The last few months I’ve felt like I’d fallen off the wagon. You know, the being prepared, having a meal plan, not flying by the seat of my pants bandwagon. As someone who thrives on routine and deal with some pretty significant cognitive issues on occasion, this is not a good place for me to be. On top of that, I’m a working mom who desperately needs my weekends to be productive.
Since the start of the year, we’ve battled multiple rounds of sickness and a busy schedule along with a fair dose of laziness on my part. This had ended me up in a place where I was exhausted (more than usual), my house was a disaster, and we just weren’t eating well. I had also ended up spending above the norm for the girls to buy school lunches simply because I wasn’t prepared to send one from home.
This past weekend I reached my limit. My husband took our girls to their sports practice and I stayed at the house waiting on our Internet/TV guy to come and install some new devices. This gave me HOURS of time to tackle mountains of laundry, declutter, and clean some parts of our house I just hadn’t made time for lately.
Once my house was somewhat clean and picked up, I spent some time prepping for the upcoming week. Even though I didn’t end the day yesterday with a perfectly clean house or completely empty laundry baskets, it was amazing how great it felt to go to sleep last night ready for my Monday.
There are only a few major areas of our home/schedule that I have to make sure to deal with on the weekend in order to be more prepared for my week. Some weekends, I bust into Monday with them all done and I feel pretty good about myself. Sometimes this does not happen because I choose to spend all day Saturday resting, doing something fun with my family, etc. And that’s okay.
What I have learned, however, is that the more of these that I can get done on the weekend, the smoother my week will go and the less stressed I am about my home.
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#1. Meal Plan/Grocery Shop
I rarely start out a work week without at least some idea of what we’re eating for dinner that week. On a good week, I’ve got a plan for both breakfast and dinner but my bare minimum is to at least have a list of meals that I can pull from throughout the week. I write these in their designated spot in my planner and cross them out as we eat them. I grocery shop once every two weeks so I will usually grocery shop and/or write my grocery list if I’ll be doing that at some point during the week. For instance, I know that I’ll be getting groceries later on this week so I’ve already made my online grocery order for my Walmart grocery pickup. Which, by the way, is the best thing EVER! I literally cannot tell you how much I love making an online order, paying online, and just driving up to my local Walmart and having them load my car. For FREE, y’all!
#2. Laundry/Lay out a WEEK’s worth of clothes
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fairly particular about how I do laundry. I generally start laundry on Thursday in an effort to be completely caught up by the time Monday rolls around. Sometimes I’m more successful at this than others. For instance, this past weekend I got about 80% of our clothes washed and put away. I’ve still got a few loads to catch up on and a decent amount of clothes to hang up this afternoon when I get home. The important this is that it’s a manageable amount. I also always make sure my kid’s clothes are near the front of my plan of attack for my weekend laundry. The reason is simple- I want all their clothes clean and put away so they can lay out their clothes for the week.
We have organizers similar to these in their closet and at some point in the weekend, they pick out five outfits for the week. I give limited amount of direction on this and as long as it’s weather appropriate and that they don’t look completely ridiculous, I don’t really care what they wear.
Note: Exceptions for picture day. Well, at least fall picture day. I’m lucky if I remember when spring picture day is…
#3. Create a master to-do list for the week
On the left side of my planner, I create a master to do list for the week. This may include household tasks that need to get done at some point, phone calls to make, or things I simply need to remember. As I go throughout the week, I’ll move these things to an individual day’s task list. These are things that need to get done at some point during the week but aren’t date-specific.
#4. Fill up the lunch cart
Ah, the IKEA Raskog cart. It has changed my life forever. We have three of these in our house and if we had ten more, I’m certain we’d use every.single.one.
I had fallen off my lunch cart system for awhile but am so glad it’s back. My kids can choose from foods on the cart, pack their lunches, and all I need to add is a sandwich. (If I’m feeling really industrious, I can make and freeze their sandwiches. This has not happened in quite some time however…)
#5. Clean out the fridge
Most weekends, a simple fridge clean out and wipe down are enough to make room for prepared lunch foods, meat that may need to thaw for your meal plan, or simply just to let you know if you have any viable leftovers for your Monday lunch at work. Much to my husband’s dismay, I tend to remember to do this on Sunday afternoon when he’s already cleaned out the trash for the weekend….whoops….
As you can tell, it doesn’t really take much to get yourself prepared over the weekend for the upcoming work week. Yes, I also try to clean my house, spend quality time with the family, and do any needed school work over the weekend. However, I know that if I can do at least a few of these things between Friday afternoon and Sunday night, my week will be much less stressful and we’ll all be happier!