (chalk-board) which holds all dates to not forget. Also holds a list of the kids daily chores...for both our remembering. You will also find a magnet board that holds school menu, school monthly newsletters, weekly spelling list, weekly memory verse (Austin preschool), and any notes I need to keep for school. To the far left is an old window that I use for a white board. I write each days events on there, as well as any to-do's for the day that I can't forget. Above the whole thing is a wire attached for pinning our family devotions as we do them and art work the kids bring home. Below the table is back-pack area for kids to keep their bags stocked and ready for each day. And last but not least...our phone chargers and lap-top plug-ins. I hate cords all over and this keeps them in one spot and off my counters! This has proven to be my sanity spot in the house. Junk, toys, and miscellaneous things are not allowed on here and we all function better with an Auto Zone...where things happen automatically :) Sort of!
3.) Along with providing an auto zone for school and life outside the home, I added an auto zone in my kitchen. I totally lost track of my cleaning schedule in my mind this last year with my high-energy baby. It felt really good to claim this again. I know realistically, my home will not be "clean" with young kids. But I try to keep it at least livable right now. A place we all enjoy ending our day at and enjoy coming home to...a blessing to my family This requires some organization and planning.
Inside my pantry door lies this little space...small and simple, yet saves me every day. I try to use coupons when and where I can. However, I cut them out and over time forget where I put them or don't remember I have them. I needed a coupon area and now they hang nicely right inside this door...ready for use when the time comes.
At the far left is a weekly menu. This is where life gets MUCH easier in the kitchen. You can lose a lot of time in the kitchen by not being prepared and I'd rather spend those extra minutes with my kids. I borrowed this idea from a friend and tweaked it a bit for our family. At the start of each month I write in what we will eat for dinner every day of the week...and we have the same thing every day each week. There is a little flexibility, but the same idea each day of the week. Right now I am doing Monday-baked meat, pot, veggie. Tues- Tacos of some sort, Wed- church meal, Thurs- soup and bread, Fri- pizza, Sat- grill, Sunday- left-overs, popcorn night. It makes my life so much easier in the meal making department. I make different soups or change up how we do tacos, but this is what happens each week. I do all my grocery shopping on the same day of the week and never have to run back because I planned a last minute meal and didn't have something. I am loving this and so far nobody has complained about the routine meals. Besides, they are only 4-5 weeks long and then they change!
The middle and far right columns are my cleaning lists. If I can accomplish one thing each day, I am happy. So each day of the week holds only one thing to be done and for this stage of life, it is good enough. Same idea as my meals...Mondays are bathrooms, Tuesday is laundry, Wednesday is floors, and so on...
4.) And last, but not least...organizing my kids outfits for each day of the week. I used to lay my kids clothes out for the next day every night before bed. Some nights I realized I had no clean underwear for one kid or another...dang, hate when that happens. So now I pack all the clothes on Sunday for the whole week and it saves me a lot of last minute washing and staying up getting prepped for next day. I made a small investment in these great hanging clothes organizers...not attractive, but does the job.
These just hang in their closets and each days full outfit is laid on a shelf for each day of the week. I stock them on Sunday and don't have to think about it until the weekend. It's been great for me and the kids.
I know these seem like small and silly things, but in my home, they are big. Life here is running smoother then it has in a long time and I am happy to say this is the most organized school year I've had yet! It only took me 5 years :) I decided as much as my life that can run "automatically" right now, the better. Especially since I don't see it slowing down around here any time soon! as the ole commercial says...Get in the Zone...Auto Zone! :)