Yes, I said that yucky O word. ;) You might see a mother of 4 kids and automatically think, "She must have been born organized!" Well, this one was definitely not. I'm a disaster walking. So whenever I see organizational tips, I jump on them. Yesterday at MOPS, we had a speaker come and talk on the subject. I thought I'd share with you.
[Side note - I will be back soon to blogging! I'm still dealing with back issues and can't sit at the computer very long but I will be back soon, I hope!! Please send prayers for a speedier recovery!]
1. She bought a white plastic drawer for her kitchen/pantry that is the “snack drawer”. It’s filled with individual snack packs of goodies. Sometimes when she’s being really good (frugal), she will get the big goldfish (or whatever food) container and put single servings into small ziplocks. This way, she doesn’t have to stop what she’s doing every time they want snack – they can go pick out a snack themselves.
2. she highly recommends the book Desperation Dinners (hers was used so much that the cover had been burned off!). Easy 30 minutes or less meals.
3. Dippy Dinner – if you give kids dip, they’ll eat anything. So she has a dippy dinner every so often where it’s toasted ravioli with spaghetti sauce, carrots with ranch and apple with caramel. She says her 13 year old still asks for dippy dinner.
4. She has 3 boys and a husband and they all wear the same size socks and sorting socks was a total nightmare. So a friend told her to buy a different brand for each person. So #1 son has Hanes socks, #2 son has Champion, etc.
5. Hand-me-downs. Once you hand clothing down to the next child, sometimes you forget who it belongs to. And you could do letters on shirt tags but then you scratch off when you hand it down and it can get messy. A friend told her to just put one dot on the tag for child #1, and add a dot when that item gets handed down to child #2, etc. (I LOVE this idea!)
7. Kids have a lot of trouble figuring out which shoe goes on which foot. So she puts a permanent black marker dot on the inside heel of each shoe and then the kids get to “match” the dot so they know which foot it goes on.
8. She has several different backpacks for different events. Her daughter has 3 older brothers so they’re constantly at sporting events. She has a backpack filled with activity stuff for games. Then she has a quiet backpack for church and doctors appts, etc.
9. She color codes her kids sippy cups so everyone knows whose is whose and she would fill them up the night before and set them in the fridge. A couple years ago, Jean1 told me about this related tip and I LOVE it - I also assign each person a certain color for their hangers – it’s much easier sorting when I get upstairs with an armload to disburse)
10. A friend of hers started something years ago where she got a white cotton tablecloth and it’s her Thanksgiving tablecloth. Each year, whoever is there signs it. Now that her dad has passed away, it’s really turned into an heirloom. (You could also ask them to put down what they’re thankful for on it.)
11. She recommends the magazine called Real Simple because it has good practical advice for organization
12. She talked about all the artwork floating around the house that the kids make. What do you do with all that stuff? She said some people put them in frames. One of her friends painted a few frames on the wall and can change out the artwork frequently. She keeps a labeled accordion folder per kid per year that she keeps the extra special artwork in and at the end of the year, stores in a box in the basement. She has a friend who puts clear packing tape on the back of artwork so that when you place and remove masking tape to hang it, the paper doesn’t rip.
13. She also picks a family Bible verse each year (I think Marge talked about this already this year) for them to think about. Ephesians 4:29 and 1 Peter 3:8 were ones she’s used.
14. A friend said during small group discussion that she used to have a toy basket downstairs and before bed, they’d all toss toys in there…but then she’d have this basket of crud that didn’t get emptied. So she went to Target and got some small canvas totes for each kid (color coded) and they put their own toys in there and can carry it up to their own room.