This post is sponsored by IKEA. All items were gifted and we were compensated for our time. All words and opinions are my own.
One of the biggest questions I’m asked by other parents, usually when eyeing up my gaggle of kids incredulously on the school yard each morning, is how do you ever get to school on time?? And whilst I don’t claim to be an expert, and nor am I immune from that chaotic five minutes just before we leave the house each morning, what I have learned in fifteen years of parenting is that organisation is key.
I haven’t always been organised. Infact I’d go as far as saying, in most aspects of my life, I’m still highly disorganised (just ask Gaz!), but last year when Harry joined Lewis, Eva and Megan at school, I realised that unless I upped my game I was in serious danger of being late for school five days a week. I knew that with twenty uniforms to wash and iron each week (I dream of the day we get two wears out of one jumper), four pairs of shoes to clean, PE kits to pack, homework to do, reading to practice, hair to sort and little teeth to clean, I was going to have to conduct a military operation and make sure that each child took responsibility for their own part.
Thanks to IKEA and their fantastic range of furniture, accessories and storage solutions, I’ve been prepping the children for when September comes around and the madness starts all over again.
Keep it all in one place
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last few years is that if your home isn’t organised, the chances are your life won’t be either. We found that making sure the children each had a large, multifunctional wardrobe was a real starting point and meant we could separate their school items from their day to day wear and have everything right there in one place.
We have the PAX Wardrobe for the girls which offers hanging space, shelves and easy pull out see through drawers so the girls can clearly see what’s inside and get dressed themselves without causing too much mess! Plus with everything put away in the wardrobes each night there’s no mad panic looking for that missing shoe or a lost PE kit!
With the girls sharing a room I love that the PAX Wardrobe is big enough for the two of them, especially as they grow. IKEA has some amazing furniture ranges and I’ve already got my eye on the STUVA range for Harry’s new bedroom!
Sundays are for sorting
Every Sunday I give myself a couple of hours to make sure that each child has five uniforms washed and ironed (or at least washed….) in their wardrobes all lined up ready for the coming week. I won’t lie, there are Sundays when I just can’t be bothered but I also know that once it’s done, it’s done. I usually stick on my favourite tv show or put my best friend on speaker phone and plough through it so I know that for the rest of the week I can relax when the kids are in bed.
Get a peg board
One of the biggest things we found which has helped each child take responsibility for their own morning routine is using peg boards. We used to have just one peg board in the kitchen but recently decided to get each child a peg board for their bedrooms which we update each week so they know exactly what they need and on which day. With four children there is always something to be prepared for – after school clubs, swimming, craft classes, sports practice, play dates or parties – and I try to encourage them to take responsibility for each of their kits and equipment, even at a young age.
We use the SKADIS Pegboard Combination which not only means you can hang little notes as reminders, but you can even peg small items you need to remember such as keys and mobiles or, in the children’s cases, glasses, pencils and party invitations.
The accessories are easy to fix anywhere on the board and you can move them around however you like, easily switching them up depending on what you need to peg that week. The peg boards are wall mountable (using fixing devices sold separately) and luckily ours fits perfectly inside the PAX wardrobe so that every time the girls open it to get ready for school they can cross check against the peg board and make sure they know exactly what to pack in their rucksacks.
Make it easy
When it comes to encouraging kids to organise themselves in the morning, I find that it’s best to just make it as easy as possible. In the PAX wardrobe I love that the built-in drawers are perfect for sectioning off everything the children need to get ready for the day ahead.
Although each uniform is hung ready and waiting, each drawer also contains underwear, socks or tights, cardigans or jumpers, and shorts and t-shirts for sports clubs and PE.
Use storage solutions for all the extras
Keeping with our plan of putting everything in the same place, I find that using storage solutions within the children’s wardrobes is a great way to compartmentalise everything the children need for the day ahead, not just their uniforms. We love the TJENA range from IKEA with so many colourful and practical storage ideas which easily slot into wardrobes, shelves and desks.
Each of the girls has a TJENA storage box with a lid where they store their homework, notebooks, reading books and library books and each night everything goes back into that box. They also have a second box each for small accessories such as gloves, pencil cases and hair bands. It saves a lot of hunting for lost items, arguing over which book belongs to which child, and also avoids cluttering up their rooms with small items.
I love that the TJENA range is a really affordable way of organising your storage and with so many fun designs and colours to choose from you can switch them up to change your colour scheme.
Of course, I’m not going to lie to you, there are days when the kids forget to put their things in their boxes, or we get confused over who is at which club, and which day is PE for which child. But, for the most part, our routine works really well for us and although there are weeks when I feel like giving in to the chaos, and although there are days when it takes all of my will power to drag the ironing board out of the cupboard, I know that sticking to our routine makes our lives a whole lot easier and when September comes around I will be prepped and ready!