Organized chaos. That might be how you would describe keeping a family with multiple kids. You wouldn’t be wrong. Some days, it might even feel a lot closer to herding cats than organizing a family. And on the craziest of days, you might even feel like you use more charts, diagrams, and lists to keep your family plans coordinated than it takes to run a Fortune 500 company.
What options do you have though? Are those precious blackboard menus on kitchen walls enough to keep everyone coordinated?
Are those Pinterest-worthy chalk-painted menus adorable?
Are they practical for what actually happens in a large family?
When you’re about to pull out your hair from frustration though, don’t despair. There are multiple options you have that can help keep you and your family’s ducks in a row and keep you running a (relatively) tight ship.
1. A shared calendar is a lifesaver
If you’re looking to coordinate meetings and schedules with business partners and employees, what do you use? A shared calendar. In a family with kids, it’s easy to do the same thing with your spouse to coordinate what’s going on during any given day.
While a physical, printed calendar is great for keeping track of bigger events like birthdays, holidays, and getaways, it can be difficult to write everything down in a small section, especially with overlapping meetings or events.
One choice option is Google calendar. It makes sharing calendars relatively straight-forward, and you can access it from both a smartphone and a computer. Setting up your google calendar is simple since it’s linked directly to your Google account and Gmail, and here’s a step-by-step guide on how to share your calendar with family members.
If you aren’t much of a google calendar user, consider some of these family calendar apps if you’d prefer. Identify which calendar appointments are most necessary, like weekly or monthly family meetings, and schedule those around kids that have a part-time job or parent-teacher meetings.
2. Spreadsheets: not just for the office
Organizing doesn’t have to be difficult. One simple way to keep your budget updated is to utilize Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets.
Keeping track of your food budget isn’t impossible, but when you’re using coupons and vouchers, you can also keep track of where you could be saving, as well. You’ll be able to better track patterns and notice when you spend more or less throughout the months and be able to balance it more efficiently. Do you feel overwhelmed at the thought of implementing a new tool? Using excel well isn’t hard, and learning it can help keep your budget in line.
Don’t think that you can only use spreadsheets for budgeting groceries, either. This also helps when kids are in sports and activities, and you need to pay for new shoes and sports fees. Being a frugal parent doesn’t mean being cheap. Instead, it means planning and saving so that you can put money towards the activities and goals you have as a family.
3. Set goals
Having a family mission or motto is one way to make sure that each child and adult is doing the best they can to contribute as a family member while still maintaining their individual goals. When everyone is aligned towards the same goals or family mission, it’s easy to coordinate together.
Additionally, it can be a really fun (and free) thing to spend time on. Put some pizza on the table, fill up those lemonade glasses (maybe some wine for the adults) and start writing down ideas! If you’re interested in how to go about creating your own family mission statement, you can check out these 4 simple steps to do just that.
4. Label makers are your friend
If your kids are at an age where they can read, consider making a label maker your friend!
Bins, baskets, and boxes can all benefit by the addition of simple labels of where things go when they’re not in use. Add simple reminders by attaching them to places at eye level for kids.
Better yet, allow your kids to label things themselves, so that they’ll be likelier to return their crayons, shoes, or schoolbooks to a place that makes sense to them.
An organized family is a happy family
When your family is organized, you will all be happier and less stressed. Try to remember you’re not doing this alone, and that you have a multitude of tools and resources to keep your family happy and stress-free.