Today, we have a special guest post from Julie Cole, one of the co-founders of Mabel’s Labels Inc. Julie has SIX kids and so when she gives tips on being organized, I listen! I am always in need of organization — and what better time than the New Year! Thanks Julie!!!
Getting Organized for the New Year
I’m no organizational guru, but owning a business and being a mama of six kids means I’ve learned a fair few tricks along the way.
Without organization, I lose the thing I value most: TIME. Mine comes at a premium and I have none to waste. Join in my commitment to valuing a mama’s time by keeping these tips in mind:
1) Organize your stuff
It’s time to clear out the junk folks – I’m talking toys, clothes, even that stuff you get all sappy and sentimental about. I have news for you – that painting your kid did when she was five-years-old looks pretty much like every other kid’s painting. If I held onto art projects, my sentimentality would take up a lot of valuable space and create unwanted clutter.
What happens when I have clutter? I can’t find the stuff I need which makes me waste time having to look for it. The other problem with holding onto sentimental items is the longer you have them, the harder they are to part with. Save yourself the grief ten years from now – tell little Johnny you love his painting and then promptly hide it in the recycling bin.
Can’t emphasize this strategy enough – take a half-day every season to organize seasonal clothes and sports equipment. It will save you on the morning of the season’s first snowfall from repeating the annual tradition of frantically searching for winter boots and snow pants while the kids yell about missing the school bus. That half day once every four months is an investment in the value of your time and sanity – you will easily gain that half-day back by closing the door on frantic-searching-panic for good!
2) Organize your peeps
Stop doing everything for the kiddos and instead train them for independence. Not only will it give them lifelong skills, but it will give you time.
Sure, there is an initial commitment – sometimes it’s just easier to pack their school bag for them or fetch that glass of juice. But training them to be independent is worth the time investment. Four of my six kids have to be on the school bus at 7:45am. I use a poster that reminds them of their morning responsibilities. If they get off track, I re-direct them to the poster of duties.
Empower them with strategies for independence. You’ll thank yourself when you actually have time to pour yourself a cup of coffee in the morning.
3) Organize an outsource
Let this year be the year you get realistic. That’s my resolution.
For three years – including two maternity leaves – I’ve had big dreams of getting my 1000 photos into albums and actually printing the 500 still sitting on my laptop. Just thinking about this project was enough to make me break out in a sweat of stress.
Finally admitting it was never going to happen, I hired someone to do it, by posting the project and my cry for help as a Facebook status update. Twenty Facebook friends expressed interest. Sure paying someone to do it is a bit of a drag, but you can’t put a price on mama’s sanity or beautifully organized photos.
So, mamas everywhere, let’s face 2010 with a proactive approach to our organization. Do the groundwork and you will reap the benefits. You’re a busy mama – your time is worth investing in.
Julie Cole is one of the co-founders of Mabel’s Labels Inc and the proud mother of six.