I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve added some laundry related goal on here. I get it caught up, or at least a little more controlled and I always end up back in the same place. Loads of laundry simultaneously in the bedrooms, on the garage floor waiting to be washed, in the washer, in the dryer, in a basket waiting to be folded and on the table waiting to be put away.
Laundry is easily the single biggest contributer to the visual clutter of myself. How much square footage is devoted to some form of laundry or another?
And right now it’s particularly bad, the dirty laundry is on floors in an unbelievable 5 different rooms and as well as the clean laundry there is a pile of new christmas clothes still waiting to be put away.
First step: Get every screp of laundry to the laundry room where it belongs.
Then I’m spending the weekend getting every bit of laundry done and getting rid of as many clothes as possible.
I haven’t posted about this, but I’ve spent the last several weeks combining the best of all my various organizing tools (the menu plan on the fridge, next action list in my purse, the housecleaning spreadsheet, the calender on the wall, project folders in my work area) into a master household notebook.
The biggest advantage is that it’s portable and set up with GTD type of project management, which works for me. I keep it in the bag I use for work, and do a daily review of everything I have going on during the time I wait to pick my son up from school.
I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and WOW, am I ever feeling organized. I have been truly ready for everything and making progress on everything. It’s a wonderful feeling.
I should say, that the big master household spreadsheet I’ve written about was only ever intended to be a tool to analyze what was taking too long, how often things needed doing and to measure my progress if I altered a few habits. I’m still going to use it occasionally for that, but not as a big to do list. Instead I combined like tasks into a much more simplified weekly cleaning chart.
The household notebook is a soft covered 3 ring binder divided into sections:
A quick notes section
- a plastic pocket for me to slip things that I’m currently working on and can be done quickly (like TBR school forms)
- A master grocery list of all things grocery, with check boxes for what I need to get.
- A next action list, just a lined page for jotting down all the little things I need to do
- Menu plan page, a chart with a column for each meal and a row for each day of the week, I plan for the whole week before getting groceries
- A weekly cleaning checklist, with a column for “daily minimums” for each day of the week, a column with weekly jobs and a section at the bottom where I add in extra things that I want to achieve around the house during this week.
- Monthly calender for keeping track of events, appointments, etc
- a page for recipes to try with columns for the recipe name, where I will find it, notes
- Printouts of recipes I want to try go in the binder (until I’ve tried them, then they are filed with the cookbooks
- A list of sure win meals and snacks with details about ingredients
Goals and Projects
- a lined page listing each goal or project I’m working on, with a column for whether it is active for for later
- a separate page for each goal where I make notes, brainstorm,etc.
- other things like instructions or pictures are added to the binder behind each goal
- right now, the only thing going on here is a checklist for getting my son’s birthday party organized, and the master guest list
- weekly checklists to get ready, courtesy of OrganizedChristmas.com
- List of baking to be done
- A list of movies, books, and music that I want to use over the holidays
- A list of christmas presents purchased, who for
- List of who to buy for, ideas of what to buy
- Christmas menu plan (yet to be filled out)
- List of christmas activities and traditions that I want to make sure we do
Kid’s activities section
- print outs and notes on things I think it would be fun to do with the kids. Brochures, instructions….
When I review the notebook, I plan my next actions from all the different project pages, and add them to the “Next Action” page at the front. Then when I get home I only focus on those things and not all the other loose ends. Pages that I’m finished with come out each day and go in the recycling and once a week I start up new menu and household chore pages. It only takes a few minutes each day, during time that was otherwise just spent waiting.
It probably sounds complicated when I write it out, but it has been wonderfully simple.
I found another meal that’s working for our family. No small feet given all the complications around who eats what and who gets home when. Pan fried Basa filets in a crumb coating. Our grocery store sells them frozen and they thaw quickly in water, so I can buy it on the weekend and make a last minute decision to use it on busy days. And it cooks fast. Best of all, the kids devour it and ask for seconds and thirds.
I think I need to look at revamping my weekly menus.
I decided it’s time to get really firm about the kids and their responsibility to the house. Helping builds self esteem and they need to learn to be responsible for their share, how it’s done and that housework is just something you do, not that you try to avoid and dread.
I really wanted this to be recieved well, not just suddenly change my expectations and for the kids to be confused. So I set up last Saturday morning for a little “workshop” on personal responsibility. In the spirit of 43T and providing the info to other’s on this goal, I’m going to list my outline. (In other words, sorry if this is boring).
- On friday night, I got a big decorative glass jar from the craft store
- I wrote all the jobs we’re behind on, odd jobs, on coloured squares of paper and folded them into triangles, filling the jar
- I wanted to build suspense, so when the kids asked I told them it was for something really important, we are having a meeting tomorrow morning with a special breakfast so we can spend time talking about it.
- Saturday morning, let the kids watch a recording of Dirty Jobs while I made all their favourites for breakfast
- The Job Jar is now the centrepiece for our dining table.
- At breakfast, started talking about Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs host) and why he’s a really good person, cited examples and got the kids to name some too (he always respects the work he has to do, he doesn’t complain, hesitate or avoid his job, he has a sense of humour)
- Got the kids to think of examples of times something just had to be done so someone in the house did it, and wasn’t that person good for doing it!
- Talked about what it means to be a good grown up: Cleaning up after yourself, taking care of something when you see its a problem or mess and not leaving it, doing a share of the housework…...
- Explained that when kids are littles, mom’s have to help them by cleaning up after them, and themselves and this means one person does all the work so not all the work can always get done.
- Gave the kids examples of the things they have been doing to help out and how proud I am of this.
- Explained to the kids that now they are old enough that my job is to teach them to be good grown ups, not to clean up after them. And that means making sure they learn how to take care of themselves and a home.
- Explained very clearly that for the next little while, I will be reminding them a lot to clean up after themselves and showing them how to do chores properly. This doesn’t mean I’m mad or think badly of them, just that things are new and have to be reinforced.
Of course, all this happened in a high energy, excited kind of way, with lots of questions and raised hands and having the kids be part of the discussion, not just getting a lecture.
I think it worked. No, I know it worked! We spent all day saturday pulling jobs from the job jar and doing them together. I cut my daughter a bit of slack because she’s 4 and get’s distracted. We’ve talked a lot about clutter and why we need to get rid of it (they are little hoarders). In the last few days I’ve taught them to wash a floor properly, declutter the closet, sweep, declutter under the coffee table, vacuum out the couch, clean the furnace vents, clean the chandelier, sort laundry, wash windows, clean the cleaning tools, paint a room, strip wallpaper…...not to mention the day to day stuff like straightening cushions when they get up and putting dishes away.
Any time my son hesitates to clean something I ask him “What would Mike Rowe do?” And if he complains (which is rare) I say “Where’s your Mike Rowe attitude” and his attitude changes.
Sigh, I love Mike Rowe.
I decided it’s time to teach the kids a bit about goal setting and personal responsibility. And very importantly, we need to have stricter routines. Hubby has no sense of routine, I don’t think his brain works that way and his parents certainly weren’t capable of teaching it. This has implications for the whole household, it’s so easy for one persons lack of structure to spiral everyone into disorganized chaos. So I think I need to tighten up everyones routines, cement the foundation so to speak.
I set up checklists with the kids. 20 items each. They had some input into what they will do. It includes keeping their rooms tidy EVERY DAY, personal hygiene, self-improvement (literacy and son’s therapies) and some simple chores. I made sure each item was simple to accomplish.
We review the chart early in the day, the kids get reminders through the day and do a final check at bedtime. Each week, there’s an ice cream sundae if the week is well done. The kids don’t seem to be motivated by the sundae, but are very motived by checkmarks. Genetics.
So far, so good.
We’ve had a bad week for eating produce, my fault. Too many quick meals. So to allay my guilt I went to our farmer’s market and got a few bags of nice organic local produce.
I told the kids it was “party food” nite. Did a couple of platters of veggies, and strawberries and mango because of ‘em being labelled “superfoods”. Also cut up some leftover pizza just to fill up tummies.
Kids didn’t eat any pizza. All raw veggies. I ended up making strawberry icecream just because I don’t want ‘em ‘ungry later tonite.
I’m adding a veggie nite plus bread (after veggies) to our menu rotation.
I’ve reorganized the shelves in the dining room. The kids activity books are all in a wooden box. Colouring supplies, markers, glue, are all in a big box. Crafting supplies are in another box. And blank paper and cardboard is assigned to a cubby. Son’s folders for his different thearapy exercises are in a separate basket in their own cubby too.
All of the cluttter and distractions are gone from the dining room. So now when we get home from work/school/daycare I can get the kids straight to the dining room table for a snack and to do some activities.
Next, I need to better plan the kids activities so that I have better control of the afternoons. I think I need to check the weather report and schedule things out once a week.
I think the best way to be organized is to keep everything simple. The guy I hired to mow my lawn never came back. Hubby went out to mow it and the lawnmower died. Looks like the wire from the spark plug shorted out, and the whole thing needs an overhaul anyway since the dog tried to eat it last year (canine dementia).
Decided, to hell with it. I hate the noise from lawn mowers. I hate having to run and get gas for it, I hate hauling that heavy awkward thing over the stones between front and back yard, I hate constantly having to unclog the chute and I hate how difficult it is to get it into the garage for storage.
Solution: Got a professional quality push mower for the same price it would cost to fix the gas mower. I AM IN LOVE! I’m convinced that the extra power you get from the gas motor is exactly equal to the power needed to push the heavy motor around.
- no air pollution
- no sound pollution
- no clogging, the blades spin vertically
- It’s light and takes up less space, easier to move around
- I can hang it from hooks in the garage.
- No running out of gas
Now I need to find some old fashioned clippers to replace all the weed trimmers we have and don’t use because the fishing line is a hassle.
And I’ve been so looking forward to it just so I can take the time to get my house organized. As I’ve blithered on about before, it’s been a long winter. Full of overtime, illness, soccer games, you know, LIFE. And this week I am going to play catch up.
I’m turning over in my head, all the different ways to approach this. Decluttering is a very big part, but also getting back into my organized ways.
Things I want to do this week:
- Give my kids a visit with granny tomorrow while I completely declutter and deep clean their rooms. If they see me throw stuff away, they cry and go on and on. But if they don’t see it, they never notice.
- Clear out the playroom of excess toys. There are too many.
- Get all the laundry under control
- purge every dresser and closet, charity run
Goals I want to deal with, and my intent with them, that will make my house more managable:
- Score 70 on cleaning chart -complete
- Finish Baseboards and transition pieces – complete
- Teach the kids to read – go into overdrive
- Knit more – finish the sock, start the next one
- Make bathbombs – finish
- Get rid of my clutter – RUTHLESSLY go through the house and eliminate
- Laundry – get it totally under control
- Dinosaur adventure – book the campsites & plan the route
- Frame & display our pictures – hang em high
- Pay off my fines & rejoin the library – complete
- Have a cleaning closet – figure it out
- Organize my craft room – do it
- Have a lean, energetic… – go into overdrive
Some of the “me” goals are included because I think it’s important that I deal with those so that I feel more energy and motivation when it comes to everything else.
has disappeared! He came, struggled with my lawn for a couple of hours and then came to the door to say he was going home because his trimmer broke and he’d be back in an hour with another one. That was 5 days ago, I haven’t paid him, he’s not returning my phone calls.
Is my lawn really that scary?