Ok, peeps. I’ve got four kids and my life is one big ol’ ride to crazy town lately. That coupled with gross sleep deprivation, I neeeeeed some calm to my chaos. And I’ve found some extra organization is helping me to feel a little bit less crazy.
Here are some rules I try to live by:
1. Always keep the dishwasher unloaded. UNLOADING THE DISHWASHER IS THE WORST!!! However, if you just suck it up, it takes 2 minutes and 40 seconds. I know because I timed myself once while I was heating up 3.5 minute frozen quinoa in the microwave. So then I had almost a minute left to wipe down the counters. Having a clean and yummy smelling kitchen just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it you?
2. Get eats and outfits ready the night before you have to be somewhere. When I first started teaching morning fitness classes, I would find myself racing out the door in a huff, kids in tow, and feeling totally disorganized and nutso. And that’s when work was just down the street. A year ago, we moved and added a 20 minute commute to the morning routine, so I knew SOMETHING had to change. Now on evenings before I teach or have to go somewhere, I pack up a to-go breakfast for my girls: usually a granola bar and some applesauce or fruit. I fill sippy cups and put them in the fridge. And I prepare my breakfast (some ideas: overnight oats, a Luna bar, or smoothie).
I also set out everyone’s outfits from hair ties to shoes and socks. Now my mornings are substantially smoother and I get where I’m going happy instead of . . . well . . . not.
3. If you CAN, get up before your kids/set an alarm. Man oh man, is this vital for me. Here’s the deal: NOBODY BEST BE TALKING TO ME FIRST THING. Y’all. I’m not kidding. Morning Anna is a mean and awful person. I just need some time to warm up to the fact that I have to be awake. Before bed, I grind my coffee beans and get the coffee pot ready. Then I set an alarm, like an actual alarm that is not a child. I realize there are seasons when my body just needs sleep more than my mind needs alone time, and there is grace for that, but for the most part, I try to start my day in solitude with coffee BEFORE children wake up.
4. Get your kids to help clean. My husband has a great rule with our kids: Before you get more toys out, put the ones you are playing with away. Now, this rule is LARGELY and STRAIGHT-UP ignored 99 percent of the time, but our kids hear it and someday it will click. In the meantime, we clean up before lunch and before dinner. Everything is put back in its place by my children (with my help, of course.) This obviously requires oversight and prodding and sometimes bribes. But sort of like unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up toys takes less than 5 minutes if everyone is working together, and it provides calm and order to our home.
5. Take 30 minutes a week to wash and prep fresh food. I wish I had this down . . . I am still learning. Recently I purchased a relish tray from amazon and then found another (much cheaper one) at HEB. So, instead of buying fruit and veggies that hang out (and go bad) in our crisper drawer, I wash and prep them when I get home. At every lunch and dinner, I pull out our trays and we pig out on fresh produce and hummus or Tzatziki (new favorite).
I have to be honest, many days start well — organized and stress free. But because we have kiddos 4, 5, and under, many days tumble into chaos after around 2: p.m. And that’s ok; it’s where we are, and it’s where many of you are. And I hear there is light at the end of the pre-school tunnel. Someday I will meal plan better. Someday I will read more books to my kids. Someday we will have a better routine, but for now . . . the above five are what we are mastering.
How do keep your life organized and healthy?