Today, we are talking about five very specific routines you need to get organized to have better mornings before school and easier transitions when the kids get home. I will give you a super tangible and practical list of things you can organize within these routines. You need to understand how much your lack of organization is causing you and the kids much more stress.
If you haven’t already, I suggest you go back to Part 1 and Part 2 of this series first. In part 1, we work through time blocks and transitioning out of summer. In Part 2, we talk about how you can start automating numerous tasks in your life and why it is a game changer!
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Not Having a Routine is Causing You Unneeded Stress
Honestly, have you ever sat down and thought about the increased stress level you have in the morning because you or the kids didn’t get up early enough? Or because you didn’t have the lunches packed, or the dishes done, etc. That well-being and your daily mental and emotional state are important. It’s important in how you show up, not just for the kids or your spouse but for what you should be doing. Of course, you’re supposed to do those things for them, but you are so much more than that.
You are so much more than the person with all these jobs to do and a long list of things to do. You never get to show up and be her because you are so tired, overwhelmed and bogged down. Feeling like you are not getting anything done despite working so hard impacts you and your mood.
Get Rid of Feeling Guilt and Shame
The clutter and disorganization in these little spaces you are trying to process people through is bogging you down. You add to your stress when you are tripping over things and unsure if the laundry is clean or dirty (if you’re at the smell test stage, you need this blog). It doesn’t have to be this way. You can say in every nook and cranny of your life, “I am going to take control of this.” “I’m going to become perficient.” “I’m not going to have a negative self-perception of myself anymore.” No more guilt or failure because I can’t keep my house organized.
That impacts your self-esteem, which makes it hard for you to show up for yourself, your friends, family, kids, or anybody. As moms, we tend to deprioritize our ability to make income or volunteer and pour into other people. Because this tiny micro-culture and economy so bog us down, we have created in our homes.
Routines Can Help You Succeed At Your Max Capacity
But the truth is you have skill sets you were given, whether or not you are choosing to use them. You are made to use them. I want you to succeed at all of them at your maximum capacity. Spending hours of your day putting out fires that were entirely preventable because of your lack of organization is defeating. It is demoralizing, especially when you do it over and over again. So much of your overwhelm could be gone in a few days with simple tweaks to how you organize things.
“So much of your overwhelm could be gone in a few days with simple tweaks to how you organize things.”
Today, we are going to look at five straightforward ways to get this done. They will help you with the hustle and bustle of school. It is not about what you are capable of or if you are a good mom. It is simply about the tools that you are or aren’t using.
How Routines Changed My Life
I wasn’t always like this. There was once a season where I was downing in newborn life. Before I had this home management system that I am currently using and got my act together, I was drowning. I had a newborn baby and a second kid, and I had to get out of the door to school on time. It was absolute craziness. We had shared parenting time with my daughter’s biological dad, and I was newly married. I was cleaning and cooking for four people; my husband worked shift work as a firefighter. There were so many late nights, piles of laundry, curdled milk in the bottom of the sink with dishes I hadn’t gotten to in days. I was so exhausted and wanted to get out of doing anything.
I was nursing my baby all night, scrolling through Pinterest, and looking through schedules, workflows, and meal plans. I’d search for how to organize my pantry or any other blog to build a workflow. I was grasping at straws to get organized and I was just as burnt out and fed up as you and then I just gave up. I finally said to myself that I couldn’t live like that anymore. Because of this I made my own home management system that I’ve perfected over the last five years into a 4-week method so that you can get to where I am now without years of throwing spaghetti at the wall.
Learn How to Manage Your Life From My Own Experience
That was the whole point of what I had gone through. To take this experience and provide it in a way that allows moms not to go through what I went through. To be able to have this incredible relief. I invite you to come and learn and implement my 4-week home management method so that you can get organized. Say goodbye to long, hard, gruelling, exhausting days that don’t amount to anything and leave you with nothing but constant overwhelm you don’t know how to escape.
I’ve been running my home management method for five years straight, which has allowed me to grow this business. I took it from the tiny side hustle I had 30 minutes daily to do and turned it into my full-time job. Even more rewarding than being able to make eye contact with my kids, stop being late and missing appointments and have date nights and family connections without screens. And so many more things. I can’t tell you how nice that deep breath feels. I want you to take a deep breath with me. Go to Chelsijo.co/syl to see if Systemize Your Life is what you have been looking for, too.
5 Before and After School Routines To Save You Time and Stress
These next five things we will dive into will be fun for you to start working on now. Back to school is no joke. It is a hard transition for everyone involved, and I guarantee these things will help you.
Before and After School Routines Tip #1: Have a Drop Zone
You do not need a ton of money to do this, but you can spend it if you want. I didn’t have any money at all, and I was organizing cereal boxes and would cut down their tops and use masking tape to tape them together. I still use cardboard as dividers in drawers. This stuff does not cost money, but it takes your time. It takes your intention, effort, and heart. If your heart is here with me, then do the things and stop making excuses. Figure it out; don’t let money be an excuse to keep you from doing that next step and getting your organization in place.
It doesn’t have to look like Pinterest, and it never will. I’ve tried hard, and it still doesn’t look like Pinterest or Instagram. And it doesn’t matter. Here are four things you need to get your drop zone organized:
4 Things You’ll Need For Your Drop Zone:
- Hook or cubbies for backpacks
- A place for the kid’s shoes
- A place to unload the backpacks and lunch boxes
- A list of things they need to do right away
Your drop zone should be when you first walk into the house or garage. Don’t put it at the front door if you don’t come through it. They may not be dropping all their items right at the drop zone, but they should be able to hang up their backpack, pull their stuff out and have a place to set their stuff down. An example of the list they need to do right away is to wash their hands, take off their shoes, empty their bag and then go to the kitchen table.
Before and After School Routines Tip #2: Create a Homework Station
A homework station is something that is going to change your life. It is wild how sometimes the most minor things make such a radical change to behaviour and efficiency. Homework can be a sore subject for a lot of families. But having a homework station will change everything. Ours is at the kitchen table, and yours can be wherever you want it to be. Here are four things that you should be considering and including in your homework station.
4 Things You’ll Need For Your Homework Station:
- Have a tote of some sort that has dividers where all of your kid’s supplies that they need for homework would be. Put pencils, pens, erasers, sharpener, scissors, glue sticks, calculator etc. in this bin. Have all those things so you’re not running around the house to get them all. You’ll have everything the kids need to do their homework in one spot. Create a cool homework station with a fun chair for them or a standing desk.
- Music and a playlist. Boom – you didn’t expect that, did you? You should have access to your kid’s favourite homework playlist. Make sure you have that and use it well.
- Snacks. This baits them, pulls them in and gets them to sit down and do their homework.
- Bin for homework. It could be a filing system, but it needs to be near the homework station. My kids keep their homework for a week. They get it on Friday and don’t turn it in until the following Friday. The bin gives them somewhere to hold their homework; they know where to get it before we start.
Before and After School Routines Tip #3: Lunch Box Packing Area
4 Things You’ll Need For Your Lunch Box Packing Area
- Organize your ice blocks. Find one bin, write ICE BLOCKS on it and put it in the freezer. This is ONLY for ice blocks.
- Set up specific shelves or bins/cubbies for the lunch bags and all the lunch box things they need. Everything they need to put into their lunch and the bag should be in one spot.
- Use bento-style boxes. We use the Bentgo brand, which we can find at Target, Costco, or Amazon. I am obsessed. I will never pack lunches in anything else. If you are not currently using them, you have to be. It makes packing lunch so easy, not only for you but it makes it fun for the kids. They also have spill-proof compartments, which are great for yogurt and dips. It is super versatile for the kids and makes packing a lunch box so easy.
- Have one shelve in the fridge for lunch foods your kids love. I have a book bin/file bin from Target that is clear and can hook together. In that section, I have it broken down even further into categories. It’s super simple for the kids to go in and grab their snacks for their lunches. It has everything that they could need for lunches. When you have this stuff organized, your kids can help with the process.
Before and After School Routines Tip #4: The Kids Bathroom
This is a massive part of getting out the door on time daily.
4 Things You’ll Need For The Kids Bathroom
- Have everything that they need to get ready for the day in one place in their bathroom. It shouldn’t be kept in a bunch of different rooms.
- Bring it all down low where they can get to it. We have a step stool for the youngest, and nothing is up high. Everything is within her reach, and her step stool folds. We tried one that didn’t fold, and it would get in the way, and she wouldn’t do what she needed to do because it was too hard for her. Any resistance, remove it.
- Make sure everything they need is stocked, or you’ll have to find those things for them.
- Keep all of the must-use items on the counter. Get it in front of their face. If we are trying to build habits, it needs to be visible. Have a cut little cup, one for toothbrush and toothpaste, and done for the hairbrush and other things. Once your kids pick up the habit, you can put them away. You could also have everything in a basket, put it under your sink, and pull it out every morning.
Before and After School Routines Tip #5: The School Clothes
Having all of these things organized will make your mornings so much easier.
4 Things You’ll Need For The Kids Bathroom
1. Your Laundry System:
Have your laundry system in place and flushed out so you aren’t running out of clean clothes. Let’s avoid the smell test. It happens, and it stinks and makes us feel bad. I’m guilty of it from time to time. My laundry system is in a better place now than it ever has been, and we don’t outsource it anymore. My 91-year-old grandmother has always done the girl’s laundry, but we have moved further away from her and do it ourselves. I’ve flushed out a system that works for us and allows us to have clean clothes for the kids.
2. Label All Drawers
This makes picking out outfits so easy. Either use words or pictures. This seems like it is not needed and that they know where their clothes are. It doesn’t matter. You also know where the cereal, forks and everything else is, but we always use labels. It is one of the steps we talk about that are required inside the ESCAPE method. You get this method for free inside of Systemize Your Life. You have to label things because your brain is already thinking about too much. As much guesswork as you can take out of things and having to remember, the easier it will be. It will be more effective, and you will be more likely to follow through with these things.
3. Organize Accessories
Organize all accessories, socks, shoes, and sports attire in clearly labelled bins. Do not mix this stuff. There can be a lot of things, including all of the hair bows, headbands, or sports socks. Separate it all and make sure that they are where they need to be. If your kids are wearing uniforms, it is no different. You need to make sure they have all of the pieces of their uniforms that they need. You want this to be something that doesn’t cause friction or frustration in the morning.
4. Next Days Clothes
Have a designated spot in their room with their next day’s clothes for them and lay them out the night before. Do not do this in the morning. You must be laying out clothes the night before.
Follow the Full Back to School Series
Make sure to follow the rest of the Back to School series to set you up for success this year. Here’s what you can expect:
- Navigating Time Blocks – 3 Tips to Set You Up for Success
- 12 Reasons Why You Need To Automate Your To-Do List Today
- How to connect with your kids when school starts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I learn more about Routine Stacks and Time Blocking?
I have so many resources for managing your schedule to make sure the systems in place are serving you. The best place to start is my FREE Time Blocking Workbook. In the Time Blocking workbook, you can learn the basics of time blocking for work-from-home moms, build the right time blocks for your schedule, and practice your first try at time blocking on paper!