Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Girl's Room

*you can read the captions by clicking on the pictures and enlarging them if you want.

It isn't finished.

There's a few projects yet to do, but I wanted to show you the progress we've made. It's phenomenal, actually.

The point of this makeover was not to give my daughter a pretty room, though until I actually started in on it, that had been my goal. No, the point was to give her a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance.

My goal became to create a calm, clean and gorgeous environment that would support her growth and development into a highly functioning and purposeful person.

It would be a place where she would be able to do several things:

  1. Make the bed. The daily discipline is excellent. Besides, it's a good habit to have for life.

  2. Lay out clothes for the next day. Another good habit to develop for life.

  3. Keep essential things near at hand. This is impossible when a room is too crowded and stuffed with all sorts of things.

  4. Find library books and other items when she needed to find them and at short notice.

  5. Have friends over without hours of preparation and clean up before hand

  6. Maintain order and cleanliness easily. It doesn't have to be hard. What makes the difference? Always.... in every case? Clutter.

She is a pack rat and sentimental about things. Every time we tried to clean her room, she scared me. The "stuff" literally got in our way. It seemed she was developing ways of thinking about her stuff that, as far as I could tell, could lead to hoarding in later life. She was developing:
  1. the tendency to keep things in order to remember events. A few is fine: but when you pick up a bag of moldy molds and say, "this has to go" and are met with a wail about how wonderful the day was she made them and a full story about what happened--things are happening in the brain that perhaps ought not to be.

  2. a reluctance to part with anything once loved--even though it had been long forgotten.

  3. no perception that anything was amiss.

And it was this last one which convinced me that I, as her mother, had to do something. It was my responsibility to give her a room with breathing space. The kid had no idea what that was! As soon as I realised that, I couldn't let that messy room exist for another day. I did it without her involvement. I did it with my Mom.

She resisted. She didn't want anything "new." She didn't want anything changed. Most importantly, she didn't want to lose any of her things.

So, these were our rules:
  1. we wouldn't throw anything away.

  2. she could have anything she wanted back, but she had to ask for it.

  3. if something was not asked for by July of 2011, I had permission to get rid of it.

Other than the massive de-cluttering, we changed out her curtains, added the Ikea chandelier (to help teach her that change can be delightful) and I painted her dresser and a new (old) desk.

Do I need to tell you she loves it?

I'm a happy Mama, too.

Though my room is an absolute disaster.

Linking to the 88th Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch Check out everyone's fabulous creations!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Ultimate Planner

I am taking the Time Management course at Simplify 101. My session is nearly over--though there's another one starting soon.

This class has been challenging, to say the least. As a culmination of the course, as my graduation present, so to speak, I want to put together the ultimate Planner for myself, using what I've learned about time management in Aby's course.

There are many resources for a "Household command" book:

Organized Home has the Household Notebook: Planner for an Organized Home
Perhaps the most famous is Flylady's Control Journal

Then there are the "Mom Binders." These are mega Binders full of everything Mom might need for getting through her day. It is especially popular with homeschoolers.

But do I really need all that?
And if I do, do I really want it all in one place?

These binders above are mostly concerned with how to run the home. Nothing wrong with that. But I want my journal/notebook/binder to be focused on how I use my time.

There are essentially three things to capture when it comes to time:

1) Things to do at a certain specific time
  • These can be one time events, such as attending a Girl Guide meeting, or
  • they can be events for which you need to plan (like a Birthday bash).

2) Things to do later

3) Things someone else will do

4) Things to do regularly, over and over.

1) Tools to capture things to do at a specific time:

a) Calendar which everyone can use and see. This lives on the back of the door in the kitchen. Not too practical in the summer when the door is propped open: but it is BIG and everyone writes on it. Essential.

b) This, however, has a backup. It's something I put together in Aby's Paper Clutter course. (One of the best Simplify 101 classes offered.) It doesn't really have a name. It's a reference Binder: a place to hold Really Important Stuff. For example, my son's scout leader gave us an Agenda for the next few months--places and times they're meeting until Remembrance Day. After I enter all the info onto the wall calendar, I put the papers in this binder.

I could call it the "Ask Me" binder as it is used whenever someone want to double double check the info on the calendar, or someone says, "Hey, where's the soccer game this week?" Or, "When is the next PD day?" and even, "Where's that Scout Potluck this weekend?"

I also have a "Tickler." I use a binder. I put this together in the Time Management class as well.

Inside, I use tabbed dividers labeled 1-31, and monthly dividers, hole punched pockets to hold things like forms and envelopes I need to send in every month to our dental plan for reimbursement, and other things which can't be hole punched. I also use page protectors for smaller items like tickets.

As well, I also have a homeschool planner. That is a post in and of itself (and likely for another blog) but suffice it to say that I have plans in it for each and every subject we study, broken down. I make our plans weekly on a form I designed that captures six days on a two page spread. I love it.

2) Tools to capture things to do later:

In this category, I'm specifically thinking of things which you want to do, which you may need to do, but which do not have clear cut deadlines. For example, decorating the house for Fall. It sort of has a deadline, (I wouldn't want to procrastinate this and miss the season, for example) but whether I go get little gourds from Safeway this week or next doesn't really matter. More importantly, tracking what actions to take in order to move forward on my goals would fall into this category as well.

These are the worst things for me to capture and remember to do.

They need a system:
1) a place to capture these ideas and tasks, like a list in a binder or something
2) a dedicated time to plan when these items will be done

(These may also need boxes or bins to keep items related to the project at hand, for example, if I'm in the process of planning our vacation, I need something in which to capture the brochures, maps and lists of things to pack, for example.)

3) Tools to capture things someone else will do:

This is a toughie. My husband has his own list of things he wants to do in his head. This fall, for example, he wants to sand down one complete window and re-paint it (He wants to do one or two windows per spring and fall, every year), put up eavestroughing on one section of the roof and paint some house trim. I think. I don't know. I'm afraid if I kept track, I'd nag him, and that would NOT be good!

However, I have been wanting to train the children in household tasks and chores (as well as other practical things like teaching them how to change the furnace filter) for a long, long time. So, for now, this is a project. Once it is complete, then I'll have to have a place to keep track of their chores and responsibilities. It could be a clipboard on a wall, it could be a chart on the fridge. We'll have to see.

4) Tools to capture things to regularly, over and over:

The "Mom Notebooks" and "Home Companion" Journals excel at capturing this, I think.
I am in the process of making check lists for me (and my children) with the following headings:
  • Morning Routine

(this is posted with a bull clip on the wall in the kitchen at the moment. Clearly, I need a more attractive option!)
  • Afternoon Routine
  • (After school routine for my daughter who is in public school)
  • and Evening Routine.

I make supper every day, of course, and I have the menu planning and shopping thing worked out. The weekly shop for fresh food is being tweaked.

Other than that: what I need are planning sessions. I spoke about this before, but I didn't do it long enough for it to become a habit.

I'm really hung up, though, on whether I want to plan things for the week: or break it down by day. I'd rather do the former: but my "tickler" is set up for me to use every day which has its advantages. But it is a lot of writing and re-writing.

In either case, I need forms.

There are a kajillion at each of these sites:
Donna Young
D-I-Y Planner

How will it all come together?
I have no idea.
Stay tuned.....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Nesting Party

(This is our Highbush Cranberry by the garden. It turned early this year: there are still tomatoes on those bushes!)

Wow. It really is fall out there. We've had grey skies and rain this past week. We even turned the heat on as night time temperatures dropped to (plus) 5 Celsius.


But, hey, the best way to warm up?

Go to a party!

This one is hosted by The Inspired Room.

So, here's my first project: the Fall wreath.

Nothing special or unusual.

One of those messy grapevine wreath thingys,

leaves, (just a wee bit glittery for my taste, but it shouldn't be too noticeable from the sidewalk)


and a berry garland from Micheal's. (Took me 20 minutes to unwind the thing!)

I invested in these tools last spring:

It was just a simple matter of wiring everything in.

I like it. It isn't fancy or elegant or even unique. But it is cheery. So cheery, it brought the sun out for a few hours this afternoon just to peek at it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Coveted Desk

Years ago, my Mother came in possession of an old black desk. Someone had made it: likely by cutting down a larger desk and attaching a new top (the drawers and cavities were identified as 5, 6, 7 and 8).

I had once used the desk in my own bedroom in high school. (Well, one of them. I had three different bedrooms while in high school.) I loved it. I loved having so many drawers!

Flash forward to a few years ago. I discovered the desk at my Moms during one of our big clear outs. I asked her for it. She said no: and then put it in the garage. About two years ago, we needed to clear out the garage and it got moved to the back deck. I asked her for it again. Again, she said no. We threw a tarp over it.

Flash forward again, now, to a few weeks ago. My Mom and I are discussing re-doing my daughter's room. She needs a desk with drawers, I say. Hey, that old black one doesn't happen to still be around does it?

It is. Only now, it has been moved down off the deck and into the back yard. When my husband and I go to pick it up he's dubious about it. Ok--he thought I was nuts. Suddenly, I wasn't so sure myself.

I sanded.
I was covered in black flakes. Too late, I realise, it was likely lead based paint.
I prime.
I prime again.
I paint.
And then I paint on the "squares"--on the drawers as well as the top.

I cleaned and reattached the original hardware just because I was too lazy to drill new holes for updated handles. Besides, I like these, even though they are a bit heavy handed for this look.

But most of all, my daughter is happier with this than the one she had before--and she was adamant when this project began that she wanted to keep that old thing she had.

Even my husband was impressed.

And I am relieved.

It's funny. It was in such rough shape when I got it, it no longer felt like the old desk I had always wanted. And now: it certainly isn't that old endearing thing. It is a totally new thing. But that's OK. It still has lots of drawers.

It's always fun to see projects. Linking up to Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

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