Is it just us, or did the summer vacation go by in a flash? As we wave our children off to their classrooms this morning, we’re feeling plenty of mixed emotions. But one thing is for sure, we have a bit more time to ourselves after the holidays.
Recently we talked about the importance of making our home a haven for our children, but this week, as school starts and the blissful sound of silence fills many of our homes, we’re sipping our morning coffee and thinking about how home can be a haven for us as well.
The truth is, our home needs to be not just a haven, but a hub as well. A hub of activity that, in order for family life to function smoothly, needs to be well organised. And this is the perfect time of year to take stock of our home - our “centre of operations”, to make sure it works for us. If we can set it up to help make life a little bit easier, we can run our family’s life smoothly and enjoy all the wonderful moments along the way.
Here are some tips to help you turn your home hub into a well-oiled machine.
1. Have a “Command Centre”
Designate a place in your home as the central space where sense is made of chaos in a visual way that’s accessible at all times.
Here you keep your calendar, daily schedules, papers and mail, keys, and what ever you need easy and shared access to in order to be able to ensure that everybody is on the same page about the plan for the day, week and month. Make sure you commit to keeping it updated - put all work commitments, travel, teacher meetings, sports events and play dates in the calendar, update who is doing drop-off and pick-up when (especially helpful when you and your nanny need to work in partnership), and have the whole family check in every morning so that you can iron out any potential problems or conflicts before they arise. Type “Command Centre” into Pinterest and have some fun with designing a great one that works for you.
2. Claim a space of your own
The command centre is for the whole family, but you’re the “CEO”, and you need a space of your own. Carve out a specific place in your home - even if it’s just a desk in a corner on the landing - where you can make a work space for yourself to come to each day with an ordered mind to tackle the tasks that need to be taken care of. Whether it’s signing your children up for tennis lessons, paying bills, or thinking about the weekly meal plan, you need a space that is free from clutter and where you can order and file your paperwork in a way that makes sense to you. Make the space beautiful and calming, somewhere you will enjoy sitting down each day, and you will find that you’re able to makes lists and work through the admin of running a family much more easily than if you were perching your laptop on a corner of the kitchen table.
3. Containers make everything better
Clutter in the home can be a huge source of stress. Not only is disarray not restful on the eyes, but it is a terrible time waster. When you can’t find the swimming goggles just before swim practice, or the home insurance information when you need it at arm’s reach, it’s infuriating. We all know what it’s like to be late for something because you wasted time looking for an item you needed. The simplicity of categorising and containing is life changing. Put sports equipment in a box within easy reach, store socks with shoes near the front door, keep papers in files near your desk, put children’s medicines in clear boxes in the bathroom in case you need them in the middle of the night (out of their reach), divide cleaning products into containers according to which room they apply to… the possibilities are endless. Think about the categories of your possessions and then create storage solutions according to those categories. Your life will be so much easier.
4. Don’t keep what you don’t need
While storage solutions are wonderful, don’t make the mistake of “storing” things you no longer need. The beginning of the school year - when little eyes are otherwise occupied - is a great time to go around the house with a big bag, filling it with toys, books and clothes that are no longer used. Make space for your family to breath, to enjoy the items you do use and the things you do love - which will be all the more visible and accessible now.
5. Have a weekly planning meeting
No matter how much time you spend organising your home, if your family aren’t in the loop with what you’re doing and why, you’ll always feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. Sit down once a week for a few minutes to go over what’s happening in the command centre, what is needed in the school and sports bags for the week, what the meal plan looks like (emphasise that input is always welcome here!), and what’s happening in the family’s schedule. This “meeting” doesn’t have to be formal and certainly shouldn’t feel burdensome. It can the topic be as you gather round the table for Sunday supper and is a great way to connect the family, as well as a source of support for you.
Make no mistake, running your home is the equivalent of making your family’s world turn on time. It’s a difficult and sometimes thankless job, and you deserve to make it just a little easier on yourself. You’re doing great!
Good People is a domestic staffing agency specialising in introducing high quality household assistance. We provide a simple, fast and professional service to recruit trained and vetted staff who match your family values. To discuss what we can do for you, or to join the Good People Club, get in touch today.