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‘Family Inc.’ Advises Us to Get Organized, Share To-Dos and Hold Family Meetings

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Do you and your partner bicker during the week over who was supposed to do what? You thought he was going to pick up the presents for the neighbor’s birthday party, and he thought you were on top of your first grader’s science project? My husband and I clash over our calendar–we never know when and where we’re supposed to be until it’s almost time. We e double-book way too often.

The authors of Family Inc.: Office-Inspired Solutions to Reduce the Chaos in Your Home (and Save Your Sanity!), Caitlin and Andrew Friedman, say that squabbles like these are incredibly common. Luckily, couples do not need expensive therapy or endless examination. We simply need to get organized instead.

According to the authors, it’s efficient and painless to run a family like a business. You may have read about their strategies in the January issue of Parents in the story called “The Secrets of an Organized Family.” Check out the issue for detailed information on holding family meetings and doling out weekly chores. It’s crucial for a couple to check in for an hour once a week and figure out everything from who’s cooking, who’s paying the bills and who’s schlepping the kids to activities. Little kids can do chores as well–like setting the table, feeding the animals and putting the laundry in the hamper.

The book tells readers how to dig deep and get organized. Start by cleaning out your house. Get rid of stuff–donate and throw out what you and your kids don’t need right now so you can start your “company” with a clutter-free plate. Set aside one hour each week for that family meeting where you discuss anything and everything that needs to be addressed. Family Inc. includes tips for enjoying more down time (shave time off your errands and chores), sticking to the budget and smoothing out arguments (never fight when you’re tired!). It’s chock full of tips for everything from hiring a babysitter to finding more family time.

Want to get going right now? Try implementing a system for handling mail, receipts, documents and your schedules. Here are 10 Essential Items for Organization straight from the book.

1. bill caddy
2. file hangers and folders
3. accordion files (receipts)
4. family calendar
5. dry-erase board for kitchen
6. in-boxes
7. shredder
8. storage containers
9. shelvings (put shelves everywhere)
10. box of office supplies (pens, staplers, labels)

If you’re looking to streamline tedious everyday headaches, this book is for you. If you’re already super organized, the Friedmans give information for staying on the right track.

On a scale of 1 (forget about it) to 10 (award-winning), how organized is your household? Mine is hanging tight at a solid 5.

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