Organization {Part 4: Cleaning and Meal Schedules}

Preface: Cleaning, laundry and meals.  The bulk of running a house.  I've included some of the spreadsheets I use to help make this a bit easier.  I'm working on getting downloadable documents, but until then, if you'd like them email me at bugaboogifts{at}gmail{dot}com


In addition to my weekly maintenance routine, I have a deep cleaning routine.
My jumping off point is the  Check her out sometime....but read the whole post first! ;) She starts off the with the basics (get dressed to your shoes and shine your sink everyday.)  There are some days I don't leave my house and I'm homeschooling kids, so I'm ok staying in my jammies some most mornings.  Also, I tell the kids "no shoes in the house" so I kinda have to abide by that rule too...

She breaks a house up into zones and I did that.  I have broken mine up into 6 (manageable) zones and have tailored the schedule to what we need and what works for us.  Take a look at your house and everything you want to/can do.  You might have 4 zones, which means you'll get through your house 3 times a year.  This does not mean you can give up on your daily/weekly cleaning and just hit the zones as prescribed.  This just means that your baseboards and blinds will be cleaned more than once a year. :)

Here's my Jan and July zone.  
As I go through this, I'm constantly adding or changing things.

Getting help from the kids....something I don't do enough of.  I'm working on this, though.
(Tomorrow I'll include links and pictures of chore charts around blogland and pinterest.  This is an area that is highly deficient in our home and one in which I intend to fix soon!

I start a load first thing in the morning.  I mean....I get up, get my workout clothes on throw a load in before I head out the door at 5:45. By the time I get back, it goes into the dryer.  Another load will go in mid morning.  Throughout the day I fold and put it all away.  If its mostly the kids clothes, they will come help fold (not usually willingly) but they always put away their own clothes.  Even the 4 year old boy! 

Its much easier to do a load or two every day than spend an entire day doing all the laundry.  Honestly, It takes about 5 minutes to fold a load of laundry.  That's it.  Dont' believe me?  Time yourself.  Granted, if you are doing a lot of little baby clothes, it might take a little longer.

Just cuz I like pictures in posts....this is what I did to my laundry room so it was a little more pleasant to be in.
Another little laundry trick with stains....I put a safety pin through the tag of an item that has a stain on it.  The hubs and I use to go round and round because he would say in passing, "This (fill in the blank) has something on it," but would never show me what and where.  He'd throw it in the dirty clothes, I'd wash and put it away.  He'd then get up and iron it to wear... 

{Side note.....yes, my hubs irons his own clothes.  I'm not ashamed.  I'm busy.  He's particular.  Its something we settled into very early in our marriage and it works.  Come to find out that a lot of hubs iron their own clothes!  We've been married 11 1/2 year so, luckily its not a deal breaker!} 

During his ironing, he'd find the stain and mention it again.  Finally I gave him safety pins and a bottle of spray and wash.  He was instructed to spray and pin.  When something comes through that's pinned, I look it over too find the stain and see if its has been removed, if not, it goes in a separate pile that I'll deal with later.

This the the area of your budget that you have the most control over.  Well, this and leisure/entertainment....but eating is a must.  I have found that in the past, we have spent way too much money eating out.  My goal this year is to cut that in half!  Its so easy to let someone else do the cooking and cleaning, but really, does it take less time?  By the time we get all four kids in the car with jackets and shoes, drive to the restaurant, get seated, order our food, maintain a little control over said children, eat, and get back home, does it really save that much time?  Plus its a whole lot less expensive to stay home and no one finds out that your kids aren't always perfectly behaved! :)

Every Sunday I sit down and meal plan.  I have a 2 week plan.  On the off Sunday, I adjust my plan, if needed, and review the grocery list.  When you start to plan, keep in mind any produce/perishable items you already have on hand and plan around those first.

I write down the main course, the side, and the veggie.  For the main dish I include what book the recipe is in and the page number, or I put a hyperlink if its a recipe from the www.  I do this on my computer, then print it out and for my binder.  I also write it on our chalkboard.  This way my family always knows what is for dinner.
The next step is my grocery list.  I made up a list on the computer of the things we most frequently consume.  I set the list up in the order that I usually go around the grocery store.  Each week, I review my meal plan, and get my grocery list together.  I shop my own freezer, fridge and pantry first so that I'm not buying duplicates of items.  I keep my weekly list in the front pocket of my household binder so that when we run out of things during the week, I simply add it to the list.

I print it out on a scrap piece of letter size paper.  Its formatted so that I can fold it in half width-wise, which to me seems easier to carry??? :)

I try to make at least one extra freezer meal a week.  I do this by simply doubling the recipe. Its just as easy to make two meals as one, right?  Make sure you label and date it.  After its made, I add it to my freezer meal inventory.  Freezer meals are great to have on hand for those busy days.  Plus, if someone is ever in need of a meal (all my friends are in the baby-having stage right now) I have some prepared!

Batch cooking is something I've done occasionally, making 4-6 meals in one sitting.  Also, I was part of a cooking club for about 2 years. We did ours on Mondays.  I cooked and delivered one Monday for 4 families, then the next three Mondays dinner was delivered to me.

Any leftovers get packaged after dinner into lunch size containers.  I send those with the hubs over the next few days or freeze for later.

This is supposed to be a day of rest, but I actually enjoy planning so does fun count as work? ;)

I pay bills on Sunday's...or at least check in on our finances every week.

Meal planning happens over the weekend too.  I usually sit in the living room with my computer and a couple cookbooks.  I find a lot online, but am trying to get through the files of recipes that I've stashed away over the week.  My goal is to try a new recipe every week.  If it works and we like it, it stays.  If we really liked it, it goes in my favorite recipes folder.

I also plan my homeschooling week on Sundays.  I created my own weekly calendar, so fill it in each Sunday so I'm ready for the week.  I'm still tweaking this as we are only 7 weeks in on our homeschooling adventure

I also look at the week ahead and see what's going on.  

Phew!  Next.... :)

Organizing {Part 3: Household Binder}

This is my household binder.  It's great having everything in one place.  It contains...

Food section 
Bi-weekly meal plan
Extra copies of my grocery lists
Freezer meal inventory

Schedules for daily, monthly, quarterly and annually
Zone cleaning (6 zones)

School information (use to be all school, but now just the boy's preschool)
Extracurricular information

Emergency contact information
The kids and I are putting this together for a school project but its also helpful on the rare occasion that we have a babysitter.

Household Repairs 
Who to call for what

My calendar is kept on my computer, otherwise that would be in there too.
My to do list is tucked in the front pocket as that is updated daily.

Want to make your own?  This is what you'll need:
Clear view binder
Scrapbook paper 
(the paper for all my binders goes nicely together...not that they are ever in the same place at the same time :)
Sheet protectors
(I make my own, but will post links at the bottom of the post of where you can get some pretty ones)

This is what to do:
Measure and cut out scrapbook paper to fit in front, back and spine of your notebook.

In Pages (or use Word or Publisher) I created the front and side labels, in addition to the divider labels.  I printed this on card stock, the cut out.  I matted the front, adhered it to my precut scrapbook paper and slid them in place.
 I die cut the mats for the divider pages.  I used card stock inside a page protector as my divider.  I haven't made tabs (yet), but that's because the page protector goes to the edge of the binder and the tabs would stick out the side.  If you want tabs, a way around this is to punch a hole in the top of the dividing page and put a ribbon tie through it.
 I keep most of my pages in sheet protectors.  The 2 week meal plan (more in my next post) I just slide in and out when the two weeks is up.
Here's an example of my "Zone Cleaning" page.  The sheet protectors work well with a dry erase marker.  I just check off as I go, and wipe off at the end of the month when I move to the next zone.
 I make my own inserts on the computer.  They aren't pretty and colorful, but they work.  Here is a link, that a friend found, to free basic printables but if you want really pretty ones check these out and the rest of her blog!

I'm happy to email mine out (if anyone wants) until I'm able to figure out how to post a downloadable version on here.  Email be at bugaboogifts{at}gmail{dot}com.

Here's a sneak peak at another upcoming post using the same concept....

The binder was in place, but I finished it by making it "pretty" and I finally printed out all the schedules instead of keeping them on my computer.

Organization {Part 2: Calendars}

Calendars are a wonderful thing!
I write everything down.  Ev. ry. thing.  My schedules, my calendar (they are different), phone numbers addresses, birthdays, to do get the point. In my world if I don't write it down, its not going to happen.  I have too much going on to remember everything! ;)  (4 kids will do that to a girl.)

I have an ongoing electronic calendar, but I also have a:
Daily schedule
Weekly schedule
Monthly/quarterly schedule
Yearly schedule
Cleaning schedule (more to come...)
Meal schedule (more to come...)
Birthday calendar (which is part of my main calendar, but you'll see why I separate this at the end.)

I did warn you that I'm a bit Type A, right???  Stay with me here...

I update my calendar daily and carry it with me.  Nothing like going to the Doctor/hair dresser/school/where ever you go and not being able to schedule something because you can't see what you have going on.  Worse...double booking!  Not good.

These are the things I do on a DAILY basis and why.
Throw in a load of laundry.
Workout - need I explain?  This is really 3-4 days a week.
Bible Study - a great way to start the day, plus I lead a bible study
Make my bed (and kids, too) - my house feels more put together when that's done
Commit to dinner in the morning.  This could be lay food out to thaw or begin some of the prep.  If you don't commit, your less likely to follow through with your plans.  Its too easy too forget, then have to scramble at the last minute and end up making less healthy choices for mealtime.
Clean up after every meal - Its much easier to do it right then, instead of letting it pile up.  Also, spills are easier to clean when they are still wet vs. letting them dry and get really stuck on.
Run a load of dishes (so they can dry overnight) - I don't use the heated dry cycle on my dishwasher.  I have way too much plastic in there and that cycle doesn't dry it anyway.  I run the load in the evening, open the door and let it dry overnight.  Saves money and I don't have to hand dry all the little people's plastic dish ware.
Check tomorrow's schedule (mine and kids) before I go to bed.  This way, I never wake up in the morning and get sideswiped with something.  Also, everything needed for whatever is going on tomorrow will be laid out i.e. library books, permission slips (when kids were in school), etc.
Before bed, make sure the kitchen is clean - nothing like waking up and starting your day with a messy kitchen, right?  You have a crazy enough day as it is to start off with that!

This is a summary of my basic WEEKLY cleaning schedule
Mon - Dust and Vacuum
Tues - Floors (wood and tile)
Wed - Bathrooms
Thrs - Kitchen, sheets and towels
Fri - Complete some zone cleaning
Sat - House projects and catch up (if needed)
Sun - Planning (meals, bills, homeschooling)

Touch up painting (much easier to do every few months than once a year...especially if you have kids!)
Changing the batteries in the smoke detectors
Cleaning the phones and doorknobs (especially during cold/flu season)
Changing the filters
HVAC tune
Dryer vent vacuuming
and the seasonal clothes swap out

The last thing on my calendar list is my BIRTHDAY calendar
I'm a fan of sending out REAL birthday cards.  I might FB someone (if and when I'm ever on....which is rare!).  I love to make cards so I make and send my own cards.  Isn't it nice to get a real piece of mail, especially when its from someone that has remember your special day! I keep birthdays in my calendars.  I check next month's Birthday's and Anniversary's the last week of the current month.  I make or pull cards for each person and pre address them.  I pre-address them and put a date up in the corner (so I know when to mail them) where the stamp will cover it, then stack them all up in order of needing to be sent and then write and send when the time comes.

Write is all down!  It might seem silly to write something down that you do everyday, but it helps.  I keep this all on my computer and in my household binder.  I'll show you that tomorrow, then my cleaning and meal schedules after.  (Yes there will be pictures and documents!  Enough of these wordy posts with no pretty pictures, right?)

Organization {Part 1: Prioritizing}

I'm often asked how I do it all.  The easy answer....I don't! :)  As the title of this blog says....maybe I should be sleeping more???  Actually, its combination of a few things.  

1)  I multi-task...A LOT!

2) I'm rarely idle

3) I'm hyper organized

I grew up in a house that was always moving.  Neither of my parents are sitters.  We were lucky to get my dad sitting down long enough to eat a meal.  I'm starting to wonder how my mom kept track of the three of us kids and all of our activities.  She, like me, is organized and to this day, still has a calendar out on her desk keeping track of everything.  

I was that friend that went to other people houses to play and clean their rooms, organized their closets....for fun.  When dad was out cleaning or working out in the garage, I was sorting nail and screws.

At our Steering meeting the week before the MOPS meeting, I ran the outline of my talk by the team and was told that "God made me special" and "they have medicine for me."  I am admittedly Type A, so that could have something to do with it!?!?  

With everything going on in my life, how do I decide what to do???  Its a process that I do when new things come up, when life has a major change, when we move, when a new baby comes into our family (after I've caught up on sleep), or when I'm asked to take on something else. 

First you have to list all the things in you life.  Everything from being a wife to running the house to running the kids around...and even the   Everything.  Write it all day.  

Second, pray.  Pray for a clear level head when prioritizing all your responsibilities.

Third, write all your things down in order of importance.  Mine goes something like this: God, Hubs, Kiddos, Homeschooling, Family Time, Kids Activities, Running the house (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.),  Exercising, MOPS, Etsy Store/Furniture Painting/Taxes (read: earning extra $), Blogging, House Projects/Repairs, Crafting/Me Time (notice its at the end ;)

For the big picture, the above sets you up for how to organize the 24 hours a day that you have.  An easy example: If your day is coming to a close and you have the bills to pay and a scrapbook page to finish and you can't figure out what you should do...look at your list.  While I would like to finish that scrapbook page (because doesn't that sound like a whole lot more fun than paying this bills), I can't really scrap in the dark if I don't pay the electric bill, right?  

Tomorrow - Schedules (Daily, Weekly, Quarterly)

The next few topics:
Meal Planning
Organizing a Space
Junk Drawers
Linen Closets and Baths
Laundry Room
Coat/Entry Closets
Your Closet
Kids Closets
Playrooms and Toys
Party/Event Planning

I hope to get to a topic a day....I hope!  I will include links to wonderful sites, lots of pictures from my home and homes around blogland and Pinterest (of course!)

MOPS Organization Talk

Among other things, I am the coordinator for our local MOPS group.  I gave a little talk this week on organizing.  I promised my moms that I would post everything on the blog, so will be doing that over the next week. 

I covered every area of a typical house, cleaning and meal schedules, to containers and labeling.  

Plus....on the blog....I'm able to link to all the cool organizing pics out there on the www. :)

So....check back for some great ideas!

Valentine's Day heart ornament or bowl filler {tutorial}

A cute little addition to your Valentine's decor and a great way to use up some of those scraps! :)

Jute or twine
Needle, thread and pin
Embroidery thread (optional)

How to:
Cut two hearts. (Mine are about 4 inches wide.)  Cut a piece of jute about 7" long.  Pin jute upside down to the right side of the fabric, then place second heart over the top and pin in place, right sides together.  (You're making a teeny-tiny pillow!)  

Sew around the edged, leaving about 1 1/2" open... you can turn right sides out and stuff.
Hand sew closed.  

Make some more in fun Valentiney colors.

 You can even stitch some XOXO's on with embroidery floss!
 I made one out of leftover cream burlap.  This one I just sewed together leaving the raw edges out.
Toss them all into a cute bowl.
 Or hang them on some branches.

An organized pantry

Everything in containers and labeled.  That's the way its supposed to work.  With the crazy busy schedule I lead, I have sorely been neglecting some things.  Things that make for a much smoother life. Little things, like my pantry.  This started about 6 months ago, which is also how I started selling the chalkboard lables. :)  That just took over!

Not a huge change here, but just better.  

I started here.....
Not too bad....But those containers with the white lids on the left.  Those worked great in my last pantry....and the ones before that....but not this one.  I had to stack them two deep and every time I needed a baking item, I would have to move them around to see what I had behind.  

Now everything is visible right when I walk in and labeled with these. (Yes, that's my shop.)  The baking section....
(From this picture, you'd think I actually bake! ;)

The big tubs at the top and bottom hold chips, lunch coolers, coffe/tea bulk items.  Stuff I don't use everyday.  The medium tubs in the middle (left) are my lunch and breakfast tubs.  I store "lunch fruits" like applesauce, ftuit bars etc, "lunch snacks" like animal crackers, cheeze-its, and pretzels, "lunch desserts" and "breakfast" items like instant oatmeal or cereal bars.

I grab the lunch bins and let the kids choose when packing lunches every morning.  They got to choose one from each bin, then I added a "dairy" and a sandwich...or use to when I sent them to school.  
The snack section before....and after
And now....
My system...when I'm out of something I turn the canister around so I can see what is supposed to be in  it, telling me what I need.
After....everything in containers and on lazy susans in the corners.

 While I would love something like this.....
I can't change the layout of my pantry and its not the room in need of a total overhaul.  Someday (if we stay here) I will gut the builder shelves, repaint, and add custom shelves, but for now....a clean out and organization will do!

A new year AND a new craft challenge!!!

First off, Is anyone is wondering how I did on my 2011 Sewing Challenge I am still going to finish posting my 2011 challenge.  I finished, but just haven't posted anything last month due to my December detour.

For 2012 the challenge is.....

drum roll.....

Finish ALL the project that I have either started or have purchased all the supplies for but just haven't made.  I have a small problem, you see.  Well, the hubs thinks its a big problem actually.  I really, Really, REALLY like to find project, buy the supplies for them (then store them) and start the projects.....but I have a finishing problem.  

Sadly, I probably have more than 52.  In rearranging my office and the play/school room, I've started to collect everything in a bin....or bins, really. 

For instance....many moons ago I started collecting old jeans that were destined for the garbage.  Since I can't throw things away, I started cutting up jean squares with plans to make a jean quilt.  All the squares are cut and sitting in a bag, in a bin, in the attic.

I also have a bunch of wood blocks, wood finials, and wood candlesticks that I had planned on making into "NOEL" blocks.....3 years ago.  Still not done.  (Hmmm...maybe "LOVE" blocks instead???)

Terry cloth and fabric for burp cloths and bibs.

Fabrics for quilts that have actually been started and set aside.

Wood to make signs.

Tins for a numbered advent calendar.

A Birdcage to paint and hang for the baby's room.

Letters to decoupage.

Wood boxes to paint for organization.

Frames and old book pages to mat with a wreath.

Too many cards to even count....

Oh.... an endless supply of projects.

I chose this challenge in the fall when I started to clean out my office/craft room and really looked at all the stuff I have accumulated.  Its a sickness, really.  In my attempts at simplifying, I'm selling craft tools that I no longer use (or ever used ;), finishing projects that are stacking up, and donating the things that I think others can use.

Anyone want to join me???  Do you have a craft challenge you'd like to try?  Here are some ideas...
A scrapbook page a week.
Take a picture every day (something I'm hoping to do too...)
Donate an item every day/week.
Clean out a drawer/closet/space every week.
Make a card a week.
Sew an item a week.

Happy Crafting!!!


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