When you’re the mumma with a large family, organization is the key to a smooth day and, of course, is the secret to your sanity!
As your family grows and becomes busier, establishing and streamlining family processes will help keep you calm and connected, even amongst the chaos. Keep your family organized like a well-oiled machine with these tips for large family organization.
// Large Family Organization Hack 1: Run Your Family Like A Business
At first, it may sound harsh, but running my family like a business is the reason I’ve been able to get sh*t done while working a part-time job and raising a young family. Getting everyone on board with chores, organizing family meetings and communicating with my kids are the keys to my success in organizing my hectic family life. Check out how I run my family like a business for more tips on how to bring a business structure into organizing your family.
// Large Family Organization Hack 2: Schedule Family Meetings
Part of running an organized family (and a successful business!) is scheduling regular meetings. Each family member needs to stay up-to-date on their assigned tasks, review schedules, and communicate upcoming activities. Set aside a time that works for your family (it might be daily at breakfast, weekly after dinner, fortnightly, or even monthly) to get together and get organized. Setting up a digital family calendar like Life Sorted is the perfect solution to ensure your family members are reminded about family events and kept in the loop.
// Large Family Organization Hack 3: Incorporate Systems into Family Meetings
One fantastic method to managing family meetings is to include a system that works for you. My absolute favourite system for eliminating brain-clutter is the 4-D Framework. This simple system will organise your thoughts and give you the time you need to process each event, activity or appointment as they occur… and most of all combat brain-clutter! As a new project, appointment or event enters your ‘brain inbox’, file it immediately by choosing ONE of these four options:
- Do it
- Delegate it
- Defer it
- Ditch it
This system works really well for teaching your kids how to prioritise tasks and manage their time. It’s also ridiculously easy to remember, which means you can always use it to fall back on when you feel overwhelmed by the chores piling up. Print this 4 D Framework chart out and bring it to your next family meeting!
// Large Family Organization Hack 4: Sort by Colors!
Assign everyone in the family (yep, even hubby!) a color. Where possible, try to always buy the same colored bags, cups, socks and notebooks. This will help everyone know which belongings they are responsible for and will make the process of tracking lost items so much easier! If you’re not keen on walking out of your house looking like one of the Teletubbies, then why not choose a particular pattern or design instead, like a leopard print or geometrical shapes, that you can use for each member of the family.
// Large Family Organization Hack 5: Set up a Command Center
Setting up a DIY family command center is the mother of all organizational hacks. Think of this centre as your customizable organization station in the middle of the home. Each member of the family should have a spot on the command center wall (use your assigned colors!) and include things like pegs for bags and keys, slots for notices and homework, to-do lists and anything else your family uses every day. Check out more essentials to setting up a brilliant command centre here. Remember, a command center will be different for every family – find out what works for you and run with it!
// Large Family Organization Hack 6: Separate and Sort your Electronics
Away from your family command center, establish a centralized spot for all the electronics in the house. Use labeled (or color coded) plastic sleeves, tubs or drawers to separate chargers, power cables, kindles, tablets and their warranty information. This removes constant nagging from the kids about where they left their phone chargers, and best of all, this system helps you to check that the kids have surrendered their video-games after their assigned screen time is up.
// Large Family Organization Hack 7: Establish Routines
A key aspect of being organized is to establish routines that work for you and your family. Sit down at family meetings and write a list of things that need to be completed every morning and night, daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly. Once everyone is on the same page, you can start working on your new routines. Check out these daily routines you can use to take the stress out of organizing your family. Remember, don’t be disheartened if they don’t work out in the first week, routines can take time to get used to – the important thing is that you started.
// Large Family Organization Hack 8: Prepare for Mornings Before you go to Bed
Do you always feel like there’s never enough time in the morning to get sorted, drop the kids at school before the bell, and get to work on time? In the wise words of Nicole Avery, a Melbourne planning blogger and mum of five, ‘smooth mornings start the night before’. Preparing school uniforms, setting the table for breakfast and checking the to-do lists the night before will save precious minutes in your mornings to enjoy a cuppa, and get moving on time.
// Large Family Organization Hack 9: Separate your Laundry!
The bane of every mumma’s existence – laundry. The key to staying on top of laundry before it drowns you is to divide and conquer. Use laundry hacks like separate labeled baskets for each family member, or type of laundry (lights, darks, linen or towels). Alternatively, schedule different days of the week for each family member to do their own laundry (this works best for older kids). Women’s Day has an array of laundry hacks like these and simple installations to make doing-the-laundry a fe-breeze (LOL… get it?).
// Large Family Organization Hack 10: Meal Planning and Preparing
This is a great organizational tip for large families with busy night-time schedules. Planning and preparing meals in advance saves so much time in the kitchen and at the grocery store, and it takes out all of the mental strain of inventing something to eat for dinner every night. Ask the kids what meals they’d like to have this week, and set aside a time in your schedule (I suggest the weekend) to prepare in advance. Freezing family sized portions of sauces, soups, curries and stocks works a treat too!
// Large Family Organization Hack 11: Early To Bed, Early To Rise!
Depending on the age of your children, it’s likely that they may wake earlier than you care to get up in the morning. The best (and in my experience – only!) way to prepare for early awakenings by little hands clawing your sheets is to make sure you head to bed early too. When you have enough sleep, you’ll be in a better place to wake up and seize the day, even if waking up with the birds is the last thing you feel like doing!
// Large Family Organization Hack 12: Bedroom Zones
Getting the kids to keep their rooms clean is an age-old challenge, but don’t worry, I’m here to help. ‘The solution?’, you ask. Bedroom zones! Establishing zones that suit your kids is amazing for keeping their rooms tidy and organized. Depending on the size of their rooms, and their age, these zones will vary, but have a go including a zone for getting ready for school, a zone for homework, playtime, and for extra-curricular activities like music or sports. Maintaining these zones teaches your kids tidiness and ownership of their own space and things.
// Large Family Organization Hack 13: Have a Winter & Summer Wardrobe
Closets can quickly become cluttered, especially if you have two or more children sharing closet space. At the start of a new season, simply bag up the clothing that is not going to be worn and put it into storage. There’s nothing worse than digging through a pile of sweaters in order to find a long-lost t-shirt. Only have what you’re likely to currently wear in the closet at any given time. If it doesn’t fit, hand it down to another sibling or send it off to a charity bin.
// Large Family Organization Hack 14: Declutter every Six Months
On that note, decluttering is a major part of staying organized. In between regular decluttering events (like getting the kids to pick up toys and put away their clothes), schedule a day every six-months to channel your inner Marie Kondo and declutter everything in that forgotten hallway closet and under the kids’ beds. If it doesn’t ‘spark joy’, get rid of it!
If her method is a little too extreme for you though, try sorting everything into piles, like:
- Definitely yes
- Maybe (these items requires a second opinion, or a decision after everything else has been sorted)
- Donate to charity
- Throw away
Or, even simpler:
- Keep it
- Store it
- Throw it
// Large Family Organization Hack 15: Stackable Storage Containers
This organizational hack is a lifesaver. Using stackable storage containers around the house, like in the laundry, kitchen, kids’ closets, the study and the linen closet can zap disorganization away! I recommend using containers with a label on the front for easy access, try to buy the same brand and vary the sizes to suit different needs around the house. Bring on the organization!
// Large Family Organization Hack 16: Storage Dividers
Another great storage hack to increase your family’s organization – use cutlery dividers in the bathroom drawers and the kids’ home desks to separate accessories and stationary. This is a simple, fast and effective solution to your cluttered drawers around the home. Use labels to teach your kids what goes where initially, and watch the organization roll in. A bonus tip: be sure to leave some spare or miscellaneous dividers free for the future, when your kids grow up, and priorities change.
// Large Family Organization Hack 17: Plan Ahead
It may sound too simple to mention but you’ll be surprised how planning ahead helps you to be more organized. Use a family calendar app that is especially designed to help you organize your hectic family life with shared calendars, to-do lists, shopping lists, and the all-important, birthday reminders! A centralized digital calendar like Life Sorted lets everyone know what they’re responsible for, and keeps your big family organized. You can download the key to family organization at the App Store or on Google Play.
Try out these large family organization tools and hacks, avoid using them all at once, slowly weave these organization hacks into your family schedule. Let me know what works for you in the comments below.