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#1 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a WOHM and DH is a SAHD.

Personally, I much prefer to live in a tidy, organized, clean environment. DH, not so much. He just doesn't really care about it like I do.

Over the years of our marriage, I have tried to get DH to be cleaner and more organized. I found out that trying to change him was not so successful - it just stressed us both out and didn't produce any results - at least positive ones, anyway - just a lot more fighting!

So, I thought I would just do things myself. But, I get up in the morning, do a bit of homeschool with DS, get ready for work, go to work all day, come home, eat dinner, spend time with my kids, and get them to bed. Currently, I'm also 7 months pregnant, so I'm pretty tired at the end of the day.

I just cannot work, spend time with my family, and keep up with the housework of a messy DH and 3 messy kids. It is not possible. So, I have learned to let things go and not care so much. I have definitely lowered my standards as far as tidiness of the house goes, which I am okay with.

I do spend a rather substantial amount of time on the weekends cleaning and trying to get everything back in order for the week. DH also helps with a lot of this on the weekend. So things aren't terrible in terms of the house, but they aren't great either. And, it seems that DH doesn't mind so much to do the work, but rather, since it just doesn't bother him that much, he lacks the motivation required to constantly work on it and keep it clean throughout the week.

However, we both feel that things have started to get a little too out of hand with the house in the last few weeks. We had a discussion about it this morning, and we both agreed that we need a better system. I told DH that I know he isn't a particularly organized or tidy person, and I'm okay with that, but that if we could come up with some "tools" he could use to help him keep up with things a bit better during the week, that we would all be happier with our living situation.

So, enter MDC I need ideas on easy ways to help my non-organized non-tidy DH become a bit more organized and tidy. Anything that is very complicated or too much at once probably won't work for him, so I am looking for your "tips and tricks" in this area, so to speak.

Here are my ideas so far:
  • Declutter - if there weren't so much stuff to pick up, it sure would be easier to pick up
  • Posted Schedule - if we had some sort of schedule to organize the effort that was posted, I think DH could help it organize his day, even if he weren't rigid about sticking to it
  • Planning chunks of work - if DH plans to flip a load of laundry every morning and a load of dishes every afternoon, it would make it seem more manageable

Any elaboration on the above ideas or other ideas of what has worked for you and your family would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

fly-by-nursing2.gif~Amy, Wife to E, Happy Momma to K 4/04, L 11/05, E 8/07, V 1/10, and J 10/11

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#2 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 01:54 PM
 
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i'm in a similar situation and it really sucks! i think it's important for whichever grown-up is home to teach the children how to respect our home and value our things, be part of a family and pitch in. for that reason, i desperately want dh to get into a more regular clean-up pattern with our boys. i also really don't want our boys to learn that men have it easy and women do all the work.

i've tried helping dh come up with a schedule (over and over!). that hasn't work for us. now we're trying to do more of start-up and shut-down routines, a few things that need to be done at the beginning of the day and at the end (before i come home) more like opening and closing a store, rather than planning out the whole day. i feel like that's going pretty well. it's not ideal - i'm still coming home to dishes and he never clears off the table (so the food mess from lunch is now sticky and hard instead of a quick wipe!), but it's getting better. that's probably like your "chunks of work" idea - and really, a couple 30 minute chunks can cover a lot.
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#3 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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I can completely cympathise with you!

For us, it works well for me to ask DH to do 2 or 3 things each morning. Wash a load of diapers (and hang them up, duh~!) unload the dishwasher etc.

The other thing is that he is repsonsible for at least having a plan and having the right ingredients for dinner- he doesn't have to cook it or have it on the table or anything, but he at least has a plan! Then he cleans up after dinner and I play with DS.

I hate that I have to leave him a list every day (I think he should just *see* that diapers need to be washed, for example) but the truth is, that just isn't how his brain works. It is a lot easier if I identify a few tasks in the morning and let him know that him doing those things would help me out (and a happy, stress free wife is definitly in his best interests!)

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#4 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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Yes, declutter all you can. It is much easier to make a room look tidy if you don't have so many things lying around in the first place. My mantle has four things on it. My foyer table three things. Magazines are in the holders for them. Pile of shoes in a pretty basket by the door.

Once the rooms have space to breathe... it is so much easier to use the broom, dust, mop or vacuum. Then, put out some fresh flowers or make a batch of bread or cookies to give your house an awesome home-y smell.

Also, I have the kids do a ten minute pick up before bed each night... it gets their stuff back to their rooms and out of my way.
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#5 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 02:33 PM
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my DH isnt a SAHD, but he is looking at a job that would allow him to WAH all the time... so this is one of my fears! he is SO not the organized type. his "cleaning" is just throwing things away, or shoving them where they dont belong to get them out of the way. (or just leaving them bc it doesnt bother him!)

I've finally learned (like you) that he can't be changed, that I need to relax my standards *a little* and that there are things we can do to make it easier for him...

so, my tips:

Make it easy for him (and you and DS) to put things away. I am in the process of re-organizing closets and cabinets for this purpose. Baskets on shelves only work if there is nothing in front of the basket that has to be moved before the basket can slide out. Baskets that are as deep as the shelf work well here, or just another place for those straggler items.

LABELS! If you have a random box with light bulbs in it (like I do) then it has to say "LIGHT BULBS" in an easily readable place. otherwise, I get, "Honey, where are the light bulbs!?" and i have to explain with more detail than it's worth. but now i can just say, "in the closet. you'll see it." but, that box has to be easy to get out of the closet, too!

store like items together. DH likes to put all the pyrex (plastic) lids together, even though that wasnt my original plan... but, he puts them away if it's like this ! so, now all lids go together. in the bathroom, he has one drawer for his stuff in the cabinet (i have the rest ) that way, he always knows where to put his things back. he has his own nail clippers, scissors, razors, etc... so if it's missing, it's not my responsibility to find it- he obviously didnt put it away...

can you ask your DS to help come up with places for his toys, or choose a few to give to children who are less fortunate? you're right about the clutter- less to put away means less mess! but, if things all have a place,then its ok to have "stuff"

If he cooks, and is not great with putting things away after, maybe look at where they are supposed to go, and de-clutter those areas? I have a giant food processor in front of the big stock pot. so DH never uses the pot- and if he does use it (bc i got it out for him) then he will not put it away- too much of a pain. now i'm finding a new home for the processor!

do you have a clear area of counter for a dish drainer? if not, can you make a place? if he can at least WASH the dishes after using them, and not nec. have to put them away immediately, that might be a start. at least they're clean! then, you could ask the kids to help put away dishes once they are dry.

The thing that we have the most trouble with is the waiting to do things... the "I was going to do that later..." phrase. it kills me!! so, i just say to him, "if it's not important to you either way, whether it gets done now or later, and it IS important to me that it's done now... do you think we could do it now together?" so, if hedoesnt want to wash the dinner dishes now, but he knows that I wont go to sleep with a sink full of dishes, then if we do it together, at least it's a compromise. I'm not asking him to do it to my standards without help... Or, I ask him to commit to a time that he will do it on his own. then, it's "his choice" (sort of) OK, you dont want to do them now, will you do them in 15 minutes? (or, I ask at what point he'd like to do it, but it has to be a real time, not just "soon," or "later" or "in a minute")

Hmm.. what else? make sure that if things are convenient for him, and you spend time re-organizing to make it easy, that he recognizes the commitment you made to make it that way for him and your family. sometimes they dont realize how important it is to us bc it's not important to them! And, if he knows that you're doing it for him, and he gives input about how things should go, then he has a stake in it.

Good Luck!

The babymoon isn't over! Our long awaited A born 7/18/10, making us laugh and smile every day.
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#6 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hmmm, well, I am now realizing that my house is actually part of the problem.

If you can believe it, I do not have one.single.closet on the entire first floor of my house. I have one closet in each of my three bedrooms, and one of those is tiny. Then I have two closets in my hallway upstairs. One of those serves as a linen closet for the bathroom, and the other serves as a coat closet for coats and other winter items that are out of season.

So, I guess this just begs the point that decluttering is all the more critical, because we just don't have places to put things that are out of the way and organized. If stuff is in the open, even if its in buckets or shelves or something, the kids will tear it apart pretty quickly.

I actually have three kids, ages 5, 4, and 2, plus one on the way. They are a lot of work, to be sure, which does contribute to the fact that DH has less time to deal with housework than he would with, say, just a 5yo. And, if you turn your back for 2 minutes to go flip the laundry, inevitably, the cushions are off the couch, there are a pack of flash cards strewn about all over the living room floor, and somebody is coloring on the wall! I don't really feel this is a "behavior" problem since the kids are so young, but it is frustrating.

And we do work to have them help pick up. It's just that, as I said, between the three of them, they can make such a large mess so quickly, and if anything is out in the "open" (which most of it is a la the lack of closet space), then the kids WILL get into it.

So, I think at this point, focus #1 will be an "opening" and "closing" schedule - I like thinking of it that way! Focus #2 will be a BIG decluttering effort.

Thanks for helping me think through what the challenges are and what I ideas I can use to help overcome them! Please keep the thoughts coming!

fly-by-nursing2.gif~Amy, Wife to E, Happy Momma to K 4/04, L 11/05, E 8/07, V 1/10, and J 10/11

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#7 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by klemomma View Post
hmmm, well, I am now realizing that my house is actually part of the problem.

If you can believe it, I do not have one.single.closet on the entire first floor of my house. I have one closet in each of my three bedrooms, and one of those is tiny. Then I have two closets in my hallway upstairs. One of those serves as a linen closet for the bathroom, and the other serves as a coat closet for coats and other winter items that are out of season.
This just struck me, maybe it's regional, I not only can believe you don't have a closet on your first floor but started to wonder, who does?

Seriously, where would you have a closet on the first floor? Asssuming your first floor is a living room, kitchen and dining room like mine. Maybe you have a master bedroom on the first floor, though, I don't know. I would expect a closet there, yeah.

We also don't have a linen closet, though I have seen those before. Our house just has a closet in each bedroom, so, 3 closets total.
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#8 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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How about a 15 minute timer, so he doesn't feel overwhelmed with any one task?
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#9 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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I'd declutter and get your house in the condition you want it. Then you can just maintain that.

I agree with a pp to make it easy for all of you to keep it clean. Now granted, we have a playroom and as long as the toys are in there, I don't care. That makes it much easier on the kids. And my 7 and 3 year old can pick up their toys without our help.

I don't mind doing the cleaning, I do it all on Saturday mornings. And dh doesn't do laundry, but that's all my choice. But I won't spend my time at home picking up after other people. I think as long as people put things away (where they really go), it helps immensely.
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#10 of 21 Old 11-10-2009, 08:21 PM
 
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It's also worth sitting down and figuring out how important different cleaning tasks are. When the whole place feels like a disaster and he doesn't really have any clear idea of what he wants to do it's key that he knows the single tasks you find most important. What are the things that bug you most when you get home? Dirty laundry? Clutter in the front hall? Unwashed dishes? Don't think about general tasks like "Clean the bedrooms" and come up with a concrete list like "Beds made, clothes in the hampers".

Decluttering will also help a lot, if things don't have places to go it makes the whole process a million times harder.

Just my 2c.

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#11 of 21 Old 11-11-2009, 09:03 AM
 
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This just struck me, maybe it's regional, I not only can believe you don't have a closet on your first floor but started to wonder, who does?

Seriously, where would you have a closet on the first floor? Asssuming your first floor is a living room, kitchen and dining room like mine. Maybe you have a master bedroom on the first floor, though, I don't know. I would expect a closet there, yeah.

We also don't have a linen closet, though I have seen those before. Our house just has a closet in each bedroom, so, 3 closets total.
LOL. No closet on the first floor here either.


We're in the middle of an 8 week stint with SAHD. My dh is a pt college instructor and his 8 week classes just ended....

  • the vacuum shall now be stored in the dining room because if it is accessible then he can use it.
  • I run/empty the dishwasher because a full dishwasher is a major mental hurdle for him.
  • We all (mom + dad + kids) clean up ~5 minutes before dinner and/or bed. We don't always finish the job but 5 minutes is huge....
  • We have decluttered a lot of the trouble areas. Now if we could just do my dh's "desk" region (in the living room ....)
And where would you put a closet on the first floor? We have an itty bitty entry way (but no closed door and no room for more than jackets /mittens.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#12 of 21 Old 11-11-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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And, it seems that DH doesn't mind so much to do the work, but rather, since it just doesn't bother him that much, he lacks the motivation required to constantly work on it and keep it clean throughout the week.

However, we both feel that things have started to get a little too out of hand with the house in the last few weeks. We had a discussion about it this morning, and we both agreed that we need a better system. I told DH that I know he isn't a particularly organized or tidy person, and I'm okay with that, but that if we could come up with some "tools" he could use to help him keep up with things a bit better during the week, that we would all be happier with our living situation.

Here are my ideas so far:
  • Declutter - if there weren't so much stuff to pick up, it sure would be easier to pick up
  • Posted Schedule - if we had some sort of schedule to organize the effort that was posted, I think DH could help it organize his day, even if he weren't rigid about sticking to it
  • Planning chunks of work - if DH plans to flip a load of laundry every morning and a load of dishes every afternoon, it would make it seem more manageable

Any elaboration on the above ideas or other ideas of what has worked for you and your family would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
My DH just doesn't SEE what needs to be done around the house. The pile of laundry doesn't quite call out to him, like it does to me, I guess!

To beat clutter in our living area, I sewed some nice looking cloth boxes that sit on our stairs. Things that need to go upstairs to the bedroom or office get put in the boxes. When they get full they get carried upstairs. So the clutter might not be all over the table, but it's contained in the box until it gets taken care of.

As far as cleaning goes, I made a list of everything that has to be done around the house in a week. The list is about 20 items (some are multiples, like load/unload the dishwasher is on there twice, catbox is twice). If we each pick two things from the list each day, then everything will get done in a week. Some things are quick, 'scoop the catbox', some are a bit more time intensive, 'vacuum the first floor'. But this way he has some say in what he wants to do and most of the work gets done.

Also, my DH is OCD about things being straight, aligned, etc., but a pile of dirty dishes doesn't bother him so it's better for him to focus on making our rooms look nice after everything is decluttered. He likes to 'stage' and dust, so those he does without complaint.

Good luck!

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#13 of 21 Old 11-11-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for more good ideas, ladies!

I really like the idea of identifying the most important tasks to give DH something to focus on. So, it's not like "have the whole house clean" (daunting and probably impossible for any given week day) but "make sure x,y, and z are don" - much more manageable for him, I think!

As for the closets, every house I have ever lived in and all my grandparents' and in-laws' houses have a coat closet on the first floor. We live in Ohio and have cold winters, so maybe it is a regional thing (like coat closets built into houses in climates that have cold seasons that require heavy coats?).

Anyway, coats, boats, and those types of things typically cause a lot of our clutter during the colder months. We do have a coat rack, but things are always falling down or getting tugged down by the kids. Also, without a coat closet, where does a vacuum cleaner go? We have a steam cleaner, a vacuum, and a shop-style vacuum. They all sit in a corner in my living room, which I HATE. But, our basement is a dungeon, and if they were down there, we would def. vacuum less. So, for all you non-closeters, where do you keep your vacuums? Seems like a small issue, but I promise you, it really creates a sense of clutter of the room in a very annoying way.

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#14 of 21 Old 11-11-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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  • declutter declutter declutter
  • make things really easy to put away: storage areas should be no more than 80% full: this book is excellent for making things more dh/child friendly IMO, even if no one has ADD -- the book has visuals of how to organize spaces and storage areas
  • create a check-off list of the daily home care routine for the family using paper, a sheet protector, and a dry erase marker...daily basics are wash and put away a load of laundry, empty dishwasher immediately when dishes are clean, do dishes/put dishes in the dishwasher after every meal and snack, pick stuff off the floor, and swish and swipe (a life changing routine) -- divvy up the daily tasks but keep them on the same page so that everyone can see what needs doing

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#15 of 21 Old 11-11-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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So, for all you non-closeters, where do you keep your vacuums?
I don't understand why one would need more than one floor cleaning appliance for regular use . We keep our vacuum in a closet, and I have a mop and a broom -- that's it for floor cleaning.

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#16 of 21 Old 11-12-2009, 05:36 AM
 
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[Also, without a coat closet, where does a vacuum cleaner go? We have a steam cleaner, a vacuum, and a shop-style vacuum. They all sit in a corner in my living room, which I HATE. But, our basement is a dungeon, and if they were down there, we would def. vacuum less. So, for all you non-closeters, where do you keep your vacuums? Seems like a small issue, but I promise you, it really creates a sense of clutter of the room in a very annoying way.[/QUOTE]


We only have a vacuum cleaner and it sits in a wardrobe ( no closets at all in our house) in another room, but gets back to the living room maybe three times per week...Could you fit in your living room an armoire that can hold all the excess coats and boots and the vacuum cleaner?
Ikea has a nice wardrobe system that you can customise to your specific needs and that would solve the visual clutter problem. You can choose from a variety of door styles and knobs as well.
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/ca...bedroom/10997/

Not ideal to have it in the living room but in this case I would go with function over esthetics.
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#17 of 21 Old 11-12-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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I don't understand why one would need more than one floor cleaning appliance for regular use . We keep our vacuum in a closet, and I have a mop and a broom -- that's it for floor cleaning.
i think "vacuums" was plural because she was asking multiple people! if people have multiple vacuums, i'm very interested to hear about that. i guess someone could have a regular upright for carpet and a stick vacuum for hard floors, but a canister vac for both would be simpler. (plus stick vacuums suck, or don't suck, depending on how you think about it - but they don't work very well.)
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#18 of 21 Old 11-12-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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I kept our vacuum in my closet for the past 5 years but just last weekend cleaned out the guest room closet and moved it there

I think I live in an area with older houses, probably. We're in the cold climate (northern MA) but my house was built in 1905. We don't have a coat closet at all, nor do any of my neighbors. Near the front door is a couple of coathooks we use in the winter (coats go in our clothes closets in the summer). There is a back hall that could be used as a mudroom but for various reasons it's not right now.
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#19 of 21 Old 11-12-2009, 12:37 PM
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Hmm- I guess I forgot how astonished I was when we looked at our house before buying. We live in a 1940s cape that used to be all one floor living, with a walk up attic. previous owners added a "bump out" upstairs, and now we have 3 full BRs and a full bath up there. thank goodness! BUT, the downstairs originally WAS the only living/dining/sleeping space- so we have a coat closet, a closet in the dining room (which used to be a bedroom), an additional closet in the hallway with shelves, and one in the office (used to be another bedroom)

We still keep the shop vac in the basement, even if it is a dungeon down there in DHs workshop! that thing seems to have a mind of it's own, on or off- and its ugly hose is always all over the place. so, it's banished to the basement. any mess big enough to warrant the shop vac is worth the taking the stairs to he**. same thing if we had a steamer- if you know you do it once per week/month/semi-annually then just bring it up those times. the lack of visual clutter might make lugging it up worth it!

If we didnt have many closets, I think I'd do what a PP suggested, and use an armoire of some sort, or even a small dresser that was painted/stained to coordinate with the decor in one of the rooms. (you could even store toys in it in the dining room, if you used the top as a "buffet" or sorts) something as simple as a few drawers could make it easy for the kids to dump some toys in during a 5 minute clean up. (BTW, i dont think you have a behavior problem either- they're just being kids!) Could you, though, have "them" come up with the new practice of putting away a few toys before starting with new ones? not a whole house clean up, just put away like 2 of the 7 that are out. could they be guided into coming up with that on their own?

I have seen in other threads that a small dresser, or even night stand with 3 drawers in an entry (i.e. next to the door on a wall, not that you have to have a real foyer for this) can hold scarves, mittens, hats, other small outerwear items. that could open some space in that upstairs closet for some other things that need a place that maybe are downstairs now?

the armoir could really serve you well, even if it's only 20" or so wide. You could put it in the corner currently occupied by your vacuums! Maybe put boots and the regular vac on the bottom, have a high bar for grown-up coats, maybe some hooks on the door (or on the outside, low, closer to the wall) for little kid coats and some shelves in the middle to hold anything- basket of toys? gloves?


sorry- i love thinking about organizing...!

The babymoon isn't over! Our long awaited A born 7/18/10, making us laugh and smile every day.
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#20 of 21 Old 11-12-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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I took some pictures of our containment solutions to the 'northern Minnesota have coats/boots/mittens but no closet' this morning, I'll try to remember to upload/post them after I leave work.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#21 of 21 Old 11-12-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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#1 - Make sure EVERYTHING has a place.

Good luck!

Sgt. Renninger, Ofc. Owens, Ofc. Griswold, Ofc. Richards, Deputy Mundell
Gone but not fogotten.
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