I thought I'd share some of the things that help in this process. Some of them are classic ideas, others are things I've seen on Pinterest, and some are things we did when I was growing up. There are ideas here that could cost a bit of money. These are things that we've purchased over the last few years...I would NOT recommend anyone trying to get out of debt go purchase all these things at once.
1. Family Calendar
We took a classic white board and used permanent marker to draw a calendar. We keep reminders here for trash day, late nights, days off, and days to pay our babysitter and preschool teacher. (Here's one at Walmart for about $16)
We have found that the key to staying organized is to be able to SEE everything. Because our kids are still pretty small, we keep the cereal on the bottom shelf. This helps our 5-year-old be independent enough to pick out his own breakfast and take it to the table.
3. Getting Dressed
This is one idea on saw on Pinterest several months ago. I'll be honest, it seemed like a silly idea at first. Why not just keep all your clean clothes in your drawers and use those to get dressed?!?
But at our house we've found that if we tell the 5-year-old to get dressed he will come out of his room wearing shorts and a sweatshirt in September, or swim trunks and a tank-top in the middle of January. So we gave this idea a shot. Each shoe "shelf" has an outfit for a different day of the week. This way the kids have complete outfits (including underwear and socks) within a single reach of the arm. My husband swears it saves him at least 20 minutes each morning. (We found our hanging shoe shelves at Target, on sale for $12)
4. Jackets and Backpacks
Not long after we moved in to our house we hung hooks in each bedroom and in the living room. It has been a great way to get jackets, scarves, backpacks, and purses off the floor, AND to have each child's items in one place. (Home Depot is a great place to find these in every price range and style)
In our room we added a little shelving organizer underneath the hooks. We picked up the unit and the baskets at Target during a New Year's sale last year. This is where we keep our shoes and socks. It fits perfectly behind our bedroom door.
5. Missing socks?
One of the down-falls of being a working mom is that laundry usually has to wait until the end of the week. But then there's always the missing sock problem. I HATE putting them with the paired socks because when I'm getting ready in the morning I don't want to grab a single sock or spend the time looking for a pair. So we have a very special place that our missing socks go:
Each Saturday (laundry day) I pull out this basket and look for pairs as each load comes out of the dryer! This is one trick I learned from my mom.
6. Hair Bows
If my husband can get our 1-year-old to sit still long enough, he brushes her hair. And if she's sitting still an extra long time he can quickly grab one of these hair bows and clip it into her hair. (This is sort of rare though!) I know I didn't invent this idea, but I explained it to my husband one day and he threw it together for me!
Do you have shoes all over your house? We do. One thing we've tried (and it's been a big success for us), is to have a large shoe basket by the entry. Quite frankly, I'm still looking for an even larger basket. Once the kids get dressed they come out to the living room and slip their shoes right on! (This basket came from Hobby Lobby during one of their 50% sales!)
There are a couple days a week when my husband not only drops the kids off, but picks them up too. We set aside a little box for snacks on the bottom shelf of the pantry so that the kids could easily reach and help themselves...of course, it's been a bit of a trick to keep them from taking too much. I actually picked up this box at Walmart about 4 years ago when their 4th of July stuff was on clearance.
There you have it. Just a few of our little tricks to help dad get the kids out the door each day.