Houses & Homes: Family organizational systems that work

Keeping the family organized is no easy feat, and as summer starts to wind down, you'll want to have organizational systems in place to stay on top of things from the get-go. There's social engagements to keep, sports activities and other extracurriculars, work obligations, birthdays, and more.

So here are some family organizational systems that work - which one will you integrate into your home?

Family calendar. There should be a large family calendar in a main room of the house, such as the kitchen, that everyone can refer to. This could be on a wipe-off board or chalkboard. It could include spots close-by with hooks or file folders for each member of the family - keep forms, important papers, backpacks, keys, etc. there as well.

Sync the family calendar with yours and your partner's phones on Google Calendar or a similar app. 

Meal planning. It's also useful to have a meal planner. Again, this can be done on the family calendar or on a separate board (maybe that you keep on the fridge). Meal planning is extremely useful because: it's time-efficient (no guesswork during the week as to what to make for dinner), you can get everyone's input (including your picky eater), and it will save you money (no impulse buying needed!). Keep a grocery list near your menu planner.

Labels. Labels will SAVE YOU from reorganizing later on. Use labels in the fridge (to designate certain areas to produce, dairy, leftovers, etc.), on bins in pantries and cupboards or in the mudroom, for storage, and for things like toys. If your child is too young to read, pictograms can be super helpful. 

Store as much as you can in clear containers. Whether it's seasonal clothes in storage bins, or Mason jars holding dry goods in the pantry, clear containers will save you time in the long run.

Have a garbage sorting area. With all the waste these days (garbage, recycling, compost), garbage has become quite a time-consuming chore. So keep it all neat and tidy by having designated bins with lids for each, both inside your home and outside.

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