Keeping Life Organized

Life is busy. And when you care for other people’s children, its even busier!  There are a number of tips and tools out there to help keep your brain from exploding and helping you stay on top of things. As a business owner, teacher and mom, here are some things I do to help keep me sane – they work…. most of the time :)

1. Menu planning – there is nothing worse than coming home at the end of the day, or having hungry kids sitting in front of you, and you with no idea what you are making them. For myself, I have a few things I do to keep organized and to keep the kids from eating off their left arms. For breakfasts, I have a list of about 8 different options on my fridge, and in the mornings I offer choices of 3 of them to the kids.  For lunch, I try and do a rotation. Soup, sandwiches, “snacky lunch”, hotdogs and smiley faces, leftovers (if there are any). I find dinner the most difficult, so I do the most planning for that. On a Sunday evening, I sit down with a few of my favourite cookbooks and choose 5 or 6 meals for the week. I write down what I am planning on my calendar in my kitchen, then create my list from those meals. I plan the protein, the carb and the veggie for each meal so there is no guess work when it comes time to cook. I only plan 5 or 6 meals per week because I find most weeks something comes up that we end up eating elsewhere, or having left overs.

2. The dreaded To Do list – I am a list maker. With all the different hats I wear, I find it is necessary to keep lists so I can keep all I need to do straight in my head. I have different categories of lists: Dayhome Registry, Kids, Home, Work.  Then, under each of those categories, I break it down into timeframes: What do I need to do today? this week? this month? this season?.  I have an android phone, and it comes with a great task organizer complete with due dates, recurring “to dos” etc. There is also a great i-App called Trello. It allows you to share your lists and “to dos” with others via email.

3. Paper organization – We are supposed to be moving towards a “paperless” society, but somehow, the papers keep piling up!!! I have a table/bench in my kitchen where I have baskets for my different papers. As papers come in, either for home, the kids or the business, I pop them into their appropriate baskets. Then, when I have a minute (or an hour), I tackle one of the baskets and deal with the papers. I have added “paper organization” to my recurring to-do list, so my phone reminds me to get it done!

4. Filing – once I pull out the papers from their baskets, they need a home to go to. I have a three drawer filing cabinet, each one labeled appropriately (Home, Business, Teaching Work)  When organizing papers for a dayhome, I would have a folder for each child containing their registration, allergies and medications, parent communication and receipts.Once you receive payment, generate the receipt and put it in that child’s folder.  For the business side of things, have 12 different file folders, one for each month, and then file expenses (craft supplies, groceries, cleaning supplies, diapers, etc), statements, and utility bills by month. If you buy sand toys and bubbles in May for the dayhome, put it in the May folder. At the end of the year, all your receipts are neatly organized for doing taxes and giving to parents. Have a file folder for craft ideas, recipe ideas, games ideas, etc. When you are stuck for something new, you can pull out a quick idea to use with the kids.

This all helps me keep my brain and business organized. Next week I’m going to get into organizing “stuff”.  I find that the neater my house is, the easier it is for my kids to find their toys, games, crafts, etc. I’d love to hear how you stay organized! Comment below, or be a guest blogger on our site!

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