Families are an ever moving machine. Sometimes things will work, sometimes they they won’t and you’ll have to readjust. Sometimes, you’ll readjust again and again. Actually, who am I trying to kid? You’ll readjust constantly. How do we keep from losing our minds amidst all the change? Let’s talk about how the organized family can coordinate schedules, prioritize and create a functional framework for making it through the craziness.
Come Together. Right Now.
The first and most important step to becoming the organized family is to bring everyone together. Meaning, get your schedules, plans, ideas- everything and everyone involved. Everyone will not psyched about this super fun family project. Attendance isn’t optional. Ok, if some of your family members can’t form full sentences yet or might try to eat the dry erase markers, they can be excused. Everyone else better show up.
The Organized Family is a MACHINE
How many times have you forgotten about someone’s dentist appointment or a Back to School Night? Don’t even get me started on, “Dress as your favorite book character day” at school or everyone eating cereal for dinner because you ran out of time and groceries for the week. How do we find the flow for our family? What are the rest of us doing to plan out meals for the week or make sure to have all the pieces of your 1st grader’s Halloween costume ahead of time??
Start with the big picture
To be the organized family, you have to start big. The big picture, that is. Look at the whole year. I like using a month and week planner. This means I can see the whole month at a glance and plug in everyone’s appointments, reunion planning Zoom meetings and picture days. Planners with a weekly layout included are great too I flip between using just a monthly planner to using the blend. Take some time to hit up Staples. They have a huge selection of different planner types available for you to choose from.
You’ll also want to think about where the planner lives. Mine is in my purse. So, it can’t be too big or heavy. If you want to save some money (those planners can be priiiiicey), try these printable month planner templates instead. You can use a 3 hole punch and make your own planner! They are listed in order for you to get started right away with October. You’re on your way to being the organized family for sure.
- October 2021 Template
- November 2021 Template
- December 2021 Template
- January 2022 Template
- February 2022 Template
- March 2022 Template
- April 2022 Template
- May 2022 Template
- June 2022 Template
- July 2022 Template
The organized family establishes a control center
My family has a centralized location in the kitchen. It isn’t a perfect system, but it is definitely working in some regards. Mostly, everything goes in one place for everyone in our family. This way, nothing gets lost, forgotten or double booked. Unless, that is, it doesn’t get written down at all, then no one can help me there.
I’ll sit down sometime in late July with my new calendar and look over the school year for everyone (husband and I are both teachers) and write in holidays, PD days since that means childcare planning for at least one kiddo, after school duties. Then I move on to the personal stuff, birthdays, anniversaries, appointments, fun plans. Make sure to have everyone’s calendars when sitting down to do this. Things won’t get missed this way. Once you have the foundation set up, you can review it weekly and add things that come up along the way.
I found an awesome dry erase weekly wall planner and I love this thing so much. I can add/ remove things for the week and know what we’re all doing at a quick glance. Using different colors for different family members or activities helps me spot things quickly. This makes me sound really extra, but I promise it’s a pretty easy thing to manage and I’m no Joanna Gaines, despite how much I might purchase from Target. I’ll never look that put together in a button down holding a sprig of eucalyptus, but hey, that’s why we love her.
Don’t forget to eat
I find that I can deeply relate to Olaf in Frozen 2 when he frolics through the screen singing, “I’ll bring the snacks!” Right? I know this isn’t just me. I kind of love knowing what the plan will be for dinner and to have something delicious to look forward to. (Full transparency, my husband does most of the cooking so I get to live a life of luxury by doing dishes and setting the table each evening.) Since my husband and I both have varying evening responsibilities, I might have meetings, he teaches a night class twice a week- it helps to know ahead of time what the meals will be so no one is scrambling around at 5pm and then realizing there isn’t enough time to cook the thing you found in the freezer and so you all end up eating cereal.
Meal planning for the organized family
I find it helpful for the organized family to approach the meals for the week just like everything else and plan them out. I have a weekly template for Monday – Friday and each Sunday we look over the week and our responsibilities and plan out the meals. Some nights are going to be great for a prepped and ready to go crock pot meal. Other nights, there may be more time for lengthier oven meals to cook.
Included above in the meal planner template are spaces for you to consider breakfast, lunch and dinner. My family focuses mainly on planning out dinner, but you might find that it is also helpful to consider other meals for your family as needed. It helps me stay on track with healthy lunches and limit my ordering out if I have a lunch plan for the week. Use these templates in the way it works for you and your journey to being the organized family. Best of luck!
Leave us a note in the comments about the hacks your family uses to stay organized! We love to hear from you.
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.