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Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's Summer!!!!

Can you tell it's summer?  I'm just not here as much as I want to be.  But our days are full.  We had VBS last week, which was a blast and had a great turn-out.  Then our youth group did some concessions for two night - there were over 500 people each night.  And this week so far, I've been playing catch-up in the garden and that gives me a lot of time to think.

#1 on my list to think about is excuses.

Excuses people have for making their choices that drastically and most of the time negatively affect those around them.  But they have their "reason" and so that makes it all o.k.

Right along with that, and maybe at the top of the list, are my excuses.  Slowly over time, I'm realizing that I've thought all along that I was submitting to my husband and that "I'm good." in that area.  But what I have come to realize is that I haven't been putting his desires for our family before my own. 

My own aren't necessarily bad, but over and over and over again.  I see times throughout our 17 year marriage where he was asking me to do something - the dishes at each meal time, keep up with the laundry, etc.  And when he asked, it was with this motive, "Life would be so much easier for you and less stressful, if you could do these things."  His heart was tender toward me.  He wanted what was best for me, but I didn't listen for so many years. 

First it was the dishes, I would let them pile up all day and maybe get to them that night.  And I hated dishes.  Hated them.  Why did I hate them?  By the time I ever got to them, they were stuck on tight and took forever.  I don't know how many years ago, I made a commitment to do them after every meal.  Now that I have help from the kids it's a bit easier, but even during the school year when the kids were gone so quickly, it was not so bad.  Now, although dishes are not a joy, there are times when I do find joy in serving my family.  And now, I do not hate them.  I do not dread them.

Then it was the laundry, and the pile to wash would be as high as the washing machine from the floor.  It was so discouraging.  I hated to think of laundry.  And then one day, I made a decision to do laundry every day, set the buzzer on the dryer and change loads immediately, until I had all the things done in the laundry room.  Oh the freedom, I do not dread laundry. 

So while working in the garden many hours in the hot sun this week, I was thinking about the things he suggests that I still have not done.  He wants us to work in the garden for an hour to keep up.  It's a fairly big garden and has much to be done.  To me, it's a daunting task.  All he wants is for me to have a lighter load.  He doesn't want me to have to pull huge weeds, because I let the garden go for a week.  After being in the garden for over 10 hours in three days, in the hot sun, I think he may have something here. 

Why does it take me so long to figure out that Carpenter isn't out there looking for things for me to do?  He wants me to enjoy life.  He sees that it would be best if things were organized and then I wouldn't have to run around like crazy to find things. 

And in the same way, I think God must at times shake his head at us.  His desires for us are that we would enjoy life and yet we choose not to do things his way. 

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, June 2, 2014

Who's first?

I'm a little humbled.  I haven't gotten it right yet.  Next Saturday, we'll have been married 17 years.  And I still don't have it right.

You may have heard all of this before from me, if so you can find something else to read.  I don't do a very good job of keeping track of what I have and haven't written about.

Here's the thing.  When he casually mentions that he'd like something done, I need to do whatever it takes to get it done as soon as I can.  For me that usually means writing it done on a to-do list, because with all the things I'm working on, it usually gets relegated to the back of my brain and I may or may not remember it again.

Usually, I remember it when he walks in the door, or goes to the spot that he'd mentioned he'd like cared for, or when he asks about it.  Too late.

He's my number one guy, besides God who is in fact the most important one - I forget that priority all too often as well.

So if I remember back to when I was dating - and yes, I know I'm not now and therefore the relationship is very different - but back then I wanted to remember everything he suggested.  I was diligent to remember, I didn't need a list.

Last week, as he was preparing to preach on Sunday, he asked if I could pick something out for him and have it ready by church. I did put it on a list, and then got into my busyness and the list ended up somewhere, but not in front of me.  Still the thought crossed my mind several times, but I was waiting for the shirt he'd thrown into the laundry basket to come through the dryer, because I knew I would do it then. 

Saturday and still no shirt and he asks about it.  Ugh, where is that shirt?  Sitting in the now-full laundry basket in my room.  Oh no!!!  But I still have time. It's not Sunday yet.

I take the laundry basket downstairs and send one of my helpers with it to the laundry room to start a load.  In my mind, it was a full load of wash and all needed to go in, but in his mind it was two loads.  So the shirt ended up still sitting in the laundry basket the next morning when I went to get the wash out of the washer to put in the dryer. 

I was somewhat panicked but simply set aside that load to be dried and started the washer.  The shirt is finally getting clean.  Later when the washer was done, I put only the shirt in the dryer and it came out of the dryer with minutes to spare. 

My goal is to quickly and diligently do the things that he suggests need to be done so that I'm not left in the pickle of trying to get it done last minute.  It will save a lot of stress from my mind. 

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Faithfulness

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend.  Some men fought long and hard and gave their lives for our freedom.  I am so thankful that we can worship and live in freedom.

Yesterday, we got out and got busy in our garage and sheds, but I recognize that the process will take some time.  So yesterday, Carpenter and I talked about some projects that need to be done.  It's not too much for eight people to do, so the kids and I are going to make the effort to finish these projects this week.  It will actually be in three days.  Carpenter wants to take Friday off from work if possible to get things headed in the direction of our ministry opportunity.

But before we can move and work on this opportunity that has presented itself, things at home need to be shored up.  Organization needs to take place and things need to be taken care of.  Attitudes need to be adjusted and kids need to be prepared to work as a team.

So this week, we have to:
Clean out the old fort and repair the roof so that we can store metal in it for the scrap yard.

Clean out the garden shed, so that we can put the lawn mowers in there with the tiller and other gardening stuff.

Finish cleaning out the garage and the woodshed.  Move the mower and the tiller out of the garage so that we can use the garage for vehicles again.

So I guess I figure we can do one portion each day.  We'll also have to work in the garden faithfully, dentist appointments, a trip to the park with other moms, and babysitting one day this week.  Pool is our incentive - Daddy gave the go-ahead for not one trip on Fridays, but several throughout the week. :) Yay!!!!

So it will be an incentive to get our work done in the morning.

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Friday, May 23, 2014

Age appropriate chores - junior high and high school

We've reached an age where our kids can be a huge help to us.  In fact, they can almost work as hard we do.  You should teach them new things, but you won't need to do one-on-one as much as with the little ones.  Please don't think that they don't need to do things with us anymore, you will need to find other ways to hang out with them.

Inspection is key when you have teens.  You need to train them to do their best at a job.   They can mow the lawn, do yard work, clean bathrooms, do laundry, clean thier rooms (yes, I do think they should keep their rooms clean) and a myriad of other jobs.

I have a home business and mine enjoy some of the extra things that I can find for them to do.

Help them learn to enjoy doing a good job.

Keep pressing on and enjoy your family this weekend.
Steph


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Age appropriate chores - elementary age

Let's think about elementary ages today.  Whether you are homeschooling or sending your kids to a school, your children should still have chores.  They should be getting more independent.   But they will still need to be checked and inspected.  Continue to have a plan for checking up on their chores.  Reward occasionally, but not always.

There should still be a chore or two that they are still learning and that they get to learn with their parent.  The independent chores are still important, but they still love being with you and learning from you.  Use this opportunity to be with them and enjoy spending time together.
  • Dishes - Our children continue to learn to dry and as they get taller, they can put away more dishes.  They also around can gradually learn to sweep, clear and wash dishes.  Just let them wash on a day when there are only a few or let them start the washing with the cups, and then you can finish up for them.
  • Baking cookies - At this age, they can learn how to measure and make cookies.  Watch them and work with them and slowly hand over the whole job to them.  My oldest daughter (just finishing 5th grade) made some fabulous peanut buttter cookies the other day.  And don't forget cleaning up, see Dishes.
  • Laundry - They can learn how to measure the soap and start a load, and how to switch loads over.
  • Making beds - Somewhere in this age range, they shouldn't need you to do it with them anymore.
  • Dirty laundry - This should be a habit now, but I've found it still needs inspection on a regular basis.
  • Pick up toys - The habit should be well learned by now, but they lose the focus easily and get out too many things.  When this happens, they feel frustrated when clean-up time comes.
  • Dusting - During this age they should be able to do this well, by the time they are done with elementary

Summer is a great time to learn something new.  Take each child and spend just five to ten minutes each day with them teaching them one new chore.  Don't change the chores around, just let them learn that one new chore until they can do it all by themselves.  The elementary children can learn more about laundry, or cleaning the bathroom, or gardening.  These children have so much potential that it's tempting to work right along with us all day.  They can do a lot, but be careful not to overload them.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Age appropriate chores - 4's and 5's

Let's think about 4 and 5 year olds today.  Those little ones that are still learning about the world, maybe they are in preschool, or maybe they are learning the things that are needed at home.  They are older now, and therefore, some of these things they could do on their own, independently.  But they will still need to be checked and inspected.

I think that if you are inspecting their chores and letting them do some of them alone, find a way to reward them on a regular basis for a job well-done.  We have to remember their age still, so we must think of what a job well-done for a four or five year old is.

There should still be a chore or two that they are still learning and that they get to learn with their parent.  The independent chores are still important, but they still love being with you and learning from you.  Use this opportunity to be with them and enjoy spending time together.
  • Dishes - They can bring their plates and things from the table.  They can also wipe the table off with a bit of help.  They can dry a few things as well.   But I would pick between clearing and drying and not have them do both at each meal, unless they absolutely want to.  Now is the time to teach them what "dry" looks like, or you'll have them rushing and have dripping plates and cups. In our house, children dry a certain number of dishes according to their ages - sometimes we say "Your age times 3" or "times 2" depending on the number of dishes.
  • Baking cookies - stirring, taste-testing, etc.  And then cleaning up, see Dishes.
  • Laundry - They can learn to sort laundry.  But will need much supervision.
  • Making beds - they can help put the stuffed animals neatly on the bed after you have helped them pull up the cover - and at some point during this time depending on the height of their bed they will be able to handle the sheet and blanket on their own, even if it means switching sides of the bed.  
  • Dirty laundry - when they take off their clothes, they can learn to put their clothes into the basket. These things should already be a habit, but now they can learn to carry their basket to the laundry area.
  • Pick up toys - they even are quick to pick up how they are sorted.  A friend has her toys in bins and when I was over there the two and three year olds were showing me which bins which toys go in. Now they should be learning that they can get out new things, if they put away the others.
  • Dusting - they won't get all the corners, but they can hold a dustrag while you are dusting. 
Keep your child involved and remember training is a big part of your day when you have a toddler.  It's easier to put them in front of the TV, but it's not training them a lot.  They aren't learning how to interact, or how to handle frustrating situations.  These things are good for them.  As moms, we want to take the frustration out of their day, but it's not healthy for them.

Summer is a great time to learn something new.  Take each child and spend just five to ten minutes each day with them teaching them one new chore.  Don't change the chores around, just let them learn that one new chore until they can do it all by themselves.  With a preschooler, you would have to pick a chore that they would be capable of alone.  I'm not thinking of laundry or washing dishes.  But making the bed and picking up toys should be getting easier for them.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, May 19, 2014

Age appropriate chores - 2's and 3's

In our Mom's group, we started talking about age appropriate chores.  So this week I thought I would share my lists of chores and what is age appropriate.

Some things we need to remember about 2's and 3's, and continue to remember as they grow up, are they need help.  They need a teacher.  So while these are age appropriate, I would probably always say that you can't just have them do them on their own.  They should be working alongside you, not alone.

It's more than just that they are still learning to focus.  It's a pleasure for them to work with their mommy/daddy at this time.  They love being big and helping, but it's not as much fun, if they are being big and helping on their own, while Mom is doing other things.

So let them help while you are doing these things:

  • Dishes - mine stood on a chair and played in the rinse water and "rinsed" while I washed.  The bigger ones were the dryers.  Did I really need a rinser?  No.  In fact, the "rinser" probably made more work for me at the sink.  But he wasn't off being naughty and so maybe it was less work to have him with me.
  • Baking cookies - stirring, taste-testing, etc.  And then cleaning up, see Dishes.
  • Laundry - they can help remove clothes from the dryer.  Yes, you will have to help them learn to be careful of buttons and zippers.  Pour the soap in when you start the washer.  They probably won't be able to measure it yet.
  • Making beds - they can help put the stuffed animals neatly on the bed after you have helped them pull up the covers
  • Dirty laundry - when they take off their clothes, they can learn to put their clothes into the basket.
  • Pick up toys - they even are quick to pick up how they are sorted.  A friend has her toys in bins and when I was over there the two and three year olds were showing me which bins which toys go in. 
  • Dusting - they won't get all the corners, but they can hold a dustrag while you are dusting. 
Keep your child involved and remember training is a big part of your day when you have a toddler.  It's easier to put them in front of the TV, but it's not training them a lot.  They aren't learning how to interact, or how to handle frustrating situations.  These things are good for them.  As moms, we want to take the frustration out of their day, but it's not healthy for them.

Summer is a great time to learn something new.  Take each child and spend just five to ten minutes each day with them teaching them one new chore.  Don't change the chores around, just let them learn that one new chore until they can do it all by themselves.  With a toddler, you would have to pick a chore that they would be capable of alone.  I'm not thinking of making beds, or dusting, or washing dishes.  But getting the clothes out of the dryer and pushing the basket into the living room to fold, that's fun when the laundry basket is a car and you're driving it to the store.  

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, May 16, 2014

Basement and outside plans.

Our family really would like to have the majority of the cleaning done before Saturday.  Not that nothing is done on Saturday, but we would rather just have a quick pick-up, and a load or two of laundry so that we can do other things together.

Other things we don't want to do on Saturdays, especially once summer starts - mow the lawn, gardening (if possible), clean the basement, clean up the sheds.

So I've added them to my schedule throughout the week.  My boys will mow the lawn and we'll plan on them doing that Thursday so that if it rains that day we can do it Friday.

Below are my lists of the things that I need to do before I start other projects.

Daily Morning To-Do List

  • Get dressed to shoes
  • Brush teeth
  • Make bed
  • Clean room 
  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Make bread
  • FLYLady
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Supper started
  • Garden
  • Devotions
  • Scripture Memory


Daily Afternoon To-Do List

  • Piano
  • Garden
  • Pick up in the Living Room, Piano room and hallway
  • Put laundry away
  • Homework - not for long!!!!! 
  • Collect Eggs

Weekly To-Do List

·         Monday – Focus – Bathroom
o   Mop kitchen and dining room
o   Vacuum downstairs
o   Scrub bathroom floors
o   Bedrooms – under beds
·         Tuesday – Focus – Bedroom
o   Clean windows
o   Clean basement
o   Change bedding
o   Organize clothes
o   Bedrooms – straighten dressers
·         Wednesday – Focus – Kitchen
o   Mop kitchen and dining room
o   Vacuum downstairs
o   Wipe kitchen counters
o   Bedroom – clean closets
·         Thursday – Focus – Grocery Shopping
o   Dust living room and piano room
o   Organize Tupperware
o   Organize pantry
o   Make shopping list
o   Bedroom – Desks
Mowing the lawn
·         Friday – Focus – Floors
o   Vacuum upstairs
o   Sweep and mop rooms upstairs
o   Mop kitchen and dining room

o   Vacuum downstairs

Those are the things that we are doing in our house.   As I've said before, our house will look different from yours.  

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Downstairs plan

After I figured out what things should look like upstairs, I started on the main level.  Not that things look spotless upstairs, I still need to work on doing inspections, but they are being maintained.  Hopefully, I won't have huge surprise laundry days anymore.

We have a room by the front door that we call the piano room.  It's also my work room, where I keep all the bags from my business and business supplies.  We have a beautiful piano in there that isn't tuned and I was told that if it had sentimental value it might be worth fixing up.  So my idea is to take it apart and make a desk out of it.  Something that is for my business. 

All that description to say that I start there, but don't forget the stairs, they need to be swept/vacuumed about three times a week with our traffic.  Daily pick-ups are necessary, dusting and floors weekly.  Then I move on to living room, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms. 

I make a list of what needs done daily - a quick once over in the bathrooms, sweeping in the kitchen and dining room; and what needs to be done 3 times a week - floors on the main level; and what needs to be done weekly, dusting etc.

When this list is divided eight ways, we conquer it pretty well.  It may be discouraging if you are the mom of little ones.  I guess I would say you can only do your best.  Follow FLYLady, she gives you just a few steps per day.  Give your child a cloth on dusting day and don't worry about getting every speck.  Or find little ways to have them help.  If they are helping you, they aren't making bigger messes, maybe.

Or just pick one room to clean a day.  You won't get everything done in a week, but it doesn't matter.  You may not be able to wash sheets every week or something may get behind.  The idea is not perfection, but progress.  If all you are doing is maintaining that is enough.  If you go backward for awhile, but you are doing your best, that is enough.  At some point things will move forward, just keep being faithful. 

We are cleaning for an audience of One (God) - not the world, not how our mothers did it.  Do you realize that if we remember how our mothers did it, we probably were old enough that we were helping or at least not making as many messes?  What God thinks matters more than what anyone else thinks?  And if He is pleased with you, then the world can think what they like? 

I am a people pleaser.  I love it when people are happy with me.  But I need to change that. 
"Your name is the only name that matters to me,  the only One whose favor I seek."

Have you heard that song?  It's one that stands out to me.

Keep pressing on,
Steph


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How did I make my cleaning plan?

First I want to say that my plan is still formulating.  I probably will still find things that need to be done consistently that aren't on my plan.  I can already think of one - cleaning the fridge!  Really, I actually  forgot that.  FLYLady does it about once a month, but I've found that I really need it done more on a weekly basis.

So I start with the bedrooms - what are the things that need doing?  What needs to be done daily?  What needs to be done weekly?  Notice, I'm not asking what needs to be done monthly.  I'm going to work on these basics first and then add more things.  But I'm also trying to follow FLYLady and she usually has things that need to be done monthly on her e-mail each day, so I'll work at following her.

Two lists, daily and weekly.  Make it easy, but also detailed.  My little kiddos need help with detailed steps, so I made this list for their daily bedroom chores.
Bedroom details

o   Remove all toys, clothes and other things from your bed.
o   Pull sheets and blankets up over the pillow
o   Fold any other blankets and place them on the end of the bed.
o   Place stuffed animals neatly along the wall.
o   Put things on your dresser away.
o   Close all the drawers.
o   Put things on the desk away.
o   Straighten books.
o   Put all dirty clothes in one laundry basket.
o   Put all hangars in the other laundry basket
o   Pick up everything on the floor.
o   Empty trash.

o   Bring down the laundry baskets.
Your steps will look different, and there are some days where they won't have to do one of the things on the list.  I also picked one thing to focus on each day.

  • Mondays, we clean under our beds
  • Tuesdays, we clean our dressers and straighten them up
  • Wednesdays, we clean our closets and organize them
  • Thursdays, we clean our desks
  • Fridays, we clean the floors in our room
It really doesn't take very long, maybe 15 minutes, when we do it every day.

More on this tomorrow.


Keep pressing on,
Steph






Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Every business has a plan, why shouldn't I?

Now I don't want to relegate my home to being a business.  I want it to be a personal place, a place of laughter and fun.  But in a small way, I just may need to change my perspective on it.

Let's think about my goal mentioned above.  What do I want in my home?  I want laughter, fun, peace and some order - not perfection though.

So I have viewed schedules as not fun, the law, terrible things that drag me down.  What did I do?  I threw it out the window and just let what I felt like doing rule the day.  That doesn't mean I did what I really felt like doing - as in, laying on the couch and watching movies all day.

But I only cleaned places when I noticed they needed cleaning, which means they had to get pretty dirty before they got noticed.

I rushed out the door and forgot things like piano books, and school stuff, or a rain check for the chicken that was on sale last week.

So now twice a day, I plan out who will take the chores from the daily list or the weekly list.  We divide and conquer and now household cleaning is mostly done by the time I leave the house to drop the kids off for school.

Daddy's new rule of "Everyone must be at the table at 6:00 for breakfast" has helped.  I was dreading the chaos that would ensue with the four younger children running around doing their  own thing in the morning.  But armed with a plan, they each have the list of things they need to do in order to be ready for their day.  We all (on our second day) are heading out the door much more pleasant, less stressed than we have been in awhile.

It's just a plan.  It is not meant to be my master.  It is meant to help me master myself.  The end goal of laughter and fun???  I've heard more of it when there is a plan than when there is not.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, May 12, 2014

I despise schedules

I have a love-hate relationship with schedules.  I love making them and hate keeping them.

Today we started getting the kids up to have breakfast with Dad before he leaves for work.  I must admit I knew we need to, but I didn't want to.

We need to because our family values aren't real to our children anymore.  We feel that being together and being intentional about parenting will help.

But I don't want to because I enjoy being up before the kids, and spending time doing my memory work, and I didn't have a plan set up to keep them busy, so we wouldn't just turn on the TV for entertainment and forget all the things that needed to be done.

I'm selfish - I want my alone time.  And it's necessary if it helps me to be a better mom.  But if it's just because I deserve it, I don't need it.  Plus during nap time, I have time for quiet, it's just a matter of choosing it.

I'm selfish - I want to do my own thing.  I really want my kids to do what it takes to get ready and I don't want to be bothered with the details.  But I need to realize that this is my one and only opportunity to help them become the adults they need to be.

Our world is full of parents who sit on the couch and expect others to do for them.  Do I really want to be that parent?  Well, I really don't want someone to do for ME, I just want everyone to do for themselves and not bother me.  Is that too much to ask?

Yes.  I'm a mom....of SEVEN!  What did I expect when I signed on?  Certainly not that I would get to eat bonbons and prop my feet up!  It was my choice.

My kids need me.  They need me to do with them.  They need me to be excited when they finish their list... to encourage them and strengthen them and to applaud their efforts and to help them learn to be disciplined in their lives.  It may not look like what I think it should when they are adults, but that won't be my problem then.  It is MY problem now.

I need to help my children learn self-control.  Yes, Mommy feels like sitting on the couch too.  As soon as we get done with our chores, let's sit and read a book together.

I need to help them with anger management.  Yes, you are angry that things have flipped upside down and you no longer can spend your morning on the couch playing games on your Kindle.  Your attitude determines how this morning will go to a large extent.  If you turn it around, and get on board, you may have some Kindle time before the bus gets here.

I need to help them with manners.  Rudeness is not acceptable when brushing teeth is the next thing on your list and someone is using the bathroom.  Politeness is always necessary.

When I do my own thing and expect my children to do their own, parenting is non-existent in my home.

A verse that has been on my heart when it comes to being a mom is - "She opens her mouth with wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue."    When I have a schedule, I'm not as far behind as I would be if I didn't have a schedule.  I have a plan.  Every business has one or they aren't effective.

This morning despite tired eyes and some grumbling hearts, I was able to keep my cool for the most part and have wisdom and kindness on my tonugue.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

P.S. More tomorrow on a plan

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Decluttering - Week 8 Day 5 - Woodshed

We pulled everything out of the sheds and re-organized them.  One of my sons, last Saturday, while he was waiting for me to come out and tell them where to work in the garden, decided that the woodshed needed some organization.  We also have a duplex shed, with one side being the toy shed and the other being the garden shed, but because of the woodshed's nearness to the garden, everything we need for gardening gets stored there.  And all the chairs we need for sitting outside and the toys the kids want to play with, along with the wood that actually belongs there.

So this was quite the undertaking for him, so much appreciated that I don't think he ended up helping with the garden, but spent his time doing an excellent job there.  I always love it if my kids find something to do and do it with all their heart.  And here I'm talking about doing a job that they see needs done and caring for it without me asking.  This is not his jurisdiction, not an area assigned to him at all, but he still saw a need and took it upon himself.  Thanks, Jones!!!!

I asked him to count the items that he took to the trash, and he figures that it was well over twenty, maybe fifty, but since I know how he counts, we'll say twenty.

And the de-cluttering challenge is done, having taken 9 weeks to do 8 weeks worth. :)  But in our house de-cluttering is not done.   Today in fact I have found several things that should go.  Some shirts that are  too hot for my littlest guy, so we'll pass them on to another little guy as it will be too small for him next year.

Keep on de-cluttering when you see something that needs it and the 8 week challenge next year won't be so heavy. :)

Steph

Decluttering - Week 8 Day 4 - Changing seasonal clothes

Even though I did this post on Tuesday, I still didn't get it posted.  Too busy living life.  Too busy getting sidetracked.  That's me.  But here it is a couple days late.

Today, I am bringing out the shorts.  It may be a little on the later side, as it's supposed to be 90 today.

I also have a bunch of laundry to fold as I got behind.  I will go through each piece of laundry and determine if it's needed through the summer ( a pair or two of jeans is necessary) and if it will be wearable next season.  If I think that it will not fit say Bugaboo (my 10 year old daughter), I'll put it in Jules' (my 7 year old daughter) bin.


O.k. so first job on this project was to remove everything from the top shelves of their closets.  During the year, I'll put things up there with their bins, so that when it comes time to change things over (seasonal clothes, I mean) I can find all the different things that go in their bins.  I put all the things from one closet into one of their laundry baskets.

 Then I bring their tote downstairs.  I pull out all the clothes.  The special things stay in the bottom and I sort the clothes.  Some of them are still too big and others are just right.  I set the clothes to the side, on a table or something.
Then I pull out their folder.  This box sits on the counter right by my microwave.  I put awards and birthday cards, school papers and art projects in here.
Then I look through the folder.  At this point I throw almost all of it away.  I save all birthday cards, awards, but just one or two papers from school, some of their work that they will be proud of.
I put them on the table with the clothes I have set aside to store in the bin.
The special papers go in first, and then all the clothes that are not for the season.

Then the totes go upstairs back to the clean and now, neat top shelf.   

Today I found a lot of papers to go in the trash, but we'll count 1 for each child and several clothes that won't fit for this year. I also found some clothes in the laundry that are ready for the trash.  I always keep my eye out for things that are too ragged.  The problem is we do need some raggedy things for farm life. 

So my total for today is 15.
Total for the challenge is 634.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

De-cluttering - Week 8 Day 3 - Kids Toys Day 2

You are probably wondering if I dropped off the face of the earth - and this close to the end of the challenge at that! No, my husband came home from a trip on Thursday, and Friday he stayed home and despite doing day care we were able to have a day of discussing the things he'd learned.  Then this week, I have just been full-throttle, even though I have been de-cluttering still.

The kids' toys are gone through now.  When the Little Miss had her last day (Friday), I sent her home with a box of toys and things that she had used here.  She even went home with a cute little bag with her name on it.  We had a little ice cream party.

I found another bucket of game pieces to go through and there was about 40 things in there that didn't go to anything.

Also dumped out the train box and found a myriad of things in there that needed to go - another 20 things.

Total for the day was 60 things.
Total for this challenge was 1019!!!!  We made the goal.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Decluttering - Week 8 Day 2 - Kids' toys Day One

Today's job is working on the kids' toys.  I'm going to take two days for this because I just didn't finish today.  The kids' bedroom toys were already decluttered when I did their closets. 

But the toys for the little ones downstairs, those still are waiting to be sorted.  Some of them will go home with them when they have their last day, which is sad.  It's nearer for some than others. 

I'd like them to have a few things from their time here. 

So we sorted today...

First we pulled out the toy box and we put only the animals back first and then the people and then the letters and numbers and slowly only the things that didn't belong in the box were left. 

Then I went and got the Mega Bloks out and we put all the yellow ones in, and then all the blue, etc.  until all that was left were things that didn't belong.  We found some things that did belong in the first box, so I took those and put them away. 

Then I dumped out the blocks and they played while I got some other work done.  When I went to put them away, I could tell I needed to de-cluttering.  It doesn't fit in the container and I only want one container of blocks.  I pulled out Jenga and the bigger letter blocks - if the kids parents' don't want them (the big letter blocks) then I will pass them on somewhere else.

 
 
So my total came to 91 (and yes I counted each block). 
 
Total for the challenge is 959.  Maybe it's cheating to count each block, but it wasn't only blocks and it makes me happy to think that more things are heading out.  Less to clean-up, but in a house with nine there is still plenty to keep us occupied.
 
Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, April 28, 2014

Decluttering - Week 8 Day One - Holiday Supplies

Today is Holiday Supplies, so if you don't do that after your holiday is over, you should do that today.  But if you do, like I do and when I pack up, I sort out what we don't want anymore, then you should pick another area.

So I had to clean up the kids' rooms again.  I had been doing well keeping up but then we had Awana store and now there are more things in their rooms.  During this time, I found quite a few things that should go.  An ironing board with no legs went this weekend as well, since we used to use it as a gate, but no longer need it anymore.

I cleaned out under beds again and found lots of things that just don't get used and don't have a home.  It's not about just getting to 1,000 things, which seems impossible at this point but more about having things where they should be and knowing how to find them.

I cleaned out my Resurrection Sunday stuff.  I guess that's holiday and got 60 things today for getting rid of.  Most of it was to be tossed.

Total for the challenges is now up to 868.  Have a great day!!!!

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, April 25, 2014

Decluttering - Week 7 Day 5 - Kids' school supplies and backpacks

I will be homeschooling - at least my younger ones this next school year so I've been evaluating the school books we have.  Answer keys without the text books are useless - by now they have upgraded the materials and it won't match the answer key that I have.  I now have through 6th grade organized and ready.  I still have to do grades 7 through 12.

The total for this day was 48.

Total so far - 808.

Keep pressing on and have a great weekend!!!
Steph

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Decluttering - Week 7 Day 4 - Games and Puzzles

Today the project is games and puzzles for me.  If you are paying close attention to the list, you will see that it should have been the shed, but it's pouring and I have appointments today, so the shed will have to wait.

I've been doing some puzzles to see if we have enough of the pieces to save them and give them away or if we need to throw them away.

So far I have found 3 puzzles to give away, and 1 game we tried playing with Grandma this week, ugh it was way hard.  I didn't find it fun at all.

I have a box for collecting all the pieces to puzzles and games that I find around the house.  I will go through that today and sort and figure out which games don't have enough pieces to make it worth it to save it.  I found a puzzle the other day with 30 pieces missing out of 500.  Too many to keep it or even give it away, it had to go in the trash.  Hopefully it was a lesson learned to my daughter who loved that horse puzzle.  Keep your things neat and picked up and don't leave puzzles on the floor to be trampled.

I also have some toys I've passed on.  We're past the baby years.  So that's another 15 toys.   With more prepared to be given away as well.

Well after going through our games and puzzles, I found 19 things total, plus the 15 toys I've given away, equals 34 things.

Total for the challenge is 760.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Decluttering - Week 7 Day 3 - Linen closet

Linen closet
 Moved all the towels to this cabinet, whatever doesn't fit belongs in the basement

This side is for supplies for bathrooms etc.

Total for this day is 0.  But one puzzle thrown away.  Can I count each piece????  It was a 500 piece puzzle, missing 30 pieces.

Total for the challenge is 727.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Decluttering - Week 7 Day 2 - Laundry room

The laundry room

Cleaned up it looks much better.

Total for this day is 6.  Plus 15 magazines I found to throw away.

Total for the challenge is 726.
Keep pressing on
Steph

Monday, April 21, 2014

Decluttering - Week 7 Day 1 - Craft supplies


Craft supplies sorted and I was able to get rid of 90 things!

Total for the challenge is 705.

Keep pressing on.  Just two more weeks to go.
Steph

Decluttering - Week 6 Day 5 - Garage Day Two

Carpenter is building a cabinet.


Total for the day is 15.

Total for the challenge is 615.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Decluttering - Week 6 Day 4 - Garage Day One







Not too bad
Total for the day is 12

Total for the challenge is 600.

Keep pressing on
Steph

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Decluttering - Week 6 Day 2 and 3 - entryway and shoes

Today is another combo-day.  With eye doctor appointments, I didn't get my stuff done yesterday.

Yesterday was the entryway/mud room.
 The farm coats that never get used because they are in the basement.  Ideally everyone would go through the basement to do their chores.  Even I don't like to do that, but I should.

The entryway/hallway is filled with coats from 12 people during the day.  But spring is coming I  hope, so I'm taking a chance and washing most of the coats.

 Now the hallway looks like this.  Still some coats hanging up.
The basement looks like this, with just a light jacket for chores these  days.

Total cleared out for this day is yet uncounted.  It's all in the wash.  But so far the total is 45.  I took down the gloves, hats and scarves and sorted them.  A couple of each for each kid, plus some of the nicer ones for sledding parties and friends coming over.  And there was still a lot left to get rid of.

Shoes
With all the shoes around this place, I am SO ready to say two pair of tennis shoes and one pair of church shoes.  With a pair of flip flops thrown in.  But it is with fear and trepidation that I say this.  Because then it will be my fault when they can't find their shoes.



It ended up coming down to a couple of black pairs that don't fit either of the girls right now, and then two tennis shoes and one pair of black and one pair of white dress shoes.  For the boys, just a pair of black dress shoes in their size.  I do save the ones that they'll grow into.  Just don't need to save as many as I have been.
Total for this day is 34.

Total is 509 + 45  + 34 = 588

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, April 14, 2014

Decluttering - Week 6 Day 1 - Bathroom #2

Week 6
  1. Bathroom #2
  2. Entry hall/mudroom closet
  3. Shoes
  4. Garage - Day 1
  5. Garage - Day 2
Bathroom #2
 Basically down here in the basement, I did have to throw away empty bottles and such, but mostly I had to restock our supplies down here.  I use a shoe organizer to keep supplies handy without a huge cabinet in an otherwise small bathroom.
And make sure that towels are well-stocked.  

So I threw away four things, bringing our total to 509.  Still inching!!!

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, April 11, 2014

Decluttering - Week 5 - Day 4 and 5 - Master dresser and Bathroom #1

Are you noticing a pattern here?  It's spring - so I just want to be outside!  I'm loving the weather and hubby has big plans for a huge garden - the laborer would be me!!!  But I love working out there, so it will be fun.

Today, one of mine is sick, so in an effort to keep their kids healthy, moms made the decision to keep theirs home.  Tank has a fever and is laying on the couch, working on some homework and intermittently watching some TV, but since there aren't any other symptoms - yet, I'll be running around the house doing all the things that I never feel like I can take time to do.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to start the weekend with a clean house?!!!!!  No waking up Saturday morning to the normal routine of "Clean your room and then you can go outside. "  Yippeee!!!

But I am only working outside in half hour chunks - after all I do have a sick one who needs checking up on.  So while inside, I'm working on the whole inside thing.

Here's a picture of the 34 things I found in our dressers.  All in one pillowcase. I went through the socks and found the ones with holes in them.  For my husband and my boys - I try to find the same brand of socks, but each one of them uses their own style.  That way if one sock gets a hole in it, I don't have to throw away both socks.  I like different colors, so I don't do the same for my own.


For our main bathroom - it needs a good cleaning but it doesn't have anywhere to store things, except the little medicine cabinet.  The big cupboard with all of our things in it, was done earlier in the challenge.

So I cleaned out the tiny medicine cabinet and made sure that there was only one toothbrush on each shelf.  Just recently did this job, right before I started this challenge. So I only had one toothbrush to throw away.

But that was nice because it brought my total for Days 4 and 5 up to 35, which is easier to add.

Total for the challenge is 505.  Inching my way closer to that 1000 mark!!!

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Decluttering - Week 5 Day 3 - Master closet

Today is the master closet -


I stash the things I'm planning to give away in my closet.  So what I need to do is set up a system that instead of a tote, I'll use a box.  Then fold everything neatly and put it in there.

I also found an empty drawer in my dresser, so the single sets of sheets are going there.

The blankets were folded and put back in the tote they were in.

It feels awesome to have a neat closet.

Total of things disposed of were 15.  Total for the challenge is 470!  I would love to see 1000 up there for the last day.  :)

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Decluttering - Week 5 Day 2 - Kids' closet Day 2

Today I worked on the oldest's room.  He doesn't really have a closet, so I worked on the stuff that would be in his closet if he had one.  

I ended up pulling out 15 things to get rid of.

So my total is up to 455.  

Find a place that needs to be worked on if you don't need a second day in the closet.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Decluttering - Week 5 Day 1 - Kids' closet - Day 1

We're starting on the second half of our journey!  It's all down hill from here.

Week 5
  1. Clothing - Kid closet - Day 1
  2. Clothing - Kid closet - Day 2
  3. Clothing - Master closet
  4. Clothing - Master bedroom dressers
  5. Bathroom #1
Today is a bit of a fun day for me.  It shouldn't be too hard.  I spent last Tuesday working on the older boys closet.   So today is the little boys' closet and tomorrow will be the girls' closet.



I used my new bag that I got from my meeting to bring down all the girls' stuff from their closet.  Actually it was all the things that I needed to go through.


So I sorted their things and came up with 30 things that needed to go.

The total for the challenge now is 440!

Keep pressing on!
Steph

Monday, April 7, 2014

Decluttering - Week 4 Day 5 - Kids Dressers Day 2

This was done on Friday.  We did the same thing that we did the day before and we found 24 more things to give away or throw away.

The kids' dressers are done!  Woohoo!  But now I need to pull down their totes and find their summer clothes.  So we'll be doing more sorting.

The total for Friday is 19.

The total for the challenge is now up to 410 .  And today I will take 2 big boxes and one big garbage bag to the donation center.

Keep pressing on
Steph

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Decluttering - Week 4 Day 4 - Kid's Dressers Day 1

 

So I threw the kids clothes into their laundry baskets and brought them down to sort during naptime. It doesn't work super well to try to sort with the little one's running around

I just dumped one person's clothes onto the living room floor.  Then sorted according to kind.  Wow, it's amazing to see how much they have of one type of thing - i.e. camisoles for my daughter.  I know what I've seen come through the wash and what never shows up.  What never shows up goes into a bag for someone else who might need it.

Total for today is 24
Total for the challenge is 391

Keep pressing on
Steph

Tomorrow is another day of dressers.  I did 4 of my kids today and tomorrow I'll do the other 3.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Decluttering - Week 4 Day 3 - Furniture in the living room

Here is another bonus day for me.  We don't have excess furniture in the living room, so I am cleaning out another tote of the boys. 


I have totes of clothes for each child that they will need in the spring or fall.  So today, I found this pile on the way up to the attic.  They always need to be sorted.   


8 things to add to my total.

Total for the challenge is 367.  If you have furniture in your living room that is just extra today is the day to work on that, but if you don't find a corner that you DO need to work on and do a little bit.  I must say I think this sorting job only took 5 minutes.

Keep pressing on
Steph

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Decluttering - Week 4 Day 2 - Decorative items in the living room.

Quite obviously this is not the living room.  In my living room, I have my teacups from my Grandma and my collection of  bears from family members.  Neither of them are things I am willing to give up.  So I'm satisfied that my living room has the decorative items that I want.
 


 This is the pile of shoes I pulled out of the bigger boys' closet, but that's not all the shoes they have. 
See the picture below:  those are the shoes that I found pairs to, and that looked decent enough to wear, and that weren't too small.  No wonder I haven't been able to get into that closet - EVER!!!!


Here's some paper stuff that just needs to go. 

Total for today is well over 15, but we'll just call it that.

Total for the challenge is 359.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, March 31, 2014

Decluttering - Week 4 Day 1 - Magazines and newspapers

Week 4
  1. Magazines and newspapers
  2. Decorative items in living areas
  3. Furniture - throughout the living area
  4. Clothing - Kid dressers - Day 1
  5. Clothing - Kid dressers - Day 2
Generally, I keep on top of this all the time.  The kids bring home the paper free from school.  We get one every day from a town near here and then four (one for each of them) from this town that we live in.  It's a little more than we need, but it's our fire starter.  So as soon as we are done with the paper, that day or the next, it goes down to the box downstairs that holds the papers for kindling

These will go downstairs when the laundry needs to be brought up.
When I was doing the bookshelves, I cleared out some magazines, but I do have a pile of magazines that need to be gone through.

So that will be done today.

Since I am in the habit, this will be easy today.  Which is super because four kids are sick on the couch and I have a pile of work.  Between loads of laundry and cleaning rooms, I am sitting down for a minute to write this post.   They are done with making the messes and are now able to tolerate water and toast, but still I am way behind.


Magazines that need a new home

24 magazines that will find a new home.
Total for the challenge is 344.

Keep pressing on,
Steph