Dear Kathi,

I have been a stay at home mom for the past four years. My youngest child is entering pre-school and his brother is in Kindergarten.

I have just accepted a full-time position and will re-enter the workforce at the end of this month. I’m wondering if you have any tips for organizing my home and schedule.

Candice, San Diego


Realize right away that it will take 4-6 weeks before you feel any sense of normalcy with your new routine. Your kids and partner will need time to get used to the fact that mommy is no longer available 24/7. Once they get a new sense of the routine, they will adjust and forget that you were available every moment they wanted a snack or a play partner.

Regarding your new schedule, it is critical to plan in advance and prioritize your tasks. Sit down and compile a list of “must do” household tasks that occur every week. Sub-divide this list into categories like housekeeping, children, shopping/errands.

Once your list is compiled, sit down with your spouse if possible and go through this list. See what, if any tasks can be delegated to him or an outside helper. Reduce your list in as many areas as possible.

Once tasks are agreed upon and assigned, it is time to create a weekly schedule. Draw up a timeline that graphically shows which hours you have available to complete family tasks and provide childcare.

Teach children to prepare for school as much as they can on their own. A canvas 5 tiered shelf that hangs from their closet bar is a perfect place for your kids to stow 5 school outfits in advance every Sunday.

Make lunches and snack bags ahead of time so they are always ready during the morning rush or after school.

Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]. San Diego Professional Organizer