Trying Hard to Organize My Life! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The other day, I asked my husband, "do you sometimes come home and think a bomb has exploded in the living room and all we've done that day is watch videos?"

He sheepishly answered "yes."

Ouch.

He's trying to help me get things together. Organized. A schedule. I REALLY need this....I just worry I'll fall off the bandwagon, yet again.

How do you mamas stay on a schedule? This is actually a pretty good one-- he's included an AM outing so we don't stay inside all day long (easy to do in Texas) and time for art in the PM-- something I always want to do but never do.

All tips for staying on track are encouraged, needed and appreciated! :

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#2 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 10:39 AM
 
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I'm in the process of instituting a new schedule. Right now I'm in the stage where you force yourself to follow it because you know that soon you'll love it. So, that's my tip. Force yourself And eventually you'll depend on your schedule and enjoy the benefits.
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#3 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 11:49 AM
 
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I agree...force yourself, but you can make it easier if you find a friend to meet on your daily outing, then you have accountability mixed in. That way you get the schedule and get the outing and a bit of social interaction as well. That is motivation enough for me.

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#4 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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I'm the same way. Are you an INFP?

I've often fantasized about kidnapping a neat freak and having her walk around with me all day whispering things in my ear.

"At this point in my day I'd be doing laundry, and while I was waitin for another load I would vacuum, and after I vacuum I always alphabetize my beauty products."

Okay I'm being silly, but really because my personality (and I do think this is almost 100% personality because my mom is a neat freak, my sis and my gma too) I am just not good at knowing what to do with myself.

I'm not productive, I run around in circles.

So I would like a neat freak to just kind of laboriously detail her motions throughout the day.

There is a lady on here that I'd think would make an excellent coach.

Neat freaks don't usually sympathize with us though. My best friend is a neat freak. I attract them, I don't know why.
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#5 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is an INFP? Maybe I'm one!

My Mom called me today and wanted to see if I wanted to hang out in the afternoon. I said "no," but didn't tell her why.

Good gravy, it is because crafts, chores and PM activity is scheduled in.

I'm a total loser. My husband was like YOU TELL HER YES. YOU DON'T HAVE TO STICK TO THE SCHEDULE LIKE GLUE!

But! I thought that was the point! I take it so literally that one deviated minute will cause the whole thing to crash.

If you find a neat organized person, please let me borrow her.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#6 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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What is an INFP? Maybe I'm one!

My Mom called me today and wanted to see if I wanted to hang out in the afternoon. I said "no," but didn't tell her why.

Good gravy, it is because crafts, chores and PM activity is scheduled in.

I'm a total loser. My husband was like YOU TELL HER YES. YOU DON'T HAVE TO STICK TO THE SCHEDULE LIKE GLUE!

But! I thought that was the point! I take it so literally that one deviated minute will cause the whole thing to crash.

If you find a neat organized person, please let me borrow her.
An INFP is a type on the Meyers Brigg scale. http://similarminds.com/myers-briggs-jung.html


And on schedules at least with me, if I go off of it, it's totally crashed. I'm too aloof and hate having my time pinned into sections, though it totally helps and fixes all my problems.

Balance is not my strong suit.
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#7 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just looked up INFP.



THAT IS ME. It was so me that it freaked me out. The kicker? At the end about the people liking to write?

I am a writer. That's what I do as a living....because I typically can't say verbally (without it getting mixed up) what I'm trying to think!

So how does an INFP learn to have a somewhat normal/organized life??

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#8 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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You know, if you can stomach it, Flylady really has some good ways to get started on routines. I don't follow her religiously, but I've adopted some ideas and her underlying principles are really growing on me. Everyone seems to agree that it works best to add one habit at a time -- and that it takes about 3 weeks for a habit to stick.

I agree that forcing oneself to stick to a rough rhythm of how the day goes is really helpful, and that after a while it just feels natural. I take my kids on an outing every morning. They have quiet time every afternoon. They have time to play with other kids most days, etc. Also, I've totally kicked my own butt and mostly decluttered our living room, which is also the playroom. Then I was able to start tidying it every day. Then I started doing a proper kitchen cleanup every night, and then I added making sure that clean laundry was put away. Finally, I love Flylady's daily swish and swipe -- now my bathrooms are always clean and I don't have to worry that someone will drop in and use the bathroom . I get almost nothing done while my kids are awake, so I have to do the majority of my housework after they go to bed, but it's worth it .

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#9 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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BTW, I am INFP too . I get off track really easily, so building lasting habits and routines is especially important for me.

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"I am not what happened to me...I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung
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#10 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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There is no cure.

The only success I've found it to have as little commitments/stuff as possible.

Wrangle what you do have and take lots of time off to think inside your head.

This is awesome, so many of us right here in the organizing department.
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#11 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think so much that I scare my therapist.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#12 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Savoir Faire View Post
What is an INFP? Maybe I'm one!

My Mom called me today and wanted to see if I wanted to hang out in the afternoon. I said "no," but didn't tell her why.

Good gravy, it is because crafts, chores and PM activity is scheduled in.

I'm a total loser. My husband was like YOU TELL HER YES. YOU DON'T HAVE TO STICK TO THE SCHEDULE LIKE GLUE!

But! I thought that was the point! I take it so literally that one deviated minute will cause the whole thing to crash.

If you find a neat organized person, please let me borrow her.
Maybe you should stick to your schedule for 1-2 weeks until you've gotten more used to it, THEN start deviating. Also, plan that on days you have unexpected events come up, you'll drop the activities (crafts, etc) but still run around and do the chores when you get home.
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#13 of 37 Old 07-28-2008, 08:12 PM
 
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If you do deviate from your schedule, don't try to make it up-- just pick up at the time you are back.
Don't beat yourself up if you have to do something and miss a daily chore. It will be there when you do your schedule tomorrow and you can do it then. So if you go to your mom's all day and don't do anything on your schedule- it's ok, don't try to make it up, just start over again in the morning.
It's more of a guideline. ;-)

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#14 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 04:53 AM
 
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Im aweful with keeping a schedule. Even when I try to keep to one I find myself side tracked by the smallest things. Like today I had on my schedule to cook bread, clean the living room and do laundry.. The bread is the only thing to get done.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#15 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 09:41 AM
 
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Ha - I struggle with this so I clicked on the discussion and then I saw "are you an INFP?" - I just had to laugh, because I AM and I too want to kidnap an organized person! Thanks for the lol!

Oh - an obviously, no suggestions
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#16 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 11:31 AM
 
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Great thread Savoir Faire!

I was hoping to find a solution to my chronicly messy home...ditto the bomb going off with hubby thinking we watched videos all day.

And yes! I just took the test and I am INFP.

"INFP - "Questor". High capacity for caring. Emotional face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population."

This is so me! To a "T"...although, it kind of makes me sad to find out that there is only 4.4% people out there like me.

I am terrible about following schedules. I have made several actually, but end up losing them, give up too easily, etc. And I am starting to think that what is difficult for me just comes naturally to others like time managment. I just don't have an internal task master and I am terrible about keeping track of the passing of time. Which might be linked to me being unable to wear watches b/c I "kill" them

I have no solution but wanted to say that you are not alone
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#17 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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INFP-Questor here,too! I'm in the 4.4% with you and implementing a schedule,too!
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#18 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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I've been several different things on the Myers-Briggs, but always an I something.

I can't do that kind of schedule. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. It's too much pressure. I have to want to change, y'know? I've been making small small progress—sorta 2 steps forward, 1.5 steps backward—but I think it's progress.

I think realizing I like to get out most days helps and realizing I start to feel sorta cabin fevery when I stay in too much helps, but I can't write it down or I'll start to feel pressured and resent it. I just have to stop and ask myself, "do I want my living room to look like a bomb went off in here?" and act accordingly (which, I suppose, is why I am posting on MDC instead of cleaning it up .)

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#19 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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okay, I procrastinated more and took that test (it's a short version, btw) and got ISFP. My S-N and F-T are very close. My I and my P are very solid.

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#20 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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okay, I procrastinated more and took that test (it's a short version, btw) and got ISFP. My S-N and F-T are very close. My I and my P are very solid.
All you really need is the P to fit in here. It's the part that makes us disorganized.
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#21 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 08:03 PM
 
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Hmmm. I'm developing a bone to pick with the personality test.

I'm getting "INTJ". The description for this one suggests that I only care about the intellect, and I don't care about anybody else. Not altruistic, insensitive to the misfortunes of others, etc.

I can possibly see the questions that lead to that conclusion. For example:

"I value compassion over analytical reasoning." (I disagreed with this one.)
"I tend to trust the mind more than the heart." (Agreed with this one.)
"I tend to value fairness more than feelings." (Agreed.)
"I tend to pay more attention to my thoughts than my feelings." (Agreed.)
"I tend to value competence more than compassion." (Agreed.)
"I rely mostly on my feelings to guide my decision-making." (Disagreed.)
"I am extremely sentimental." (Disagreed.)

But to me, these questions make false choices.

For example, "I value compassion over analytical reasoning." Why should the two be at odds? For example, compassion says that the hungry need to be fed. Analytical reasoning guides us in the most efficient and effective way to feed them.

Compassion may drive me to drop a can of soup in the donation box, a can of soup that I bought with my post-tax dollars and after giving the grocery its profit. Analytical reasoning may drive me to find the most effective organization feeding the hungry, send them a cash donation that I was able to make bigger because I can deduct it, which they can use to buy food at wholesale prices with a minimum of the money being drained away in somebody's profits. More people get fed. So analytical reasoning, to me, supports altruism more than raw compassion.

Or, say you find an abandoned dog. Compassion and sentiment may say, "Awww, poor doggie, let's give him a biscuit." Analytical competence may say, "How do we find a good no-kiill shelter, and how can we most effectively advertise for a home for him?"

I have a similar objection to the other questions. I don't see how the mind and the heart should be opposed. The mind can act as the heart's agent. The same for thoughts and feelings. The same for _not_ allowing my feelings to be in charge of my decision-making. The same for valuing competence. The same for distrusting pure sentiment.

Logic, planning, analysis, thoughts, are all powerful instruments. Why assume that they're selfish instruments? Why assume that logic is all about benefiting myself?

Grumble.

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#22 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 08:22 PM
 
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...reading with great interest... :
Writing schedules is easy for me. It's the keeping them going that I struggle with.

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#23 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 11:02 PM
 
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I may be the "neat freak" y'all want to walk around with you. LOL LOL LOL But, I am only basing that on the fact that when I took the long version of the Myers-Briggs test years ago (early 90s), I was an ESFJ. The exact opposite of most of you... LOL (I don't think these types of tests change over time, but *I* sure have changed since I took it.)

Anyway, I can commiserate because having a baby (in 2001) rocked my world and threw me into a tailspin in regards to organization. Even while pregnant, I missed appointments (SO UNLIKE ME) and let routines slide. Once our little darling arrived, I was so wrapped up in her (and my own health issues ) that I failed miserably at housekeeping 101. :

I did climb my way back and there is hope for all of you.

My plan of action:
* I devised a LOOSE weekly schedule with DH's input. It was a GUIDE, not a carved-in-stone-everything-has-a-time-slot type schedule.
Examples: Monday morning Story Time, Tuesday morning Indoor Parent/Child class, Thursday Morning Outdoor Parent/Child class, and I worked with DD on Wed & Fri 9-2 (in a holistic health office). Afternoons were typically stay-at-home and play times. Evenings were family time. Each night after DD was in bed had a different "theme" (for only one hour unless we wanted to do more), such as project night (individual), finance night (paperwork/bills/mail), house night (cleaning bathrooms/trash/vacuum), date night (at home - Fri or Sat), TV night (Thursdays LOL), and so on.

* The lifesaver for me was the "Before Bed Routine", which I came up with before finding FLYlady. I was so frustrated with taking hours to get out the door in the mornings with a breastfeeding infant. Sometimes it was late afternoon before I was ready to walk out the door, even with trying all day. I was soooo disorganized! Somehow (probably from another mom in the parent/child classes) I figured out the problem was I trying to do everything in the morning. Eventually, I learned to do what could be done after the LO was in bed and before I went to bed, such as restocking the diaper bag and getting water and snacks ready. I also figured out that if I planned the outfit the night before, DH would dress his DD. He was afraid of the clothes! LOL I solved that by ultimately hanging complete outfits on one hanger (each), which saved us all time. I tried, but never really got into planning my own clothes the night before. I am much more "emotional" about my clothing choices, but with other stuff out of the way it was pretty easy to just not get hung up on the getting dressed part.

* DH & I were both unemployed unexpectedly when DD was an infant. Talk about scary (a baby AND a mortgage and no income ). However, it was a really great time in our lives! We developed a good routine for our individual personalities with a mix of private time and family time and couple time and Daddy-Daughter time and Mommy-Daughter time and social time. Although the details have changed (jobs came along eventually and DD has grown and all of our individual interests have changed), we have maintained the lessons learned and keep a mix of those essential components. My tip here is to think about big picture categories when thinking of a routine. Just a minor example: Tuesdays has been Finance Day around here for the last six or so years. DH & I take turns paying bills and filing and general paperwork and mail, so we each know what needs to be done and CAN do it no matter what. When we both worked, we'd do it at night together (or at least while we were in the same room). Now that I am not working, I do my part during the day (more of it than DH since I have more time) and DH does his part at night and we chat about any "issues" whenever it makes most sense. We went from a 100% paper system to mostly computer system (only paper bills...paying and recordkeeping online) and are in the process of reducing the incoming paperwork further. I use the term "finances/paperwork" to catch it all and not limit the idea to "balance the checkbook" and "pay bills" and whatever other specific tasks are involved. I just do whatever needs to be done in that general category. BTW, today is Tuesday and DD helped me separate the receipts by dollar amount while I called two companies. We set the timer for 15 minutes. DH & I have another 15 minutes to do tonight. That's it this week. It isn't complicated or that structured...just whatever needs to be done that particular day whenever it fits in to our life...just the focus for Tuesdays for 15-60 minutes...not an all-consuming task all day long. We COULD spend all day, but why would we want to???

* I did eventually learn about FLYlady (circa 2002-2003). I received her emails for awhile and I read her website. I don't have anything negative to say and I actually like quite a bit of her philosophy, but not all. I don't receive the emails anymore and I haven't visited the site in ages. What I learned most from her was to adjust my attitude. Being a perfectionist was thwarting all my efforts and making me grouchy, to say the least. I learned to lighten up about my methods and expectations of myself and others. Most importantly (for our marriage), I decided to appreciate any and all efforts DH made regardless of the outcome. I did not re-do anything (as tempting and hard as that was) and I literally said, "Thank you," with a smile. I eventually meant it every single time and I even noticed he was starting to appreciate all MY efforts and thanking ME. Well, this was a major turning point in my attitude about housework in general. I had always kept a reasonably clean home (except for pregnancy and first year of motherhood), but I had never really ENJOYED doing it. I can honestly say I enjoy creating a comfortable, loving, clean home where my family and friends and neighbors can hang out and have fun and laugh!

* Along these same lines is I learned that something FLYlady says that I never really understood or truly believed is really true! I cannot quote her because I don't remember the exact words, but the gist of it is women are the leaders of our homes. She says, "When mama ain't happy, no one is!" The specifics of what I learned is when *I* make the effort and do things FIRST, then my family usually follows suit. Sometimes it takes a long time for them to follow my lead, but they typically do eventually. An easy example is with the dishes. If I empty the dishwasher right away and put my dishes in after each meal, it is amazing how few dishes accumulate throughout the day. When *I* fail to put my dishes in, even if the dishwasher has dirty dishes in it and can hold more, no one else seems to even look and piles their dishes automatically by the sink. This occurs in many areas, btw, this was just an easy example. It took me awhile to A) realize this was true and B) get over being resentful of the responsibility and C) change my thinking. I now view it as a honor and accept my role as a domestic goddess! (Use your own words, if "domestic goddess" doesn't suit you...the words matter very little, anyway. It is all in how you feel about your role and how you define it. Be proud and own it!)

* My house is usually within 15-30 minutes of "company-ready" and I do not feel like I am a slave to it. I feel pride and joy in maintaining our home. It is not spic-n-span clean, but ready for others to enjoy. Every other year thereabouts, we take on MAJOR home improvement projects. In the "off" years, we work on smaller projects and travel instead. (Balancing where the money goes, I guess, but it just worked out that way.) The house can be a wreck when we are doing major work, of course. I make an effort to always clean the kitchen and living room and at least one bathroom, so there are clean spaces somewhere to rest my eyes and to still allow for family and friends (very limited numbers!).

My advice beyond the above:
~ Start super small! Find ONE thing to learn to do better and stick with it for a month until it becomes "natural". With my personality tending towards perfectionism, I tend to find it best for that "first" to be something of medium importance. Important enough for me to want to make it a habit, yet not SO important that I feel the need to micromanage every single detail before really getting started.

~ Really think about your expectations. Are you expecting yourself to completely change who you are? How realistic are your expectations? There is something to be said for baby steps. Take it slow and realize your home (or whatever) didn't get the way it is overnight and it isn't likely to get the way you want it overnight, either. You have to build on each success. The cumulative effect is far greater than the individual components. Be kind to yourself and be loving towards your family along the way.

~ I highly recommend creating and fine-tuning a "before bed" routine. It is amazing how much it helps your whole (next) day go smoothly! It can be as simple as checking your calendar after dinner and having the kids and yourself get the necessary items ready and waiting by the door. It can get far more complicated, too! LOL Think "KISS"...keep it simple sweetie!

Well, I hope all this rambling helps someone!!! I hadn't intended on writing so much...

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#24 of 37 Old 07-29-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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oh, I'm very "P", very, very "P".

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#25 of 37 Old 07-30-2008, 10:09 AM
 
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Wow - sunny sandiegan! Thanks for the tips. I really need to work on the before bed routine. I have a problem rushing around in the morning. Plus, I'll admit I am always forgetting stuff like picture day at school, permission slips. I feel buried in paper most of the time and now I will have two in school so double the paper! Getting everything ready the night before will work . . . I also like the idea of certain days meaning certain things. Why does the idea of a schedule scare me?? I don't know, but I know that not having one is not working out. Again - thanks for the great post!

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#26 of 37 Old 07-30-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ellemoon View Post
Wow - sunny sandiegan! Thanks for the tips. I really need to work on the before bed routine. I have a problem rushing around in the morning. Plus, I'll admit I am always forgetting stuff like picture day at school, permission slips. I feel buried in paper most of the time and now I will have two in school so double the paper! Getting everything ready the night before will work . . . I also like the idea of certain days meaning certain things. Why does the idea of a schedule scare me?? I don't know, but I know that not having one is not working out. Again - thanks for the great post!

elle
You are welcome!

For school paperwork... I have a system that works fairly well (not perfect, but okay).
1. As soon as the stuff comes home, go through it!!! Pitch the trash immediately. Fill out forms immediately and stick it right back into the backpack.
2. For the other "stuff", I use a binder with the following categories:
CHILD
TEACHER
SCHOOL
DISTRICT

You could have two CHILD and TEACHER categories. I divide the paperwork based on who it came from and/or who it most closely relates. District stuff is easy. Letters from the superintendent, district calendar, cafeteria menu, etc. School stuff is also pretty easy. Letters from the principal, school calendar (specific dates/weeks/etc that are "special"), afterschool activities available that are of interest, anything related to the whole school. It is a fine line between CHILD and TEACHER and sometimes I think about dropping them both and just having CLASS. Total judgement call. I divide them based on if it is related to everyone in the class (TEACHER) or my specific child (CHILD).

In Kindergarten, oy! We had soooo much paperwork it was ridiculous. I volunteered to be the "Monday Folder Volunteer" in DD's class, which meant I stuffed the weekly folders for the whole class of 20 kids every Monday afternoon. A lot of us were appalled at the sheer volume of paper going home every week and being photocopied, etc. Since I was a "newbie", I mostly voiced my thoughts to some of the key "veterans" and let them take it from there.

Last year (first grade), the volume was significantly lower. YEAH! We're actively pursuing reducing the paperwork further school-wide, too.

Best wishes!!!

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#27 of 37 Old 07-30-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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I'm not quite a neat freak, but I'm a reformed messie I think that us former messies are the best at helping others get organized, because we've been there and know how overwhelming it can be to get started. I fought organizing, was dragged to it kicking and screaming after I had a few kids, and now that I've got 4 boys I've realized that really, the only way to keep my sanity is to keep my home organized.

I've posted it here before, but it's probably way buried now, LOL! I posted my home management binder on my blog, It's got details on my binder and my "brain files" which is my daily/weekly/seasonal chore list. I've had several friends IRL (and tons online since hte blog post, LOL!) use it and love it
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#28 of 37 Old 07-31-2008, 09:26 AM
 
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Thanks for the paper tips! I will have one in K and one in second grade. I have a binder around here somewhere and I am going to set it up like you suggested. I am also shocked by the paperwork that comes home!

I am going to check out your home binder too - knittin' in the shade - thanks!

peace,
elle
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#29 of 37 Old 07-31-2008, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ellemoon,

One of my mom friends suggested putting the things needed for school in the car the night before. So say, (my kids are in preschool) it is splash day, we'd put all the towels in the car so I wouldn't forget them.

Or. You know, have extras in the trunk for when someone pees or vomits.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#30 of 37 Old 07-31-2008, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, the schedule is doing pretty well. Granted...it is still the first week but I think we thought it out enough that it makes sense.

We thought out everything that needs to be/I want done during the day, such as: Wake up early, everyone brush teeth, go somewhere in the AM, clean up and such.

Yes, I have to schedule in brushing teeth. And making beds.

Then we organized it in a time and then guessed how long we'd thought I needed to do it. Right now, I'm on AM coffee/computer time. After I figured out the time needed, we added 15 minutes to that

Seems to be working!

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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