How to Be an Organized Mom

Have you vowed to be an organized mom only to still scramble and feel overwhelmed? Learn 3 tips that can help you reach your goals.

Organized MomIt was the worst after-school combination: I needed to prepare the kids’ snacks, cook dinner, and fold a load of laundry, with only an hour and a half left. All while listening to my kids’ stories about their day and doing my best to give them attention.

As organized as we all try to be, there eventually comes that day when no amount of planning can prepare for it.

If you’ve tried to get organized in the past only to find yourself in the same predicament, you’re not alone.

3 ways to be an organized mom

It’s easy for me to spout tips and tricks for you to have a clean home home or save 15 minutes here and there, but I’m willing to bet you’ve already heard all that. You may have even tried them for a few weeks but gave up along the way.

You see, I’m learning more and more about trying to transform an aspect of our lives that can be difficult to change. In this article, I’ll share not just smart ways to stay on top of things, but deep-rooted changes you can make that can lead to long-term results. In other words, we’ll focus on truly being organized, rather than how to organize.

Ready? Let’s get started!

1. Tell yourself a new story

Talk to anyone who wants to be more organized and you might hear, “I’m just not organized.” Or perhaps you’ve said, “I’ve always struggled to get things in order.”

As valuable as it is to be aware of where you fall short, you’re also constantly telling yourself stories that don’t have to be true.

We tell ourselves thousands of these stories, including whether we’re the “organized type” or not. Ironically, these stories aren’t even real—a person doesn’t have an “organized gene” any more than the next.

The downside of telling ourselves these limiting beliefs is that they don’t serve us at all. Instead, we assume we’ll always scramble, or that we just can’t make enough time for the kids.

Since you’re already telling yourself stories, why not start telling the ones that help you, not limit you?

Tell yourself enough times that you’re an organized person and you might start to believe it. Focus on how you felt those times you were organized, instead of dwelling on when you weren’t. By telling yourself a new story, you can replace your limiting beliefs with more focus on being an organized mom.

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2. Commit to habits that help you

Part of the reason we’re glued to the stories we tell ourselves is that they seem justified. There are those days when we’re scrambling to declutter the living room or rushing to the store to pick up the diapers we ran out of.

But besides changing our stories, we also need to change the habits that aren’t helping us. Being organized means doing the habits that help you stay organized.

Think about all the ways your habits aren’t helping you. Maybe you wake up too late in the morning, making you grouchy and more likely to forget something for the day. These are the habits you need to replace with more productive ones.

Then, think about the habits that are helping you, or could help you. Waking up earlier than the kids, writing a shopping list for recipes, or making recurring payments and bills automatically are a few examples.

For you to adopt new habits, you need to combine your new stories with repetition and commitment. Besides seeing yourself as an organized mom, you’re also committing to doing these habits over and over until they’re simply part of who you are. Eventually, you’re reinforcing your new habits and replacing the old ones.

Then, give it time. It took a while—perhaps years, even—for you to develop the habits and stories you’ve adopted up to this point. While I doubt it’ll take years to undo bad habits, they can still take time to replace.

3. Think of your time as precious

Have you ever tried making your child’s costume (even though you had no idea what you were doing) just to save a few bucks? Or drove two extra miles to a store that was offering $5 off an item?

It’s easy to get suckered into saving money, even if it means spending extra time. After all, we don’t have a bank account of “time,” whereas we can see how much money is going in and coming out of our wallets.

But we all have the same number of hours in a day. And the harsh truth is, we can never get that time back.

Think about what you’re doing and whether there’s another way for that task to get done. This doesn’t mean you outsource everything—after all, we still need to be judicious about how we spend both time and money. But we need to value our time just as much, if not more, than we do our money.

Let’s say you can easily spend an hour and a half at the grocery store each week. Bringing your toddler and baby along doesn’t make the task any easier, either.

But what if your grocery store offers a delivery service for $12? Sure, that’s $12 less in your pocket, but you’ve now gained an hour and a half of your time to spend with your kids in a better, more enjoyable way.

The same is true with tasks you may not even like, but feel compelled to do, like volunteering at the school or baking cookies for the holidays. Unless you truly love these activities, you can carve out more time by crossing them off completely.

Organizational habits to start

Now that we’ve covered deep-rooted places to make actual change, let’s talk about the behaviors and habits you can try to help you along. These are some of the most helpful habits that have served me well for years, and I hope they can be just as helpful to you:

  • Get a physical planner and write everything down. Then, keep this planner with you all the time, not tucked away on your shelf. And write everything down on your schedule, no matter how mundane. If it’s not in my planner, I likely won’t do it. You can also hang a family calendar to coordinate everyone’s schedules.
  • Prepare to prevent scrambling. Sometimes things in life happen out of the blue, such as needing a new tire or picking up a last-minute gift for a birthday party. But more often than not, you have a pretty predictable routine. Prepare as much as you can for these expected events so you have room to handle those that catch you by surprise. For instance, pack the night before, lay out the kids’ clothes, and know exactly what to make for breakfast so you’re not scrambling in your morning routine.
  • Have days for chores and errands. Many parents swear by chore days, such as vacuuming on Mondays or cleaning the bathroom on Tuesdays. I also tend to have “errand days” where I set aside Sundays for groceries or Tuesdays for the library. I’m flexible with these errands, but doing them regularly on a particular day of the week helps me plan better.
  • Get your kids to help. Kids learn life skills, confidence, and autonomy when they do chores and have responsibilities. Instead of thinking that they might slow you down, treat these as lessons they eventually have to learn to do themselves. Plus, if you do these chores together, you can combine spending time with getting things done.

Learn 6 reasons you can’t keep up with cleaning your home.

Can't Keep Up with Cleaning Your Home

Conclusion

Being an organized mom isn’t just simple tasks you do for a few weeks, only to unravel in the end. These don’t rely on willpower to work (because willpower rarely stands a chance).

Instead, these changes are about your mindset. They’re old habits you need to unlearn and replace with new ones. They require a closer look into what you believe you’re able to do and how you see yourself.

And yes, it’s hard to change from the outside in, especially when you’ve spent years thinking of yourself as a disorganized person. But only through these changes can you make your days feel productive and accomplished. No more folding the laundry and scrambling to cook dinner in under an hour and a half.

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2 Comments

  1. My biggest struggle is spending quality time with my kids. I always feel like I need to get a million things done, and when that list is over (or good enough for the moment), it’s bed time. I don’t want to look back on these years and feel like all I did was cook, clean, etc. instead of being present with them.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Hi Brandy, I totally know what you mean. I’m always go, go, go, so I find myself doing more tasks than actually spending time with the kids. The fact that you’re aware of it is good though, as you can make intentional changes moving forward. One thing that has really helped is to let go of a lot of things that, when you step back, aren’t really that important. That way, I can hone in on what I truly do care about or are important and leave the rest.

      Hang in there, mama <3 You're doing a good job!