Organizing Tips for Homemakers

Yesterday, I talked about the different types of homemakers and today I want to give each type of homemaker a couple of tips to make her job a little easier.  By the way, even if you don’t have children yet, many of these tips can still be put into practice to simplify your life.  Also, just because you’re one type of homemaker, doesn’t mean you can’t use the tips I’ve listed under another type of homemaker.
Organizing Tips for Homemakers

“PAYROLL CHICKS”
(a.k.a. Work-Outside-the-Home-Moms)

Streamline the Lunch-Making Process

Mornings are chaotic enough!  If you are making everyone’s lunches in the morning, consider moving this task to your night time routine.  In fact, as your making lunch for the kids, go ahead and make your own lunch.  Make the job easier by packing the same lunch for everyone.  By doing so, you’ll save money and be able to make your personal phone calls in the break room without worrying about what you’re going to eat.

As your making dinner, go ahead and put together those sandwhiches, fill everyone’s thermos, and choose those side items.  Come to think of it, make it easier to choose those side items by buying those healthier items (carrots, nuts, cheese) and then, when you get home from the grocery store, take a few minutes to separate them into smaller ziplock bags.  Once separated, place them into a basket or plastic container inside your pantry or fridge so it becomes as easy as grabbing a ziplock bag and tossing it into the lunch box.

In fact, if your kids are old enough, assign this task to one of them.  If you alternate chores in your household, you can give each of your kids the chance to assist the family in this manner.  Having your kids pack lunches means one less thing YOU have to do.

Conquer the Laundry Mountain

It’s tough to keep the laundry under control when you’re only home for maybe 6 waking hours per day.  I mean, I’m home full-time and the laundry STILL keeps me chained to my laundry room.  What’s a woman to do?

First of all, organize the dirty clothes.  Instead of allowing clothes to to remain all over various floors in your home, teach all family members to place their dirty clothes in hampers.  In order to ensure that they will do this, be sure those hampers are in a convenient place – where they normally change (bedroom, bathroom).

Now, as for actually getting those dirty clothes cleaned and put back into drawers/closets, here’s what you can do (Found on About.com):

  • As your family members are putting dirty clothes in their hampers, ask them to set aside those clothes that are stained so that you can treat them immediately versus frantically doing so in the chaotic mornings.
  • Create a system in your laundry room to sort colors: lights, darks, and delicates.
  • In the morning, before leaving to go to work, place a load of clothes in the washer.
  • When you get home, as soon as you get home, remove the clothes from the washer and place in the dryer.
  • After the kids go to bed, turn on the television and get to folding/putting away.

This should at least keep your head above water during the week.  On the weekends, if your family is hanging out at the house, do as many loads as you can squeeze in.  Otherwise, make an appointment with the laundry mat every other week or so.

“HOME FRONT CHICKS”
(a.k.a. Stay at Home Moms)
Create a “Work Day” of Your Own
Yes, as a stay-at-home-mom you work ALL the time because being a mom is a 24 hour job.  But, one way to organize your day is to assign a set time each day to tend to household chores.  If you’re more of a morning person, do those tasks in the morning.  If you work better after being awake for a few hours, do your housework in the afternoons.  But always set aside an end to the work day, as in “I’m not going to do any more laundry or cleaning after 5 pm”, and stick to it!  Your afternoons can be better spent enjoying your husband’s company, playing with your kids outside, or doing something you enjoy (such as crafting, blogging, etc.)
Organize Your Home
Yes, I know – easier said than done.  But, think about it, you spend most of your day inside the four walls of your home.  Organizing your home will make it easier to tend to other responsibilities.  You’ll spend less time cleaning your house due to the absence of clutter and everything being stored in its rightful place.  Plus, you’ll be more productive as a result of NOT having to look for missing items day after day.
Organizing your home happens in 2 stages.  The first one is the “Decluttering Process”.  Get rid of the excess.  If you haven’t used something in a year, you probably won’t use it.  Hold a yard sale or simply donate everything to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.  The second stage is the “Reorganizing Process”.  After the excess is gone, you should only be left with things that your family uses and enjoys.  Every single item in your house needs a home of its own.  If it doesn’t have a home, then it will “wander”, causing your home to look more cluttered than it actually is.

 

“PAYROLL HOME FRONT CHICKS”
(a.k.a. Work FROM Home Moms)


(Credit)

Keep your Work Space Organized
If you work from home, it is crucial that you keep your home office organized.  More than likely, the reason you are working from home is because you wanted the flexibility of spending more time with your family.  This means that every moment you spend working needs to count.  Looking for a missing paper, phone number, or other piece of information eats away at your work hours.  When your work space is organized, you’re productive.  When you’re productive, you get more done in less time.  When you work less hours, you get more time to play and that’s the reason you’re working from home to begin with.
Here are somethings you can do:
  • In any home office, paper clutter is usually the biggest challenge.  In order to keep things under control, you’ll need to set up a paper filing system that works for you.  As you categorize your paperwork, label them according to how your mind works.  In other words, say you need a folder for your rental lease or home deed.  Would you find it better if it were labeled “RENT” or “MORTGAGE” or would it make more sense to you to label it “HOME”?  Figure out how your mind labels things and then transfer those labels to folders.
  • Keep office supplies stocked.  There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of ink or computer paper in the middle of an important project.  Not to mention, it can often halt a project entirely; at least until you run by the store to put more supplies.
Parenting while Working
Because you probably work from home out of a desire to be more available to your family, chances are you have kids at home with you.  For the younger kiddos, set up a toy corner for them to play with while you work or, if at all possible, make it a point to work early in the morning, while they nap, or after they go to bed.  If you have older children, ask them to watch the younger ones or enlist the help of someone else: hire a mommy’s helper or ask a fellow stay-at-home-mom to watch them while you get your work done.
For older kids, set up a daily schedule that can be followed with minimal help from you during your “business-hours”.  If you homeschool, your work hours are the perfect time for them to do individual work.  When you finish your “payroll job” you can switch to your “teacher role” so you can check their work or answer questions.
BOTTOM LINE
As I mentioned yesterday, each type of homemaker has her own set of difficulties.  The bottom line is that we all have to find a way to streamline our responsibilities, delegate some tasks to family members (or outsource them all together), and simply find a way to “work smarter, not harder”.
What are some things you do to make your job as a homemaker easier?