lazy organisation tips
Tricky stuff

Lazy organisation tips for every mum

Being organised doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us. Add in children of various ages with differing needs, schedules and eating habits and it can be near impossible to run an organised household. As with a lot of stuff in life though, with a few tweaks and tricks things can end up running a lot more smoothly. Fionnuala Zinnecker from Three Sons Later shares her lazy organisation tips for every mum.

Lazy organisation tips for activities and hobbies

Whether it is baby swimming, piano lessons or judo your children are into, there’s going to be a whole hoo-ha every week when it comes time to find the gear and leave the house. A stress that everyone can do without!

school holiday camps

Ready-packed bags are my favourite solution to this. Sports gear or swimming togs should come straight off the line and into the bag they belong in. Music notes should go directly back into the instrument case after practice. Once you get into the habit of putting the gear in a certain place, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.  When the following week’s lesson rolls round, all that’s left to do is grab the kids and bags and run.

Lazy organisation tips for Housework

No one really has a thoroughly organised household, do they? Mostly it’s a case of keeping things ticking over and dealing with the biggest issues first. What it all boils down to is keeping the family fed and clothed, meaning laundry and cooking are two areas to try to keep on top of.

Laundry tips for new parents

Food: When it comes to food, think of the oven as your friend. The same goes for slow cookers. Pick out a few family meals that can be made with little preparation in the slow cooker or the oven and you’ll be laughing. Once the food is in there, you’ve bought yourself some time to dedicate to something else, be that your need for a caffeine refill or  the chance to play Duplo with the children. Handy meals we love are slow cooker beef stew,  pumpkin casserole, roast chicken or homemade wedges with fish.

Why not go one step further and start meal planning?

Laundry: It’s a whole lot easier if you pre-sort it. Rather than having one central laundry basket or a basket per bedroom, try colour-coded  communal laundry baskets – a black one for darks, a white one for whites and a coloured one for – you guessed it – colours. Once a basket  is full, it’s time to put on a wash.  The bonus here is that the children can put their dirty clothes into the right baskets themselves.  If you are an ironer, you can take the sorting a step further and sort your laundry into iron and non-iron piles before washing. Once a load of non-iron laundry is dry it just needs putting away, giving you a quick win.

We have lots more laundry tips here.  

What to wear? Even with the washing done and put away, that early morning rush to find something a child will wear without a tantrum can be a challenge. Laying out the children’s clothes as a joint pre-bed task in the evening is a simple and effective way to get around that. Make it fun by helping your child lay his or her clothes out on the bedroom floor. Un-pair the socks and arrange them as feet at the bottom of  trouser legs. Place underpants on top of the trousers. Add a T-shirt above that and you’ll have a whole flatlay child on the bedroom floor, ready to be brought to life in the morning.

Holding it all together

Even with all the tips and tricks in the world, keeping life organised can seem like an impossible task. When you are looking at your home and all you can see is mess, dirt and disarray, it can be disheartening and, at times, overwhelming.  Using lists – that age old tip – makes sense, but only if you take the right approach. Rather than writing broad points, be specific. Break tasks down so you can get them done and ticked off easily. “Do laundry” then becomes “put on wash”; “take in dry clothes and fold”; “put away folded clothes.”  Marking off what you achieve will make you feel a lot more organised that feeling discouraged at not getting “do laundry” finished.

Find more tips on organising a busy family.

Of course if all that doesn’t work you could always employ a cleaner, a chef, a P.A., a driver or a nanny….

Fionnuala is an Irish mama to her three bilingual boys in Germany. She can usually be found in the kitchen or garden with her children, chickens and dog. Over at her award-winning blog ThreeSonsLater you’ll find her writing about craft projects, cooking, vintage treasures, interiors and family life.

Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.

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Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

A
Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.