04 September 2014

Reclaiming my home

It's time to revive my blog!  Why? Well, perhaps it's because I've moved and still don't know many people in my town.  Perhaps it's because I need a bit more focus in my life.  Perhaps I've started falling out of love with facebook.  Whatever the reason, I feel like blogging again.

We've moved to New England and I'm loving live. 

What is going on in my life right now is some home organizing tasks.  My house feels like a constant battle ground.  The kids toys are everywhere, there are piles of papers everywhere, bills get pushed aside until I find them just days before they need to be paid, and worst of all - the whole house is dirty.  Not totally gross according to my husband, but far worse than I would ever want my house to look like!  My routine needs an overhaul.

The first step I'm taking is one I remember from when I read the fly lady book a long time ago...have a clean sink every night.  Every night before I go to bed, all dishes will be done.  There is nothing more defeating to my day than to wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes.  The sink got a good cleaning yesterday and that is the first piece of my routine to change.

Next up has to do with papers.  Oh the papers!!  Bills, junk mail, store circulars, coupons, school papers, craft projects.  It just goes on and on, especially with 2 little ones (3 and 6 years old) in the house.  My first new rule regarding papers is they get put away immediately.  If I can set up a good organizational system then there is no need for papers to be piled on my kitchen counter, coffee table, or dining room table.  So far I am off to a good start.  My desk (the size of a typical small computer desk) currently holds my laptop, a mail sorter, some computer software boxes, address book, bill paying stuff, and is the charging station for my kindle and camera.  The mail sorter will be my main collection station.  School paperwork (not crafts or school work, but the actual letters regarding school business) will be put in there and bills and receipts that need paying will have a folder.  It has not been completely set up yet.  That is still on my to do list.  The desk needs a good cleaning and some stuff I'm sure can be tossed.  I also need to find room for some new binders.  I am spending more time volunteering at my 1st grader's school and one of the committees seems to require a binder.  I don't know why, but I just can't seem to find a place to designate as my binder area. 

Kids' school work and crafts have a designated file box in my closet that currently has a pile of crafts and school work from last year on top of it.  It's needs to be cleaned up!  I have absolutely no problem throwing away my kids stuff.  I do a pretty good job of saying to myself "will this in any way pull on my heart strings in a year?"  Most of the time it's a resounding "NO", but there is probably a handful of things each month that my kids bring home that I want to keep.  Like my daughter's picture of Martin Luther King Jr from preschool that she kept calling Dr Luther King in the cutest little kid voice or the first drawing my son made me of a monster that actually had eyes and legs. 

I do couponing a bit, I'm not too hardcore, but I do have a binder of coupons and store flyers.  For a while it was on the shelf under my coffee table, it has since migrated to my dining room table where I peruse it and sort through things while I am eating breakfast or lunch with the kids.  It needs a new home, but I haven't figured out where yet.  I'm afraid if I put it away it may never be seen again and couponing will be put to rest.  Not that I wouldn't mind, but I do save a fair bit with coupons right now.  I'm hoping to do an over haul of our eating though and coupons may not factor in as strongly into my life, although I will be able to continue saving by planning my menus around the fresh items that are on sale.  Anyway, I am going to make a concerted effort to put all the sale flyers in the binder and sort though the Sunday paper on Sunday to get the coupons put away as quick as possible.  There have been times when the paper sits on the dining room table and by the time I get around to cutting the coupons they've already expired.  That's just a waste!

And the last project that I've been tackling is my computer time.  I spend far too much time on the internet lately, but with very little purpose.  I find that if I have my phone with me around the house, I am constantly checking facebook or instagram or the weather.  It's pretty ridiculous.  I do have my phone set to only use wifi and not data so when I'm out of the house I don't obsess over this pretty insignificant things and actually spend time with my kids.  But when I'm home, I have a tendency to keep looking at the flippin' screen.  I have thankfully not gotten sucked into the time wasting games like candy crush or whatever the hot game is now.  My internet time needs to be spent in a more meaningful manner, like blathering on in a blog that no one may ever read, but hey it's getting my thoughts somewhat organized!  I plan to try to leave my phone in my den or bedroom (where the wifi doesn't reach) in an effort to stop jumping every time I get a notification.  I will set up some designated times each day to check my facebook and email, but I think I really need to phase facebook out of my life.  I'm a bit to OCD about it and I feel like I have to scroll down to read everything that was posted since I last checked it.  It is so not necessary and it's a huge waste of my time.  I think it's time for me to start calling my friends more instead of just commenting on their status updates.

Ever since breaking down and getting a smartphone a few months ago, all of my email has been done over the phone.  Which means it's tidily tucked away in an icon and I really don't bother with it.  Being a stay at home mom with no real responsibilities outside of the home, email is not a major concern.  There are no million dollars deals brokered in my email.  However, I am getting involved more in my daughter's school and joining committees so I should really be able to access emails and respond in a timely fashion.  That being said, the last 2 nights have been devoted to cleaning out my inbox.  I am happy to say that I went from well over 1500 emails in my inbox to 30!  All the emails have been labeled, placed in folders, or deleted.  Only emails that are in regards to an upcoming event or a pressing matter belong in my inbox from now on.  I use gmail so promotional emails are already sorted to another folder automatically.  But I will be going through and as promotional emails come in that I'm really not interested in, I will be unsubscribing so I have one less thing to erase. 

What's next.  Well, next up will be trying to figure out some sort of cleaning routine that works well for the entire house.  At one point I had a well worked out daily rotation of rooms that got cleaned.  However all that went out the window when my son started walking!  Time to put a new schedule in place and figure out how to keep this house presentable.  And second will be trying to carve out a bit of "me time" in the middle of all this.  Now that my kids are getting a bit older and staying up a bit later I seem to have lost my "me time".  They used to go to bed around 7:30, I would do housework until around 9, then from 9-10 was quality time with my husband watching TV and knitting.  The kids are now up until 8 or 8:30 and often much later although after 8:30 they are pretty much on their own pretending to sleep but really playing together in their rooms.  By the time school lunch is packed and a few simple chores are done it's 10.  Then try to add some more serious chores and I'm easily up until 11, my husband is asleep, I'm ready for relaxation time but know that if I stay up any longer I will regret it in the morning so I go to bed without any time to unwind. 

That being said, I spent post-bedtime tonight trying to plan out a new knitting project since I have nothing on the needles right now except for seaming a large crochet afghan project.  The project has been successfully planned out (fingerless mitts for my kids) and supplies collected.  Now to set aside some time tomorrow to work on them!  Off to pack up my daughter's lunch and snack for tomorrow (another area that needs some revamping as she says she only wants pizza for lunch every day and all other food gets sent home uneaten... oh 6 year olds!)  When I figure out how the new blogger works (haven't blogged in quite some time!), I will set up new sections on the side to incorporate this reclaiming the home part of my life.  If anyone who finds my blog is doing anything similar please let me know and pass along your blog address, I'd love to follow and get some inspiration!