Trying to Become Organized

October 24th 2010 / 2 minutes to read

I’ve mentioned on twitter a few times on how I struggle with a routine and being organized. So today I am full of listy goodness.

Last night I stayed up all night… again… and:

  • created a chore chart for Daniel
  • created a menu plan

Daniel has chores that we expect him to do daily, such as taking out the trash/recycling, loading/unloading the dryer and dishwasher, etc. However he ALWAYS put up a fight, talked back, mouthed off, and such. So we are hoping that having something VISUAL will help him improve his behavior.

I also created a menu plan and grocery list for dinners for the week. I even wrote down the AMOUNT of each product I would need! I will be making the following this week:

  • Sun – Spaghetti w/Turkey Meatballs and Salad
  • Mon – Tacos
  • Tues – Avgolemono Soup with Greek Salad
  • Wed – Chicken Thigh Chili with Cornbread Muffins
  • Thurs – Homemade Chicken Nuggets w/Homemade Ranch, Roasted Potatoes, Salad
  • Fri – Stuffed Peppers w/brown rice, Salad
  • Sat – Italian Sausage Pumpkin Lasagna

I also wrote it down in my notebook and added it all to my Google Calender which syncs to my iPhone.

So in light of my new found desire to form a routine and such, today will be hectic. Grocery shopping, oil change, maybe even go to the dollar store for cheapy craft supplies for the kids (Tristan LOVES to color).

Do you have a chore chart or anything similar for your children? Do you menu plan? I want to hear all about it!

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my parents used to have a chore list when we were young, complete with the good old gold stars for when we finished. i think its a great way to be organized and to make sure kids are remembering what they are supposed to do.

i like the idea of a menu plan and i think i might talk to my mom about making one up for us. we’re on a pretty tight budget so it would probably be handy to have our food choices for the week picked out so we don’t grab stuff we don’t need while we’re at the store.

Reply to nimil

Growing up my parents never implemented chores or any responsibilities actually, however when we lived with my grandmother she DID have us do chores (no chart/allowance though) and even though it’s never fun, one DOES feel proud for doing a job well done!

I’m hoping that Dan will take more pride in what he does as well.

Oh we are totally on a tight food budget as well, I have the worst issue of just tossing things into the cart because I forget we have it at home or because it “looks” good.


i think its also a good way to start kids out on the right road to organization later on in life. i keep to-do lists for myself even now (though i’m not as quick to finish them as i was that chore list. lack of allowance doesn’t add much incentive :p)

Reply to nimil

Oh totally, I’ve ALWAYS had poor organizational skills and really hope to instill in my kids how some organization can REALLY improve day-to-day life.


I need a chore chart for myself… ROFL! No babies to do it for me *sigh* We don’t do menus because we choose something to eat the entire week instead. Joshua has soft boiled eggs and cereal for breakfast, chicken spaghetti for lunch, and we both do soup and sandwiches for dinner this week (I have raisin oatmeal for brunch and apple/almonds snack between meals). And we eat the same thing every day all week. Saves us time and money since we don’t have to think about what to cook every night, plus Joshua is not home for dinner time since he works night shift.

It’s good that you’re doing things to get organized. Taking any amount of stress out of your life’s equation is a very good thing :)

Reply to Keeshia

I really do hope this helps alleviate some of the stress/overwhelmed issues I tend to get.

Don’t you get bored eating the same thing every day though?


Nope. Especially with the soup and sammich combo since I can change up the meat/cheese and soup flavour…. think I’ll go make some soup now actually lol

Reply to Keeshia

I have been working on getting more organized in my day to day life too and to add some routine-ness into our lives. Im a very go with the flow person and tend to live by no schedule but I think it would be good for the girls to have some kinds of routine in place. We do the same things for meals- though. I plan it out for the week. It makes food shopping SO much easier and I dont get 1/2 way through the week and run out of dinner ideas. Some cheap easy dinners I like to add in (money saver and they make DH happy) is to have a breakfast for dinner night, appetizer nights (homemade potato skins and stuff like that), and a make your own pizza night. I usually pick 1-2 of those things per week because I cant afford to do a big meal 7 days per week for dinner. :)
Good luck with it all! I hope it works out for you and makes your life easier.

Reply to Bess

Oh same here!!! I’ve noticed that Daniel tends to “need” more of a scheduled approach though so here’s hoping this works!

I love that appetizer dinner night! That is a fabulous idea!

Well done you! I started using a menu plan a couple of months ago when Bub started on solids. It was great, made life much easier and saved us lots of cash buying food we later threw away. We keep it very flexible so don’t always stick to it but it’s been really worthwhile in my opinion. Good luck!!

Thank you! I think it will help with that constant BATTLE we seem to have every night where we debate for literally HOURS on “what to have for dinner”.

Obviously Isabel is not yet old enough to be reading rotas but I did introduce one recently for Karl and I. I found some elements of housework/etc were being neglected and others had too much time dedicated to them. I hate mess and clutter and it was making me feel angry all the time.

I got an old whiteboard we weren’t using and wrote Mon – Sun, and then a few chores underneath on each day. Stuff like washing the dishes appears every day, vacuuming every couple of days, nappy wash every 3 days etc.

It doesn’t have names assigned but I find it works better that way because there’s no “you should have done this” (which we would likely bicker about, haha). Basically, I do what I can in the day around taking care of Izz and then Karl does what he can in the evening when I’m nursing Izz down to sleep. We do a fairly equal amount and it means enough of each thing gets done every day to keep things looking tidy(ish).

It’s working great for us :)

YES! Even though I’ve always tended to be more cluttered than not, having the house be cluttered/messy actually makes me UPSET. My environment plays a HUGE part in my mood.

That’s a great idea, a “grown-up” chore chart!

Oh, you are getting some great tips! I love the whiteboard idea, because I am the same way with my dh and I totally stress over mess in my environment and it can ruin my day. And then I get upset with dh because he doesn’t see it the way I do and doesn’t help out unless I give him a specific assigned task-which he is great with, but he rarely takes initiative and I’m like, “how can you not see this?!?” LOL. I think if I have it written down like that it will help him know what I need done to feel peaceful, but without the nagging lol. I also love the breakfast/appetizer for dinner idea.

Have you considered offering Daniel an incentive for completing his chores? My philosophy on that is it’s not bribing, because eventually he will need to employ a good, honest work ethic and show responsibility and he will hopefully be rewarded accordingly when he is an employee. At our house, we call this a wage, not an allowance, and it changes based on attitude and a job well-done. My kids know they won’t get as much money if they do something half-way. I am not expecting perfection, but an honest effort according to their ability, done with a cheerful attitiude.

To make it easier we decide in advance what each chore is worth. At the beginning to get him excited about it, I would reward and reward and reward. You may have to show him how to do certain things. And then give him some guidelines as to how he can spend his money. And then take him shopping so he can see the fruits of his labor very quickly.

I love menu planning as well. To cut down on costs we use couponing and also get the Sunday paper and peruse the ads and shop the sales. We make as much as possible homemade and try to stick to shopping the perimeter and not going for convenience foods. Then choose a few meals that you know your family loves, are cheap and easy and insert them into you weekly menu and rotate them, so you have some variety but you are also making their favorites about once a month. Also, in the fall/winter we like to try a new soup every week. Soup is great comfort food in the fall, generally gives lots of leftovers (dont forget to account for those in your menu plan), is economical and freezes well if we can’t eat it all.

Have you ever heard of Fly Lady? She has a lot of great organizational resources and it is very motivating and encouraging. Her big thing is establishing routines so you might get some good ideas from that site.

Be sure too to remain flexible and not put tons of pressure on yourself-that can be self-defeating and lead you to give up so don’t try to make lots of big changes all at once. Start small and establish one good solid routine until it becomes habit for everyone and then add another when you are comfortable. And don’t be afraid to change it if it isn’t working for you.

For our kids’ schedules I print them up and put them in a 3 ring binder inside of paper protectors. I use clip art and pictures for the non-readers so they can see what they have to do. I even do this for their routine-what I expect them to do without me hovering over them and nagging/griping/getting frustrated. So I include things like brushing teeth and hair, getting dressed, feeding the dog-even though those aren’t really “chores” and they don’t get paid for them. Then they can take a wipe-off marker and mark off when they finish, but I don’t have to re-do the chore chart all the time.

Have you decided what to do with Daniel and school? Because this can be a great way to help him have more structure in his school day that he has been craving. You can still do it even if you are unschooling. It doesn’t have to be a super-strict regimented type of thing, but there are certain things that we all have to do every day to keep ourselves healthy and make life easier. So maybe if you start small then it will carry over into school life as well.

OH we do have a reward system set up, just not physical money. He can earn tiny toys or a trip to the movie theater for example!

I grocery shopped yesterday for our dinners and I’ve not done the shopping in a LONG while so even though I only bought what I needed, stuck to the list, and got almost everything on sale, it was STILL super expensive in my eyes.

For school, yes and no. We are sticking with unschooling for now as 1. online schooling turned out to be INSANELY expensive 2. public school was a huge failure (going based on his past experiences)

He seems to be making more of an effort though which is fantastic.


Good for you! Hopefully it make things run smoothly. We pretty much wing it at our house, although I am the queen of list making (my family jokes that I have a list of my lists – that’s nearly true lol). Everyone else seems to rely on my lists though, so they don’t knock them too much. ;)

(Love that gorgeous photo by the way – so pretty!)

Michelle ;)

Reply to Michelle
vahnee @

Good to know someone else is also falling off and getting back on the organizational bandwagon. :-) I’ve also been trying a little bit of meal planning, and it’s tough work but GREAT when it works out. Isn’t it nice not to be staring blankly into the fridge at 4pm?! Keep up all the awesome effort!

Reply to vahnee @

Congrats on becoming more organized! I find that planning our meals and grocery list two weeks at a time really helps me. As for chores, my children have specific responsibilities. For instance, they share in laundry-folding but alternate daily when it comes to dishes, kitchen counters, floors and their bathroom. Everything else is mama’s responsibility, unless of course someone gets out of line and then I give them extra work. :)

Kristi, Live and Love…Out Loud

PS I’m coming over for dinner on Saturday. Shall I bring a dessert?

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