Six Fail-Proof Ways To Organize Your Family Life This September

Get your family organized this month with these six easy steps

 
September is the month of organization. Of clearing the clutter of the summer and setting up life for fall. Get your family all on the same track and on the straight and narrow. Put a few of these organization tactics into place now and you'll thank yourself later. 
 
Establish a top priority
 
Here's a tip from Patrick Lencioni’s Real Simple post, 10 Business Strategies to Organize Your Family Life: “If everything is important, nothing is. Too many companies fail because they spread their time and energies too thin.” The same goes for your family. 
 
Ask yourself—if your clan could accomplish one thing together in the next few months, what would that ideally be? Maybe it's to have dinner together every night, to spend more time together or to get healthy. Get clear on one central goal to work towards this fall and make sure everyone agrees. Then you'll all know which day to day activities should take priority over which.
 
Create a kitchen command center
 
You likely already have one of these in a sense; they tend to “just happen” over time. Chances are it's around the area where your phone is and where the calendar hangs. It might be a small table in your kitchen that accumulates clutter or a section of your kitchen counter. Take note of this space and organize it to support the activity that happens within it. Install an extra shelf with compartments for gathering receipts if you collect them, or mail, or hang a whiteboard. The key is to not create more clutter, but to simplify. 
 
Set a bedtime routine for everyone
 
Set a regular routine for "the house" before bed. You might not be going to bed when your kids do, but go through the motions with them. These might consist of washing up, brushing teeth, getting into pajamas and reading a book. Reading aloud to kids or reading together just before bed is a great way to unwind and spend some quiet time together and it also gets them into the habit of reading. Can't tear your kid away from your iPad in the evening? Do try to get them to part from screens at least 30 minutes before heading to bed. And the same goes for you! The blue light from electronics is disruptive and keeps our brains wired—they are not bedtime-friendly. 
 
Make breakfast the nigth before
 
Streamline your weekday mornings, when time is most valuable, by prepping breakfast ahead of time. When you make big batches of meals on the weekends to freeze, also do breakfast prep for the week ahead. Make a big batch of baked oatmeal to keep in the refrigerator, chop plenty of fruit and freeze to keep for fruit salads and smoothies, bake batches of muffins or use a muffin tin to bake mini-omelets for the whole family. Make-ahead breakfasts can really help you minimize the occurence of morning meltdowns when you're tryng to get out the door. 
 
Get an organizational app
 
If apps help you stay organized at work and in your social life, why not download one for your family? There are many apps designed to help keep families in check by tracking everyone's appointments, daily chores, making efficient grocery lists, etc. The free Cozi app for example lets you manage your family calendar by adding appointments, setting reminders and uploading to-do lists that all family members that have a phone can see. Cozi can send notifications confirming appointments to any family member's inbox or text them directly. It's a one-stop shop reminder system. 
 
Commit to change
 
Last but not least, don’t get attached to any of the systems you set in place. "Deciding to get organized is like resolving to lose weight," says Lisa Sarasohn from the organizing service, Hire Order. "Both require discipline and neither happens overnight." So, rather than trying to implement a silver bullet organization solution you can set and forget, (the equivalent of a fad diet) you've got to commit to a lifestyle change. The healthiest families tend to see organization as a means to an end—a more fulfilling, less hectic family life. How's that for clarity? Accept reality, go with the flow. Change is good. With that mindset, you'll be ready for a successful September. 
 

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