Whether you are a working, stay-at-home or work-from-home mom, your days are filled to the brim with tasks and commitments. The seemingly endless to-do list can be overwhelming, and striving to get it all done can take away precious time for engaging with your family.
To combat the chaos that mom life can too easily become, it’s wise to establish some systems that provide structure to your schedule and simplify your routine. Emily Ley says in her book A Simplified Life, “I don’t organize or structure life just because it’s my job or because I want things to look good from the outside. I do these things because I want a life that is rich, sweet and uncomplicated.” The power in creating habits that simplify your life and organize your home is the freedom it gives you to spend time doing the things you love most.
Here are some mom hacks to help improve your daily routine:
(Courtesy of Virginia Beach mom Kelly Lewis)
1. Do one load of laundry every day. It sounds tedious, but it is actually a quick habit that can save you from spending hours washing, sorting and folding on the weekend. At some point during the day, put the load in the wash, dry it and put it away. That’s one less thing that will accumulate during the week.
2. Spend 20 minutes a day cleaning. Twenty minutes—that’s it. Set a timer, put on your favorite tunes, and pick a task. You can have a set schedule for this (Monday clean bathrooms, Tuesday dust, etc.) or you can just tend to the task that needs the most attention. You may be surprised by how much gets accomplished by dedicating just 20 minutes to housework each day.
3. Do a 15-minute reset before bed. Once the day has wound down and the kids have gone to bed, spend a short time “resetting” your space. Fold up the couch blankets, pick up the stray toys, put the dishes in the dishwasher—anything you need to do to feel like the house is organized. That way, you wake up to a tidy space, alleviating the stress and frustration we often feel when our homes are in disarray.
1. Use the weekend to schedule your meals and grocery shop for the week. Create a simple menu with dishes that are easy and that you know your family enjoys. Crockpot meals are a good option for days when you want to throw everything in the pot in the morning and come home to a finished meal. We know Pinterest is chock full of delicious, complex recipes with exotic ingredients—but resist the temptation to get too fancy, especially on days when your schedule is tight.
2. Utilize grocery store pickup services. Every mom knows the nightmare that is grocery shopping with children. Fortunately, grocery pickup services make it so you no longer have to herd your kids around the store while you try to grab everything on your list. Order everything ahead of time online, pick a time slot that is convenient for you to swing by, and enjoy the bliss of an attendant packing your car up with your stuff. Some stores that offer this service include Kroger, Harris Teeter, Walmart and Target.
Getting Ready Hacks
1. Simplify your wardrobe. We are faced with decisions all day long. Conventional or organic? Soy, half and half or almond milk? Regular or decaf? (Just kidding on that one—we’re talking about moms here.) Don’t make your wardrobe one more difficult decision you have to make. Pare down your clothing to items that are comfortable, flattering and easy to match. Focus on accumulating a smaller amount of quality pieces that you really enjoy wearing. That trendy dress you bought on a whim for $20 but have only worn once? Toss it. Donate or sell anything you haven’t worn in the past year, and only buy new items that contribute to your simplified wardrobe. You will develop a better appreciation for your wardrobe, there will be less items circulating through the laundry, and getting dressed will be a much simpler process.
2. Prep as much as possible the night before. Get the backpacks packed and ready by the door. Lay out everyone’s outfits. Prep the coffee maker, pack lunches, and, if you’re feeling really ambitious, get breakfast ready to go as well. The more you get done the night before, the easier your morning routine will be.
The initial process of establishing these routines can be a little time consuming, so prepare to put in a little work up front in order to set them in motion. Also remember that it can take some time for routines to become habit, so don’t be discouraged if things don’t go perfectly the first week. Commit to creating these little processes with this end goal in mind—a less chaotic week and more quality time to spend with the people you love.