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Organizing Life in a Large Family

I get asked a lot how I can possibly keep our family organized. Sometimes people are asking out of genuine curiosity and sometimes they are asking with that sarcastic tone in their voice that makes me smile sweetly and unleash a barrage of Southern “bless your heart” charm with a raised eyebrow. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. So today I thought I would share a few of the ways I organize our daily life.

1- The Master Calendar

This is vital to the management of our household. Everything goes on the calendar- Matt’s work commitments, the kids school schedule and after school activities, Mase’s pre-school and speech therapy schedule, doctors appointments….everything. It hangs across from our fridge where it is highly visible. I can take one look at the calendar and know exactly what is going on that week and where I need to be.

2- The Pocket Planner

I bought a wall calendar that came with a pocket planner to keep in my purse. I make a lot of appointments on the go while I’m waiting in the car rider line, or waiting for dance to be over, so I need to have access to the master calendar. Every appointment that goes on the master calendar goes into my pocket planner as well.

3- The Weekly Calendar

I found this awesome notepad in the Target Dollar Section awhile back and bought 8 of them. What can I say? I get excited and giddy about new organizational products. It’s a sickness really, I call it Type A Syndrome. I fill out 2 weeks at a time and hang them on the fridge. I write anything happening that week- appointments, parties, school stuff to remember, etc on the top part. At the bottom of each day I write what I’m making for dinner that night. It’s perfect because as I’m planning my weekly menu I can see what days I need to plan a fast and easy meal or plan to start a crockpot dinner early in the day.

4- The Dry Erase Board

I have several of these dry erase boards and I love them. The one that hangs on the front of the fridge is the main one I use every day. On Sundays I write out my to-do list for the week- all the things that must get done that I might forget about when I get busy. Below my master to-do list I also have a daily to-go list where I list the things from the master list that I plan to do on that particular day. Once they are done, I erase them off both lists. I also use this dry erase board to keep track of the kids medications. Zoey is cutting her 2 year old molars and Maia has an ear infection so I need to keep track of what times they’ve had medicine so they don’t end up with a double dose. The last thing on the board is the kids daily chores. Each day I fill in what chores the kids need to do before bedtime. They come home from school, do their homework, and check the chore chart.

5- The Meal Planning

I have been working on organizing my recipes into a system that works for the way I do my meal plans. I’m using the website Key Ingredient because it allows me to make separate cookbooks and also has an app that I can use on my iPhone, handy when I need to double check an ingredient while at the grocery store. I’ve been transferring my favorite recipes over for the past week. I had recipes saved on pinterest, in my bookmarks, on pocket….they were just scattered everywhere and it was taking me forever to sort through them all each week. I am separating my recipes into main categories to make it easy for me to pick meals for the week. My categories include Chicken: Crockpot, Chicken: Bake, Beef: Crockpot, Beef: Bake, Pasta: Crockpot, Pasta: Bake, Seafood, Pork, Soups, Fast & Easy, and Kid Approved. I’m sure I’ll add more as I go along but for now these are the main categories I use each week.

I hope that answers a few questions on how I organize life in our large family. In the past I have shared how I organize our household files, how I cut the kitchen paper clutter, and how I organized the front entryway closet.

How do you organize your family?

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  • I’m no mom. I’m a 26 year old girl that previously had a stroke. I now have 5 caregivers, and boy do I have to be organized! Frm my appointments to doing payroll, it’s alot to keep on top of! Reading all these other things people do is a big help!

  • “Bless your heart…” Ha ha. Thanks for sharing!


  • I am lovin’ this post! As another Southern Mama, but not so organized, I think I’ll be back to check out your other posts. (In other words, I need help and maybe a ‘bless your heart’, too!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    Visiting from Kate’s Fun Friday~

    Lisa @All That and a Box of Rocks

  • Here, here! I agree with everything..as I have a large fam, myself. I’ve had fun looking over your blog. I would love to have you come share ‘Your Great Idea’ over at my link party, hosted on Saturdays…but you can still submit today. Hope to see you there!http://www.oneshetwoshe.com/2012/09/hello-weekend-50-mikarose-giveaway.html

  • I love all of your planners and calendars— after 4 kids, I’ve become the same way! Found you @ Skip to My Lou.

  • This made me laugh because I get that question too! I have four kids, the hubby and a dog! My system is a lot like yours…I couldn’t live without my calender on the fridge, in my purse or my dry erase board. I also love meal planning, I do ours for two weeks and it works out great! Thanks so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Good night! You are SO organized. I thought I had stuff basically put together around here, but now realize I am a hopeless mess. Bowing to your mad crazy skills ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I use a day planner type calendar and become seriously grumpy when asked to deviate from it without 48 hours notice.

  • Mel

    Oh bless you, i totally feel your pain with the comments, I too have 5 kids, it amazes me what perfect strangers feel okay with saying, not to mention people we know. Great tips!

  • super organized…that’s what you are!! I use the master calender idea and also Google calender, mainly for the husband, because he never looks at the wall calender!!

  • Anonymous

    I use cozi calendar app on my iphone. Love it! And DH can log into it and look at what’s going on at work.

  • I really need a dry erase board. I make all kinds of lists on paper and on my computer, but they get put down or minimized and I don’t see them to remember stuff. I need to check out Key Ingredient.

  • When my boys were still at home and playing baseball, I use to have a day planner that I color coded everybody’s schedule in to. I had nightmares about loosing my planner! Nowadays, I just keep all my personal stuff on the calendar of my iphone. I’m a teacher, and I also keep a mothtly calendar at school with all my school stuff.

  • Great tips and ideas! I am working on organizing my recipes and meal planning as well. I am still a little “old fashioned” and I have an actual notebook I am putting together….not sure how organized I am but I’m trying!

  • you and me, with the great minds thinking alike: my Mom’s Master Calendar is in the exact same spot as yours. Dry Erase, pin board and chore charts right beneath. I use my phone to make appts. in when I am out — but since it’s an intelligence challenged phone it often forgets to remind me with alarms. It should just know I need to be reminded, right? I mean, one less thing, right?
    Crap…I’ve just realized I might be Type A. On principle, I’m not cleaning anything else today.

  • Mom

    You might want to look at electronic options for your calendar and to-do list. You can sync them between your phone, your husband’s phone, and of course see them on the home computer.

    I also use an electronic to-do list. It will push reminders to my phone as well.

    I may also be a type-A personality. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • We just fly by the seat of our pants, but it is just myself and my daughter.

  • My son is grown, I have to organize only myself and my husband–no small task!

    Oh, and the school lives of 23 kids, but that doesn’t count! ๐Ÿ˜‰