Category Archives: Organizing Attempts

Summer Guidelines And Theme Days 2017

Every summer I attempt to find the elusive balance to my days.  This summer is no different. It continues to be an ongoing attempt.  Today, I thought I’d share our summer guidelines and theme days for 2017.

As I searched for summer guidelines for my boys, I focused on articles geared to teens because that pretty much describes them now (okay, one’s 12 but close enough…especially with the attitude, yikes!).  Most of my inspiration for the summer guidelines came from this article over on the Alpha Mom website: Summer House Rules For The Teens.

I’m calling mine guidelines because I was frankly too lazy to make that many rules and if I call them guidelines I can give myself a bit more flexibility and not feel like I’m policing my kids all summer.  Plus (cliché warning) since rules were meant to broken, calling them summer guidelines might give us better chances at success.   summer guidelines

Our Summer Guidelines 2017

The most important one for me focuses on bedtime.  It seems strange giving teens and almost teens summer bedtime but letting them stay up until all hours just wasn’t working especially when my husband and I do work.  Well, okay I only work sometimes but still…

Bedtime Hours Monday-Through Thursday:  Midnight!  All gaming and television screens need to be shut down.

Friday-Sunday:  No limits although I’ll probably get up and yell if they are keeping me awake and it’s after 3a.m.

*I’m not designating wake up times since they get up earlier if they go to bed at decent times.  By earlier, I mean 10:30 or 11:00 which is okay with me.  I can even handle noon but that waiting around until 2:00 for a kid to get out of bed didn’t work so well for me last summer.

Household Help:  This starts today so wish me luck!  Everyone will be assigned one room (kitchen, living room, bathrooms) for the week.  They are responsible for keeping it presentable by cleaning it for 5-10 minutes each day. Bedrooms should get 15 minutes of attention (cleaning) each day or an hour at the end of each week.

Outside Time: Spend some time outside every single day.  I’m not setting any limits here just as long as they get some exposure to sunlight.  J is usually more than wiling to water the garden for me and G often walks places with his friends.

Outings:  Since my kids are homebodies, I need this one.  We will go on one outing every week not counting library day.

Do you have summer guidelines or rules for your kids?  I want to give my boys freedom and yet I’ve quickly realized they need a few limits with that freedom (as do I).

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I was also pleasantly surprised to find out J still wanted to do our summer theme days!  Again, we’ll have to be flexible as I’ll be working some but here are our summer theme days for 2017:

Sunday: Lazy Days

Monday: Science Days (Focus on Physics, help me! and Chemistry)

Tuesday: Library Day

Wednesday: Outing Day

Thursday: Cooking Day

Friday: Game Day (games we can all play)

My plan is to once again review our theme days of the week on Tuesdays.  It may not happen every Tuesday as my word for summer, I suppose is flexibility.  Do you have any guidelines or theme days for your summer planned yet?

 

Bedroom Re-Do: The Beginning

I decided to start in our bedroom with my room a week re-do challenge because it was really feeling chaotic in here.  It still does a bit although I can see some little pockets of calm.

Since it was a shorter week, I am following the steps I outlined in the first post but in a rather random order and combining steps a bit.

I made a list of things that were bothering me the most in the room:

  1. There is no real separate “office space.” I have never liked having the computer desk area in this room but we simply do not have room for this desk elsewhere in the house and it is too important to me to switch out for something else.
    Sadly, this is what my computer desk looked like a day after I had cleaned it.

    Sadly, this is what my computer desk looked like a day after I had cleaned it.

    Here is the view we get of the computer desk “office area” from our bed:

    This is really not a relaxing thing to see in a bedroom

    This is really not a relaxing thing to see in a bedroom

  2. My side of the bedroom had once again spiraled out of control and into chaos:Did I mention in my last post I had really let things slide?  Looking at this also reminded me of how I was in need of a place to put my preschool books (I had started organizing them with the magazine holders but had too many and not all of them fit right because of varying book sizes).   I also thought I wanted book ends for the dresser or eventually built-in bookcases…

    Yikes!

    Yikes!

  3. The unfinished walls in our bedroom which have been waiting for sheet-rock much too long were really bothering me as well.

Then, I spent some time cleaning and sorting.  I cleared off the entire top of the dresser (I did the laundry as well).

There is definitely something calming about clear, empty spaces

There is definitely something calming about clear, empty spaces

I decided as much as I like my books around me, I don’t want all of them in my bedroom.  I need calm in here.

The style I decided on for our bedroom that I think we both could actually like is a combination of romantic and beach house.

Don’t you hate looking at things on Pinterest and then, wanting all the things done and done now?  Of course, it doesn’t work that way because of time and budget constraints.

My ideas for a few quick fixes for this room were to mostly ignore my desk area for now.  I want to rearrange things a bit and hang a curtain to separate things. However, I will need husband help for those two things and neither of us was having a week where discussing moving furniture around would have ended happily.

After I cleaned my side of the bed, I decided on an idea to either cover the walls with sheets or “wallpaper” the walls using gift wrap.   I love the bed canopy made from sheets in this pin which also covers part of the wall.

I brought out a white sheet and debated for a while but ultimately decided for the wall above my dresser, “wallpaper” wrapping paper would be a better fit (and easier to install on our unfinished walls).

After a quick search of the basement revealed nothing suitable, I made a run to The Dollar Tree.  I found some wedding paper I thought might bring a bit of a romantic vibe to the room:

I wouldn't want a whole room of this but thought it would be nice for one wall

I wouldn’t want a whole room of this but thought it would be nice for one wall

I planned to attach it using double-sided tape, my husband said that would be okay and not likely to hurt anything.  I did the bottom of half of my wall just to see how it would look:

New wallcovering

New wall covering in progress

I did the bottom half of the wall after agreeing to wait and let my husband do the top half (something about “Please, don’t hurt yourself and if you can just wait until the weekend, I’ll do it for you…) this weekend.

I’m hoping to have a bit more finished looking bedroom by the end of the weekend and “after” pictures to show sometime next week.

Do you have any remodel in progress rooms in your house?  How do you cope?

 

Room A Week Re-Do Challenge

I am challenging myself to re-do a room a week for the rest of the summer.  Would you like to join me?     ROOM

Why?

The answer is simple.  My house is a disaster!  I’ve also been watching too many home interior type shows on Netflix.

While it is never a good idea to compare to others to the point it brings discontent, I do think it is okay to compare or maybe observe is a better word and think, “I can do better.”

I will confess one of the reasons you haven’t seen many organizing type posts on this blog lately is I’ve not been doing any organizing or (ahem) cleaning and clearing.  I’ve let things slide so much.  I’ve become overwhelmed by the chaos.

With summer and me working, it has simply spiraled out of control.  It is time to take back my home.

How?

I’ve decided to attempt a room a week in my efforts to take back my home.  I don’t expect to see huge results when I’m done with this but to simply have perhaps a little breathing room.  Right now, I feel claustrophobic and unsettled in my own home.  I also feel as if our home has no style.

I do plan to start this week and will have to of course, adjust on weeks like next where I work a full schedule.  However, my basic plan for each room will be this:

Day 1: Make a list of what is bothering me the most in the room and/or decide on what style I’d like in the room (read spend some time each day browsing Pinterest and watching home shows on Netflix).

Day 2:  Clean.  Ugh, why must every redecorating project start with this?  Never mind cleaning may just solve quite a few of the decorating dilemmas around here.

Day 3: Finish cleaning if necessary.  Did I mention how I’d really let things slide around here since summer started?

Day 4: Organize areas in need (probably every corner of every room!)

Day 5: Finish organizing if necessary.  Make a wish list of future projects and/or items needed for finishing the room.

Day 6: Add a few finishing touches that make me happy to the room.  I will probably either shop the house for this or give myself a very limited budget (not over $20) for each room.

Day 7: Enjoy finished results but also make a maintenance plan for keeping room nice.  Maintaining is an area where I struggle.  Am I the only one?  I can make things nice and clean and pretty once but then, it never seems to last.

When?

I have already started with a small project this week.  While I didn’t do much, clearing off probably 3 months of clutter on my desk has certainly helped me want to sit here and gaze longingly a Pinterest write a bit more.

Which Room is First?

Normally, I’d use the Flylady style and start with the kitchen.  However, we had a leaking dishwasher water issue with the floor and things are even more chaotic than normal in there currently.  We can’t even sit at the table together.  Thankfully, a new dishwasher should arrive Friday and then, I can concentrate on taking back my kitchen.

Since the kitchen is not a viable option this week, I’ve decided to focus on our bedroom for this week.  I will share about my success and challenges on the blog.

Would you like to join me?  What room or rooms in your house need the most attention?

 

 

Five Easter Brunch Planning Mistakes To Avoid

I made a few Easter brunch planning mistakes this year.  I knew better but some years I have it all together (usually when Easter is in April) and some years are just off years.  I have to give myself pep talks just to get through the planning and preparations of it all.

I hope and am fairly certain that despite the poor weather and my lack of planning and preparations, all our family had a good time and enjoyed most of the food.  I just know that it could have been better and this year’s Easter brunch did not meet my own personal standards.

I still can’t believe I forgot to take a single picture of my table set-up!  It could have been a bit better as well.  Last year’s table was much prettier, I thought.

Here are 5 mistakes I made this year that I’m hoping to avoid next year when Easter is back where it belongs in the month of April (Hooray!).  If you are planning a holiday or other event, I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

Five Easter Brunch Planning Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Procrastination!  I certainly struggle with this in more areas than Easter brunch planning.  I didn’t make very good use of my time the week before Easter.  I was busy, yes, but I could have managed my time much better and not been trying to do so much at the last-minute.

  2. Not having a menu plan!  I make a menu plan for our dinners almost every week even if I don’t follow them exactly.  For some reason this year, I decided to just sort of wing it for Easter brunch.  A lot of the items are the same each year but I still would have benefited from having a plan.  Perhaps it would have saved me the grief of getting up early on Easter morning and deciding I needed just one more kind of muffin on the table.  I’m pretty sure that messed up my whole time-table off just enough that I didn’t have the fruit tray ready as guests were arriving.

  3. Putting too many new recipe choices on the brunch table and forgoing standby favorites.  I got a little carried away with trying new recipes this year despite having no time to really experiment.  The Friday and Saturday before Easter brunch are not really the days when new recipes should be tested.  One batch of blueberry pie muffins went right into the trash in the judging style of Joe Bastianich when he was on Master Chef.  I ended up putting a less than great muffin recipe on the table as I was searching (see #1) for a few dairy free recipes to put out for one of my nieces.  I did have a few successes though with some almond cookies that turned out great (will be a repeat) and filling tart shells with lemon curd (Where has that stuff been all my life?).

  4. Ignoring the weather forecast.  We did not really expect snow but I knew there was a good chance of rain.  If I had been more on top of my game, I might have put some thought into the Easter brunch set-up so the brunch table traffic could have moved more freely as we have a smaller home.  Turns out people eat more when they can move about and go inside and outside.

  5. Not delegating specific chores to my husband and boys.  My husband and kids did help clean a bit before Easter brunch as I was busy but I definitely should have been more specific about what I needed them to clean (um, bathroom floors!) instead of leaving them on their own.  My youngest son’s room looked great but I’d have rather his room stayed a mess than gone into the bathroom mid-brunch and realize he didn’t bother to wipe up all the dirt from the cat hair corner (our weird cat insists on having her water in the bathroom and her corner gets rather nasty).

I’m sure I made other Easter brunch planning mistakes but those are the main five I’m hoping not to repeat next year.

Organizing Issues I Need To Solve

I have several organizing issues I need to solve. Some of them I have foggy ideas about what to do swirling in my brain (I guess it could count as one of those organizing issues as well then). Others, I have tried various solutions and they simply did not work for my real-life, we have to live here and use this stuff family.

Then, there are those organizing issues that I have absolutely no idea how to solve and I wait impatiently for the bolt of lightening to strike an idea in my brain (or I just browse Pinterest for a couple of minutes before becoming distracted by food or party ideas).

I thought I’d share some of my organizing issues with you so you could either not feel so alone if you share them or give me a great idea that has worked for you in these areas.

My Kitchen and Pantry Area Organizing Issues:

My cleaning supply area.  The supplies won’t stay organized, the area won’t stay clean (What is it with dirty cleaning supplies?  Why oh why does my broom gather dust??).

organizing issues

This area needs help.

It also has become a stashing point for things that do not belong.  And please, do not get me started on the shelves that are an odd size.

The odd sized shelves in the kitchen.  Does anyone else deal with odd sized shelves in your kitchen and pantry areas?  Please, please tell me how you cope?

organizing issues

It is in an odd place in our hallway so hard to photo but the long narrow space below holds our brooms and mops.

Bags of chips.  My boys like potato chips in their lunches.  We all like chips around here.  However, the bags of chips multiply!  I cannot figure out a good way to store these!  I think if I could figure out the chips, then the rest of our pantry would fall magically into place.

organizing issues

our chip storage

My Living Room Organizing Issues:

Video Game Central

While my teenager has most his video gaming stuff in his basement hang out, my husband and younger son also like to play video games.  Our television stand often becomes littered with games cases and controllers.  I can’t seem to find a functional (meaning they’d actually use it) yet attractive way to contain and organize all their video game supplies (cases, controllers, etc).

organizing issues

One of my current attempts

Shoes and Backpacks

Our couch is the emptying zone for after school accessories and shoes tend to get kicked off right by the door.  Unfortunately, the area by the door is too narrow to accommodate a shoe basket.  The backpacks can go on a hook farther from the door but they seldom make it there so I don’t consider the solution a working one.

My Toy Organizing Issues

Honestly, the boys are older so this isn’t a huge deal anymore as they really don’t play with lots of toys anymore.  However, there are 2 items that I seem to have been searching for organizing solutions since before they were born (okay, maybe not that long):  Nerf guns and Cards (mainly Y-Gi-Oh!).

This Nerf gun rack is one of my most re-pinned Pinterest pins but I’ve yet to talk my husband into making one of these for us.  Right now the Nerf guns just kind of live in a heap on the floor of J’s closet.

The cards drive me to the brink of insanity.  Yes, I know about the trading card notebooks like collectors use to store baseball cards.  They make decks with their cards and spread them out and my children aren’t going to take the time to slide these cards in and out of sleeves.  Honestly, I don’t think I could handle that as an adult.

I’ve tried photo boxes.  G does have some cards in a big heap in the photo boxes.  I’ve tried hanging Ziploc bags.  It worked sort of.  My latest attempt which is not really working:  these little drawers I found at The Dollar Tree.

organizing issues

Seemed like a good idea to me but they didn’t really go for it.

Beyblades used to be another issue for us but the boys have mostly outgrown the need to constantly add to that collection.  I ended up simply storing all the Beyblades in their stadiums.  My husband did give the kids old fishing tackle boxes for Beyblades and parts which worked somewhat well when they were very into them.

My Bathroom Organizing Issue

It may sound silly to those of you with big, spacious bathrooms but perhaps my friends with smaller bathrooms will understand.

Extra toilet paper storage!  I can’t figure out a good and convenient way to do this.  My recycled container did not hold up well under the scrutiny of the husband and kids (they thought it too hard to get the rolls out of there).

My Paper Organizing Issue

Kids’ papers!  I don’t mean artwork.  I mean report cards and test results that I am completely torn between keeping (might need these some day) and throwing away (What if the kids want them some day?  Should I shred them for privacy reasons?)

Oddly enough, the bedrooms around here aren’t unorganized so much as just rather messy.  A good cleaning would be enough to put them in order.

Can you identify with any of these issues?  What is your biggest organizing issue?

 

 

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