Fall Organization

in Essential Ramblings

This fall I have made a pledge to get more organized for the kids and myself, make life easier and less harried, and to be more pleasant about it all.  And this year, it seems that I actually mean it and SHOCK of all SHOCKS, it’s working.  My kids are happier, they are feeling secure and we are all soooo enjoying life.  Now, I am a realist and there are several factors that I must admit to being at play — a) the homework has not started in earnest, b) afterschool activities haven’t started to their full extent yet, and c) I am working less.  That all said, I think we have set a good tone and I am going to go ahead and congratulate myself that at the very least we have started well.  So that all said, here are some items that have been good additions to our new ways.

1.  I created a new work space for the whole family.  We had a guest room upstairs that wasn’t getting a lot of use, and I designated it as my new home office (which used to be the kitchen) — I have a desk and there is now a table for the kids to do homework on.  The kitchen for whatever reason was highly distracting.  The new office has a strict quiet policy and is very organized so that the kids can find the supplies we need for homework, sit comfortably at the table, and so far they are adhering to the quiet policy.  So, although you might not have a spare space for this or might not be willing to give up on your guests, turn a little corner into that space.  My kids were all over the place and no one was getting as much done as effectively as they could have been.  Searching for supplies alone was taking an extra 20 minutes of homework time.  Put it all in one place.

2.  I am using google calendars for EVERYTHING.  I have been using it for a while personally, but now I am really engaging in it — you can designate different colors for different family members, color code activities, and most of all you can print the schedules out and post them for the whole family.  You can choose to print just the kids, each separateley, etc. all within moments.  You can add that Tuesdays are take your viola to school days or when you have soccer practice.  Post it to the fridge and make the kids check it daily to be sure they are remembering what they need to take to school.  Last night I printed just this week’s schedule and posted it — feeling like the whole month was too much — so post just the week’s info they need to remember.

3.  I am focusing on dinner menus before 5pm each day — when I used to start thinking about the dinner to serve at 5:30 — never having the right ingredients and more often than not just serving them pasta with butter because I hadn’t thought ahead.  So this week, I took a whole 10 minutes this morning (it may have even been 5) and picked what I would serve for dinner for the week, wrote it down on post-it notes and put them on the fridge too. I then took the next 10 minutes and looked at the actual recipes and wrote down what I would need for the recipes from now through Wednesday so that when I get to the store, I won’t stand lost in the aisles and buy pasta again!

4.  Dinners as a family. Now I need to be honest about this.  My husband and I have always treasured our time together at night to eat dinner, maybe drink a glass of wine, and talk after the kids are in bed for the night.  This fall we are trying to have dinner with the kids at least 2 times a week.  I have read study after study about families eating together and the importance of taking that time and frankly wasn’t sold (again, reference the desire to eat and hang out with husband without the kids) – but we have been having dinner with them more regularly and they are talking, engaging, and sharing in a very different way.  Even different from just sitting there while they are eating.  Somehow actually eating with them creates a different vibe and for whatever reason, they seem to be digging it too.  Weird, but all too true.

5.  And last but not least, I have decided to put the blackberry down.  I have not broken the habit yet and don’t even aspire too (this is real life people) — but I am weaning myself of the blackberry use both when they first get home from school and during homework time.  I am too fragmented when I try to answer an email and talk to the kids at the same time, and quite honestly, it’s rude.  I don’t want my son talking to me while he’s checking his phone, I guess I need to model that too!

All for now.  Check out cute picture of my very organized fridge for show-off purposes — I am proud. Don’t ask to look at it again in a month as I am pretty sure the cuteness will lead to my usual mess, but for now….think about it and give some of these items a try.  Don’t hurt yourselves over-doing it, but if anything might resonate, give it a try and see what happens.

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