This SAHM's getting organized! January '05 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-17-2005, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not feeling too organized here .....

but have successfully shopped for groceries for a full week at a time, for two weeks in a row! Whooppee!
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Old 01-17-2005, 10:32 PM
 
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Yay! A new thread! I had read the old one last night and was too tired to post, figured the week was ending anyway, but I'd love to join now... ( Hi, Breathe! )

My intro: I'm a SAHM mostly, with a few paying gigs here & there in our patchwork life. Most recently started working as a doula - the great thing about that has been having a partner I've worked w/in setting up the business, which forces me to stay on track somewhat. My one child is my dd who will be three next month. Dh also works from home, which is a mixed blessing - means *all* of us are around to mess things up 24/7! :LOL

My current goals
- weekly schedules, for dh & I, that loosely chart out the division of labor and time (we have to make this up for ourselves since he's self-employed).

- menus/shopping lists: We'd been doing great with this for a while last year. You've inspired me to go back to it.
I actually have a shopping list on the computer we just printed copies of and have to circle what we run out of. It's organized like the store is too, corny but helpful!
Tonight I did do the menus thing for the week and I feel so much less confused about the week! Forces me to think about other things happening each day.

- bills supposedly get paid twice a month, 10th and 25th, whether they need it or not, lol.

My major problem is keeping supplies where I can ever find them - like stamps, etc. I desperately need to organize my officey area! And I resonated w/whoever was just talking about paperwork systems. I have a system for bills but nothing else.

I loved your ideas and energy around stuff! Thanks for the inspiration...

mb

p.s. About balance - I'm also constantly looking at my motivation for getting things done (anything). I do best when I focus on what will help the family's life run smoothly, keep stressful feelings down, allow us to do more of the things that matter. BUT I also have a deeply ingrained ethic (from my mom) of having an inviting home for folks to visit - this doesn't have to mean clean, but if there is a certain level of chaos I don't feel like it's welcoming. And so what I'm trying to say is, I organize the place when people are coming over - I do it more to impress others than for myself. : I have a feeling this is messed up but I'm just admitting it. And sometimes I'll invite ppl over just so I'll have to clean up! :LOL I'm weird. That's my intro.

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Old 01-18-2005, 12:31 AM
 
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mamabutterfly, when we started cleaning this weekend, my 3yo dd asked, "Who's coming over?" : I totally identify with the everyone-24/7 mess situation. Back when I was in grad school and dh and I were both working PT, we were stressed and had to hand dd back and forth a lot, but we had MUCH less housework than we do now with all of us at home. (What a concept: You leave, do something else all day, and come home to find your home in exactly the same state you left it in HOURS ago! My mom says that when all 7 of her older kids were home in the summer, she tried to spend every day out. They would groan and say, "I'm tired of the zoo." )

Oye Yemaya oloto
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Old 01-18-2005, 12:38 AM
 
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I am in! I did some grocery shopping today that will take us through most if not all of the week and I have most of the kids stuff ready for tomorrow for school and preschool. I am a SAHM but tomorrow is my first night of class ( I go twice a week at night) so I am going to get more organized while dd is at preschool. My goals are to keep the house clean enough that we don't have to deep clean every weekend, not be late for the school bus due to disorganization, and not to be at the grocery store more than twice this week. I am getting my crockpot ready so we can eat decent meals (hopefully!) We'll see how the week goes....
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:45 PM
 
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Just wanted to check in here and see how everyone is doing. Our meal planning went really great last week. We only ordered out once, and that's because my mom, sister and sister's boyfriend came over.

We are going out of town on Thursday, so our plan is just to eat leftovers until then so that the fridge is pretty bare when we leave, and then I'll start another weekly meal plan when we get back.

We found a used entertainment armoire that we are going to pick up when we get back next week. I am very excited, not only because it will be nice to close the tv up, but also because it's going to force a major cleaning purge in two rooms: In the living room because I'll have to clean out all the videos/dvds/remotes/wires that we currently have in the tv cabinet. But also in the bedroom because my friend is taking back the clothing armoire we've been using of hers, which will force me to clean that out (and it is full of all sorts of crap that we don't use), and then the cabinet that the tv is currently on will be moved into our bedroom. Phew, a lot of moving and sorting and cleaning, but major spots of clutter will be cleared when we're done.
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Old 01-19-2005, 12:27 AM
 
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subscribing!

(wonder if we're losing people with the weekly threads . . . maybe monthly would be better?)
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Old 01-19-2005, 02:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breathe
(wonder if we're losing people with the weekly threads . . . maybe monthly would be better?)
I accidentally posted on the old old thread yesterday. Then I realized there was a new thread, but had to read through the old new thread first to catch up. Speaking of getting organized. :-)

-------------

Dh and I kind of lapsed last week, but are doing great this week. Today we (collectively) got 9.5 hours of work done and kept the apartment clean without it feeling like a big deal or requiring us to squish dd. Then we bundled up (it was 11 degrees out) and got dd and ourselves out for some exercise (yes, she looked a little odd riding along on her scooter dressed in several layers). Made a one-pan dinner that included vegetables and brown rice. (Admittedly, the brown rice came ready-cooked from a Chinese place, but we're not trying to be Martha Stewart here. Boil our own rice? :LOL) Cleaned up after it and are now about to go to bed at 11:30. Yay!

Oye Yemaya oloto
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Old 01-19-2005, 03:27 AM
 
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Oh, I will play!! I have been a sahm for 8 years now. I homeschool my boys.
I have been very very lazy for a long time. My mom was a sahm of nine kids and kept a very tidy house, with dinner always on the table at 5:30 and clothes always washed and folded on Mondays and Wednesdays. She never seemed to have her own idnetitiy or interests.
I think this caused resentment in me, and I have fought it.
But, just this past month, I have finally come to the realization that keeping the house is part of my job, and I need to apply time to it every day, just like I would a paying job. So, my goal is to put in at least 2 hours per day for cleaning, 1 hour per day for aprojext like refinishing furniture or making Xmas gifts; something that contributes to the hosuehold. Also 1 hour per day with the kids, schooling or playing or reading to them, and 1 hour per day writing, because I want to get things published.

So, I started this three weeks ago.
I dont want to go into what I have accomplished, but let me say it has been phenomenal!! I will post all about it later
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Old 01-19-2005, 04:29 AM
 
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Things are mildly chaotic here this week because we are having some work done to our kitchen and bathrooms! It's going to be a funky week but then our house will be so much nicer. I did get dinner on the table to night (at 6:30 ) and did one load of laundry and got it put away.
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Old 01-19-2005, 10:28 AM
 
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Doing pretty well here this week considering that my dd is sick so I've got a super-cling-on-baby. I've gotten pretty good at doing most things with her on my back...mainly vacuuming, cleaning up the kitchen, laundry (laudry is a little tricky because of the bending to the dryer factor).

Big Sisters is coming today to pick up a BIG load of stuff that I culled. Feels SOOOO good to see it go. As I'm typing this I'm looking around to see if there is anything else I can put out for them!

Hosting playgroup on Monday and my downstairs bathroom is cleaned from top to bottom (by my standards at least...which is basically that it looks moderately clean and there is no major grime)...kitchen is relatively in order (DH has been GREAT about helping me clean up the kitchen every night after dinner).

This Friday I have a mother's helper starting. She is my next door neighbor, 12 years old. She's going to come over for 2 hours after school so I can try to do a project from start to finish...instead of stopping at the peak of my mess, when dd wakes from her nap.

Speaking of dd...I better get back to work before she wakes up.

Keep up the great work!

~Erin
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Old 01-19-2005, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oooh, a mother's helper .... I had one over the summer. How much are you paying her? That would really help out around here.
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Old 01-19-2005, 01:36 PM
 
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Wow, has it been a week already? I was sooo busy cleaning and organizing that I didn't notice.

I managed to do the dishes everyday so that my kitchen was clean upon waking. It is looking MUCH better around here and my friend actually noticed, YEAH!

This week I want to continue putting things in their place and finding a place for things that don't have a place.
I want to continue taking things we don't need to the free box.
I want to always wipe off the high-chair so that it is clean by the next meal and I'm not scrambling to clean it at mean time.
I want to try to keep up with the laundry and the play area.
Also continue putting babe in backpack during DDs nap time and working on the yard in prep for spring.

I love this thread! Thanks.
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Old 01-19-2005, 03:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morebabies
This week I want to continue putting things in their place and finding a place for things that don't have a place.
Definately - this is a serious problem I have, like a problem in my brain's hardwiring. Once something, anything, is put down in a certain spot, I start to believe that's where it belongs. And if it's been there for a week, I am convinced that is its home. We moved in September into this house. Certain boxes didn't budge during the first week - and now they are like pieces of furniture in my mind! :LOL

I've been trying to think objectively as if it were someone else's home and I was analyzing their 'systems.' In our kitchen, my mom mostly unpacked for us on moving day, so she could make dinner. Some placements don't make any sense for us, but it's like they were sacred & I couldn't move them, kwim?

This morning I went to put laundry in the linen closet, and I said - What the heck's going on in here?! Dd was playing next door w/her dollhouse, and it took me all of about 10 minutes to straighten it. Now it makes total sense, so pleasant and usable. Wasn't so hard, lol!

Good job everyone on your efforts, however teeny!

mb

p.s. Uh, I should say though that my noble menu efforts did not get off the ground. I made the menu, went grocery shopping yesterday... and then at 4pm got called in to a birth. Ah, well. El hombre propone, Dios dispone as my old boyfriend used to say.

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Old 01-19-2005, 10:27 PM
 
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Hey mamabtterfly! Long time, no e!

I'm with you on things getting stuck when they land . . . We have this ledge in between our kitchen and family room where EV-ER-REE-THING gets piled. And I go to de-clutter it and I just get so overwhelmed . . . "Well, the nail clippers are here so I can grab them quickly when ds is asleep, and the camera is up here so ds won't play with it, and these cards are up here to remind me to write thank-you notes" and so on and so on, and everything just STAYS!

So I've felt like Supermom this week bc we have endured -- actually, no, it's been a really good week so far -- with no playdates and no babysitting AND dh working late AND snow today which meant no outside play time for ds1 (bc ds2 thinks he can't breathe in the cold! poor baby!). But here it is, only Weds nite, and I'm feeling really overwhelmed by how NOTHING else is getting done this week. So overwhelmed that I'm not even able to sit down and write a list of what needs to be done . . . know that feeling? I desperately want to be in the moment and just loving this time when ds2 needs to be held all the time, BUT there are people out there who sent us baby gifts months ago who don't even know we received them! :

If only I didn't need to sleep . . .
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Old 01-20-2005, 11:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meli65
Oooh, a mother's helper .... I had one over the summer. How much are you paying her? That would really help out around here.
Well...

I was planning to pay $5-6/hour (I had asked around and that seemed to be the going rate for helpers....babysitters get $8-10 around here) but the mother of the girl who will be my helper REALLY does not want me to pay her that much.

She said she only wants me to pay her $2/hour since that's what she pays her per hour for chores and that her daughter would do it for free so the money is not important at all. At first I felt really weird about it...but I talked to my mom and she said I need to respect the family's views on money and what is appropriate for a 12 year old to make.

I'm trying not to overanalyze it too much. Just be happy with what I'm getting....a couple of hours of help, one afternoon a week. I'm hoping it can evolve into a babysitting relationship down the line and I can pay her more as she takes on more responsibility.
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Old 01-20-2005, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If it makes you feel any better, my mother's helper came in a set of two (best friends) and I paid them a combined $5/hour (they split it). I felt totally cheap, too. Hmmm -- must look into this again.

I STILL have not gone grocery shopping (was supposed to go on Tuesday) -- it's been a tough week with lost sleep and lots of aggravation from the various household members. Today is the day!

However, I did learn an important lesson -- dh went to a local (expensive) store to get us things to get us through one day, and it came to $35!!!!
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Old 01-20-2005, 03:45 PM
 
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Ditto Morebabies clean the high chair and put things in their place. How hard can it be. But why can't I do it? Mmm I'm in training.

This week I bought some bargain roast joints in the premium quality supermarket which is unfortunately the closest one to our house. I cut one for a stew, put one in the freezer and roasted the smaller one for slicing later at the same time as using up the old bananas in a banana loaf. Milk was also reduced -oddly, so I bought more than I needed and made a few batches of white sauce for lasagne, cauliflower chesse etc to put in the freezer. I felt quite proud of my plans and that I had managed to get it all done before collecting ds2 from school!

On a bigger scale Dh went to Big Yellow to see about a storage room. He has booked one from the beginning of next month so that we can put some big stuff and some boxes which are taking up room in the shed, the understairs cupboard and the bedroom. This will mean that I can make places for all the stuff that doesn't have a place. I'm hoping to put shelves all up one side of the understairs cupboard and hooks on the other so I can use it as a larder/pantry (the door to it is in the kitchen).

Now all I have to do is economise a bit more to buy the shelves and pay for the storage!!!!

I'm trying to keep all the surfaces clear and fill up the recycle box with paper. Where does it all come from? The other thing which is stuck in my head is a thing I read once by Ann Maurice The House Doctor (have you heard of her? scary but often right!) She says if you have items of furniture/appliances which cannot be used for their original purpose you have a problem.

I also read this mothering article and it struck a chord with me I talked it over with a friend and we are planning some bulk family cooking projects for the next couple of weeks.

Keep smiling
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Old 01-21-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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Wow, Orangefoot, hooray for your ambitious plans to de-clutter! Good luck!

The single biggest differences I'm noticing in my weeks, whether I feel 'productive,' 'organized,' etc, has been plotting out the arc of the week in advance, preferably w/dh. When I have a sense that each day has a purpose and each task has a time set aside for it, this takes so much of the *anxiety* off me.

This means, for me, knowing that Mon, Tues, and Thurs morning are all about playing with dd - but Wed I set up a playdate so I know that can be time for paperwork and bills. Therefore I don't need to give a thought to the bills during our 'freetime' together. Does this make sense? I'll also get a clear sense from dh of time he wants to devote to one-on-one with her, and know that I can do errands, etc then or be alone - otherwise our expectations clash and I end up resentful. This is a challenge for us because both our schedules (self-employed, from home) are variable.

I get anxious about the unstructured time. And I can't enjoy the open-ended time, even though I want to (and want dd to!) because I'm worried about my unfinished To Do list.

So I'm curious - What do others do to organize not just your *stuff* but the rhythm of your week, your time? Is some kind of 'game-plan' helpful to you?
Do you ever enlist your partner to do this together? (Maybe I like this because I'm so reliant on external affirmation for everything I do - I like to show someone my checklist with all it's checks when it's done & get a pat on the head. Is that sad?

mb

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Old 01-21-2005, 05:33 PM
 
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Hey MamaButterfly! It sounds like we're in similar situations with the work schedule and wanting to feel like I can enjoy playtime and not think about the other things that need to get done. Considering everything going on in our lives right now--sitter likely leaving for a full time job in a few weeks, busiest work weeks for both dh and I in the next two weeks, figuring out who's "responsible" for making most of the $ in the coming year...

And yet we've managed the routine stuff-- shop, cook, and keep the house somewhat clean (enough so that we felt okay having a friend over for dinner last night and that chokable things were out of baby-reach). I'm getting in the habit of putting my clothes and the baby's clothes for the next day out before we go to bed, and of making the bed in the morning, and it makes the whole day really seem smoother... Dh has been pretty good about keeping the dishwasher unloaded in the morning so we can put dirty stuff there instead of the sink. The bigger stuff like the sticky kitchen and bathroom floor, however... :

I love having a game plan for the week, and I want to get dh and I back in the habit of a Monday morning household breakfast whereby we make a to do list for the week. Maybe this coming week we can do that. Having a sitter has helped me organize my week a lot, because even if I'm not in the office, I work on the days that she's here. When it was just dh and I (and it looks like it'll be just us again by March 1st), it's harder because we both say "xx is my day with Evie, but if you need me to, I can shift that around" and it gets more chaotic. I think we need to set specific days even when it is just us.

And I too like the pat on the head thing.

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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Old 01-21-2005, 10:20 PM
 
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hey y'all,

coming back out of the woodwork. trying to follow along, but i need to go back and read the last weekly thread. we're doing a bit better. i think we both needed to sort of hit our rock bottoms before we could improve. we made a few purchases in the name of organization. got a new set of shelves for the den (put where the christmas tree was) and i got a bulletin board i want to put up in the kitchen as part of my master plan message center where i can keep my old fashioned (non-computerized) grocery list, old fashioned wall calendar with fun stuff to do on it (i already wrote some local happenings down) -- a little shelf with pens, etc, and the bulletin board to post things on. of course this is liable to become a big clutter magnet just like our fridge is (isn't that sad that i need to declutter not the inside of the fridge, but the outside :LOL ), but at least it will be primarily a vertical surface and not a horizontal one to accumulate larger things!

i so very much identify with the idea that mamabutterfly was talking about regarding things staying put in odd places and then they belong there. oh yeah : queen of that here! i have always been that way. when i'm putting a positive spin on it i say i have a geographic memory and know which pile something is in and about how many layers in, but frankly that doesn't work very well with little kids unless you put all the piles out of the reach of little hands. i am _really_ trying to pick up just as i go about the day. today removed a colony of seals and their bathing suits from in front of the backdoor, took mittens off the recycling container and put them back in the closet with coats which i removed from the couch. the futon is still covered in old artwork (aka wrapping paper) and books, but you could actually sit on the couch now which is a great improvement over how it used to live. it seems that how it's going to have to work is pick up all day everyday. guess it shouldn't have taken me 40 years and two kids to realize this :LOL .

well, i'm off to the grocery store before the snow/ice hits.

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Old 01-22-2005, 08:02 PM
 
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My goal this week. Slow down to pause and take a moment each day to yourself and make a list of what my goals are to get more organized.
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Old 01-23-2005, 02:21 PM
 
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I want to join..although you're probably about to start a thread for the next week.

My goal: take the pantry challenge!!! I'm going to try to not go to the store (except for milk) for the next 2 weeks!!! Can I make it??? It'll be TOUGH! Anyone want to take the challenge with me?
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Old 01-23-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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Welcome leomom! (no WAY I could do the pantry challenge -- our diet is so resctricted . . . but I bet someone else could come to my house and live off the food in there that we're allergic to! )

I vote for staying here and not starting a new thread until February. Easier to follow, IMO. Thoughts?
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Old 01-23-2005, 03:10 PM
 
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That sounds good to me to keep this thread thru January (can Meli edit the thread title possibly?)

Well we're snowed in here pretty seriously in PA, so I think we're taking the pantry challenge by default, lol, since I didn't really stock up on much fresh stuff at all - even though I knew this storm was coming. The upshot is I may do some baking this afternoon as a reward after a bit of shoveling!

[hee hee - i just went to find that lip-licking smilie and it's in a category called "mouth-related" :LOL]

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Old 01-23-2005, 04:11 PM
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Great thread! Subscribing (the only way I can remain active at MDC due to insanity of life as sahm, two girls, a cat and DH!!) but hoping I don't miss the newest one...........

Well, we've been down a loooooooooooooooooong year, just coming out of it...bankruptcy and now rebuilding....I am a huge declutterer by nature and so randomly take stock of home and hearth so things don't get away from us.....recently done so again.

My plan is to take extras not worn or used by kids to consignment and use credit to buy new clothes there for them.

We recently switched our mortgage to bi weekly in the hopes that a smaller payment every other week will allow for more cash flow to pay bills on time and catch up...we're almost : there! I can almost taste the bettering of our daily lives approaching

As for grocery, I also learned to buy less more often rather than once a month as in the past. Due to money constraints currently in setting up new ways budgeting and mortage-wise, it's been harder and I reply on my own family to help out (my mama is a dream!) but soon..........back to basics. I live for store flyers for grocery and only buy majority on sales. Get alot that way.

And cleaning the house-we strive for daily basics (Dh is the bathroom cleaning king) and then a big swing clean monthly. This works best for us, as I can live with dust and crumbs on the floor :

Longer term goals: Possible back to part time work, a local rec centre has left it open for me to return (worked there over 8 years ago and they asked me back) 15 horus a week...more for sanity than money. Will decide in spring.

Paying off last few hundred of old old old student loan so I can reapply to begin my Bachelor's degree in English-a dream of mine!

And I too am trying to write more and get published again as I used to...........trying to organize thoughts, words and work on this.
Started a Blog to get myself going.

Love this thread!!!!
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Old 02-15-2005, 10:15 PM
 
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Hey Mamas,

Just wanted to say Hi and let you know I've been thinking of you. Sorry this thread pooped out . . . I am just in survival mode, trying to cope with a new baby, constant colds, and a 3.5 yr old who desperately needs more than I can offer him! I do still do my meal planning and have been really good about shopping at the beginning of each week, but nothing else has happened . . . no deep cleaning, no exercising, no lesson plans for ds. sigh. It'll come, I know. I think right now I just need to hang on until Spring!

No need to drag this thread out if people have moved on . . . guess I just wanted to offer some closure in case we don't revisit this.

Hope you're all well!
E.
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:26 PM
 
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Are we all finished with this? I had to take a brief hiatus due to a newborn, but Joe will be 5 weeks tomorrow and I'm ready to get this house into shape. My life, actually, as much as my house. I feel like I'm drowning in clutter and things. I know I'll need moral support as I work my way through the house. However slow I am, I will get it done! I'll be nursing every ten minutes, but eventually it'll happen.

Is anyone else still here?

Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

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Old 06-28-2005, 01:00 AM
 
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Is anyone else still here?[/QUOTE]

Hi everyone,

Maybe the others have faded away; but I just discovered this thread tonight and I love it! Can't we revive it? We are moving in four weeks--CT to CA--and let me tell you, there's nothing like a cross country move combined with selling a house to get you motivated to declutter. After looking like a Toys R Us hit by a hurricane for several years, our home now looks like Martha Stewart just stepped out to trim the roses.....(not quite, but close: when we enter the house, it's so empty we hear our footsteps echoing on the kitchen floor!) Dh and my three ds's are the real clutter culprits, as I'm something of a neat freak; but four against one is a tough fight. We've had three tag sales and I have taken countless trips to the dump and Salvation Army. Yay! Now if only I can keep our new place clean.... doesn't seem too hopeful, since it looks like I'll be taking care of my 2 yr old all day every day. But getting rid of all that stuff has been so liberating.

I even finally admitted that I'll never take up rug hooking again, and gave my bag of half finished projects to my neighbor.

I have a hard time with meal planning and budgeting, still. It's going to be even harder after we move.

So *is* anyone still out there?

Kathleen E.
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Old 06-28-2005, 11:45 PM
 
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I would love to join the discussion! I've been on a mission for a couple of years now. Had to take most of last year off due to pregnancy and a newborn but he's 4 months old now and I'm blazing through! I reorganized the board games and the arts and craft supplies today. Got rid of a few things too. The play room has been re done again this week! My big thing is that within the last couple of weeks I have really decluttered the books and gotten rid of our old school books that we don't need/use anymore. Our toy "lot" isn't too bad anymore. Used to be out of control but I've become ruthless. I'm bad with money, though, and meal planning too. I used to have it all written out. I do manage to only grocery shop once/week save running in for milk and fresh fruits/veggies.

Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven.   PROUD to be a Catholic! : winner.jpg familybed2.gifhomeschool.gif

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Old 06-29-2005, 12:10 AM
 
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I'm glad to see this thread is being revived! In the last few weeks I have taken about 300 books to Half-Price Books, getting rid of most of my fiction books. If I need to read them again I can get them from the library, right? I have five overflowing bags of clothes out on the front porch, waiting for a charity to pick them up tomorrow morning. Oh, and an old car seat. I need to go through the game closet, but am overwhelmed at the thought of it. We have probably at *least* 100 board games, most of which don't get played. The room that Alec will eventually be using needs to be cleaned out but I can't do that until the storage closet is cleared out so that I can put all my stamping stuff in there (his room was my stamp room which morphed into a junk room but now I'm ready for him to move into his own room). Added to all this is that dh can't help at all right now; he just had surgery on a ruptured Achille's tendon so can't even move without crutches.

I keep reminding myself that it's a slow process and that's okay. Things got left stagnant while I was pregnancy because I was so sick, so it might take a full 9 months to get things back to where they were last year, not even to where they *should* be at this point.

How has everyone else been doing?

Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

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