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Getting out the door when you have kids

Posted in 'Tips' on February 5, 2009

I think I have mentioned before that I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old, and they go to pre-prep and kindy 3 days a week. On these days, I used to really struggle to get out the door with any sanity left and most days, some sort of yelling would be involved. Even though we were doing the same things over and over again each day, I would spend the whole morning barking orders like a drill sergeant. This was not a great start to my day!

I had tried typing up reward charts for them before (I realise that the 2 year old really didn't have a concept about it, but had to do it for him because he likes to do what his big sister is doing). In doing this each morning I would still have to tell them what had to be done, the only difference was that they would then get a sticker when they did their jobs. So after a few days, the novelty would wear off, stuff would get forgotten and I would start yelling like a fish wife again.

Just before Christmas, we went to a friend's place for dinner and I noticed that their daughter had a chore chart, but it was different than the one's I had done before. It had pictures on it. Why had I never thought of that before?? That weekend, I made a simple chore chart up using clip art that had pictures of each job that I wanted the kids to do each morning. Then I sat down with the kids on Sunday afternoon and explained that we had a new list of jobs to do each morning, and when all of the jobs were completed, they could have a sticker and watch ABC kids before we went to kindy if we had time.

Why did I not think if this earlier?? Each morning now, the kids get up check their charts for the next jobs that they have to do. They go off and do them and they know that they won't get ABC kids if all jobs aren't done. I've even introduced new jobs for them to do. And they are doing them (woo hoo). It's been 4 weeks now that we have been doing the picture charts, and although we still have some raised voices and tears, our mornings are a lot more pleasant and organised.

Now if only I could get the toilet training of Master 2 to go as smoothly......

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Unclog your bookcase!

Posted in 'Organising' on February 17, 2009

A few months ago, I finished a book and went to put it back in my bookcase. You'd think that was a relatively easy job - not so much. My 5 shelf bookcase is overflowing with books. Some shelves even had 2 rows of books on them, just to make them fit. Something needed to be done.

The way I saw it, I had two options - I could buy a new bookcase (which I would probably fill straight away with the excess books on my original shelf, and then need another bookcase) or I could do some culling. Both options had their good and bad points. If I got a new shelf, I could keep all of my books, but where would I put the shelf??? If I got rid of some of my books, I would have more room in my bookcase, and would save some money by not having to buy a new one, but I would have to say goodbye to some treasured books. Decisions, decisions.....

I eventually came to a compromise. I would get rid of as many books as I could, and if I still needed it, I would go out an buy a new bookcase.

I am an avid reader. I love it. I can pick up a book on a Saturday morning and quite happily sit there all day, not talking to anyone and have it finished by late that night or early the next morning. My husband doesn't really share my love of books and isn't a fan of my all day reading sessions because I don't want to do anything but read. Once I've finished my book, I like to keep it. Sometimes, a few years later I might go back and read it again. Which is why getting rid of my books was a hard task to do.

I started off with the easy ones - the secondhand $2 books that I have picked up over the years from secondhand shops or lifeline book fests. A lot of these books were dog-eared and not in the best condition so out they went.

Next were the books that I loved 15 years ago, but would never read again. There were a lot of Stephen King books that I would never read again. Death and horror kind of loses its appeal once you have kids. Out they went.

There were also the Japanese language books that I collected when I was living there in the 90's. These were hard to part with so they went into the maybe pile.

All of my organising and business books got the green light to stay.

Lastly, there were all of the books that I have collected over the last 5 years or so that were really hard to part with... but I was brutal and put quite a few in the "out you go" pile.

At the end of all of this, I was left with a bookcase that was still overflowing (but nowhere near as badly as it was before), a pile of books to go and an empty glass of wine. The pile of books to go was broken into 2 categories. The lifeline/salvos pile and the eBay pile. Any books that were still quite current and in good condition went into this pile, and over the next few weeks, made me enough money to buy a few more books. Lifeline got some more books to recycle into its next book fest, and my wine glass got a refill :)

I then went out and bought another smaller bookcase and moved all of my business books into there and set it up in my office. Order was once more restored in my bookcase. Although looking over at it again now, it might be ready for another clean out

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Clean Car Tip

Posted in 'Tips' on February 18, 2009

A friend of mine asked me last week how she could keep the inside of her car clean when the kids spend so much time in there and make such a mess.

Clean Car Tip: Do like the hire car companies do and always keep a plastic bag in the car. Once a week when you get the kids out, grab the bag and put the rubbish in the bag and throw it in the bin. If your kids are old enough, get them to grab the rubbish each day as they get out. If they are still quite young, and the mess is food mashed into car seats, grab the wipes and give the seat a wipe over once a week. It is a quick 2 minute job, but if you do it each week, your car will be cleaner and you will be happier. Don't try and eliminate food from the car, you might have a cleaner car, but your stress levels will go through the roof with screaming fighting kids.

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Electronic Clutter Tip

Posted in 'Tips' on February 25, 2009

The clutter on your computer is just as stifling as the clutter in your house. I was talking to a client the other day (yes you know who you are) and she told me that she has over 3000 items in her deleted folder in outlook. 3000! It is called a deleted folder because you have decided you no longer need the email so you delete it. It is not just another folder to store electronic clutter. If there is a chance you might need the email in the future, file it in another folder. If you won't need it. Delete it. Set up Outlook so that everytime you close down, your deleted folder gets emptied. If you aren't sure how to do this. Go to Tools, Options, Other, then place a tick next to the box that says Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting. There, doesn't that feel better??

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