Monday, August 31, 2009

Our new organising systems

Beloved has been away this weekend finishing up the roof rack for the 4wd in his father's shed in Smithton. We need it for our trip to the mainland in October. We miss him terribly!

In his absence I have been filling (overfilling?) my free time with an uber-organising session, getting school tweaked and household chores streamlined. I have created a new system for our jobs with a laminated page stuck up each day with the name and themes of each day.

Our "themes" are as follows:

Sunday: Gardening, building and outdoor work

Monday: Laundry and art

Tuesday: Office work (budget updates etc) and crafts

Wednesday: Errands and poetry

Thursday: Cleaning and Nature

Friday: Cooking and Music

Saturday: Rest and Worship

and BOY, am I ready for that by Friday night!

Why have I created our "theme days"? To break it down and release the pressure AND keep me focused. If I find a FANTASTIC craft that I want to do with the kids, I can schedule it on a coming Tuesday (this week, we're making foot and hand prints for Daddy to have on Father's Day!) rather than

(a) INTENDING to do it and never getting around too it, feeling all the maternal guilt involved in that equation OR

(b) sitting in the middle of COMPLETE chaos finger painting with the kids, having a rollicking good time and - no dinner, late bedtimes, no clean underwear and a paint covered obstacle course in the lounge room.

Big honest moment, the second one is me inside and out! Someone asked me once how I find time for schooling amidst all the housework and taking care of babies. I said, that's easy! It is finding time for HOUSEWORK amid all the schooling and babies I find hard!

On our "day of the week" posters I have a bunch of adhesive velcro dots. I also have a set of envelopes with "Jobs" in them, small cards (about two inches square I guess) with a job on each one. As we do the jobs, we take them off the poster and put them on the envelope. When someone asks if they can do a job for me, I can just look at the poster and give them one. At the end of the job, THEY get to take the card down. It also means I will not get to the end of the day completely forgetting some essential task, it helps me keep focused and on track - something I struggle with! It is also better than assigning a job list for each of the kids at this stage. With such young ones, we need more of an "all in together" system where I can assign jobs according to attention spans and energy, which can vary each day. They also need to work along side me most of the time.

I also have a laminated "ZONE" poster for each of the four "ZONES" in my house, together will a bunch of little jobs that need to be done in that particular area. For example, our current "ZONE" is the bedrooms. I remember that because it is up on my cupboard. I glanced at it this morning and remembered that I wanted to flip the mattresses this week which I did as I changed the sheets. Now, some people keep things like this in their head. I don't. I need visual aids people!

None of this is terribly new to us, most of it was in our household organiser but there are days when I don't open it, or days where I need my reminders to be more flexible. This is working for us at the moment anyway.

A big discovery today was I don't always have time for everything on my list! Here I was just assuming it was because I was lazy and got sidetracked all the time. I remember today. I DON'T remember sitting down. I DON'T remember getting sidetracked. I HAVEN'T gotten everything on the list done. But I did get the important things done and I know tomorrow is a new day. At the end of the day, if I prayed with my kids, if I sang with my kids, if I read to my kids (we read the second chapter of 101 Dalmatians!) and nobody is stuck to the floor or suffering from typhoid, all the rest is details!

Now this sounds horribly chaotic and complex, but it is a system that has been many years in the making and is continually evolving and being tweaked. If anyone has a specific question, I would be happy to try and answer it. Blogs and websites have given me insight into how others organise their time and homes and have helped me greatly.

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