8 Habits of highly organized moms
“How are you always so together?” someone once asked me. The question caught me off guard, because somedays, I don’t think I have anything together. Like, at all. I feel like the entire book is coming apart at the seams and I’m over here like “I could go get the hot glue gun and put it back together or I could finish watching this new Hulu show.”
It wasn’t until I sat down with a friend who said that I always seem to be together and have everything in my home and life organized. The truth is, I do, and I don’t. I don’t live in a Martha Stewart catalogue, but I don’t live in filth either. I hate having disarray in my home and so making sure things are tidy (ish) and organized is a priority for me.
As I can tell you from years and years as the owner of a cleaning and organizing business, this can be taught. I promise you. It isn’t about knowing some secret handshake that the others mothers aren’t privy to or having some kind of exceptional skills that give you the power to be Pinterest-perfect at any given moment. Like anything else I teach, it is all about good, solid strategies and habits. A good habit (or a bad one for that matter) can change everything for you.
I began thinking about that things I do that make running my house a little easier and keep things more organized. I also thought about the moms I know in my life who always seem to have it all together. There were some glaring similarities and I have compiled a list of the habits of highly organized moms. They are pretty easy to implement so you too can be a super highly organized mama (I said that in my best As Seen on TV voice)
1. They have a routine. They don’t just have a routine, they live and die by it. Now, sometimes I see moms who say they have a routine and what is really happening is that their routine is that they have no routine. Inception-y, right? A good, solid routine includes tasks and actions done the same way each day that make running your life easier. For example, I don’t have a morning routine, I have a nightly routine. Why? Because mornings are unpredictable. Kids get sick in the middle of the night, the alarm doesn’t go off, you snooze through it, you spill coffee on yourself, the car won’t start and so on. However, evenings are in my control. I get as much done at night as I can. I have the coffee maker set, the clothes out for everyone in the house (aside from my husband. He’s a big boy and can do that himself), bags packed and near the door, breakfast decided on, dishes done or in the dishwasher, lunch money given or lunches made, etc. The more I get done, the easier my mornings go. The enemy of organization is having no routine in place.
2. They get ready first. This can spark some controversy, but what I hear when people tell me why they can’t is a lot of excuses. “I don’t want to get up earlier. My kids are too demanding. It makes me a bad mom..” blah blah blah. I know the natural inclination is to get everyone ready to go first, but it really doesn’t serve you. Again, things with kids, just like mornings, are unpredictable, but you aren’t. Take a shower, get dressed, and feed yourself BEFORE everyone else. Then, when your toddler decides to dump her Cheerios on your dog’s head, you won’t have to worry about still needing to get yourself ready. I have had kids for 10 years and have prepared myself first every single day and it has worked like a charm.
3. They declutter often. Put it on the calendar, have a set day or do it at the same time daily. However you choose to do it, declutter often for maximum organization. I have said it many times, decluttering is like showering. You can’t just do it once and expect it to stick. It has to become a part of your life and routine (there’s that word again.)
4. They do a load of laundry each day. Now, full disclosure, I hate laundry. Like, give me 20 bathrooms to scrub and I’ll be in heaven, but laundry? Barf. It’s just so tedious to me and never ending, but the thing that gets me through is putting in a load every single morning (or at least every other morning.) Because I hate laundry, the last thing I feel like doing on a Sunday afternoon is sifting through a mountain of a week’s worth of clean laundry and separating, folding and putting it away. It’s my nightmare. Instead, I do one per day. And don’t say you don’t have time. Throw a load in before you leave in the morning (or after breakfast if you stay home), throw it in the dryer when you get home or midafternoon and take 10 minutes in the evening to put it away. Done! I know, I hate laundry, too. Remember?
5. They clean often and as you go. The way I am able to stay on top of the cleaning and organizing in my house is that I clean as I go. I don’t have a set day of the week or month to do everything, mostly because as much as I adore cleaning, that’s not how I want to spend my days. Rather, I choose a few things each day and do them. While my son bathes, I clean the bathroom or fold towels. I keep Clorox wipes on each level of the house and grab one daily to wipe down various yucky spots, like the handrails and light switches. When I see crumbs, I just vacuum before someone steps on them and crunches them up even more. Cleaning as you go can take as little as 5 minutes. Your house stays tidy without you having to invest hours of your time into it.
6. They say no, often. Highly organized moms say no often and yes enthusiastically. What does this mean? Say no to things that don’t serve you or your higher purpose and say yes to things that light you up. Period.
7. They delegate to others and accept help. When was the last time someone asked you, “Hey, do you need any help?” or “Let me know if you need any help!” And when was the last time you actually took them up on it? Moms love to be martyrs, I should know. I have played the part many times. “I guess I am the only person in this who can do this! UGH” Even I am annoyed with myself when I do it. Being highly organized means delegating to others and accepting help when it is offered. Give your kids more to do, hire a mother’s helper (for more help with that, head to my post on that very subject), say yes when your mom offers to watch the kids for a few hours, swap babysitting with a friend. Give yourself permission to NOT do it all.
8. They avoid procrastination. I know, but it feels so good in the moment. However, procrastinating just leads to heartache down the line. Keeping your home and life really organized is all about doing it now and not later. I have to push myself to do this as it doesn’t come naturally, but It has paid off throughout my years as a mom. If I can do it today, I do it today. I don’t kid myself into thinking that I will have more time tomorrow, because odds are, I won’t. Perfectionism can really stunt our ability to do things now, as we keep telling ourselves that we’ll do it when we have it all figured out ( and what do you know, I have a post on that very topic right here) We also think we will have more time later, but often, later keeps getting pushed back further and further. As someone amazing said once, “Someday is not a day of the week.” Amen.
Ok, so we've got the kitchen counter tops down, but what about the rest of the house? Is the clutter taking over and causing you to think "It would just be easier to move to a yurt." The problem is, you don't even know what a yurt is and you love your home, so let's find a better way. I've designed a checklist just for moms like you who are ready to take the junk by the proverbial horns and get uncluttered for good. Download your free copy of the Purge it Like It's Hot list. Room by room, you'll find out what to toss for good.