Last year in 2015, one of my resolutions was to plan a menu for the week on Sunday and then go grocery shopping. In other words, not always be flying by the seat of my pants. I also wanted to plan my outfits ahead of time, so I didn't always look like a wrinkled mess!!! Finally, I wanted to establish morning and after school routines for my children that helped us leave the house happy (not stressed and grumpy at one another) and then have free time after school!
Overall it went really well. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, and I think it took me a bit longer, but a year later, I'm hooked :) I shared some of these before I went back to school in August, but Jan 1st is also a great time to share ideas :)
In 2016, I want to continue to do these things, but I also want to try and find time to unwind!! I'm always worried about my To Do list! My key word for 2015 is going to be PRIORITIES :)
Here are some of my tips to help you stay organized when you aren't at school!
Plan Meals Ahead of TimeI use my Erin Condren planner to plan weekly meals, but I use the Reminders app on my phone to keep track of my families grocery list. I know they have fancier apps out their, but this is super easy for me since I am always using the Reminders app for other "to-do" lists. I feel like everything is in one place. Plus, the best thing is that my GROCERY LIST reminder is a shared list, so my husband adds things as well.
Two other apps that my friends like to use are:
Plan Outfits for the Month (or Week)I know what you are thinking :) What if the weather changes or I don't feel like wearing something when I wake up. That's ok...since you have a month worth of outfits planned, you can easily wear a different one. This way, all your accessories are planned, and it makes it so much easier in the morning! You can download the Fashion Plan here for free! I planned a month at a time last year, and I felt so much more together.
You can check out my Pinterest Styles for School board here! Last year, by planning out my outfits ahead of time, I was able to wear Pinterest Inspired outfits most days! I'm also a huge budget shopper!!!! My closet is full of clothes from Old Navy, Kohls, or Target. I love accessories, like scarfs, statement necklaces, and fun Kendra Scott earrings to jazz up an outfit!
You can also get these cool outfit planner stickers from Kittik Prints!
Get Everything Ready the Night BeforeOur routine before bed looks something like this:
1) Lunches are on the counter with all the non-cold stuff in them.
2) Backpacks are packed by the back door and are all ready for school (and any other team/sport bag that will be needed for practice if we aren't coming home).
3) Clothes are picked out.
4) The shoes everyone is wearing are by the back door.
5) I also have a checklist on the back door that my children check one last time before they go out the door.
The checklist on the back door is organized by day-of-the-week. One reason I do this is that I cannot keep up with my children's schedule. At their school, "specials" occur on various days and special materials are needed for those days. For example, band occurs on Monday, Tuesday, Friday for 5th grade, and Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday for 7th grade). On PE days they must have tennis shoes/sneakers. PE has a similar schedule to band, only on different days! It takes me until November to remember their schedule!!! So once I get their schedule, I make the checklist.
Have a Morning RoutineYou probably all ready think I'm a little OCD. Well it gets worse :) When my children get up, there is a routine they follow. I also set a timer to help keep us on track. If you could meet my son, you would see why I do this. Every morning we leave the house happy and I haven't raised my voice or snapped at anyone :) We've been doing this for 8 years now, and it works pretty well. In the beginning, when they would go to bed, I would remind them of what I wanted the morning to look like.
1) Get up
2) Get dressed
3) Do hair
5) Brush teeth
6) Pack Lunch
I've done it multiple ways, but I have found that once my children are dressed, they move faster. The potential problem is that they could spill breakfast on their clothes.
I set a timer, and at 7:15, everyone has to brush teeth. I figure if worse comes to worse they can eat in the car, but they can't brush their teeth in the car. Plus, my children don't like eating after they brush their teeth, so this order really helps keep them moving.
Before we walk out the door, we check the checklist. Like I said earlier, you've never met my son. He has actually gone to school without shoes on (he had on his socks), because I told him, "grab your backpack and hop in the car!" Notice I never said, "put on your shoes!" Even though you probably think I'm OCD, you probably should also think that I have lots of patience :)
Have an After School Routine1) Our routine is always to do homework right when we get home. As soon as they are done with homework, it goes in their backpack and then is put by the back door, so we know where it is.
2) While my children are doing homework, I check folders and make sure everything I need to do for them is done at that time (permission slips signed, homework signed, etc.)
3) Then it is free time!
Use Crockpot LinersThis is my final tip. I don't love to cook (or even like it), so the crockpot is my friend. Cleaning the crockpot used to be a miserable chore for me, until my friend introduced me to crockpot liners. Crockpot liners make clean-up so much easier!!! You just throw away the liner, and your crockpot is clean! I still wash it, but there isn't any scrubbing or soaking needed!!!
One of my family's favorite recipes is chicken in the crockpot with salsa. It cooks all day and you just shred the chicken before you serve it. We put it on tortilla chips with shredded cheese and sour cream.
I hope some of these tips will help you in 2016!