Category Archives: Organization

3 Awesome Things – about back to school

Today Oldest Son goes back to school. This time last year I was a blubbering mess! For real. Like sobbing. What a difference a year makes:). No sobbing today. This marks the day all the kids are back in school. So, I thought it would be fitting to have 3 Awesome Things about Back to School.

  1. Changes in Routines– I love to mix it up! I really do and back to school definitely brings that about. We all get up earlier, go to be earlier (mostly) and keep somewhat consistent schedules. I’m as ready for that as I am for the carefree schedules of summer come May. I would probably have to qualify it as loving predictable change – like the seasons, school year, holidays, wardrobes, menus. Not the big scary changes like jobs, family moving away, or new rules I can’t control. Nope, don’t want that kind of change. I’ll just take my happy, predictable change.
  2. School Supplies – I love them all! I want to buy a bunch of pencils and sharpen them really sharp! ‘Cause we all know a sharp pencil is a sign of a sharp mind! And notebooks. I love crisp new notebooks without those wavy pages they get when you drip water on them. Or the ones where people have torn parts of pages out. No, don’t like that kind. Or when there are lists and phone numbers, and reminders all over a page. Don’t like that! That’s why I love brand new notebooks. They are clean and neat and orderly. I like that. And I like pens. Really good, medium point, pens with nice grips. I have a lovely blue pen at work. I’ve had it for nearly 7 years. {True confession: it came with me from my last job, at the church! I wasn’t trying to steal, but after reading all the questionnaires about workplace theft, I don’t know. It is just a papermate pen. Does that make me a thief?} My co-workers all know about my blue pen. I will hunt you down if you happen to walk off with my blue pen – how else would I have held on to a papermate pen for 7 years?!
  3. Marching Band – I love listening to the marching band play! It just gets me excited! The drums doing their cadences so loudly your chest thumps. The kids all working together. I just love listening to them. And watching the shows progress each week! So very cool. I was not in marching band. I, graciously gave our high school band the pleasure of not having me play. I don’t have a musical cell in my body {I hear I might get that from my Uncle Denny}, but I love listening to others make beautiful music. So glad my kids got that gene from their dad!

That’s it. 3 Awesome Things about back to school; changes in routines, school supplies and marching band!

What are your 3 Awesome Things about back to school?

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Filed under 3 Awesome Things, Organization, School

Lists, Anti-Procrastinators and Other Random Thoughts on a Saturday

I am a list maker. Are you?

I love to write down – yes, with paper and pencil – everything I want to accomplish. It feels kind of liberating and empowering to me. Maybe that’s because my memory is horrible these days? {On a side note, I did hear something on the news about not getting enough sleep makes you have bad memory and they think it may lead to Alzheimer’s. Great! Hubby and I are doomed.}

Saturdays are when I feel a super strong need to have a list. And my sons are very aware of that need. I think if there is one area I feel really guilty about not doing better parenting, it is with time management. {Ok, who am I kidding, there is way more than one area! But let’s pretend there’s just one.} You see, I am a procrastinator at heart. I’m pretty sure it’s in my DNA and just who I am. I do hate the judgement that comes with that. Procrastinators get a bad wrap! There is this whole thought around how that means we are less organized, disciplined, responsible, etc. I think thee is another side. Procrastinators are resourceful, creative, and adaptable. I think there is something weird about having to do everything immediately or way ahead. {Notice there is no name for the opposite of procrastinators! What’s up with that?} What are you afraid of? Think you’ll forget it? Think something terrible will happen and you won’t finish? Think it won’t be as good later? Maybe those who must do everything ahead are really negative thinkers. And procrastinators are the positive ones. I don’t want to do it now, because I will have a better idea tomorrow. I want to give it some time to gel. I think I will have more passion for it tomorrow. See, procrastintors are optimists! Tomorrow will be the perfect day!

But I digress. {Shocking!} Back to the list. I think keeping things on a list that I can look at any time, helps me to prioritize. Lists prevent out-of-sight-out-of-mind-syndrome, which is a deadly syndrome. It can kill productivity in a heartbeat! By making a list, things don’t sneak up on you. Not as easily anyway. You know what is coming on the horizon and have time to prepare. And it frees up my mind! I like that! I like being free to dream up creative things to do, solutions to problems, anything creative. And when I have things to remember, it messes up my clean slate for creating. So, I write it down and am free to be Awesome!

Sadly, I haven’t done a good job of teaching my sons list making. We’re working on it, but they kind of seem like old dogs – you know, they don’t want to learn Mom’s new trick.Saturday mornings are my day to impress upon them the importance of the list. The cleaning list, the homework list, the errand list, the project list!

Which brings us full circle. Gotta go – have to wake some boys up and get going on our lists before they turn on Skyrim!

Happy Saturday!

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Spring Cleaning?

It’s been so warm here this whole winter. It’s very strange. I know Kansas has milder winters than Iowa, but this year has been freakishly warm. And that is wreaking all kinds of havoc. It’s made me want to start spring cleaning {the weather and that whole 4 months until graduation thing}!

After we painted this past weekend I cleaned my cupboards!

It felt so good to purge! I was in the right mood. We were all tired of not having room in the cupboards. Always trying to cram the dishes in when we emptied the dishwasher.

There were dishes I don’t use anymore. Coffee mugs galore and no one in the house who drinks it. I did save a couple in case you are planning to visit and enjoy a little coffee.

Now its neat and organized and there’s room for things I forgot we had. I can get to my serving dishes.

I didn’t get rid of any cookbooks – just couldn’t do it. But I did pick the few I use most and put them in easy reach. The rest are in a top cupboard where I can get to them if I need them, but they are out of sight.

They used to be on top of this cabinet. All piled and messy. Yuck! It was a major eye sore! And now it’s clean and lovely and showing off the wine holder my hubby picked out for me. All by himself! No hints or anything.

A week ago I would NOT have shared pictures of the inside of my cupboards! So happy to have things fresh and organized. It’s like Spring!

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Creative License

This is what my craft room looked like on New Year’s Eve.

It’s really not a craft room. More of a craft area. That muslin curtain can be pulled across to hide this space. It’s one end of our family room.

Can’t imagine why I would ever want to hide it, can you?

It becomes the dumping ground for all things creative. “Take it down to the craft table.” and this is what I end up with.

Really rather horrific.

Not to mention a place I had no desire to be.

Not that I could be in it if I wanted to!

Fast forward to January 2. Yes, just two short days later. Voila!

Can you belive it? Cause I can’t!

Can I tell you how A-MAZ-ING it feels to have this done?!

Ok, technically it’s not done. There are still plenty of boxes to be sorted, but they are manageable now.

Like the memorabilia under the desk. Or the random pictures on the picture boxes.

I still need another box for hanging files.

But I actually sat right here as I wrote this post last night!

Even the inside of that cabinet I couldn’t get to has been organized. Trust me, I know exactly what is in there and where it is!

I’m so very happy! Exhausted. But Happy! It’s probably a good thing I didn’t do this at the beginning of the break…I might never have left my craft room!

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They Think I’m Organized!

We were talking last night, the boys and I, about a new volunteer position I am stepping into. We were talking about what it takes to manage this kind of project and who I might ask to co-chair with me – it’s too big of a  job for just one person. I don’t remember the exact sequence of the conversation, but the real point is, all the boys looked at me in disbelief when I said, “You think I’m organized?”

They had a look of total confusion on their faces.

I wasn’t sure what this meant. Are they horrified that I might think I’m organized? Have I had a stroke and begun speaking jibberish without realizing it?

And then Oldest Son said, “You are borderline anal retentive!”

{SMILE}

I’m not smiling because I want to be called anal retentive. But I have a deep-seeded perception that I’m disorganized. I love spreadsheets and systems! I like things just so. I love organization! But I don’t always think of myself as organized. Like I told my boys, none of my brothers would describe me that way. They knew me way back when. When I was a bit of a slob – when it comes to my room anyway.

It got me thinking about how we can change as adults. It ties in to the DiSC profile I talked about last week. Looking at what you come by naturally and what is a learned tendency. With three boys and a full-time job I have had to be organized. I don’t have the luxury of being disorganized at this point in my life. I have to manage the schedules of all the family members. Making sure jerseys are ordered, science fair projects are done, audition music is recorded, and cap and gown are ordered. It takes organization to make all the things happen that I’m responsible for every day. And that is just at home. I have a job that requires me to manage a lot of different projects simultaneously.

So by necessity, I have become organized. And my brothers, who haven’t lived with me for as long as 30 years, probably still see me as that messy teenager. Thank goodness we all have the opportunity to change!

So yes, they think I’m organized. And they think I’m crazy for smiling when called anal retentive. It almost spurred a Facebook post boy Oldest Son. {Ya, that happens frequently when I have a blonde moment. And I’m ok with that. It’s well deserved.}

 The term anal-retentive (also anally retentive), commonly abbreviated to anal,[1] is used conversationally to describe a person who pays such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others, and can be carried out to the detriment of the anal-retentive person. The term derives from Freudian psychoanalysis. People who are said to be anal-retentive usually suffer from obsessive–compulsive personality disorder[citation needed].
 
Although, upon further consideration. I am clearly not anal retentive! Right?
 

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How Can It Be?

I don’t understand how it happens. It isn’t logical and just doesn’t make sense. All the members of my family have two feet. So how does this happen?

These are the unmatched black socks in our house TODAY! We have just as many unmatched white socks! If everyone has two feet, how can we have so many unmatched socks? It seems like a person would take both socks off at the same time – at least the same day. So they should end up in the same load of laundry. I would think. And I’m pretty sure they would both get dirty. It’s not like when you wear them sometimes the right foot just doesn’t work as hard as the left and doesn’t need to be washed.

Oldest Son suggested we donate all our socks and start over with all the same socks. Then all these could be matched up. I don’t think that would work. A couple people in my family have issues with wrinkles in their socks and I’m pretty sure its the two with the smallest feet! Can you imagine having to wear the socks after Mr. Size 12 has worn them and stretched them all out! Just gives me the heeby-jeebies!

I’ve seen little clips that go on the toe of your dirty socks to keep them together in the wash. It’s a good enough idea, but I think it would take a little too much effort keeping track of the clips and putting them on before washing. We are lucky to get them to the laundry basket – I usually find a pair or two under the coffee table every night.

I think our only hope of reducing the unmatched sock basket contents lies in duct tape. If we just duct tape everyone’s socks on they could wash them when they shower. It might take a little extra dry time, but that’s where the hair dryer would come in handy. We would never have unmatched socks, because you would never take them off. We would spend far less money on socks too!

I wonder if I can spin this so they guys think its a great idea?

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The Road to Eagle

Oldest Son is finally assembling his Eagle Scout project. It’s been a very long time coming…too long if you ask this Mom. He held work days yesterday and today. What an experience! It has been so fun to watch him figure out how to manage this project. How to take what all the different adults are telling him and determine what he thinks is the best way to proceed. And then to let everyone helping know the way he wants it done. Not an easy task at 17.

Being an Eagle Scout is definitely respected, but I think many people don’t really understand what it’s all about. I know I didn’t. I just knew it was a good thing to have and they should make it a goal to achieve. I’m still learning what it’s all about, but I know I will be much more prepared with the next two boys.

When you talk about Eagle Scouts people generally think of the project that is done, but really this is just one component. The project is really about the leadership skills required. The scout is not supposed to DO the pr0ject, but rather LEAD others to do the project. They do research, select the project, coordinate with the recipient organization, fundraise, recruit volunteers and supervise the work. And afterward, they do an extensive write up of what they did, what worked, what didn’t and what they would do differently next time. Oldest Son is through the research, selection, coordinating, fundraising and recruiting. Now he’s in the thick of the supervising stage. And he’s learning a lot!

Between the work days he had to make some changes to his design. I would call them tweaks, but for him it felt like he had really screwed up. After a little pep talk about how this is what the real world is like, it was neat to see him work through that challenge and learn to trust his own instincts. He worked it through in his head, then checked in with the adults who have been helping him. He was confident in his understanding and his plan and articulated it well. It was really neat to watch.

He still has a ways to go, like finishing, writing it up, an Eagle board of review. But he will get there and he will be changed because of the experience. In a good way. We chatted about his experience after the volunteers left today. He was challenged to listen to all the adults who had opinions about what he should be doing and respectfully disagree with some. He was most surprised how hard it was to keep everyone busy and stay a step ahead of them by having the next stage ready to go. Isn’t that the story of any manager? Looking three steps ahead to anticipate what will be needed. That’s good life experience.

Hmm…maybe that’s why Eagle Scouts are so valued.

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