Home Organization Tips for Parents Heading Back to Work

Working mother heads out the door with kidsWhether you’ve been on maternity leave or have had a period of unemployment, returning to work after a few months can be a complicated time of transition. If you haven’t been leaving the house regularly at a certain time, achieving this daily can be a challenge! Here are some organized systems and habits that will support you.

Your Morning to “DEW” List

We recommend paying attention to the “morning D.E.W.,” which stands for Dishes, Eating, and Wash. “Dishes” refers to putting all of your clean dishes away. “Eating” refers to the classic question, “What’s for dinner?” Make a decision about dinner before it’s a stressful problem at 6:00 p.m. Put out something to thaw, start a slow cooker meal, or chop some onions while you make your scrambled eggs. And “wash” means taking your laundry to the next step, whether it’s folding, washing, or drying.

Do the Triple S Before You Get Your ZZZs

At night we recommend the “Triple S” routine: Start the dishwasher, Straighten up, and Set for tomorrow.  If you are going to put the dishes away in the morning, the dishwasher needs to run when you’re asleep. Straightening up means doing a quick 5-10 minute clutter patrol, focusing on flat surfaces and floors. And setting for tomorrow means getting anything ready ahead of time that you can to help you get out the door faster. Tasks involving your children can often be done ahead of time, like getting their school papers ready, choosing their clothes or packing their lunches.

Create a Destination Station

Establish a place near where you enter and exit the house that can hold your keys, your purse or briefcase, kids’ school and practice items, sunglasses and items that need to be taken out for errands. Having a home for these items will save lots of wasted time looking for lost things, especially when you’re in a hurry!

Communicate More Easily

With a fuller schedule, you may need to start coordinating calendars more frequently with your spouse or caregiver. Using Google Calendar or another online option makes it easy to share your schedule with others, and if needed, you can usually synchronize it with other popular applications like Outlook. Also, if you have a new work environment, make sure you understand the rules about text messages and phone calls from your family during work hours.

Sunday Planning Saves You Time and Stress

Once a week, we recommend doing your “Sunday Planning.” You can do it at any time, but we like Sunday because mostly families have some down time on that day of the week. You can figure out these five things:

  • Calendars — What’s going on this week?
  • Carpool — Who is taking whom where and when?
  • Cooking — What’s for dinner, and what groceries do we need to buy?
  • Chores — Who is doing the dishes and other cleaning?
  • Children — Who is helping with homework and doing bath and bedtime routines?

If you need help finding work so that you can get back to these kinds of habits and routines, remember that Goodwill’s mission is to provide job-related services and opportunities to anyone facing barriers to employment. You can find your nearest Goodwill job help center at http://locator.goodwill.org/.