Organization for Busy Parents: Part One

For the record, on any given day if you find yourself between the walls of my abode, you will not find a perfectly manicured home. Sometimes the methods to my organization involve piles of junk. However, I know exactly what it is, where it is, and when I will need it.

In my work life as I teacher, I live by the idea that any substitute teacher should be able to walk into my classroom and find it organized well enough to take the reins and drive the lesson. I am a very organized teacher. On the surface, it appears I am not a super organized homemaker. My Tupperware is not stacked and lids often (ok, always) lose their mate. And the socks…don’t even get me started.

I often make excuses for the overall lack of tidiness: if only I had a large mudroom, a play room, a house cleaner, a clone–then, my home would better mirror the pages of “Better Homes and Gardens.” Let’s be real, in the mommy world, we live in the center fold of “Good Enough and Piles.” Why? Because we are busy making memories with our little ones.

Because at the end of the day we are exhausted, but we will find time for baths, books, and cuddles over dusting, dishes, and the Dyson.

So yes, my home may collect some dust, but I have put in a real effort to organize the pieces of my home that matter to me. I am an organized person living in the reality of a mommy world.

Here are seven organizational products and methods I rely on to keep my family afloat:

Laundry Hangers

In a dream world, my laundry room would be large enough to do cartwheels in. The reality is that it is the size of a closet, so I have to make the most of the space. I am a strong believer in hanging clothes when possible, instead of throwing it all in the dryer. When the hanging of clothes leaks into our living space, things get cluttered. There is also the fear of someone knocking on the door and coming inside to see the family underwear displayed on a hanging rack. My solution is the Instahanger! You can find them on Amazon here. To maximize space I have one up top and one below for the kids’ shirts.

organization

Pant Hangers

It seems minor, but using a different style of hanger for pants can make a big difference in your closet. Amazon offers a variety, but here is our go-to. Perfectly hang dress pants, jeans, maxi skirts, or dress shorts.

organization

Mabel’s Labels

I pride myself in doing the occasional garage sale shopping, but occasionally we spend a pretty penny on a new jacket or tennis shoes for the kids. The last thing I want is to have to replace one of those items. This is where Mabel’s Labels come in handy. They are not cheap, but worth it in my opinion. I put them on water bottles, lunch boxes, and all sorts of clothing. If something gets misplaced in the shuffle of life, it will have a better chance to find its way back home. These are very durable and can be run through the dishwasher or washing machine many, many times.

organization

What Coat Closet?

We have no designated toy room. I do like to have toys out in the livingroom for the kids to play with, but I do not like the clutter it creates. I noticed we were not using our front coat closet for more than coats and shoes (that we NEVER use). My solution: a toys/dress-up closet! I hung up all their play costumes and used the shoe shelves for housing puzzles and other toys. At the end of the day, we can easily tuck them away.

organization

Under Bed Organizers

The toys are taking over my house, but we are not ready to part with them all. I maximized storage space and have been using 12X12 scrapbook paper totes underneath my son’s bed. They are the perfect, slim fit. We use them to organize cars, magazines, and little trinkets that would otherwise get lost. If you use your coat closet for toys, these fit well on a shoe rack also. I got these at Michaels craft store for a steal around $4 a piece. Here is something on their website that looks similar. Wait for a sale and stock up.

organization

organization

Garage Hook Organizers

I admit that the garage is not my usual place to tidy up, but my husband has found a way to keep things off the floor and organized. These tracking systems can be found at Sears. We hang the broom, lawn chairs, power tools, and more. I also love the baskets you can get in all different sizes. It provides a good catch-all for the balls, gloves, and other sporting supplies that can easily roll out of sight.

organization

organization

Family Calendar

The best way for my husband and I to stay on the same page with appointments, practices, and other happenings is with the use of a family calendar. We have tried various types and the best fit is a shared Google account. I pull the calendar app up on my phone often to check what he has added or what I have going on.

Weekly Clothing

To avoid the morning scramble, I have the kids’ clothes laid out the night before. While doing laundry over the weekend, I put clothes away into a weekly organizer. I have to check the weather as well as my son’s school schedule to see which days he will be having gym. You can find one of these here on Amazon.


I hope this inspires you to stress less and pull some toys out of the toy closet. Years from now you will not remember the spotless countertops. You will remember those nights when you found the time to play with your little ones. By finding easy ways to stay organized, you will have more time to devote to your family.


 

Sarah has lived in the area her entire life and now resides in Cedar Rapids with her husband of almost 9 years, son Jameson (6), daughter Samantha Jo(2), and son Calum (1 month). She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in English Teaching. She currently teaches English at Linn-Mar High School, her former stomping grounds. She enjoys long strolls through Target, spending time with her family, reading, and attempting yoga poses.

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