Lets start off with some info. I was gone last week from the challenge. I was burnt out. I went back to some areas I organized only to see that they were back to the way they were before. The pantry cabinet, the paperwork clutter, the basement all back to the pre-challenge state. I was so defeated. I gave up. Then I read Laura's post from last week about being so proud that people were still keeping with the challenge. She was right. I needed to take a week off but I am back with new vision on what I want to accomplish.
This week? I purged. I purged like I was trying to get rid of a horrible illness. Actually I was. Clutter makes it hard to accomplish anything. The week that I cleaned the basement I slept better than I have in a long while. Then my mother-in-law came over and we went through her stuff that is stored in our basement and made a huge mess all over again. (we didn't have a plan. It was very spur of the moment and the huge pile shows. I am happy it has been sorted through though. I now have to price it all for the garage sale) My sleep has gone back to the way it was before I cleaned the basement and that is not good.
I did not take before or after pictures of this week because it was just small piles that were a little bit out of control but easy for me to get back down before they got much bigger.
Magazines - We have about 10 different kinds of magazines that come into our home. I flip through them and then toss them in the bathroom for ..... ummm lets say extended stays. The pile can soon get to be 2 feet high in a matter of months. No bathroom is large enough to handle that much clutter but my 10x10 size room takes quite a visual beating with that many magazines in one location. It is now pared down to 5 magazines. How? Easy. I was keeping them because there was a recipe I wanted to keep. 130 some odd pages kept for just one half page recipe (in most cases). So one night I grabbed them, turned on How I Met Your Mother and ripped out the recipe and tossed the magazine into the recycling bin. Then I took those recipes and started typing them into Word (yes I could scan them but I want to be able to adjust them when I try them and if they are already in the system I can do the easier). Once I have them typed in they also meet the recycling bin to become reacquainted with their brethren. I rip them out because I can't always get them all typed in so if they are ripped out I can file them away until I can get to them, in case you were wondering.
Kids Books - I like to read to the Littles but they really don't offer too much opinions about what they want to hear at bedtime. I try giving options but two are too small to tell me yes or no (although I still give them the option) and Big Little has a communication delay so he also doesn't say yes or no when asked a question (still ask just to show him that we want a response).
Any-who... I am always grabbing the same few books off the 3 shelves we have. Mostly because we have 3 full shelves of books. Kids books are not that thick so that amounts to 100 or so books. I decided to go through them and keep one shelf. We keep them up so Middle Little can't rip them (he even rips board books!) but he has gotten to a few. The ones that were ripped were tossed into a box. It hurt so bad to get rid of books by way of recycling. I was in big pain over but in the end I had to realize that no one would want a book that was missing a page or two. Then I took out books that we never read because of subject matter. We had books that were for 7 and 8 year olds, books that were too scary for the Littles (I still have nightmares about Bearestine Bears Strangers), or ones that they just don't like the characters (as much as I like to think I don't gender stereotype, my boys really just don't care for princess stories) . I decided those could be sold at the garage sale to go to someone who would appreciate them. When they get to be older I know they will get more age appropriate books to replace those ones for older kids. Grandma is a teacher so Christmas and birthdays always come with a kiss and a book. We also request books at holiday time because so many friends and relatives don't have a ton of money and want to get the kids something. Books can be found at the dollar store and many other places for little money. Just need to remember the one in one out rule from now on!
Paperwork/Paper clutter - Haven't I done this already? Yes, Yes I have. Yet we still have it piled in a basket on the kitchen table. I am not scrambling to try to find a bill like I was before, but I do have to dig through a lot of junk in a basket to find the bill. Well I am always saying "do what works for YOUR family" and this system was not working. Off to try something new. I read in one of my 10 magazines that you could save $720 in stamps alone if you go paperless. It also stops the clutter from even coming to your house. So I set up a folder on my computer and made sub-folders for each bill. Then I went to the website and requested paperless billing. I have the bills sent to my email and download the bill from there, placing it in the correct sub-folder. That way I have them in a place I know where they are and I don't have to find physical storage for them. I have just started this so we will see if it will work or not, but I am hopeful.
Chores - The last thing I did was streamline our chores. With the Littles I am finding that at the end of the day I was looking around thinking I accomplished nothing. I would write a to-do list every once in a while but there was always the same thing and half the time I couldn't remember when I did something last. Now this is one of those things that I found stuff that I thought would work on other peoples blogs, saved it and then never implemented it. I did this so long ago I don't remember who came up with the concept so I apologize if I don't credit everyone who came up with the ideas. It is a hodgepodge of ideas that I put together but not one idea is my own.
The daily chores and weekly chores are place on a word document. You can create one yourself buy writing down what you want to be done daily with 7 circles underneath each item (one for each day of the week) and then on the other side the name for the day of the week with that days chores under it, leaving a place to mark off that chore. You can then laminate it and use a dry erase marker to make your markings or print off 52 pages, up to you.
Some examples of my daily chores are:
Round up trash from bathroom, bedrooms and kitchen. Take out.
Fill Diaper Bin
Pick up toys
Some exsamples of my weekly chores are:
Sunday - Meal plan
review budget with Matt
Monday - Wash Mom and Dad's clothes
dust living room
wash living room window
Tuesday - Wash Kids clothes
Mop Kitchen floors
You get the idea.
Then lastly I have a once a month plan to end the frustration of having to look at places I just organized get messy again. On the first of the month, each month I will (and the family can help too) be going though each room and doing some tasks to make sure things are not getting out of control. Example you say? Of course you know I love to explain myself more. In the living room we will be making sure books, dvd's and video games have not gotten out of control (one in one out). Kitchen will be straightening cabinets, taking stock of what we have, what we are low on, what we just didn't use. The list can go on, just pick things that fit your lifestyle and home.
So there is my week of the organization challenge. Are you finding places not staying as tidy as you had them? Did you hit "a wall" and need support to bust through it?