Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program


As a busy Mom, these are some of my tips that I use every day to try and make my life a little easier. I have two kids and my partner has four, so every other week we become a family of eight! We both also work full-time outside of the home. That means there are lots of things that get lost, don’t get done, are forgotten . . . .sometimes even a child! These are just some practical tips I have used to try to make life easier. Hopefully one or more might work for you.

    1. Make a meal plan and shopping list on one sheet of paper. This way you know what you are eating for the week (or month) and you shop for those items instead of adding random items into your grocery basket. I love this too because the kids know what to expect for dinner each night and it saves the bickering at the grocery store about what they want to just toss in. It also means that there are no emergency trips to the store for that one item that turns into ten! There are several great printable templates available on the web. Click here for a site I recommend.
    2. Chore charts aren’t just for kids! You have some chores that need to be done every day, such as the dishes, but laundry doesn’t nor do mowing the lawn, dusting or vacuuming. Using these types of charts allows for the needs of the house to be spread out between many and you know what they say – many hands make light work! Then you can all enjoy only ten minutes of chores a day instead of a daylong battle to get them done all at once. I love this site for their printable charts and helpful hints on age appropriate chores too!
    3. Tech time-out! We are all so connected to the web, social media, gaming and Youtube that we forget that the relationships with the people we love and care about are MORE important. Be honest – you check your phone constantly for updates and many go home to watch the news and later Netflix or a movie. Facebook is an hourly update and those we love are doing the same, but we aren’t engaging with each other, and we are missing out on valuable time that we can’t get back. So decide when you are going to, as a family, go Tech free. Use this time to get outside, go for a walk, go to the park, go visit a friend or have friends over for dinner. We collect all tech at bedtime too! No one sleeps with a phone, DS, tablet, iPod or other device beside them!
    4. Put a large container at the front door for shoes. You may have to dig into it to find the mate but you know where they are. The kids know the expectations of where they go and you won’t be searching the house for five minutes for the lost shoe when you are already running ten minutes late!
    5. I love this one, because it literally sticks to your wall. Click here.
    6. Lysol or other disinfectant wipes are a blessing in disguise! It never fails that when you have your silk blouse on or your new chiffon shirt that you end up wearing spaghetti or coffee or baby spit-up on your adult clothes. My trick is to keep a few of these wipes in a ziplock in your purse. They are like magic at getting out the stain. The alcohol helps lift out the stain and voila, in a minute the alcohol dries and your prized adult clothing is stain free.
    7. Make lunches the night before! I hate mornings and yet I can’t escape them! Six kids mean I’m up early to get them to before school activities and trying to do a morning routine is tough for me from the start. So all I have to do is pull out their lunch kits in the morning and they are ready to go!
    8. The ‘Mommy Bucket’ is a new addition to our house. Before they go to bed the kids are encouraged to do a sweep of the house and collect any items that belong to them and put it away. After they go to bed, if I find it then it goes in the bucket. The kids decided on the chore list that accompanies the release of their item from the bucket. Trust me they went to town on the chore that they might have to do too! Everything from washing a vehicle to gardening for half and hour to washing kitchen walls. They learn quickly that if it means that much to them they need to look after it. If the item is not claimed in a somewhat timely fashion, it goes in the ‘to donate’ pile.
    9. That segued perfectly into this one. The ‘to donate’ bag. It sits in the corner of our office room and as the kids grow out of something or they haven’t claimed it from the “Mommy Box’ or they don’t want it any more it gets put directly in the bag. That way there aren’t dozens of items at any given time not in use in our home. With six kids that can mean a lot of stuff! It adds up quickly too!
    10. Donate to a local second hand store. I love taking our ‘to donate’ bags into Sailor Jack Family Consignment,  I can choose to pick up unsold items or they will continue the green aspect of consignment and donate the items to charity. Its win-win and you can earn money! I use the running tab to buy seasonal items that the kids need. You really can’t beat it! Nice items at a fraction of the retail.

Like I said before, there are dozens of tips I have to running a house of eight more efficiently. Maybe in the next blog I will share the next ten! 🙂