How I got ninja organisation skills mum style

Sometimes I think I have turned into a organisation ninja. These days I can rip through a to do list like a cyclone across a corn field. I’ve always been organised (some say retentive – I know who you are, I still love you!) but somehow since becoming a mum I’m on maximum power for organisation skills. Maybe it’s due having twins but really there was no choice – for me it was organise or perish!

Here are the things I do daily, weekly, regularly to keep our lives humming along.

I don’t do ironing

Also  I can’t and I won’t. I buy clothes that require minimal straightening intervention and I certainly would not consider ironing pyjamas, bedding, socks or tea towels. For me this is a complete waste of time, is unnecessary and has very little chance of being appreciated. If you enjoy ironing, good luck to you but I’d rather use the time to read a book or make a list (see below). I am not looking forward to my kids needing pressed school uniforms but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I do have a lovely steamer for things that absolutely must be ironed and so I don’t look like a crease monkey.

iron

Dry shampoo is your friend

I have horrible unruly hair that will not behave unless I spend a good half hour drying, straightening and applying potions to it. I do not have time to do this every other day so I often go 4 days between washes. Dry shampoo is my best friend on those days. A little spritz on the roots and some rudimentary styling and away we go. I like Kloranes classic oat extract dry shampoo.

I get up earlier than the kids

This is the big one. Granted my kids are good sleepers and still in cots (so unable to escape and cause havoc) but if I’m not dressed and ready for the day before they get up we are not going anywhere in a hurry. And if I don’t get out of the house at least for half an hour everyone will suffer. Most days I’ll get snacks, drinks, clothes etc organised in the morning too.

Get up earlier than the kids

Online grocery shopping

This is my saviour on a couple of levels. Firstly, doing a weekly shop with a couple of babies or toddlers in tow is my idea of hell and a complete waste of time. I just set up my grocery order, add to it as needed and schedule the delivery for an appropriate time. I really don’t know how people managed before this service. Secondly, if I do need to go a supermarket with the kids they think it’s a huge treat and have so much fun – almost as good as a bouncy castle in their opinion.

List making

I’m a list-aholic and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I even have lists of lists. I like ticking things off as it helps me remember I’m actually achieving quite a lot as I go along. The key to all this list making is to break the list items into actionable chunks. “Buy christmas presents” as a list item is sure to prove daunting. Much better to list out each gift required.

A tech freak, I have tested out a LOT of list apps. I like Wunderlist. This app lets you organise your lists into folders, set reminders and alerts and you can share lists with other people. It’s available on and can be synced across most platforms.

Perhaps the best approach however is to action items as soon as you get them and avoid adding them to lists at all.

1

Remove or recycle

After moving continents and waiting for our shipping container for months I realised we didn’t need half the stuff we had. I’m hoping to leave the UK with less than when we arrived. To achieve this I try to remove things from our house that we no longer want or need. This process involves cleaning out drawers and cupboards regularly and to either donate, recycle or repurpose what I can. Less clutter means I can think more clearly and be more organised.

Train them up early

I have an obsessive relationship with my Dyson hand held vacuum. It is my number two household appliance after my coffee machine. Fortunately my son loves it too and now he can make it “get dust” not only have we resolved 20 minutes of play time activity but I get some basic daily cleaning done too. Now brainstorming how to make other jobs fun.

Outfit planning

OK I admit it, this one is quite retentive but in my defence it does prevent a lot of early morning listless wardrobe rummaging and unnecessary purchases. For the last year I have used the Stylebook app to track and plan my outfits. In a nutshell, you add images of the clothes and accessories you own and build outfits from them. You can add the outfits to your calendar for planning purposes and the app will even help you track cost per wear. In this way, I discovered I needed more jeans and boots and fewer party dresses and heels. Seriously – I needed an app to figure that out.  Outfit example below

Outfit planning

Accept help when it is offered

This has been a hard one for me to grasp if I’m honest. I’ve had to let go of my “I can do it all” ego a little bit since the twins arrived. My recent experience is that in general people love to help. So let them. Even better be specific about what you need. A run to the shop to get nappies, a coffee, to mind one child while you change the other. Whatever it is, just try it. Accepting help is calming, you get more things done quickly and actually, best of all, you build stronger relationships.

Just say no

I like to do one thing a day if possible with my kids. That might be a trip to the park or half day at nursery or a play date. That’s enough for us at the moment. Inevitably if I try to squeeze more things in we all tend to collapse in a heap. So now if I have to say no to an invitation we will try to reschedule and be all the better company for it.

Be kind to yourself

You can’t do everything and please everyone. It is ok to cut yourself some slack. If you can’t be bothered cooking have store made soup or salad and toast for dinner once or even twice a week. There are some very nutritious and tasty options on the market here in the UK. I say go for it. Also schedule in some rest time – read a book, do some exercise, listen to music, do some ironing if that’s your thing. Whatever it is you will be much more productive if you have a little break.

Letterpress-2

I’m not saying I wrote the book or even the definitive blog post on the subject of getting organised. Many of these things, if not all,  fall under the duh!/common sense banner and I am in no doubt that I could learn a lot too. But I do hope this post helps someone take a few tips on what can be a very daunting prospect i.e. getting the kids organised and out the door day after day after day…

Context – I am not in full time paid employment (I am a freelance marketer) and have great support from my partner. This makes a big difference and I am aware of and grateful for that. Huge props to the sole parents out there doing everything they do without that support and those working full time. Massive respect. One day (hopefully very soon) you will look back in awe on all that you do.

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2 Comments

  1. 24th April 2016 / 9:10 AM

    This is such a good list – my life would fall apart without lists!! Ironing is over-rated and I am always first up. The boys leave for school at 6.50am and the time from then to when my husband gets up after 8 is my most productive!

    • 24th April 2016 / 1:24 PM

      Absolutely Rosie. Husbands are such time wasters (in a good way) ? Thanks for your kind comment!

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