Organised Chaos – The Essence of Home
Creatively Managing the Chaos of Home & Clearing Out the Clutter.
Sometimes I wonder whether there ought to be a support service for the domestically disadvantaged. There are some days when I feel like a domestic diva, but there are many days when my home feels like a domestic disaster area and I feel that the art of housewifery is rather lost on me. We have a sock monster, a hairtie monster and a library book monster. We do try, and I am happy to report that we have defeated the hairtie monster and the library book monster, however the sock monster is particularly stubborn. But I do have a sock monster eradication plan. On New Year’s Day I went out a bought a ‘knicker hanger’ from Mitre 10, to hang all those odd socks (thirty three socks in total!). That way I can match the odd socks when the come in off the line. So far it seems to be working well. And off I went to the Warehouse today to buy some more large plastic containers with lids to sort things into. I find it so therapeutic to have a good sort out. Perhaps part of the battle with clutter is that many of us have far too many things. I have been inspired to live more simply and to be ruthless with de-cluttering this New Year. Unless things have been gifted to us, are functional, or beautiful, out they go, to be given away to bless someone or perhaps sold.
Sometimes I am asked how I find the time to make cakes or engage in craft projects with littlies, but those are the things that keep me sane. In some ways those things are easier to complete than the basics such as trying to manage the washing and essential housework. And I think what I like about blogging is that you can make things look pretty and orderly, whereas in real life, especially at home….that can be a little more challenging! I am reminded that one has to pick one’s battles and children are not going to remember a tidy house, but they are going to remember the fun that was had spending time together as a family. And I sometimes wonder why being a home maker or ‘Director of Domestic Affairs’ has such low status, as it can actually be a very challenging job, and definitely a fulltime one at that. Especially so with small people creating ‘memories’ and custom decorating your home wherever you go. I’ve found that you can take a thoughtful approach to any task and I try to do something toward managing the chaos each day.
Sometimes it is the little things I find, such as a sock hanger, that can really make a difference. There are the days however when our house can resemble a bombsite, and certainly my son’s room resembles the epicentre of a large earthquake. On those days I just have to let this go. I really need Peter Walsh (the Australian organisational guru often featured on Oprah) to come into my home and give me a few pointers. Of course now I spend time blogging about organisation rather than just getting on and organising things. Such is modern life! But perhaps it can encourage someone else by normalizing what family life can be like- my mess may make you feel better about your mess.
Sometimes I would rather prioritize and pursue time with family and friends, as well as time for creative pursuits, over time spent devoted to housework – an area I have often found to be fairly unachievable. I do aim to have a clean bathroom and kitchen mind you. But with small people it seems pertinent to have realistic expectations of what your home is going to look like. It’s not going to look like the homes on the television commercials. I’ve often found some blog sites can be perfectionistic and idealistic, which may not be helpful for those reading. And sometimes websites such as Pinterest can contribute to people feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, which is a shame.
Many people would argue that one should just embrace chaos and relax about mess. This however is easier said than done for a self-confessed yet reformed ‘neat freak’. Furthermore, although there are more important battles in life that the battle over mess, it certainly seems to be the case that for many people the constant battle with mess can be frustrating at times. The noise of kids doesn’t really bother me, but the mess can at times as I am someone who likes a sense of order in my surroundings.
For some intelligent and detailed discussion on all things domestic, try http://nzhouseholdlogistics.blogspot.co.nz. This is the blog site of a friend who is very gifted in organisation. For those days where you might feel domestically disadvantaged, this site has some good strategies.
Well my house is still fairly chaotic but we are working on it! (And with three little ones, two of them preschoolers, what more can we do!). Introducing the Lattes Laced with Grace Home Managegment System. Streamline your family’s organization system with these five simple tools: 1) Paper Planner ‘App’ (weekly timetable), 2) Menu Planner 3) Weekly Housework Routine 4) Monthly Home Makeover Routine and 5) Revolutionized Laundry Routine.
Family Timetable: The Paper Planner ‘App’
Clean – organize and de-clutter your home in 11 easy steps.
Does the idea of spring cleaning your entire house sound overwhelming to you? What if you could spend 1-3 hours per month (or however much time you had to devote) on one task? How about this?
January – The Summer Toy Sort -Out
February – ‘Foodie February’. Clean out the pantry, fridge/freezer. Cleaning out the pantry is always a big job in our household. February is also ‘Floor Feburary’ where we do an annual carpet clean.
March is Mucky March where we have a general tidy up of the garden area, incl garden shed and garage
April is ‘Arty April’ where I have a sort out of all our crafting supplies incl the kids craft box.
May is ‘Mumcation May’ because you need a break! May is also ‘Marriage Month’ (if you are married or in a relationship), spend some time focussing on your relationship.
June is ‘Journal June’, a clear out of all books and bookcases. DVD’s too.
July is the ‘Winter Wardrobe Clothing Cull.’ Sort out all clothes and sell or donate items that you no longer need. Tidy up wardrobes.
August is ‘Administration August’. A tidy up of the office and filling cabinets.
September is ‘Storage September’ – a sort out of all storage areas such cupboards in the bathroom, laundry, linen cupboard and kitchen. It is also ‘Sow September’, a time for planting in the garden.
October is ‘Oven October’ where the oven is cleaned, and ‘Organize October’. Pick one area in your household that needs organizing and go for it.
November is ‘Noticeboard November’ and ‘Nick-Nak November’. Have a de-clutter of little items that you no longer need and clear out your noticeboard.
December is ‘Drawers December’. Do you have drawers that get disgusting? Now is the time to clear them out.
I have a pantry that is really pants and has been pants for quite some time (translation: a british slang expression that means really rubbish). In fact the last time I had a pantry blitz was before my youngest was born, and she turns two this week! So it was high time for a sort out. It was really therapeutic. It is so nice to open the door and see everything looking neat. LEt’s hope it stays that way! (But I won’t hold my breath).
The Home Administration Station
In our home we often misplace selotape, or envelopes, stamps or even a pen. I mean how hard can it be to find a pen that works in a house? In our house, nothing would surprise me. So for a simple solution, I devised ‘The Home Adminstration Station’ on the cabinet near the front door. It simply consists of a box to store mail to be sorted, and a stationery container. This way everything is kept together. You could always have your schedule and calendar kept here to. Sometimes it is the simple solutions that we think about the least.
A new school year means new routines. And we’ve just devised a new cleaning rota in our household. Because trying to clean the whole house in one morning is too overwhelming. Just little bits more often seems to be more manageable. And I’ve used alliterative headings that make it easier to remember. In addition to taxi-ing my children to their activities and so forth, our week looks a little like this:-
Monday. Monday stands for ‘Music Monday’ where we go to a pre-school music programme. It also stands for ‘Makeover Monday’. And no I’m not painting my nails or having my hair done (although that would be nice), I’m making up the beds for the week. And I’ve just discovered that the traditional 1950’s housewife used to change the bedding on a Monday. It is also ‘Messy Monday’ where the kids and I do some baking for the week’s lunch boxes. If I have time, it is also ‘Mail-sorting Monday’, but if not, this task is relegated to ‘Sort-out Saturday’. It is also ‘Ministry Monday’ as it is the time when I write the weekly prayer newsletter for church.
Tuesday. Tuesday stands for ‘Tidy-up Tuesday’ which involves vacuuming and a general tidy up. It is also ‘Toilet cleaning Tuesday.
Wednesday is ‘Washing Wednesday’ which refers to folding the Mt Everest pile of washing that accumulates during the week. Every day with a ‘d’ in it includes washing the clothes and hanging them out, but I try to limit it to one load per day, and no washing on a Sunday. Wednesday also stands for ‘Weeding Wednesday’ where I attack some of those weeds in the garden. Now I’m actually going to have to do some gardening! If I have time Wednesday is also ‘Writing Wednesday’ where I write a blog post for the week.
Thursday is ‘Thrifty Thursday’ where we do our grocery shopping. With two preschoolers in tow this takes most of the morning but it is an outing for them, and an educational one at that.
Friday is ‘Floor cleaning Friday’ and every last friday of the month is ‘Fridge cleaning Friday’. Friday is also ‘Finances Friday’ where I pay any bills and check the accounts.
Saturday is ‘Sinks & Surfaces Saturday’ where I clean the kitchen and bathroom sinks and shower etc. It is also ‘Sort out Saturday’ where I spend 20-30 minutes cleaning out a little clutter.
Sunday is ‘Screen-free Sunday’ where I have a rest from housework and also screens. Although I usually iron for the week.
And the ‘d’ in every day stands for dishes, as they are a daily occurrence. But…my house still looks like no housework has been completed. Oh well, at least I know that everything gets a once over during the week.
Here is another Friday free fridge magnet printable, an updated weekly schedule for the ‘Director of Domestic Affairs’. Just print out, laminate if you wish to, and add a magnet. I’ve added a ‘Mail-sorting Monday’ task, and a ‘Finances Friday’ where I check the accounts and pay any bills.
A friend suggested to me recently that she has a ‘done’ list rather than a ‘to do’ list. What a great idea. It helps one to feel less overwhelmed with the myriad of different tasks one has to complete. She here is a friday free printable – the ‘done’ list.
And a Laundry Routine…..
There are four mountains in our household. Mt Washmore Mt Drymore, Mt Foldmore, and a smaller mountain Mt Ironmore. I aim to do one load of laundry per day (sometimes two). When washing comes off the line it is to be put into containers – one for each member of the family. Then Mt Foldmore is put away on ‘Washing Wednesday’. No washing is to be done on a Sunday but the week’s ironing is completed on a Sunday.
A Meal Planner for meals…..
Western Wednesday refers to anything Western and ‘Thermal Thursday’ is curry night.
Other Little Organization Systems
I’m always trialling new little systems that may make family life easier. How about this one? It’s something I copied off a couple of the mum’s at school. I always take a snack box when I go out with the kids, but what about a little pencil case with things that are quiet and you don’t mind losing? It’s small enough to fit in a handbag.
A Car Tidy System
My husband is very particular about keeping the car tidy and organized. How about this system? Simply have a bucket per person (& especially for each child). All belongings that are in the car when travelling to and from somewhere go in their own personalized bucket (drink bottles, sports gear, swimming gear, hats, gloves, shoes etc), to be transferred into their home baskets at the front door when they arrive home.
Can you spare ten minutes a day? Then take the Lattes Laced with Grace De-Cluttering Challenge. I don’t always have an afternoon available to de-clutter but if I break it down into small steps it becomes more manageable. Have three boxes available, one for items to sell, one for items to give away, and the other for items to throw away.
Back to School
School has just gone back. But my six year old son is like a teenager in the mornings. He frequently grunts and hides under the covers. There has been the odd day to where I’ve had to put his clothes in his school bag and threaten to take him in his pyjama’s because he won’t get up. And on the first day of school he had a mild case of Mondayitis, but was fine when he got there and became re-aquanted with all his friends. And there will be no more duraseal disasters for me this year (Duraseal is an adhesive plastic book cover which is notoriously difficult to use). I remember my mother having tantrums over duraseal! But not for me this year, as I have discovered Ex book covers (exbookcovers.co.nz). They are economical, reusable, and very easy to use as they just slide on to the book. It took me around five minutes to cover my son’s school books, as opposed to Duraseal which can take me around an hour. I am quite enthusiastic about these book covers. They are perfect for the Duraseal disabled. It’s just the little things that make life easier.