My Organization Checklist: How to Manage & Schedule Your Home

Wellness mama daily schedule organization checklistI was hesitant to use the word “organization” in the title of this post because it’s not my strongest attribute. I get emails from readers asking how I make time for family, homeschooling, cloth diapering, projects and blogging, so I wanted to share the tips and tricks I’ve found and my organization checklist.

I am by no means an organizing/cleaning guru… and my husband would be the first to attest that I have room for a lot of! improvement in this area. Currently, there are toys on my floor and dishes in my sink, but my kids are playing happily and dinner is in the oven.

During an average week, I do 5-8 loads of laundry, cook three meals from scratch each day, attempt to keep the house clean, homeschool the kids, nurse the baby 8-10 times a day, and try to keep up with this blog. (and try to go to bed before 10 p.m… yeah right)

Besides the obvious fact that I’m probably crazy, I’ve found that I have to focus on organization and routine to be able to keep up with it all and that I also have to accept less than perfection (*ahem* my house right now) in different areas while focusing on the more important ones.

What Started It All…

When I only had one child, I was able to keep our 1 bedroom apartment clean and cook a hot dinner before my husband got home and even managed to brush my hair and do make-up most days.

Once one child turned into two, then three, then four, it seemed like there was such a volume of work to do that I couldn’t make time to do it all.

I felt like I was constantly mentally overwhelmed with the idea of everything that needed to be done.

A friend suggested that I read a book that had helped her, A Mother’s Rule of Life, and it literally changed how I ran the household and reduced my stress load almost instantly. (Note: It is written from a Catholic perspective but is universally helpful to all moms!)

The basic idea was just that you have a routine and plan for when every job needed to get done and how it would be done. This relieved the mental energy of worrying about when you would vacuum the floor or change the air filter.

Also, rather than scheduling everyone in the family to always be doing the same activities (which I was doing) it had scheduled activities for each child (school, play, chores, etc.) so the children could get used to doing these things and knowing when they needed to do things. It eliminated the “I’m bored” because they knew when I would play with them, when school would happen, when they were responsible for picking up and cleaning, etc.

What I Do

I created a rough daily outline of our day, so at any given time, I know what we should be focused on. Since my responsibilities change so much day to day, I outlined the activities I had to get done each day and scheduled time for the things that would come up each day (online orders, vet visits, playdates, etc.).

I also assigned major “chores” to each day of the week so that laundry was two days a week, cleaning bathrooms was one day a week, full mopping of the house was one day a week, etc. This let me not stress about the clothes in the laundry basket or the spot on the floor because I knew it would be cleaned soon.

I have scheduled times for meal planning, catching up on emails, reading to the kids and even relaxing (yes, I schedule time to relax…)

I also created an organization checklist of all the things necessary to thoroughly clean each room and put them on paper (sweeping, dusting, picking things up, folding, etc.). This way, when I tell one of the kids to clean a room, they can reference all the things they need to do and not just pick up the floor and call it done. (I drew pictures for each item for the little kids).

We do school in the mornings after breakfast and I work and do blog related stuff during their nap/quiet time. After dinner as a family, we clean up, bathe the kids, read books, say prayers, and the kids are in bed by 8.

After the kids are in bed, I finish up work stuff and spend time with my husband.

For everything that is on the schedule, we aren’t at the age of sports and extracurriculars yet, which helps open up the schedule, and while we have a TV, we can’t even get cable in our area, so we don’t watch it.

I’m a long way from perfect at managing it all, but I’ve found that the system at least helps me keep up with it without being stressed all the time.

My “Football”

To keep all the schedule, planning, meal plans, etc. organized, I have a 2-inch binder that is my “football.” Just like the President supposedly has a case with all the top security information (the football) with him at all times, this binder has all of my important information and is basically my home management encyclopedia.

In it, I have:

  • My daily outline of the rough times that I’ve scheduled for everything to happen that day. This is in a plastic sheet as it is pretty static.
  • My daily “Most important tasks” of my top three things that must get done that day, what I’m cooking for dinner, what my workout is, how much water I’ve drank, etc. This changes daily.
  • Weekly Routine: The jobs that I do each day and when they are doing during the day. Laundry, mopping, deep cleaning rooms, cleaning windows, etc.
  • Monthly Jobs: This lists has jobs that happen each month repeatedly, along with jobs that only happen during a certain month (changing of the kids wardrobes, planning the garden, outdoor work, etc.)
  • Meal Plan: Changes weekly but is planned ahead of time so I can shop for the week all at once and pre-prepare some items.
  • Room Cleaning Checklists for each room in the house
  • Daily Chores Sheet for each person in the house so that when it says “Morning Chores” on my daily outline, everyone knows what he/she should  be doing.

I highly recommend the book as she walks you through the planning and organization much better than I have. If it would be helpful to you, I’ve attached my organization checklist printables that I use for organization. Included are: Daily Outline Sheet, Daily Chores Sheet, Weekly Routine Sheet, Monthly Routine Sheet, Meal Plan Sheet, and Room Cleaning Sheet, along with my daily “To-Do list” Sheet.

Click Here to Download the Organization/Planning Printables

If these are helpful to you, please share via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so that others can use them too!

How do you do it all? What are your best planning and organization tips and tricks? Please share, I need all the help I can get! 🙂

A home management and organization checklist is a tool to keep up with cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, appointments, and recipes.

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Reader Comments

  1. I’m floored.

  2. Thank you for this. I do FlyLady, but it hasn’t extended to my studies or my blog yet, I’m afraid. I love the idea of separating the top three priorities from the rest of the to-do-list! I really have to get started on using sheets like this!

  3. Kate

    With 5 darlings of your own I’m sure you understand my need, actually it was when I had 5 kids I knew it was time to get organised or drown.  Can’t believe years later and now 9 kids I actually can write about organisation!  still it happened I learnt a little along the way, hard earned indeed.  

    a fav tip there was to designate a different colour towel for each family member, buy two of each and so simple. 

    each child has their washing day, and every child over the age of ten does their own.  with 15 loads plus /week something had to be done.
    Then again I also talk about how I only shop at the supermarket once a month, have done so for years now, save time and money.  also shop in the early hours or after dinner at night.  

  4. WOW, thanks for sharing this!  I was just wondering recently how you managed to “do it all” and live the lifestyle that you do.  You are truly an inspiration 🙂

  5. I’d be interested to know what “chores” you have your young kids do. There is only so much a little person can do….empty dishwasher, make bed, brush teeth, pick up up toys, get dressed. Do you have them clean?

  6. Thank you for these printables! I’m in the process of revamping my notebook and these will help immensely. Do you make all of your own forms? I would love any others you might have… :o) I would even be willing to pay; I’m just that compulsive about the way my notebook looks. Fonts have to match, etc. LOL

    • Haha, I do… though my illustrator skills are lacking. I will try to post soon with the rest of them 🙂

  7. I’m working on tweaking my routine right now so this is very timely! I used to grocery shop every week (meaning a trip to Costco, Fred Meyer, the butcher and the farm for milk and eggs every. single. Saturday.) but am trying to get on a schedule of going every two weeks (pay days). I think this one change is going to free up so much time! And isn’t that what organization is really all about?

  8. Hooray!  There are others like me!  I just read a Mother’s Rule to Life (before I really read your website)…I feel like this is a signal grace!  I’m a mommy to 4 also…ages 8, 6, 3 and 8 months.  Thank you!  You are helping me organize my life!

  9.  These forms are an awesome resource!   I am chronically disorganized. I have 4 kids, 3 of whom are school age and go to three different schools, and I work part time.  I feel like I can never find the time to get anything done! Most days, I’m just grateful that I managed to get dinner on the table.  Our weekends are chore filled, trying to catch up on laundry, household cleaning, etc.

    Going to try your method for sure. Thanks!

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is exactly what I need…Once children numbers 3 & 4 came along it all just got really hard, add to that husband who grew up in South Africa with servants!! and you have chaos.  He is darling and very well meaning….but leaves stuff everywhere. I love the idea of a list for each room for kids to use 🙂

    • Ha ha Larissa, I am a mom of 3 living in South Africa and actually came onto this blog looking for ideas on how to get organised as I have had a ‘domestic/servant’ for 2 days a week for the last few years and am now going solo again. It is a real mind shift change for South African’s to even consider doing it all yourself. But he rest of the world does it so can we (-: I am excited for the journey. It truly does give you a sense of pride and meaning in the world if you can teach your children to take responsibility for their own.

  11. Thank you for these! Brilliant! I can so relate to that one child = clean one bedroom apartment, hot meal, mama looking good too … and we only have 2 actual babies, but we now have a whole house, 2 cats & 3 chickens in the mix as well – it sure does make the work load seem unbearable. I think your check list will come in handy. Now to pry my tush from the warm comfy sofa.

  12. Love this site..Do You ever post anything
    on pets, like dogs?

  13. this is entirely fabulous! i’ve been trying to come up with my own system (or using a combination of several journals and two datebooks) to keep myself motivated to organize my daily schedule/rhythm. this year i’ve been better than all my previous years alive, but 2014 is going to be even more efficient. thanks for offering these printables! the fly lady stuff never resonated and while i took what was meaningful, i largely ignored the daily emails and rarely visited the website. i recently paid a lot of money for a business/life/inspirational coaching type package and again, just not resonating. the value is there, in some respect, but i won’t renew because i’m simply not getting much out of it but i must say, your site is going to be like my holy grail – the first thing i read in the morning and the last thing i read at night. right place, right time. not only does it all resonate, it’s all stuff i’m already implementing but you’ve paved the way and i am immensely grateful <3

  14. Katie, do you mind if I ask if you’re Catholic? I’ve been a follower of your blog for a while now and I love it… I’ve implemented so many of your tips and I somehow had a sneaking suspicion that you’re Catholic. I am too! My fiance and I are preparing for marriage and hope to have a large family someday (God willing) – so I’m pinning tons of your blog posts to prepare! Thanks for all of your hard work!

  15. Hi Katie!

    This looks AWESOME! I can’t find the attachment/link for the printables though. Where’d it go? Thank you 🙂

  16. Hi Erin, thanks for the great info. I don’t see where to get the printables though. It’s not showing up where you say to click.

    • I’ll work on fixing this… we had to move where my PDFs were hosted and I haven’t fixed all of the links yet

  17. It’s awesome to see health as a priority in a daily routine. You need to manage yourself to tackle the rest of it!!!

  18. Katie
    Thanks for sharing your recipes, information, knowledge etc etc etc…..seems I learn something new every time I’m on your website. Thanks again.
    One thing….I can’t seem to get the link to your organizational and planning printable to work.

      • I’m not sure if you’ve been able to fix the link yet or not? I still can’t seem to get it to work? And I’m super excited to see it. 🙂 Thanks!

  19. I am so enjoying your site! I just found it and am making some big changes in our family/household. So thanks for doing all this – Love it 🙂
    PS – the printable link to the daily organizer is not working 🙁

  20. Thank you for this! Looking forward to seeing the printables : )

  21. I love EVERYTHING organization and can’t wait for the link to be up and running. Thank you.

  22. Kate,
    My computer will not download the organizational list. The sentence says for you to “click here” to download but it is not highlighted so it doesn’t do anything when I click on it. I really love the list and want to be able to use it.

  23. I love this blog so much! Thanks for all the great info. I was wondering if you would share what material you use for homeschooling? Thanks 🙂

  24. Hi Katie,

    Are your printables no longer available? The link doesn’t seem to be there. I’d really appreciate them, trying to do it by memory, but mine is horrible 🙂


  25. Hello!

    I am a college student that has slowly begun eating healthier and I just made your cleansing body wash last night! I cannot have gluten, soy, or dairy. I’m going through a really stressful time right now and was wondering if you had any time of organization routine to help me with being healthy including meal prep, cleaning apartment, exercising, walking the dog, and still making time for studying. I have been in school a very long time and I have tried to get a routine going but then I get frustrated. I think my expectations are too high! lol I don’t know where to begin. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  26. Hi katie, i can never thank you enough for all the hard work you are doing to help families live better. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Also, i hope you dont mind me asking, how do you do homeschooling? What is the best one to go to. I have a son, whos turning 2 this month and i am considering homeschooling for him when he starts kindergarten. I do hope you will write up a blog all about homeschooling for parents like me who have no clue on how to do it.

    Many many thanks,

  27. Thank you for all your hard work and very useful information!
    I was so happy to see that you left a link to print out the
    Organizing/planning templates, I’ve been searching for something just like these and I think they will do nicly for me and my family.

    You dear are truly an inspiration to me and I thank you!!

    <3 Amanda

  28. Thank you very much Katie! i hope it will help me drink more water and exercise at least for 10 mins.

  29. I know this post is very old , but I had purchased the book a mother’s rule of life after seeing it on your post in regards to what a day looks like for you and your family. However, i didn’t even read the summary and totally missed that it is religiously based, and I am not a religious person, but very much in need of a book like that one, do you happen to know of any other books like that that aren’t geared towards religion? I had thought of reading it anyway, but it feels like I will have quite a hard time relating to it if I am not a Christiann unfortunately!

    • I don’t know of any similar ones, or I would definitely have linked to them as well. I will say that her advice can definitely be helpful, even to someone with a much different belief system and much of the faith aspect just comes in sharing why she ended up finding a way to have a system in the first place, so perhaps you still may get some valuable information from it.

      • I would love to see examples of some of your actual plans:)