If you’re not naturally organized, you need simple and easy organizing tips. These practical organizing ideas for unorganized moms are some of my favorites.
Back to School season always puts me in the mood to get more organized. I guess it’s because I’m terrified I’m going to be *that mom* who forgets, like, everything. And my poor kid will end up not having milk money or her field trip permission slip or something.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m not naturally organized. In fact, I do not enjoy organizing tasks much at all. I find them grueling and tedious. But I want things to be organized. So when I find an organization system or routine that works, it’s like gold. And because it doesn’t come natural to me, the best ones for me are the simple and easy organization ideas.
Unorganized people need organization systems that are so easy to maintain, they almost happen automatically. It might take a little conscious effort in the beginning, but soon becomes natural. This is why systems that require a lot of arranging, like a nicely arranged pantry, don’t work well for some people. Arranging things is basically organization in action, so it makes sense that it never becomes natural to a naturally unorganized person.
Here are some of my favorites ideas for getting (and staying) organized.
Simple + Easy Organizing Ideas for Moms
Family Wall Calendar
A few years ago, I started using a dry erase wall calendar for our family. I used a 2-week layout for a while, but I switched to this monthly calendar earlier this year. It doesn’t have as much space to write, but I do really like seeing a full month at a time. And only having to do it once a month is a little easier.
The key to this working well for my family is that it’s by our back door and you can easily see it from the kitchen. So we see it constantly, which means we actually use it. If it was hidden away, we wouldn’t. And it wouldn’t naturally become part of our routines, and it would never get updated. (Now that I think about it, I bet this is why a family digital calendar is so hard for us to maintain!)
Meal Planning Binder
Meal Planning is totally my jam. It’s one of the few areas that I am actually really good at staying organized. I started really meal planning when I was feeling overwhelmed and out of control after my second baby was born. And it’s totally changed my life. A Meal Planning Binder with pockets is a really easy way to keep all your meal planning papers (calendar, recipes, grocery lists, price list, coupons) together in one spot. You don’t have to get super complicated with all the different sections. But either way, a binder helps keep it all in one place.
Meal planning seems like a lot of effort for an unorganized person. But the benefits are so great, I can’t imagine NOT doing it. When our dinners are not planned ahead, I can feel stress and overwhelm mounting. If you feel like meal planning is too much work, stay tuned. I have an epic post coming for you all about meal planning, including how to make it easy.
I keep all my coupons in a pocket in my Meal Planning Binder. I know people like them sorted, but that’s too much arranging for me. Having them all together in one location right where I need them is good enough. But it was too jumbled when I got to the store.
So I got this coupon organizer. But I still don’t sort my coupons (unless I just happen to have a ton and get a little organization inspiration). I just put all my coupons in the front pocket all together. If I’m feeling extra motivated, I’ll sort them by order of how I walk through the store. As I put something in my cart that uses a coupon, I take that one out of the front pocket and put it in the back. Then when I get to the register, I can quickly grab the stack from the back pocket and hand it over.
So why did I need an actual coupon organizer? Why couldn’t I just use any old envelope or pouch? Because this one has a fold-over flap that lets you hang it right on the cart handle. And that puts the coupons right in front of my face so I will actually use them.
File Holder + Folders
I got this idea from a friend and it worked well to help me keep important papers organized. I keep a file holder with folders for important papers (I use the Fold N’ File by Thirty-One; it’s available on Amazon at a higher price-point). I also keep my kids’ workbooks right there and have it all together with our homework caddy.
I keep a folder for different categories of papers. For me, it’s one for school papers, a separate one for homework, one for Girl Scouts papers, and one as a catchall for any other papers (like for sports, birthday party invitations, etc.). You could also do one folder per kid if you have multiple school-agers.
The key to making this work for unorganized people is to keep the file holder in plain view where you’ll see it everyday. I keep mine on a counter right by our kitchen.
Time is so limited between the time kids get out of school and bedtime. So I feel like we need to be as efficient as we can so we have some leisurely downtime in addition to homework, dinner, and bath/bedtime routines. It just seems to make a difference for our family when we have that.
I put together this simple homework caddy so we’re not wasting a bunch of time looking for things at homework time. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to spend 10 minutes looking for a pencil and eraser so my daughter can complete 20 minutes of homework! Now that doesn’t happen.
Morning/Evening Routine Checklist
Having my kids do more for themselves is HUGE for my sanity and for us getting out the door on time. It sounds counter-intuitive because kids take forever to do things. But it works so well for our family that I swear by this.
I think one of the things that makes it hard for kids to get themselves ready in the morning is having to remember all the steps. So I love the idea of a printed routine checklist that even little kids can quickly look at and remember what to do. Keep it where they’ll see it as soon as they get up.
Another way to help kids get ready more quickly is to pick out clothes the night before. But nightly routines are just as crazy as morning routines sometimes. So what if you picked out their clothes for the week on Sunday? Doing it just once a week is a little easier to keep up with. These outfit hangers make it super easy for the kids to know what to wear each day.
Pill Box for Daily Vitamins
I’ve had some not-proud moments on busy mornings when my kids ask me to get their vitamins in the midst of making breakfast, preparing lunches, packing bags, and a potty-training 2-year-old yelling “I need to potty!!”. I mean, I want them to take their vitamins. And it seems like it should be easy enough. But it often feels like just ONE MORE THING I have to do.
Then I had a brilliant idea. (And those are few and far between when it comes to organization! Ha!) But this is another game-changer for me. I purchased this 3 section weekly pill organizer for storing the kids’ vitamins. I have three kids, so it’s perfect. The one I got has a symbol on each section to indicate a time of day (morning, noon, night), so I assigned a symbol to each kid. And they know each morning their vitamin is in the section with their symbol. I fill it up every Sunday night, so it’s ready to go all week. Again, doing it just once a week makes it easier to maintain.
Preset Breakfast Menu
Knowing what’s for breakfast ahead of time makes me feel so with it. So during the school year, I plan breakfasts in addition to dinners. To make it super simple, I use a fixed breakfast menu. This way, I know what foods to have on hand without having to think too much. It also prevents morning meltdowns because the kids know breakfast is already decided so there’s no use in making a fuss over wanting something specific.
This works for unorganized people because it’s literally done. You don’t have to think about it.
Here’s an example of what a typical breakfast menu might look like for us.
- Monday: Premade Egg Bake (made Sunday night)
- Tuesday: Cottage Cheese, Toast, Fruit (I change up the toast – cinnamon, apple butter, jelly, etc.)
- Wednesday: Oatmeal (I make plain oatmeal and change up the toppings)
- Thursday: Yogurt Parfait
- Friday: Pancake or Waffle with Sausage or Ham
I think my fellow unorganized moms might agree, the car is one of the hardest spaces to keep uncluttered and organized. I’m trying out this car caddy I put together, and it’s working well so far. Everything has a spot, and it’s all together instead of spread throughout the car.
This works better for me than those organizers that hang on the car seat for one simple reason. I can bring it inside. When something needs to be replaced, like extra clothes, I bring the whole thing inside and sit it by the back door. That way it’s a reminder before I walk back out the door to get the thing I need to replace.
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Because I’m not super great at organization, it’s really helpful when people share their organization tips with me. I will pretty much always have room for improvement here! So tell me, what’s your favorite organization tip?