Let’s Focus on the FULL! 7 Day Organizational Challenge

organizationchallengeintroSo glad you are doing this FULL Challenge with me! Sometimes I get so bogged down I can’t concentrate on anything in my routine. I just need to feel like things are tidy and organized and ready for me.  When things are too chaotic in my home – it impacts everything. It impacts my desire to workout, to plan ahead, and even my nutrition.  This week I want to go through and make sure I have my sanity in my home so I can focus on my family and my FITness journey. Being FIT is so much more than a number on a scale. It is about balance, it is about feeling full and confident in every area of your life – including your home!

So each day this week we will go through and work on a few areas of the home. I’ll be working right along with you. Just like a workout, you make this work for you. If you want to get a sitter and work through the week without the kids around – AWESOME. If you want to just set the timer and do 10 minutes here and there throughout the day – that works too. This is your “organizing” workout so make it work for you!

There will be tips and ideas shared here and I’d love for you to share yours!  Share your before and after pictures. Share your inventive ideas on how to reduce, reuse, recycle.  Let’s make this as fun as possible ladies!  We’ll feel good when we are finished.

* Recycle what you can, Reuse/rehome what you can, Donate what you can, and trash the rest.

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 1

organizationchallengeDAY1Effective Ways to Purge – How to Cut the Emotional Ties (by guest blogger Leslie!)  

I have always been emotionally attached to things – sentimental shall we say.  And, well, being a teacher/hoarder of all things “I MAY NEED” didn’t help the situation either 😉 Then, in moving 5 different places in the last almost 9 years (including an interstate move) and now with two additional kids in tow, my sentimental value has become much more focused and I am able to purge as needed.  Man, it feels SO good!  About once every year (or let’s be honest, every 2 years or so ;-)) we go through the whole house, room by room (as we have time << that’s why it sometimes doesn’t happen for 2 years! HA!).  We donate what we can, give away or sell the rest.  I used to have A LOT of things sitting around, and my oldest son cured me of that!  Haha! When he was a baby – he was a messer.  He’d get into anything I had sitting around. So, I put everything away.  And you know what? I liked it a lot better that way!  It was easier to clean the house and things got put away a lot faster because there wasn’t so much junk everywhere. Haha!

I find that I have the most peace when I have things in my home that bring me happiness. There is something to be said for only keeping things that hold special meaning or are particularly useful…. And if they are, then give them a good, labeled home.  The old adage “In with one, out with two” really does a mind good. Haha! Although I’m not quite there yet, it is a great idea that works for me.  It is amazing how much less stress I have and how much less anxiety I feel when I don’t have “stuff” sitting around because it has no home.  Kids know where things belong and hubby can help pick up and keep things in order when he knows where things are stored too. Am I 100% where I want to be on this? Absolutely, no way! But that’s the direction I’m striving for.  And when my living room begins to look like toys exploded everywhere – even after we cleaned – well I know it’s time to get purging!

To break the emotional ties, when looking at something – ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I used it in the past 12 or 18 months?
  • Does it still work? Is it damaged in any way (or are parts missing)? Can it be repaired?
  • If it’s clothes – do they make me feel good? Does it still fit? If they make me feel the slightest bit negative, out they go!
  • Does this item being here bring me joy or cause me stress?

When working in one space, pull everything out and sort into piles – keep, recycle/rehome, donate, trash – then when you are done, you are only putting the things that are in the keep pile back into the space.  Actually do something with the rest of the stuff – deliver where it needs to go! It does no one any good for you to do all that hard work and just leave it sitting around longer 😉

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 2

organizationchallengeDAY2The Power of the 10 Minute Tidy (by guest blogger Leslie!)

This works so great for anyone – even the kiddos!  Set the timer for 10 minutes.  Pick a spot to work on.  Then work (only on what you intended) until the timer beeps!  Every time I do this I am amazed at how much I can get done when I am focused on one thing for 10 minutes.  Maybe too much multitasking or off-track behavior in my life? Haha! “Oooh look, that pair of shoes I forgot I had!  [1 hour later] Oh yea, I was supposed to clean out my closet. I’ll finish that tomorrow. I’m pooped!” Sound familiar?  Oh good, it’s not just me 😉

Ideally, do THREE 10 minute tidys in the day.  Think about that – only 30 minutes and you can get a lot done!  Pick your problem area and start there.  It doesn’t have to be an organizing task, but anything that needs to get done on your list. For me, I hate cleaning bathrooms.  My bathrooms are both kinda small and I can get a good jump on them in the 10 minutes.  Plus, it helps with my frame of mind “I only have to do this for 10 minutes!” But usually I am almost done and just finish up quickly after the timer goes off.  Win-win!

This also works with my kids – we set the timer and clean up before Dad gets home.  We can get a lot done and the kids think it’s fun to race the clock!

This constant picking up and making time – even if only in 10 minute increments – really helps to break up the monotony of organizing and cleaning.  You’re not stuck doing one thing all day and it keeps you focused on getting the job at hand done.  It also helps you find the time to tackle some of those “to-do” items WAAAY down under the “when I have time (HA!)” section.  Not losing focus – there is power in the 10!

Try it today and let me know what ya think!

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 3

organizationchallengeDAY3Managing Kid Clutter – Around the House

So kid clutter? Is it taking you over? I am going to spend two days talking about kid stuff. Today we talk about the junk that is ALL.OVER.THE.HOUSE.  Tomorrow we will focus specifically on their rooms.

Part One:  Let’s talk artwork. Yipes.  This is a hard one. How many of your kids come home with piles of cute stuff. Ok – now let’s talk for real. Some of it is super cute right? Some of it – not so much. So let’s start by going through and getting out the things that are really special. You know – the handprint lion or the little rabbits made with thumbprints. Pull out the stuff that really means a lot to you and be ok with getting rid of some of the other stuff.

I had one baby box of things that I collected while I was pregnant with each kiddo and maybe from their first year of life.  That box was getting OVERRUN with artwork from school. So…I decided to get more organized. I went and got an expandable file folder. And now I am putting my FAVORITE and only my favorite pieces into a file for each year.  I haven’t put tabs in but I can just count back. I did a space for every year starting with first year of preschool. If it doesn’t fit in there, it doesn’t stay.  I think they sometimes get one or two HUGE pieces of art. I’m going to pick my favorite and go get a frame for that. I have a space in the basement that I’m hoping to convert into an art wall (but that is for another day). Right now I am sliding the best pieces of art into place by year and the 1-2 large pieces that I don’t want to fold will sit run under the file folder.

artworkstorage

Part Two:  Chores.  I think this is a good time to think about getting your kiddos involved in the organizing.  Create a chore list that is applicable by age and let your kiddos help you clean up.  Organize it so that they know what they are expected to keep tidy. Here is a great link to help you know what is acceptable for each age.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting-challenges/motivating-kids-to-clean-up/age-appropriate-chores

I won’t go into too much detail here. Here is a pic of my daughter’s chores. I have her focus on some educational chores (read a book, practice piano etc) and then have a place for her main chore – cleaning her room. This is her room, her area, her responsibility. She knows she can leave it throughout the day but every night after bath, she must clean it up. She knows this and it works for us. There are tons of ways to do chore charts from velcro pocket charts to sticker charts. We played around with a few until we settled on the priorities I wanted for her and the way I wanted it to work. I haven’t started this with Jackson. For him, I just ask 1-2 times throughout the day for help picking up.  I haven’t started a chart for him yet because he isn’t quite ready.  But I be sure to involve him in any picking up that I can.  11665603_10153004762752883_4677279820034369962_n (1)

And be sure to lead by example. Show them that you like things tidy by putting your stuff away too. We talk about why we clean up and we have specific times of day we pick up certain areas (ie we clean up the basement before Daddy comes home so he sees that we are responsible – I talk about this with them and they all want to clean up before Daddy gets home).

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 4

organizationchallengeDAY4Managing Kid Clutter – The Kid Rooms

Where do we begin in here? Well – our kid rooms get taken over with toys.  It can be a disaster area. So today I tackle their rooms. For some of us, this may take more than one day 😉 But alas let’s get started.

I love this part of the week for two reasons:

  1. You involve your kiddo in this one! So that you have some time to talk about what you are doing and why you’re doing it
  2. You have real opportunity to help others by donating children’s books, toys, and clothes!

 

Part One:  Purge clothes that don’t’ fit or are stained

Start by going through the drawers and closets. If there are clothes that are too little  – put in a donate bucket. If it is too dirty/stained up – go ahead and toss it!

Part Two:  Purge toys that haven’t been touched

Look at your kiddos’ toys. If there is a toy that hasn’t been played with in a bit (maybe 6months-1 year) go ahead and donate it. So two choices depending on kids age.  Do this when they are around and talk about why you are donating. Or if you think your kiddo won’t get it, go ahead and save this part for a time to do by yourself.  Those toys that are just junky (ie McDonald’s toys and $1 bin from tArget- toss it!) I also keep a little bucket of these in my closet and when I need a random distractor I’ll pull it out then – like a little road trip or something. But I get it out of their room and put all in one place.

Part Three: Purge books that are getting too young for your kiddo

Same as before.  If you think a book is too “young” for your kiddo now – share it by donating!  Go through and take these out to make room for more mature books.  I know it can be hard to get rid of books that you read to them when they were little. Maybe pick ONE book that was their absolute favorite and keep it in your expandable file folder and then be kind and share the rest!  You will be glad you did!

 

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 5

organizationchallengeDAY5Using Underutilized Space (for me, my hall closet)

That office.  Man it has been driving me nuts. We don’t have an entire room dedicated to an office so we had to get creative.  One night we realized our “budget” system was out of control. It is because we don’t have a routine for incoming bills, paperwork, filing etc.  So….this is where I started this week.  I decided to make a random closet that was full of junk – our office central.

Here is what I did:

  1. Went through and pulled everything out. The things that I don’t know what to do with were put in a stack for my hubby (he’ll be sooo thrilled when he gets home).
  2. Got out a trash bag and started trashing anything I didn’t need.
  3. Organizing the things that had to stay in the closet at the top.
  4. Found 4 containers for the bottom shelf:

-office supplies

-container for receipts to be recorded

-box for papers that need to be checked out, filed, or thrown away

-place for bill that need immediate attention

  1. I then cleaned out the desk drawer so it only had supplies in it for me since I use the desk.
  2.  Went through and took out all the “kids” stuff (handwriting books, crayons, markers etc) and placed them in their own box on the book shelves so when Mommy is working they have a work basket too.

So I think the office is done.  What about you?  How can you tidy up your office space today?  Is there any underutilized space you can find in your home?

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 6

organizationchallengeDAY6Bills, Papers, and that JUNK MAIL problem

Ok we really struggle here. My husband and I need a system. Now that we have that office organized from yesterday, we can go in and really set up something that works. Now – you have to find something that works for you!  I’m gonna pull together some ideas today and maybe you can share your ideas. Pick one and try it. This is just like anything else – we may find we need to tweak our new system but the idea is progress not perfection right?

For us – I turned our closet into a mini command central. Now after looking on Pinterest I saw these can be quite the ordeal but I’m just doing a mini one.  For me, I needed a place to store receipts to log for our budget. THe goal is for my hubby to come home each day and put any receipts there. I have a place for papers that need attention and action – school registration forms, bills etc. Then I have a basket for mail that he needs to go through – it can be placed in the trash or in the “needs attention” basket.

So today – make a challenge today to go through the looming stack of mail and create a USEABLE system that works for you. Maybe you put it on your calendar to sort through your mail every Wednesday – placing bills in a ‘to pay’ folder and other papers in a ‘to file’ folder. You can also create a ‘needs action’ folder for school forms, registrations, and paperwork for kids and you.  Maybe you need to set up containers so that you have a place to sort the paper you have incoming.

A couple of other “paper ideas.”  Budget! Do you need a system for your budget? Do you need a place to drop receipts so you can log them in?  Do you need a budget calendar so you know what ‘electronic” bills are hitting and when they hit?

Again I am just going to be sharing a system that we are going to try.  I don’t want to burden with you tons of options.  I filtered through and decided this would be best for us.

  1. Create a blank calendar on your computer and do this electronically or print out.  On the calendar write in all the automatic payments you receive in the month (bills out and credits in).  Write it in so you know when to expect it.
  2. Place a star on 2-4 places where you want to update your actual budget document (this could correlate with paying bills).  So on these days, you go through your calendar and you take out/put in the money from your budget document.  Also go through your receipts container and subtract those from yoru budget document.
  3. Keep a post it by your receipts container for any checks (paying babysitter or offering at church or whatever) that get taken out that don’t’ have an official receipt.
  4. At the end the month check your balances and set up next month’s calendar – print and repeat.

Now a lot could be said about using a budget and maybe that will be an entire week another month.  But hopefully this gets a system for you so you know what to expect and when to expect it.

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 7

organizationchallengeDAY7Your Sneaky Problem Area

We all have one.  One closet, one drawer, one box that is OUTTA CONTROL.  The kind where we warn the kids “Don’t open that! I don’t know what may fall out on your head!!”  Today, let’s resolve to tackle OUR sneaky little problem area by using some of the tools we’ve talked about this week.  Post a picture of your before (if you dare!! Come on you know you wanna!!) and your progress…. or your after!!)

7 Day Organizational Challenge – Day 4

organizationchallengeDAY4Managing Kid Clutter – The Kid Rooms

Where do we begin in here? Well – our kid rooms get taken over with toys.  It can be a disaster area. So today I tackle their rooms. For some of us, this may take more than one day 😉 But alas let’s get started.

I love this part of the week for two reasons:

  1. You involve your kiddo in this one! So that you have some time to talk about what you are doing and why you’re doing it
  2. You have real opportunity to help others by donating children’s books, toys, and clothes!

Part one:  Purge clothes that don’t’ fit or are stained

Start by going through the drawers and closets. If there are clothes that are too little  – put in a donate bucket. If it is too dirty/stained up – go ahead and toss it!

Part two:  Purge toys that haven’t been touched

Look at your kiddos’ toys. If there is a toy that hasn’t been played with in a bit (maybe 6months-1 year) go ahead and donate it. So two choices depending on kids age.  Do this when they are around and talk about why you are donating. Or if you think your kiddo won’t get it, go ahead and save this part for a time to do by yourself.  Those toys that are just junky (ie McDonald’s toys and $1 bin from tArget- toss it!) I also keep a little bucket of these in my closet and when I need a random distractor I’ll pull it out then – like a little road trip or something. But I get it out of their room and put all in one place.

Part three: Purge books that are getting too young for your kiddo

Same as before.  If you think a book is too “young” for your kiddo now – share it by donating!  Go through and take these out to make room for more mature books.  I know it can be hard to get rid of books that you read to them when they were little. Maybe pick ONE book that was their absolute favorite and keep it in your expandable file folder and then be kind and sahre the rest!  You will be glad you did!