Ellen O. of NY
As a single working mother, I lead a hectic life. I have learned to cook in advance. I make twice the amount needed and separate into individual serving dishes and freeze. Junk mail goes in the garbage before I get into the house. In order to organize, every day I get up a little earlier. I clean a different area, whether it be a bathroom or kitchen floor. I have decluttered and gotten rid of dust collectors (including carpet). Each boy has chores.
Cindy L. of WV
Every bedroom in our house has their own laundry basket for dirty clothes. On laundry day all of the clothes in that basket are returned to the same room they came from except of course, towels n washclothes. this works pretty well hardly any sorting to do.
Carol B. of NH
The best suggestion I can give anyone is if they want to stay organized then don't become a pack rat or you will be smothered in all your things. If you haven't looked at it or used it in more than 2 years then chances are you never will so time to sell it, give it away or throw it out. That is what I am doing now with all my many years of accumulating. So beware, it creeps up on you!
Nyla T. of SD
Always gather up all school books, notebooks, etc and put in a pile at the end of the table or in the book bag the night before. Find all missing shoes, mittens, boots etc the night before. Lay out all school or work clothes the night before. Clean and polish all shoes. Then in the morning EVERYONE can start out relaxed. Take more time for breakfast and visit with each other. You'll find out that your day and everybody's elses will go so much smoother. No wild crazy screaming hectic mornings. I did this for years when my kids were in school, I still do it and it's just me. My mornings are so much more relaxed now. I can even have that second cup of coffee before going out the door.
If you make "sack" lunches for the school children, spouse or yourself make them as you are picking up the table after dinner each evening. Some of the things can be put in containers for the next day's lunch. Some of the items can be put in the freezer to be used at a later date. However you use them, mark with a date and the item inside for future use. It is so much easier to do lunches as everything is out and in the open, rather than starting from 'scratch' and dragging everything back out of the frig. Some can be added to something else so it appears as if it is a new "not served before" dish. Surprise yourself to see what combinations you can come up with. "You'll be surprised".
When my children were small I always carried extra clothing in an overnight bag for them. It usually consisted of a complete change of clothing, sweaters for each child, extra formula with bottled water, diapers, wipes, bags for soiled diapers, extra blankets, dnacks according to age. With a bag in the car no need to gather it each time and carry in the diaper bag. Both of our families lived quite a distance from us, I cannot tell you how often these items were used. Also if we were getting home after their bed time I bathed them and put on fresh jammies (from the bag) so we could tuck them into bed without waking them when we got home.
Sue E. of OH
Use an inexpensive CD rack to store those hard to organize plastic food container lids. You can store the rack in a cupboard, pull it out and select the lid size needed!
Jane S. of MO
I had an old filing cabinet that wasn't working good anymore to hold files. So I was going to throw it out...I got a brain storm and repainted it blue to match the kitchen. I now have canisters, boxed mixes, etc. and my food processor and mixer in it. It makes more cabinet space.
Esperanza D. of NM
How to organize portable and healthy snacks on-the-go:
One weekend you have free, take the kids to a farmer's market and have the kids choose their favorite fruits and vegetables. Get a pound or more of each. When you get home, sit down as a family with small tupperware bowls (with lids), cutting boards, and knives (for the older ones). Cut up the fruits and vegetables. Get creative and add a little of each fruit to the containers for snacks at home or on the go. For the veggies, you can make pre-made salads as alternative snacks to chips.
Janet S. of NC
It is really hard for me to stay organized especially considering that my health is not that good. My advice is just to pick up one thing every time you walk through the house and put it up. Also, during every commercial break on TV, just take one thing and put it up. Soon the whole house is straightened and organized.
Christine W. of OK
I keep a calender with all of my activities on it, especially doctor's appointments. I also try to write down next to it the approximate number of miles that I drove to get there and back plus make a note of any copays or payments that I made. I do this for any volunteer work that I do. I also make a note of any donations made and whether I got a receipt for it. This makes it alot easier when it comes time for preparing my taxes.
Jean B. of KS
Never go up or downstairs without taking something with you. An armload now will save several trips.
Dorothy L. of MI
I have a calendar in my kitchen for all the important dates and I have a pocket calendar in my purse so instead of getting cards from doctors and such, I stay green by writing them down and transferring them to the big calendar when I get home.
Melissa B. of NY
I am a home schooling mom of three girls all three years apart. Each girl gets a color. They pick the color and this is marked on their stuff; bottom of socks, inside undies, etc. Color coded chores listed on the fridg. appt, sports events, they too are written in each child's color.
Breakfast foods such as pancakes or waffles I make tripple the amound and freeze whatever is left. I also make my own instant oatmeal by putting some in the blender, chopping it up a bit, and adding flavored pudding mix or jello mix. You can make a large amount and store it in a bag or container, and just add hot water. I also pre-make breakfast sandwiches. Cook up some scrambled egg, toast an english muffin, add a bit of cheese and freeze.
Tammy M. of GA
My house is an open floor plan with an open loft upstairs, so I only have very little wall space because the whole front of the house is windows. Small bedrooms, so I bought a huge Armoire (on clearance) and removed the clothes bar and put stackable storage units in it to more than double my storage space.
Corrie P. of WY
I have a very busy schedule when it comes to my business and my family. There are many things that I do to make sure I get everything done in a day and week. One of the most important things to me is using a planner. Now some peope use an online calender and some use a day planner book. I use a book and I take with me almost every where I go. I write everything from personal apts to apts for the family and everything about my business. I keep it with me so I can make sure I don't make an apt when I have something else going on.
Sandra B. of OH
I worry about my teenage son getting a good breakfast on especially cold mornings. He loves my homemade pancakes and waffles, so I take either a Saturday or Sunday evening, and I make up a weeks worth or so, and freeze them to where he can help himself, and microwave, it saves money in the long run because it's stuff I already have in the house and use daily where I am not buying premade. I can make varieties to suite him (pecan, chocolate chip, etc)