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Tips and Tricks

October 1, 2014

Written by Marykate OMalley, mother of three wonderful children, Gladwyne PA 


I am often asked “how do you do it all” and the truth is I find that there is a lot of grace and things just fall into place. Conflicting kid’s schedules and carpooling works it out. Soccer is moved, thank God for Uncle Bill! And there are some small tricks that keep all of us humming along. Here are mine and I would love to hear yours! My best ideas are usually from friends – so please share!


  • This is my favorite – after sports or activities uniforms are washed and placed right back in the sports bag. This way on Saturday morning or Tuesday afternoon there isn’t any digging through drawers for cleats or jerseys. All there. This year my goal is for my children to repack and unpack their bags after activities. All those little lessons of responsibility.

photo (5)

This LL Bean backpack is 5 years old and still going strong. It transformed from a backpack to soccer bag and could be an ad for LL Bean it has held up so well. 


  • I label everything. A good friend gave a great addition. She labels with a phone number. She said soccer balls and jackets have been returned for this reason. Brilliant.
  • My car – I think of it as a moving office. I keep the following in there at all times so I am prepared – school directory is a huge saver for carpools and playdates. I also keep a sharpie – labeling ladies, things fade. I keep bandaids of course. I also keep note cards and pens – so often I am dropping someone off and need to send in a teacher note, or leaving a present and forgot a card, this is a big saver for me. I also keep store plastic bags stored so gathering trash is easy.
  • Like tasks together – when I write out my to do list I have all my calls together, then computer work, then errands. It is much more effective to go from call to call to call, vs call to email to call.
  • Online shopping – my children haven’t seen the inside of a store in a long long time. Free shipping, free returns. Need I say more.
  • I have a good friend who always says, “no time like the present”! And this is so true of forms or any things that come home from school. If I don’t fill out immediately, it would never get returned.
  • Synergies – dentist appointments? everyone is there, flu shots? all together now, haircuts, shoe shopping, anything I possibly can it is all about leveraging the similarities. My children have expressed an interest in track in the spring again and I already thinking about having them in the same sport – same practice, same weekend event – love leveraging!
  • While I am already…. while bagging snacks I will bag a couple days in one sitting rather doing the same task every morning. Buying a birthday present – I buy a few and put them away. Holiday shopping – I sometimes find one great gift and give to a few people.
  • Sleep – a friend and I often say we can accomplish a great deal but need our sleep. A lot has been written about on this topic lately and I find I am so much more effective – a better parent and better in every way with adequate sleep. I went to a parenting lecture recently and during her talk the psychologist said she has adult and children patients – she said that if her adult patients had good self care (adequate sleep, healthy diet, regular exercise) she would see a drop off in 60 % of her clients. 60% just from taking care of themselves! Amazing to consider how much sleep, our diet and exercise can affect our emotions and moods and therefore relationships and all around decision making!

Had to update with this! A was just reminded by a good friend  of this one – one that I need to use – pasta shirts! She uses over-sized old t shirts when the kids are eating messy foods like spaghetti. I am thinking the smocks you send in for art in the younger grades but for dinner. Then the t shirt comes off, goes in the wash, other clothes are salvaged!

Okay, those are mine! What are yours?!

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