Don’t you just hate it when someone in your family asks: ” Where’s the scissors/ my blue top/ the toothpaste/ …?”?
I roll my eyes, and get up and go find it for them, because even if I say it’s in the hallway cupboard, top left shelf, in a blue container, they won’t find it. Even if it’s staring them in the face. They don’t have “mommy vision”. When I know where it is, that’s okay.
But when it’s something that they need urgently, and that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, I freak out. They always need it NOW. Then I have to leave whatever I’m doing at the time because EVERYONE has to join in the search. Especially when it’s the dad who can’t find his keys or something that he “just left here”.
I hate looking for things so much that when I “lost” R1 500 in cash a few weeks ago, I didn’t even bother to look for it. I knew I had put it in a safe place – but my menopausal brain couldn’t remember where, and I certainly wasn’t going to subject it to any more stress. It turned up in my underwear drawer.
So, I NEED to be organised. It makes life a hell of a lot simpler. The trick, though, is that the actual organisation process should not be a mission. I focus on the things that we need to access on a daily basis. This is a round-up of my absolutely essential “things that need to be organised”.
You have to have a key rack near the front of your house. A bowl might work for some, but we have 5 people in our family with house keys, car keys, work keys, grannies’ house keys, as well as spares. We have a double rack of hooks, so I hang up my house keys with my car keys directly underneath them. I have to. Things in my bag fall into a deep, dark pit that I can’t save them from.
We are lucky enough to have an extra freezer with drawers to store frozen goods. Occasionally, I will ask one of the kids to do a freezer inventory. We write up the contents of each drawer and note amounts. The fridge can be used as a whiteboard, so we write directly on it it. When you need something, it’s easy to just check which drawer it’s in, take it out, and rub off the tally stroke or change the number.
This is really useful for
4. Meal Planning
I don’t mind cooking. I just hate thinking about WHAT to cook. My easy meal planning system is to just list the meat, etc we commonly buy, according to the day of the week.
Monday – beef stewing meat, Tuesday – fish, Wednesday – chicken fillets, Thursday – pork, Friday – mince, etc. I plot this out on my home-made calendar until I’ve “emptied” the freezer.
Depending on what’s in the pantry (or what we had last week) I can now decide what to make with the basics. We have a number of go-to family favourites so we can actually change up the menu for at least two weeks.
So on Monday, we can have beef curry or a vegetable stew . (In my house, the choice is always curry.). It helps to have a list of your family’s favourites that you can easily pair up with whatever else is in the grocery cupboard,fridge or freezer. If we have rotis in the freezer, on a chicken fillet night we can have chicken wraps or butter chicken, depending on whether we have yoghurt for the butter chicken or salad veg for the wraps.
5. Double-batch cooking
There are a number of dishes we make in bulk and freeze. I don’t even have fancy containers. I save yoghurt and ice-cream containers and stick masking tape labels on them.
We do this with all the time-consuming food we make, where possible. Soups are great if you can just take out a yoghurt container on a chilly day or when you’re in need of comfort food.
A tomato sauce (smoortjie) that’s ready to just defrost is easier than making from scratch when you’re pressed for time. If you zhoosh it your blender you’ve got a lovely smooth pasta sauce you can spice up. My absolute go-to is bolognaise sauce. It’s already a family staple, but if you make an extra batch you can make a lasagna so quickly – just make your bechamel sauce, boil the pasta, and mmm… Mamma Mia! I also use it as a base for my copycat chilli con carne – just add kidney beans, cumin and chilli flakes and you can go to Mexico in minutes!
5. The shopping list
This lives in the kitchen – an actual paper pad. Whenever we run out of something, we just write it down immediately. When I’m planning the menu, I can decide whether we’re going to have salad or if we need other fresh veg and add those to the list as well.
6. The laundry
I do a load every day, weather permitting. We have a great system here. (My kids have been well-trained!) Dirty washing goes into the laundry baskets in two bathrooms. I sort lights/ darks and switch on the machine. The boys hang up and take off the line. They have their own system. The best thing they do is fold from the line. Later, when I’m watching Netflix, I Marie-Kondo everything (https://youtu.be/vAme97fLUsw), and put their clothes into piles in the washing baskets for them to pack away. I DON’T IRON! It’s got to be a special occasion… Joy sparked!
This is it:
A file box with file folders in it. All folders are tabbed and papers are just plopped into the relevant file. It’s not as pretty as I’d like, but it works. The green folder is a little folder I found at Osman’s in which I store all receipts that we might need later. I also keep all my parents’ important papers in another file case with dividers, similarly marked, but it’s portable.
And that’s basically it! What are the organisational must-haves that you need in your life? Write in the comments section. I’d love to know how you tame the crazy!
Love and light