Thursday, March 15, 2012

Managing Chaos

I am a very Type-A person.  I like my lists, I like my folders, I like at least an organized pile or designated bin.  While my desk at work is often overly organized (yes, I am known as the "white board lady"), I do not have enough hours in the day at home to have it as organized as I would like.  I have two kids, a husband, two dogs, a cat, a goat, a pony and a horse - love them as much as I do, they conflict greatly with my desire to be a neat-freak!  :)  So while I would like to claim that I know how to manage chaos...I should perhaps call it attempting to minimize...
What I Like...

What it usually looks like...

I love FlyLady and her tips and certainly if I was at home all day (and the kids were at school) I could surely implement them all (total sarcasm here!).  Instead in a typical day we are out the door by 7 a.m. and back home with the kids in tow around 5:30 p.m.  The kids are starving a looking for snacks, the critters are calling for their pats and treats, homework to be done, clothes to be ironed, dinner to be made somewhere amongst the mess while everyone tells me about their day and the things they need for the next day - oh and let's not even go there with laundry, dishes, and dusting non-sense...  Anybody tired yet?  And about 2 hours to do the majority of it and get in snuggles and stories for bedtime at 8...8:30...ish...

If you think weekends are better...well...more on that later...  Now don't get me wrong...I don't mean to complain...I fully accept that I have done this to myself...I mean...I could cut down on the number of pets, hire a housekeeper (sure...), bring home carryout every night...  But I fully realize I'd be totally bored without all this stuff to do...  :)

A few things I love that do help minimize the chaos
  • A clothes sorter that hangs in the bathroom with enough space for a week of clothing.  On Sunday The Princess picks out her clothes and PJs for the upcoming week - we check the class newsletter for which days she has gym or other activities that require certain clothes.  I also pick out Little Man's clothes - and he's starting to help.  In the bottom of the sorter is an area for shoes but I use that for PullUps and wipes since we no longer need a changing station (hooray for potty training!).
  • Electric toothbrushes and a fun timer - makes it much easier to get the kids to brush!
  • My crockpot!  ('Nuf said...)
  • Semi-homemade and 3-in-1 meals like this multi-meal chicken plan that allow me to cook a large amount of one item one night and turn leftovers into multiple meals and lunches.
  • A dry erase board I hang where the kids can look at it - I put the bedtime routine and morning routine on it and when the sleepy-head Princess is struggling to focus I refer her to the board to see what's next.
  • The "kids pantry" - three shelves in a kitchen cabinet designated for the kids.  The first shelf is full of their reusable plastic cups and reusable water bottles.  The second has all their reusable plastic bowls and plates, along with a plastic basket full of cup tops, silly straws and other things they use.  The third is full of snacks: all their favorite crackers, bananas, fruit snacks, granola for making yogurt parfaits, fruit cups, raisins, granola bars, cereal bars, etc.  They still have to ask but as long as they get permission I don't have to stop and go fetch the item for them.  This means The Princess can pack her own school snacks (and pick what she wants), they can grab a small snack if dinner will take a while, and they can grab a morning snack on our way out the door if they are starving (they eat breakfast at daycare).

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