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Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Toy Organization

We’re trying something new with the toys around here.

I had noticed that the toys my kids actually played with were much smaller in number than the number that were constantly laying all over the house. Tiny Barbie shoes, toys that were too “young” for them, play dishes…it was everywhere. I was tired of it.

I may have seen this idea somewhere, and if I did, let me know where it was! But, I gave each child a plastic storage bin and had them pick their favorite toys until it was full (Audrey nowhere near filled hers, interestingly). When they were done, I took out a few more I knew they would miss, and a few I would *like* them to play with, and then we boxed up the rest and put them in the garage.

Hoping for several outcomes with this:

-Anything left out belongs in somebody’s box or in the location I set up for it, so it’s easy for them to pick up their toys when it’s time.

-There are a few things in the garage that I could see us getting out again, but quite honestly, much of it is junk that I suspect we’ll realize we can throw out in a couple months.

-When they go to play, they aren’t so overwhelmed with “stuff” that they fight and get overwhelmed and frustrated.

-They don’t end up emptying the storage bins just to get to the toys they really want.

So we’ll see how this goes. So far I love it!

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Need more time?

Since Tessa was born, I’ve been surprised at how fast the days fly by. It seems before I fully wake up for the morning, 3 or 4 days have passed and I don’t know what day or even what month it is. I keep forgetting to do important things that actually have a timeframe.

When we started Maeve Bridal, I subscribed to all kinds of email newsletters. I have no formal business training so I had to educate myself! One of the best resources I found was the E-Myth Insider. Since I haven’t been working for several months I had quit reading these regularly, but I opened one this morning and was reminded again of how applicable business sense is to managing a home effectively.

5 Ways to Eliminate Time Bandits” was the title that caught my eye. Ooh, I could use some new thoughts on that subject! Here’s the meat of the article and how I processed it for our home:

5 Time Bandit Busting Tips

  • Prioritize and Stay Focused Evaluate your daily tasks and prioritize. If nothing else gets done today, what are the one or two items that absolutely must be done? The most successful CEOs of Fortune 500 companies only focus on one or two priorities for a given day.

(My mom has told me that she always tried to accomplish one thing and clean one thing per day. You really can’t do much more than that some days when you have little kids, and finishing at least one task is always encouraging. I have to remind myself of this one, because I tend to try to do too many things and then crash and burn at the end of the day, or else get frustrated because I can’t get everything done. Slow and steady…)

  • Delegate as much as you can. Let go of the idea that nobody can do what you do the way that you do it! With the right systems in place, you can properly delegate the tactical work that keeps you from working on your business. There is critical distinction however, between delegating and abdicating, and you can read more about that here.

(We have been implementing allowance and chores for the first time around here. Consistency is always the challenge, but we’re making progress. I’ve also reorganized the girls’ toys so they can keep them clean by themselves – I’ll probably post about this soon. I’m hopeful it will cut way down on the clutter.)

  • Set and meet deadlines for yourself and your employees. Set reasonable deadlines for all jobs and stick to them. Hold yourself accountable just as you would an employee. It’s true; work expands to fill the available time so set expectations.

(I often tell Hannah, “The next time I see you, I want ______ to be finished.” She sometimes has a difficult time staying on task, so I’m working with her to finish something before moving on to something else. Also, it helps me to have a goal time to have everyone (including me) dressed and ready, with hair done. Once we start doing homeschool bookwork consistently, we’ll have a goal time to get started each day. Meeting those deadlines is hard some days, but that has to be okay too. )

  • Don’t postpone unpleasant tasks. Those “bitter pills” that you put off can come back to haunt you in so many ways. A situation may become more acute with time, not to mention the fact that it will be sitting in the back of your mind (or somebody else’s mind) becoming a distraction. It’s best to take care of important matters that are unpleasant immediately. Resolution is so much better than wasting precious time wondering “what if…”

(Laundry, anyone? 🙂 Flylady talks a lot about this subject too.  If you have something to do and are putting it off, it really just feels so much better to take care of it. The mountain of clean laundry that’s been in my room for oh…5 days…is calling my name here. Hmm…Tessa’s cloth diapers arrive tomorrow – I better stay caught up!)

  • Learn to say “No.” Beware of over commitment! You are the only one who can truly protect your time. Learn the art of saying “no” politely. If this seems daunting, try this: when confronted with an opportunity, don’t commit immediately. Take a moment to listen to your intuition and refer to your schedule; you may find that declining is the reasonable answer. People know you’re busy, it’s okay to set boundaries.

(This is one I am pretty good at, maybe too good. My sister Holly thinks I would stay in my house for weeks at a time if she’d let me…she might be right some weeks! 🙂 I enjoy our routine and the quiet of naptime…sometimes a little too much! Plus my house gets out of control when I’m gone very much – too much time spent getting everybody ready to take care of things. It’s just a season though. I can’t believe how fast Tessa is growing. Far too soon I’ll be running kiddos around. I like the quiet for now.

Any thoughts? How do these things apply in your home?

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