By Di Ter Avest of Di Is Organized
Whether it’s due to a pandemic or a snowstorm, when the whole family is stuck inside together it can be a challenge to keep your house organized. Here are my top tips for keeping the mess in check with everyone under one roof.
Set your family up for success
Gather everyone, even the little kids, and have a family meeting. It’s important that everyone is on the same page about goals and expectations for keeping your house in order. It’s also a good time to hear what everyone has to say about how they could contribute. Little kids can help by making their beds, putting laundry in the hamper, and cleaning up their toys and homeschool materials. Older kids can help by taking the trash out and unloading the dishwasher. It’s also important that parents are clear on their own contributions. Write down who is cooking dinner, who is doing the dishes, and who will homeschool the kids. You can even make this meeting fun by creating a poster with the family goals and expectations and hanging it up for everyone to see.
Create routines and schedules
With your family’s goals and expectations written down, it’s time to get into the details. Create a morning and evening routine for each member of your family and add their chores and must-dos to the list. If you are homeschooling, consider creating a schedule to give the kids the same structure they have in school. For the adults, a time blocking system is often helpful so tasks are completed more efficiently.
Reevaluate your family’s needs
If you find yourself picking up after yourself and your family members too many times a day and the clutter is stressing you out, it’s time for a deep decluttering session. A great exercise is to go room by room and remove everything that doesn’t belong there. The items will fit one of three categories: trash, relocate, or donate (I teach more about this system in my online course, Organize Yourself Healthy). I find that certain spots tend to accumulate untidiness (for example, a pile of unsorted clothes on the bed or a heap of toys in a corner). And if it’s left unattended, it just continues to grow and make more of a mess.
Working and learning from home
Transforming your dining room table into an office desk mixed with kids' school work can easily become an overwhelming situation. For the kids, clear a space in a nearby cabinet or use a rolling cart to easily put away homework, crafts, markers, and papers. For the grown-ups, create a “home office in a bag.” That will make clean up easier and you could easily move your “office” from one room to another, as needed. Remember, the key for an organized home is every item of your home having a home where they go when they are not being used.
Meal plan and meal prep
Even though the whole family is home all day, it’s still important to meal plan and meal prep for the week. Plan your breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and dinners. Wash all your fruit and vegetables, and cut them before storing in the fridge. Bake any items you will need for the week and freeze them. Cook some food that you can mix and match for lunches. At my house, the only meal that we usually cook on the day-of is dinner, but every family has a different lifestyle. Regardless of your particular situation, it’s a good rule of thumb to prepare as much food as possible in advance.