Secrets of organised families


Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Are we smug? Maybe a little bit. But bear in mind that our trade secrets of family organisation have evolved over many painful years of last-minute flusters, involving the lack of milk for breakfast and clean knickers in the underwear drawer. Consider the following suggestions for just a little nudge towards smugnessג€¦

Food

Well this one can be deathly dull, but there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned meal planner to sort out the perfectionists from the panickers. Whether you devise a cunning spreadsheet on your computer or whether you write it out by hand each week, there’s nothing that will save more time in the kitchen than planning what your family will eat over the coming week, then shopping for it accordingly. You’ll also save money because you’ll be wasting less food.

ג€¢!  Save time by occasionally cooking double your usual amount. The surplus food can either be frozen down into microwaveable portions for future time saving, or can be reheated the next day for lunch.
ג€¢!  Equally, leftovers can be adapted into a completely new meal the following day, halving the cooking time and effort. Extra sausages from the night before can be eaten cold in a sandwich, surplus pasta can be given a new sauce and jazzed up with some tuna, and spare mince from a shepherd’s pie can be turned into chilli.
ג€¢!  If you are using a spreadsheet, with just a little extra brain power you can soon work out a rotational system, whereby you create meal plans for a whole month then simply repeat them the following month. No one will ever realise you always have shepards pie on the second Tuesday of every month ג€“ genius!

Laundry

Devise a system that works for you. You need to get this one down to a fine art as you don’t want to be pairing up countless tiny socks when you could be enjoying valuable down time with your kids.

ג€¢!  It’s often a lot easier for each member of the family to have an individual laundry basket for dirty clothes, rather than sharing the same one. This ultimately cuts down on needless ג€˜sorting’ time.
ג€¢!  Many mums swear by little gadgets that clip little socks into pairs in the washing machine. In reality this rarely solves the problem completely, because the laundry monster will always be lurking, waiting to swallow as many odd socks as possible. Accept a certain amount of loss and create a competitive game in which your children battle against each other to match up their underwear.
ג€¢!  Teach your children to put away their clean clothes as early as possible so that they accept it as part of life rather than a pocket money chore or just another reason to resent their parentsג€¦
ג€¢!  If it’s not really dirty, don’t wash it. Obviously we all need clean undies every day, but often jumpers and jeans can last a little longer, which will in turn be kinder on the environment. Febreze (and its supermarket value equivalents) is a godsend for freshening up musty bed linen.

Prep, prep and then prep again

The main secret of organised families is to do everything that can possibly be done the night before, then go to bed with a clean conscience, knowing that homework has been done, shoes have been polished and school bags are waiting by the front door. For a more in-depth look at preparing packed lunches in advance and more, read our blog, Time saving tips for the morning. Happy forward planning!

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