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Keeping Busy Families Organized by Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama

All parents can relate to the difficulty of keeping a busy family organized! With parents working in or out of the home, extra-curricular and school related activities, friends, family, church, etc., life can spin out of control before we even realize it. But there is hope! Simple, practical solutions exist to make our lives easier and my goal is to share some of the solutions I have discovered as a mother of three boys, student and professional organizer with you in the hopes that you can incorporate them into your family's routine.

Latest Posts:

Organizing the Fridge

I will never forget the day that I took a mysterious box out of our freezer and discovered a dog turd (no, I am not making this up) inside. When asked what would possess my youngest (I immediately knew it was him) to put this item IN.MY.FREEZER he replied "I wanted to know what would happen if it froze".  After correcting him firmly and telling him he could find out such things outside in the winter I proceeded to empty and scrub my freezer.    The refrigerator/freezer in any busy home gets used and abused a lot.  It is important for cleanliness, ease of finding things and energy efficiency to keep your fridge clean and organized.  Here are some of my favorite tips for doing just that:  

  • Clean...


posted on: 9/1/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Involving the Kids in the Organizing Process

My youngest son loves legos. Even at eleven, he can still spend hours building a skyscraper or airplane with the tiny little blocks.  What does that mean for the condition of our family/game room?  You better wear shoes, because chances are your feet will find one of those surprisingly sharp little buggers if you don't.   A while back we looked for a way to organize the legos so that the chance of foot injury would be decreased.  Of course, the boys concern was that they didn't want to have to take apart the "masterpiece" they were currently working on.    When you are organizing a play area, these are the types of things you need to take into consideration.  If your daughter enjoys playing...


posted on: 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Tips for a Messy Garage

I am currently working on a garage organizing project with the Consumer Queen and Rubbermaid. So, I thought I would share some garage organizing tips with you.  A garage can be an abyss of disorganization working against any busy family.

  • Maximize wall space.  I advised the Consumer Queen that you should always be able to park your car in the garage.  The best way to make sure this can happen is to keep the majority of floor space free.  Shelving and cabinets are ideal ways to use the wall space to the best advantage.
  • Cull through the junk.  So often garages (and basements and...


posted on: 7/7/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Organized Meal Time

Organized Meal Time- is it possible? If your home is anything like mine, the dinner hour can get quite hectic.  We are usually preparing to rush out the door to some extracurricular or church activity, hubby is just getting home from work, kids are finishing up their homework, and tensions can run high.  Yet, studies show that eating as a family is really important for family stability and cohesion.  How can you create a calmer environment for dinner?  Here are some tips:  

  • Have a menu plan.  A lot of stress can be averted if you already know what you are going to have for dinner and the ingredients are available (and thawed).  Plan your menu according to what is going on in your...


posted on: 6/30/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Organizing Family Vacations

Summer is a busy time for most families and vacations can be anything but relaxing. When packing, arranging for pet care and house sitting, making lodging and other reservations, etc. a busy parent can easily become overwhelmed and stressed out!  When you are stressed and hurried you are much more likely to forget something important.  Here is a quick checklist of things to consider when preparing for an organized vacation:         Have you made all lodging reservations, necessary deposits and have confirmation numbers in writing?       Have you mapped out your travel route if driving and had any necessary maintenance/repairs done to vehicle you will be traveling...


posted on: 6/23/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Chores and Kids

Chores- the very word makes my kids huff, puff and cringe. Yet at thirteen and eleven, my boys know how to do laundry, wash dishes (using a dishwasher or by hand), yard work, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, making beds, changing sheets, taking care of pets and more.  Are they over-worked?  Absolutely not.  They are learning life skills and an allowance J  So, how do I organize who does what and when?  At what age can kids start pitching in?  Here are some of the ways we do things in our home to keep our busy family organized:         Have a chore chart.  This lets the kids know what is expected, the consequences of not following through and the reward for completing the...


posted on: 6/2/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Taming the Magazine Madness

Are you like me and anything glossy with pictures and words is just too tempting to pass up? I am a marketer's dream- standing at the checkout line at the grocery store, see the pretty magazines with their recipes and guaranteed ways to lose the dreaded muffin top- and I'm throwing it in my cart as a last minute purchase.  I don't subscribe to magazines (with the exception of my favorite, Southern Living) because as a professional organizer, I know better.   Magazines are clutter, plain and simple.  Especially today with the internet and the fact that most magazines have their articles available online; there is just no reason to have magazines in your house.  Except that I enjoy reading them and thumbing...


posted on: 5/26/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Schedules: Myths and Benefits

I hear a lot from busy moms that they just need to develop a schedule that works for them so that everything gets done. Let me first clear up one of the toxic myths of motherhood- everything NEVER gets done.  There is always something else that we wish we could have gotten to, whether it be housecleaning, time with our spouse and kids or energy devoted to a work or volunteer project.  At the end of every day, if we are looking for it, there is going to be something we wish we could have crossed off the list.  If your goal in developing a schedule is to accomplish everything and never leave something undone, you will quickly become frustrated and need to sit down and take a frank look at your...


posted on: 5/19/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

My Child, my Client?

I love my children, don't get me wrong. But, they did not inherit the "organizing" gene.  Specifically deficient in this area is my youngest son.  I have mentioned him in previous blog posts about his "collections", etc. and how crazy it makes me to even go into his bedroom.    We are rearranging things in our house so my boys are moving to different rooms.  The move for my older one was fairly simple but is still not complete with my youngest.  I refuse to let him take all the "collections" (defined in my vocabulary as JUNK) into another room.  We have been having a battle of the wills of epic proportions.  And, since he is my son, he has a little bit of a stubborn streak (go...


posted on: 5/12/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

Battling Time Wasters

Yesterday on Twitter, my tip for the day was to keep a time log for a few days so that people can identify where they are spending time passively (AKA wasting time). A major complaint I hear from clients is there just aren't enough hours in a day to get everything done.  Well, we aren't going to get the day any longer than it is, but there are simple strategies you can employ to make the hours in your day more productive.  Here are a few:  

  • Delegate.  There is no rule that we, as busy parents, have to do it all.  That is a myth that we perpetuate.  If there are things that are taking time away from tasks that only you can do, let someone...


posted on: 5/5/2009 9:00:00 AM  by Melissa Smallwood
category: Family

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About Melissa:

Melissa Smallwood is a professional organizer and mom of three boys (ages 15, 12 and 11). Melissa's motto is live...laugh....love and everything else will fall into place!

Melissa's Website:


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