8 Hacks for Hot Mess Moms
If organizing isn’t in your DNA, you might be one of those Hot Mess Moms. You know chaos isn’t compatible with things like regular meals and calendars and school attendance. Deadlines creep up and then bite you in the you-know-where. Laundry is always on the verge of mildewing. Papers are considered lost until proven found.
As a member of the Hot Mess Mafia –- a single, working member at that –- I’ve found the only way to earn my good mom stripes is to do a lot of prep work. Here’s the system I use to get organized.
Create a staging area
Our mornings start at 5:30 a.m. with zero time to waste to get ready for school and work. If you’re like me, try this: Put your keys, eyeglasses, phone, morning vitamins and medications all in one spot. A bowl or a bulletin board with a shelf by the door work nicely. Put it all back in the same spot as soon as you walk in the door.
Involve your kids
Chores build character. Chores teach life skills. Scratch that. Chores make life easier for hot mess moms. Just remember to actually tell your children what needs to be done and when, and install some cool bins and kid-friendly storage boxes in their rooms.
I buy Post-it notes in bulk and keep one in the car, one on the kitchen counter and one by my bed. I put them right on the front door to remember appointments and special items. Other moms like a bulletin board. The trick is to keep the reminders handy and visible. Tangible reminders work better for me, but there are plenty of good tech organizers you might want to check out. Reminder apps and free tools like Google Calendar work well.
Organize your handbag
Call it the purse equivalent to the home staging area: Use a binder clip or clothespin to attach important items to the side of your handbag: envelopes that have to be mailed, plastic sandwich bags with the day’s medications, your work badge –- anything that can get lost in the bowels of the bag.
Weekend prep work
Come Friday, the last thing you want to think about is work or school, but if you take a few minutes to get ready for the next week, you’ll enjoy the weekend so much more. First dump out the contents of your handbag, your kids’ backpacks, whatever you use to transport your lives around. Get rid of wadded up receipts, completed to-do lists and gum wrappers. Tuck escapees from your makeup case back in their place.
Cook for the following week
You either love this or hate this but trust me, a little cooking on the weekend makes the hectic workweek much less stressful. It’s especially important if you want to feed your family healthy meals. I use my grocery coupons and buy ingredients on sale and in bulk. Then I make the “building blocks” of the next week’s dinners: a few pounds of ground beef, chicken, rice and pasta. I portion them in glass jars or plastic bags. They reheat quickly. Some people like to batch cook and freeze whole meals. The goal is to work ahead. And do involve your entire family in the meal prep. It will give them skin in the game.
Keep your closet organized
Every Sunday afternoon, I choose five workday outfits and arrange them from front to back in my closet for every day of the week. I may change my mind, but at least I have a coordinated look each morning when my eyes and mind are bleary. Teach your children this trick, too. The younger, the better.
Create a paperwork system
My motto is “handle it once.” The daily mail goes to its final destination as soon as I bring it inside. Junk mail goes right into the trash or the shredder. Bills are put in a blue accordion folder with tabs for each month. Letters and correspondence goes into a red, labeled folder and coupons go in a yellow folder for later sorting. Create a system that works best for you and stick to it. Leave nothing lying around!
Need some motivation? Being a hot mess mom doesn’t teach your kids good habits. It’s important to create a system that works for you and then model it for your children. Got some organizing tips? Share them in the comments. The rest of us will be ready to take notes and put it on a sticky.