• Mothering Mondays ~ Home Organization Tips

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    My week mothering has been grandly uplifted through you ~ lovely Mothering community. This week I thought we should get down to the tangible business of home management… Lets talk organizing!

    Tips from Sylvia Simpson’s Home:

    The topic of organization!

    1. Time and organization are interconnected. The more time you have to spend on something the less organized you feel about it. For example here in Canada we get so much unwanted paper (ads, newspapers flyers etc) in our homes. I try to deal with it immediately. If its something that I want to keep then I put it where it needs to go and if I am not interested in it at all I recycle it and if I may be interested in it I recycle it! Too often I keep something that I never end up using so I try to be super selective about what I keep.
    It is amazing to me how quickly I can accumulate a large pile of "stuff to go through" and then it becomes an item that I procrastinate about doing. So I try to remember to "touch it once" and be done with it.

    2. I always buy big packages of ground beef. I cook it all up and then freeze it in serving size containers so I can just take it out of the freezer and add it to whatever I am making for dinner. The mess of frying it all up is done once and when you defrost it it takes much less time than defrosting raw ground beef.



    Tips From Marion Howlett’s Home:

    Organization??? Well, I guess the room in which I’m most organized is the kitchen...a small area but very busy. Mrs. Simpson alerted me to my “skills in organization” in this area (funny, as I didn’t think of it at first).

    Hints: --mix up cookie dough(s) when you have a moment and put it in the fridge

    --do you want an apple pie for dinner the next night? Cut up and pre-cook the filling with sugar/thickening/spice and put in fridge (when filling is pre-cooked like this, you can have a hot pie out of the oven in about 1/2 hours!) YUM

    --pie-crust: I usually make up a pound of lard at a time (makes about 5 double-crusted pies) and freeze the dough in pieces....then all I have to do is pull a piece out of the freezer for use. Any left-overs CAN be re-frozen

    --put the pie crust(s) and filling together whenever you get a chance and place in fridge until ready to bake

    --try to “dove-tail” your baking....ie...while oven is pre-heating, put cookie dough (from fridge) on baking sheets. Once you’ve baked the amount you want baked fresh, bake the pie (along with a meat loaf??? Or whatever else you want to throw in there).

    Hope those suggestions are something helpful!



    Tips from Shannon Duits Home:

    Some things that have been working in our home are:

    - having a daily routine from Monday to Friday really helps to make sure that all the household chores are being accomplished and kept up on!
    Involving the children even from the young age of 3 & 4 really will help to establish good working habits, and helps me to be able to accomplish the daily chores!
    The kids enjoy having a daily routine and a purpose in there day!

    - having breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day is also a big part in establishing healthy habits in the children and makes it easier to be scheduled into the daily routine
    It is much easier to stay organized and on top of the day if it already has a plan and routine!

    These are just a few things that have been helpful to us, I hope there is something that you feel you can use!



    Tips from Anita Stels Home:

    Have several clean-up times each day, for example, first thing in the morning, before lunch, and before dinner. It really helps to keep ahead of big messes.

    Routines, routines, routines! Develop routines for certain times of every day, like getting up (morning routine), mealtimes, naptimes and bedtimes. If you do the same things in the same order every time you do them, children get used to what is going to happen, and they much more easily do what they need to do (without complaining or arguing).
    I would caution you to not have too many things in the routine that depend on a parent being there, or the routine will become burdensome. For example, at bedtime, if you have to do a bath, two or three stories, songs, a prayer, plus the regular things like brushing teeth, etc., before bedtime, then on the days when you are unable to do all this the children are upset. If you instead have a simple regular routine, such as brush teeth, wash hands and face, go to the bathroom, put on your jammies, have one short story and a prayer. Make a simple routine your "normal" and then sometimes you can say, "Tonight Mommy has a bit of extra time (because you went so quickly cleaning up your toys before supper, or some other reason) why don't I read you two stories?" Then they children are excited and happy on the nights you can do more, rather than being upset every time you can't do all the things they want you to do.

    Try to teach kids early to do as much as they can on their own. Giving them chores and tasks at an early age will help to make the transition to responsibility so much easier. It is the way life is, and if we do everything for them until they are older, it will be very hard for them to get used to doing it themselves. It is actually kinder to kids to make them work when they are young. If you need to, break a task into little steps, and teach it to them one step at a time. It is more work initially to get your kids to work at a young age, but it saves you so much time an effort over the years! Once a child knows how to do a task well, you don't have to teach them again, and they can take over that task for you, day after day. Some examples of things our children have done for us:

    Age 3/4
    empty the cutlery basket of the dishwasher
    wipe kitchen cupboards
    bring trash cans from all over the house to a main garbage for emptying (a bigger person usually needs to empty the cans into the bigger garbage)
    carry small recycling bins to empty into a larger one
    some dusting

    Age 5-7
    sweep the stairs
    straighten the shoes
    unload dishwasher
    set the table
    fold laundry
    wash windows
    water the plants

    Age 8-9
    simple cooking (e.g. making oatmeal, sandwiches...)
    clean washrooms
    clean & organize fridge, cupboards, shelves
    some yard work

    Age 10-13
    do laundry
    yard work
    baking & cooking (at age 13 our one daughter did basically all the cooking for about a year)
    clean up after meals (including washing pots, wiping stove & counters)
    ***With all chores, age is not the only consideration, but also capability. Some kids are able to do things earlier than others. Also, inspect all chores. A quote from somewhere, "CHILDREN WILL NOT DO WHAT YOU EXPECT, THEY WILL DO WHAT YOU INSPECT". Resist the urge to "fix" their work. Instead, have them come back and fix it. If they know they will have to fix it, they will be more likely to do it right the first time.



    Tips from Alice Duits Home:

    One of the tools that I have really enjoyed and use daily is my " Organizational Book ". I know that likely most of you have a book like that and would agree that it is valuable for organizing our many tasks, lessons, and daily life.
    Well, the book I have made has a bit of a personal touch that has been very helpful for me to say organized. But even more then that it has helped me save a lot of time and it is a book that not only inspires me but my family as well.

    Let me Explain...

    I bought the widest binder I could find with a plastic cover so that I could insert a drawing or picture or photo in it. I change the ' look ' from time to time. Right now, there is a drawing from my oldest grandson Case, in it. Then I use the plastic sheet protectors, white paper, glue, nice pens and lots of magazines. (Current and old magazines).

    When you open the binder, the first section is called " Household Organization " I follow a weekly routine for my housecleaning, baking, menu planning, reporting to teacher, library, lessons etc. I love this section because it does keep me on track. If I notice that an area of my home needs attention, I can relax because I know that I have slotted it on a certain day, so I will get to it. I do not organise my day hour by hour but I know my goals for each day. If I do not get everything done one day, I will decide if it carries over to the next day, or if it can wait a week. Many things in my schedule are repeated everyday like garbage, laundry etc.

    The next section is called " Fun Things To Do ". This is my children’s favourite section and I must say I like it also. I have an on - going list that I frequently update of all my educational toys and puzzles and games that we own. The reason why I keep this list is because I often put these wonderful toys in cupboards, or high shelves so those younger ones do not get into them. But sometimes, ' out of sight ~ out of mind ' happens and we forget about treasures tucked away. So I refer to my list and it has made a difference for keeping my children, busy, learning and creating. Another fun part of his section is one I have compiled from cutting out neat ideas from magazines. Often I pursue through magazines and see a neat idea, craft etc, but then forget about it...but no more!! When I get a magazine, a cut out everything from crafts, fun things to do, recipes etc....like I have a page of all different scarecrows and when we made one for our garden last summer, the children gleaned ideas from my book. I also have a page of different snowman, and a whole page of fun birdhouses to build.

    The Third Section is my largest section called "Recipes "

    This is an assortment of recipes from friends and family, magazines and internet. I make most of my food from scratch and so I am always looking for a ‘good recipe’! When I find it, I add it to my book. This section is so much fun, and I feel I have a great assortment of recipes readily available to me. This is also where I write my menu of the week. Again, I keep it real simple. I found a very basic menu-print out and I printed several of them. I keep them tucked in a plastic page protector, and each week I pull out a new one and fill it in. I do not get rid of the old ones, because I often re-use them a few weeks later.

    The Forth Section of my Book is called "Homemaking Skills "

    I have many categories in this section.
    Gardening.... I have so many great ideas in this section...Composting, worms, making a sunflower house for kids, flower arranging, herbs, pruning etc.
    Dairy: we milk a cow and this is where I keep all my recipes for cheese making, yoghurt, butter, plus butter churns ect. and everything for cow husbandry.
    Candle making,
    Soap making,
    Making things with herbs...like medicine, creams, teas
    Sewing...lovely things to make children and for gifts
    Seasonal family things like how to host a skating party on your pond.
    Sleigh rides
    Summer barbecues
    House decorating etc.

    Most of my ideas have come from magazines. I just love, love, love, this section. My book is always changing and I just love looking through it. It inspires me. Like last spring, we picked a lot of wild flowers and I remembered a neat idea in my book. To put flowers in several glass milk bottles and then put the milk bottles in a wire milk carrier and set it on the table...I did it and it looked so pretty.

    Well, that is my idea of the day. Hope some of you will begin to build a personal book like I did. I pray it will be as enjoyable as mine has been!
    Blessing to all you moms...Love from Alice


    Tips from Rosaleen’s Home:

    My first and absolutely the most import tip I can think of in running an efficient home is to have a place for every single possession you own. I am not saying, “I can get the door shut” space, I am saying breathing room on every shelf, toy box, closet, peg and drawer. If you have three wall shelves and only ten percent of your toys and books fit on it, chuck ninety percent away! If you have one closet which needs to house towels, cleaning supplies, wrapping paper etc.etc, only put in what fits, for your sanity you need to be able to see everything and grab something in seconds, rummaging steals your precious time. If throwing things away is painful and an unfamiliar process for you think like this. Does it get used everyday, for a weekly or monthly job (like toilet bowl brush or wrapping paper)? Anything else probably serves no purpose other then driving you nuts. If you have way too many toys and books and need to remove some from your home think like this, does your kids play or read it every day? Second would or could you leave it as a keep sake/heirloom piece for future generations? O.K so I won’t be leaving my plastic little people collection for grandkids, but I can keep this collection to the minimal amount needed. My kids play with just a few of the many pieces, leaving the rest to clutter, get rid of what they hardly play with (even if it is part of a set!)

    Take the time go through your home ~ get rid of everything that is serving no immediate purpose, does not enhance your life (holistically ~ mind, body, spirit) or has an obvious purpose like X-mass decorations.

    Now that we have established an obvious and adequate space for everything in your home my second tip is have a clean up time every day. In our home it is called Five-O’clock clean up! Because there is a place for everything my kids know exactly where everything goes, they can easily manage the bulk of this job. It is incredibly liberating to announce “five-O’clock clean up and twenty to thirty minutes later your home is put back in place ready for your evening. The only exception I ever make to this house hold rule is if my children have spent the bulk of their play tediously setting up something like playmobil. Then they can keep it set up, other then that it all gets put away!

    Another time saver for me is to have a basket or bag at the foot of every set of stairs, if something needs to go to another floor I put it in the basket. When five-O’clock rolls around one of the girls empties the baskets. No piles building up on steps or running up and down for me.

    Another tip I have is to use baskets or canning jars for storage. An aesthetically pleasing way of hiding clutter like crayons, toys, socks, hair clips. Baskets are generally not cheap and to buy a bunch of baskets can cost a mint. I have found awesome, sturdy baskets at thrift and garage sales, they may all be different colours, just buy a four dollar can of spray paint and update into the colour that you find pleasing! Easy and cheap, serving as a great function.

    I know this tip, has been covered by other mothers a few times today. But I am going to stress it again ~ Get your kids working! My six year old does all the morning dishes, washes the windows, dusts, folds the clean socks, stacks toilet paper in the bathrooms, empties the basket on the stairs, makes her own bed and supervises her little sisters bed making, the list goes on...
    My three year old, straitens the pillows on the couch, tidies the babies toys, sets the table, straitens the shoes…
    These simple jobs are often so time consuming for us Moms to be running around while a pre-schooler can be helping out! Why Not?!

    Mother’s you are the guests of honour on Mondays and because you mother, are the giver of gifts, and pour out from your life ~ life to your children. I wish to send you something to let you know you are remarkable! And I know that! I know you often give more then you have to give. Every week I will have a little treasured package carefully chosen out to bless your mothering ambitions. All you must do is quietly slip your name into my inbox and I will fold your name into a draw. On Fridays I will randomly choose one of your beautiful names, then as quickly as I can, get it sent off to balm your long days. For more deatils click the 'Gift Give Away' on the menu bar.

    Fittingly this week I would like to gift one of you courageous home managers with a little motivating care package. The book Organised Simplicity by Tsh from simplemom.net, is hands down the best book on this subject I have ever read. I told Roger that I will never need to write a book, as this author covered my philosophy on life perfectly! It covers a lot of ground from how to live the life in the home you have to awesome all natural homemade cleaning recipes! A must read for all intentional home manager!
    I believe in finding a way to make practical functions of the home beautiful and pleasing. I love pretty labels! It adds a dash of pleasure to an ordinary container or space. You will also receive a few sweet labels.