It’s getting to be that time of year when it feels like you’re never home. Between work, school, and activities, staying organized is more important than ever. Below I’ll run through some of my tricks for keeping things on track as you go, go, go.
Staying organized during the busiest seasons of life starts before you even leave the house. Keep everyone (even kids) on the same page about your family schedule with a weekly sync and visual aids.
sync it up
Once a week, get together with your partner and go over the family calendar for the next seven days. Make sure nothing is missing and all relevant notes (like who’s picking up or dropping off kids, addresses, and items to bring) are included for each event. Create a to-do list and schedule time to work on each task. Doing this together makes it more likely that something important won’t be forgotten.
Note: If you each keep separate planners, this step is even more important.
Even if you keep a virtual family calendar, have the basics on display somewhere in your home (especially if your kids are too young to be synced up online). The kitchen or mudroom is a great place to hang a simple, weekly schedule with major events, meal plans, and daily activities.
If you’re going to be spending most of your time in the car running errands and ferrying kids to and from school and activities, make sure your car is working for you.
In pandemic life, it’s always a good idea to keep extra masks in your car. Choose your most neutral and flexible (adjustable ear loops are winners) masks, and add them to a small bin with hand sanitizer and some disinfecting wipes. Keep an small bin or bag handy for dirty masks. Get in the habit of bringing them into the car and throwing them straight in the hamper every evening.
Store sports equipment that your kids need regularly in a large tote in the trunk. (If it is brought inside, it’s more likely to be forgotten for next time.) For uniforms and practice clothes, wash them, load them up in a bag and take them right back out to your car to be added to the bin. If you have time to run home after school to change, keep these in a separate drawer or bin in their closet.
A trunk organizer with other necessities can save you so much time and money. Get one with enough room for non-perishable snacks, bottled water, a first aid kit, sunscreen and bug spray, reusable grocery bags, and changes of clothes. Diapers and wipes are also essentials if you have a baby or young toddler. Keeping these things in your car will cut down on emergency trips to the store or back home – not to mention the size of your purse or diaper bag. During your weekly reset, check the organizer to see if anything needs to be restocked.
- Get tips on car organization from Real Simple.
- Read about my winter car kit here. (It’s a great addition to your car when the weather starts turning colder.)
- Check out my Amazon shop. I have a list dedicated to my favorite car organization products!
Another great time and money saver on busy days is meal prep. It’s so much easier to resist the temptation of going to the drive-thru if you have delicious options ready in your fridge to grab and go.
After you’ve synced your calendars for the week, identify the days where you likely won’t have time for a formal sit-down meal. Plan for meals that are great cold or room temp. Prepackage them in individual portions and store them together in the fridge. When you’re heading out for the afternoon, throw everything into a soft-sided cooler with an ice pack.
- Here is a great list of fun and easy picnic meals from Love and Lemons.
make it a picnic
Reusable cutlery and a portable blanket are the keys to enjoying a great family dinner on the go! Keep these items in your car, find a park (or the side of a soccer field!) and lay out your spread. It’s comfy and provides the face-to-face benefits of a meal around a dinner table.
There’s no way to prepare for everything life (and kids) will throw at you, especially when your schedule is packed and you don’t have time for anything else. But with a little planning and preparation, hopefully you can relax and enjoy these crazy times and feel a little more connected to your family at the same time.
Finally, don’t forget my number one tip – get the kids involved. Show them how best to help you, and let them practice. Empower them to be responsible for getting prepared for their own activities. They will learn valuable life skills and you will all get more time together – Win! Win!