Tag Archives: organization

The Home Project, part 2

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Nothing much has happened indoors since part 1, thanks to June being the month to get the Farmlet tilled, raked and planted.  We have also been working on enlarging the cleared area and planting a new raspberry patch.  I’ve been madly picking rose petals (for wild rose petal jelly – yum!), too, but now things are settling down and I can get back to the mess at hand.

Today, I took advantage of the Kids’ absence (yea for summer camp!) to start “cleaning” their rooms.  Now, before anybody objects to the idea of throwing out kids’ stuff while they are away and unaware, that’s not what I’m doing.  I told them both I would be sorting the stuff in their rooms and throwing away only the obvious trash.  The Boy grunted his assent while making Lego Harry Potter and friends play Lego Quidditch.  The Girl wanted a definition of “obvious trash.”  She was wise to ask, since I was assuming water-damaged papers and old princess stickers were clearly rubbish.  She disagreed, so those items are safe.  Sigh.

My plan is to separate the considerable amount of clutter in to piles – flotsam in one corner, jetsam in another, chaff over by the bed, etc.  Bits of tissue, old band-aids, broken bits of old toys, partial pencil erasers, dried-out markers – TRASH.  Usable but possibly outgrown toys, clothing, books, etc., in their own piles for inspection (and, with luck, removal).  Current toys, clothing books – in piles near where they belong – I am helping them clean, by doing some preliminaries for them, not doing the whole job for them.  Also, they will only be gone for 4 days.  That may not be enough time to excavate all the way to the floor in both rooms.

They, like me, have a ridiculously difficult time sorting stuff.  Each object they touch must have the memories associated with it aired before it can be dealt with; this often means an object that seems unimportant – even to the Kid who owns it – will become indispensable once they pick it up.  I am hoping that having the categories ready for them to go through (with my help, and not all at once) will make it easier to see what’s important enough to keep, and what they are ready to let go.  We shall see.  If it works, I might have them go through my space and categorize my junk.  I’ll have to be careful to define “obvious trash” really clearly, though. 🙂

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The Home Project

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Organization has always been a huge challenge for me.  When I lived at home, my mom was great at helping me maintain relative tidiness.  When my room threatened to tend a little too much toward chaos, she’d nag – uh, I mean urge – me to straighten up.  Sometimes she’d urge me to do so repeatedly, over a very long time, but eventually I’d do it.

Then I went to college and grad school.  My poor roommates.  I’ve probably mentioned this in the blog before, but I always had the idea that when I settled down in a permanent home (as opposed to a dorm room or apartment), I’d be better at remembering those lessons Mom taught me.  Hmm.

It seems that 1. combining the household stuff of two mid-30s bibliophiles; 2. having kids; and 3. homeschooling does not automatically improve the organizational abilities of the chronically scattered.

My children are either genetically predisposed to messiness, or they are just following my poor example. (Nature versus nurture?)  This is not to say that my darling husband is a paragon of orderliness, but he is probably closer to that end of the organizational spectrum than anyone else in our household.

With that as background, and many previous failures as examples of what NOT to do, I am undertaking a mission to discard as much unnecessary stuff as possible and organize the rest, so that “a place for everything and everything in its place” no longer translates to “everything where it lands” and our disaster area can be referred to as a “home.”  I could go around and ask myself, for each item, “Is it necessary? Is it beautiful? Do I love it?” but I’m thinking of making the first pass through the house with a different question in my mind:  Is it crap?

There are no pictures in this post because “before” pics are too damning.  I’ll post some “in-between” pics as I go along, and when I have some decent “after” shots to show, maybe I’ll be able to share the “befores,” as well.

Wish me luck, and check back monthly for progress reports!

What’s your worst organizational challenge?

Not procrastination, I swear!

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Mid-February probably seems like an odd time to make a post about goals for the year.  Maybe you think I should put “stop procrastinating” on my Not-Quite-New Year’s resolution list.  Well, I’m not going to do that.  Here’s why: no list of resolutions!  Yea!

I have many, many notebooks (journals, sketchbooks, diaries, scraps of paper, napkins from restaurants, etc.) from over many, many years, that I can’t throw away, somehow.  Every couple of years, I come across a list, dated “Sept ‘97” or something, on which I’ve detailed my goals for the next year (or five years, or life, or no time-frame at all).  They always mention losing weight, getting organized and writing more.  It has become obvious to me that I’ve been doing this wrong, since it seems I go backwards on all of these things every time I write them down.

This year, I’ve decided to set three smallish goals for myself per month.  In January, I chose: 1. to spend 30 minutes a day, three days per week, getting rid of clutter; 2. to make sure we had “project time” three times per week (more on that later); and 3. to finish three of the numerous art/craft projects I’ve started over the last year.

Goal 3 went swimmingly.  I finished a crocheted sun hat for the Girl, a knitted fox hat for the Boy, and put the finishing touches on a knitted stegosaurus I started last summer.  Boy was so happy to see that his stego had eyes, he brought me three more knitted dinos to have their eyes added. (Photos to come)

Goal 2 worked fairly well, but I discovered that protecting the time for project-based learning is not as important as I thought.  There are two reasons for this:  it’s hard to find a time when Boy is not directing his own learning, and the length is not as vital as the kids knowing that this time is for them to do what they want – I will be there to attend to and document their activities and help them, if they need help.  I will keep track of questions and plans they have, and materials they need, but I WILL NOT TAKE OVER.

Goal 1?  Well . . . slow progress is better than none.

So, now it’s time for February’s goals:

  1. Continue making progress decluttering by going through one box or pile, or clearing one surface, at least 3 times per week.
  2. Finish 3 more projects.
  3. Write at least 2 blog posts. (One down!)

How are you improving/enjoying life?