Let’s face it: Moms are busy people. Many of us juggle full-time jobs and full-time parenting simultaneously, which is no easy feat. This can make it hard to keep up with chores and other household duties, especially if you have two or more children and a less than helpful spouse.
But don’t worry — you don’t need to pull your hair out and scream at the thought of your never-ending to-do list (at least not yet). Instead, you can try any number of these ten hacks that will help you keep your household (and your sanity) more organized.
1. Plan Ahead With Your Partner
As you likely already know, it’s much easier to stay on top of things if you have a game plan. The same can be said for a household organization — it’s far easier to get everyone where they need to be and maintain your sanity as a mom if you know about events and needs ahead of time. For this reason, Michael Perry, co-founder and CEO of the household management app Maple, recommends that all parents sit down with their partners and plan ahead.
Perry says parents should plan a standing meeting time every two weeks. He recommends you sit down over some wine or coffee and list all the things that need to be done. Perry promises this is worthwhile and says, “You’ll be amazed how listing the ‘chaos’ relieves stress.”
2. Get Systems In Place, Then Adjust
Although planning will definitely help you keep things more organized, you won’t feel the full effects if you don’t have systems in place to keep things operating smoothly. Therefore, you need to also evaluate how you make your day-to-day lives happen and look for ways to streamline the process, then make adjustments as needed.
For example, it’s hard to get everyone out the door on time with everything they need for school or work if you don’t have a well-established morning routine. So, sit down and write out everything that needs to happen each morning, from waking everyone up to packing lunches and everything in-between.
Every family has its own individual needs, so these systems may look different. However, the goal is to make day-to-day events a well-oiled machine so you aren’t wasting time, energy, and precious brainpower.
3. Find Ways To Habit Stack
If you already have great systems in place but still feel like you can’t keep everything organized, don’t worry. You may be able to use what’s currently working for your family and build off it through something called habit stacking.
As the name implies, habit stacking is a concept where you take a task or habit you already do consistently, like bathing the kids, and add something new to it, like cleaning the bathroom while the kids are in the tub, so it becomes just as habitual as the first task. This helps ensure these new habits “stick” and that you’re organizing your time wisely.
4. Take Advantage Of Your Magic Time
In her Unbusy Your Life coaching course, entrepreneur and mother Neill Williams recommends that busy folks take advantage of their “magic time” if they want to be productive. This term refers to the time in the day when you feel like you have the most energy and usually accomplish the most. Many people find that scheduling the right tasks into their magic time actually helps them be three times as productive.
5. Give Meal Planning A Try
Figuring out what’s for dinner is often a problem that plagues many moms. However, you can organize your meals just like anything else, thanks to meal planning.
Meal planning allows you to prepare your entire week’s menu in advance. This helps you save time on grocery shopping and cooking dinner as well as lets you plan around schedule issues that may interfere with cooking (i.e., you don’t plan a dinner that requires two hours of prep on the same night as your son’s baseball game). It’s a great organizational hack that moms everywhere are adopting.
6. Break Out Of Gender Norms
Sometimes we fall into traps at home where we feel like we have to take care of all the household organization tasks because we’re the mom or wife. However, Michael Perry says breaking out of the gender norms can really help everyone in the house. It can help you get more done and find new ways to organize tasks.
As a side benefit, Perry says breaking out of these gender-specific roles will help build empathy and understanding to the unpaid labor required to run a home.
7. Delegate Tasks To The Kids
While handing off some tasks to your partner can definitely help, they aren’t the only person in the house you have to delegate tasks to. In fact, you just might find that you can keep the house running even more smoothly if you delegate certain tasks or chores to the children.
Even kids as young as three or four can help with certain tasks around the house, and there are a whole multitude of ways assigned chores benefit kids. Beyond that, delegating chores to the kids puts less on your plate, which can help you stay on top of more important things.
8. Take Advantage of Technology
Although delegating tasks can definitely help you out, you may have a hard time keeping up with what everyone has to do. Well, that’s where technology can come in handy, especially if you use household management apps like Maple.
Maple can be a lifesaver for busy parents because it makes the chaotic act of managing a household run much smoother and easier. In fact, the app can help through shared to-do lists, task assignments, and a shared calendar all in one place. This helps everyone keep up with who is doing what and lets everyone see what each person in the house has on their plate. And, if anyone has questions or needs clarification, you can use the family chat to communicate so everyone can keep up with the conversation.
While you can absolutely find separate apps out there to offer each of these things (chat, calendar, or to-do lists) separately, the advantage of an actual household management app is that it puts everything in one, easy-to-locate place.
9. Find Hacks To Help You Spark Joy
Sometimes the issue isn’t that you don’t have time to accomplish tasks, but rather that you avoid them to do something more enjoyable. While this can be very tempting, especially after a long day, it’s not what will ultimately help you keep your household operating at its best. Instead, you can look for simple ways to make mundane or frustrating tasks more pleasant.
For example, you may hate washing the dishes but really like the scent of lavender. So, you can buy lavender-scented dish soap (yes, it exists!) to make that task more pleasant. Similarly, you can use music or anything else that motivates you. Whatever you choose, the key is finding a way to make a task you don’t particularly enjoy slightly more tolerable.
10. Use Services That Make Household Management Easier
Even if you exhaust all of the options on this list, you may find there are times when you still can’t keep up with everything, and that’s okay! Instead of feeling ashamed and beating yourself up over it, you can simply look for ways to take things off your plate. In fact, this is exactly why services like Instacart and Molly Maid exist — to make life easier for busy moms.
Previously published on Moms.com.
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