Get Organised for the New Year to Stay Sane
Here’s how to get school clothes, book shelves, pantries, purses, household paperwork and family activities tidy and in sync, so you can start the new year with your life in order and your sanity intact.
Declutter your house
Forget spring cleaning, the New Year is the perfect time to de-clutter your house and make room for your kids’ new Christmas presents and the year’s worth of schoolwork and text books ahead. To be ultra effective, take three carrier bags - one for rubbish, one for Vinnies and one for items that need to be taken into another room – and work your way through the house, room by room.
Remember: any broken toys should go in the rubbish – being ruthless may be hard but it will pay dividends on the de-cluttering front.
Buy a wall planner
Instead of bickering with your hubby when he says he’s going out after work - again – and then forgetting that it’s also parents’ evening, invest in a family planner and stick it up on your kitchen wall. While it might not be as necessary when your children are pre-schoolers, when school starts, and after-school activities, homework clubs, birthday parties, play dates kick in, you’ll be glad you did.
Start meal planning
It’s proven that meal planning will save you time and money and, while it sounds boring, you’ll be amazed how great it feels to have meals organised ahead of time. Many parents plan their family meals on a weekly basis – all it involves is going through your freezer and food cupboard, seeing what’s already there and deciding what the ingredients can be used for, before buying extra items at your weekly shop. If you want to be ultra organised, do your weekly shop online - no sneaky biccies and chips can sneak their way into your basket, plus you won’t have to lug those heavy carrier bags home…
Do a deep clean
Seeing as a major clean up up often usually happens once a year before Christmas, take advantage of the tidy state of affairs and treat your house to a deep clean, doing the jobs that always get put off until next month. That means wiping down the sofa, windowsills, shower curtain and bin, polishing furniture and dusting ornaments, washing lace curtains and cushion covers and cleaning and dusting skirting boards.
Set down a household budget
While having a budget can be useful for any household, it’s especially helpful when starting the new school year. Budgeting for school costs, fees and extra curricular activities, will help you to stay on top of family finances. A budget is also especially pertinent if you’re about to have a baby (and family income will be reduced), if you’re trying to pay off a credit card or other debt or simply saving for something fun, like a family holiday. Writing down what you spend each month – and remember it’s useless if you’re not completely honest – will give you a true picture of where your family income is going and where you can cut back if necessary.
Sort out your household paperwork
Instead of stacking bills on top of the fridge and letting them gather dust, start the year organised and buy a folder where each bill can be filed post-payment. Even if you pay bills by direct debit or online, ensure a bill is only filed away once the money has left your account, so you don’t have any nasty surprises. If you do have any bill issues, or need to claim on your household insurance, all your bills and household documents will all be in one place.
Have an after-school routine
If you’re lucky enough to be around when your kids come in from school, it’s a great window to teach them how to tidy up after themselves and save you precious time. An after-school routine might include taking their shoes off and putting them away themselves, putting their school bags in a cupboard and leaving their lunch box in the kitchen. Uniforms should also be left neatly folded on their beds instead of in a heap on the floor. It might be hard work now, but you will be ultra grateful when you have neat teenagers on your hands.