"Control It" at the "Organize It" Party
The bigger my kids get the more room they seem to take up in my home, the more messes they seem to leave all over the house, the more stuff they seem to accumulate. How do I "Control It" all?
Today Julie Cole is going to share a creative idea for how she made more room for her growing children, and Paula Constable will share some tips on getting our kids to be more organized. There are also some fabulous MOM tips today by Stacy L. Hertz, and don't leave without entering to WIN the fun GIFT (giveaway) from LittleMissMatched. Now let's go "Control It"!
The Dining Room Re-Invented
I used to look at my dining room and think “why?”
There it was — a formal dining room with a big, beautiful table where absolutely no actual dining takes place. As a business owner and busy mother to five small children, formal dining does not take priority in my life. If I am called upon to entertain, I will strategically plan the event so that it does not hover around a traditional mealtime. If entertaining during mealtime can not be avoided, it happens in the summer — outside, with my husband at the helm of the barbeque. Not only are there time constraints to prevent me from creating fabulous meals, I’m not actually interested in cooking. Perhaps there will be a day that I gleefully throw on an apron and relish in filling satisfied bellies. But for now I remain the anti-Martha Stewart.
So what was happening in my dining room? Mostly piles. You know the kind of piles I’m talking about — those collections of paper you are going to deal with later. Storage of sports equipment also happens in the dining room. And the corners provide a great home for the outgrown kid clothes that had not found their way into boxes or been handed down.
It became apparent that besides the appalling mess, I had another problem. Walking past the living room one evening, I saw my six-year-old daughter kneeling on the floor doing her homework on a make-shift desk — our coffee table! Taking up space beside her carefully organized school supplies was a collection of mislaid items. Among them: a toy car garage, several trains and cars, a family of toy animals and a pile of puzzles.
Trying to understand why she had chose this odd and impractical location to do her homework, I did a quick survey of the house. First stop was the kitchen table. This table doubles as a place for feasting and doing crafts. Evidence of both activities were strewn across its surface — clearly a location to avoid. Next, I meandered into the dining room. Oh yes, the piles — not exactly conducive to homework, even if it is of the grade one variety. The dining room was officially a wasted space in a hectic home that doesn’t have any space to waste.
It was time to take action. Currently two of the children attend school full-time. Before long it will be five children kneeling around coffee tables squabbling for precious space to tackle their homework. This vision left me wondering if we should cancel the monthly payments into the education funds — no one is heading off to university if those are the study conditions I’m providing.
Husband was immediately ordered to pack up the dining room table and chairs and store them away in the basement. He spent the following day assembling three desks and adjustable office chairs. Presto! My dining room was transformed into a children’s study, complete with a kid-friendly computer station. Each child was provided with a hanging file for any homework or permission slips that need to find their way back to school the next day. Being the off-spring of a Mabel’s Labels momma means my kids are label-crazy and took this opportunity to publicly claim their desks, chairs, hanging files and other assorted office supplies. Everything is labeled to ensure they have their own stuff in their own spaces. In a family of this size, stuff and space is cherished and protected.
And my piles? Now that I’ve lost my dumping ground, I deal with them when I should instead of dealing with them “later”.
When it comes to our homes, we have to be flexible and make adjustments to suit the specific needs of our family. Once I made some changes in my home, the monthly payments into the education funds were made with a little more confidence.
* Julie Cole is one of the founding mompreneurs behind Mabel’s Labels Inc. (www.mabel.ca) and the mother of five.
Time to open another GIFT ( giveaway)
LittleMissMatched is a whimsical lifestyle company that was founded to solve the pesky problem of the disappearing sock. We sell our socks in packs of three that don’t match, this way if you lose a sock, you’ve still got a pair! And you get to mix and match to express your creativity and individuality every day of the year.
But the LittleMissMatched fun doesn’t stop there! LittleMissMatched has created gloves, sleepwear, bedding, books and more that all incorporate LittleMissMatched’s philosophy of self expression.
LittleMissMatched and 24/7 MOMS are giving away 3 packs of socks to one MOM. To enter for your chance to win, enter your name and email address in the box below you will be signed up for today's giveaway as well as be added to the 24/7 MOMS E-list(if you are not already a 24/7 MOMS subscriber). Drawing to be held on February 1, 2009
Organization Teaches Children Responsibility
By: Paula Constable Stuff 2b Organized™
Organization and routines teach children responsibility. Demanding they “clean up their rooms” when we’ve reached our limits just isn’t going to cut it.
As parents, we need to
· Teach by example and be role models. Are we making our beds everyday and putting our clean clothes away?
· Give them opportunities to learn. Get them involved in organizing projects and ask questions.
· Develop routines. One example is that everyone helps clean up after dinner-every time. Or, coats go on their own hook after school, not on the floor. Most likely they don’t leave their shoes and coats on the floor at school.
· Praise them! Notice the good things that they do!
Expect that your child’s help and participation may result in extra work for you, but you are teaching them the skills to learn to help themselves down the road.
FREEEbie Party Favor
Looking for FREE creative chore charts . We found a great site that has FREE printable chore charts from Veggie tales to Scooby Doo. You can create your own customized printable chore charts. Click here http://www.dltk-cards.com/chart/
REAL Mom Tips
Creative Ideas & Projects to Organize Kids School Papers, Artwork Small Bedroom Hassles
By: Stacy L. Hertz
I am a mother of a three year old and I can’t believe how much paperwork he brings home between daycare, swim lessons and music class and he’s not even in school yet. Afraid of losing important dates, as I knew it would only get worse as he becomes older, I decided to make a binder to keep track of all his paperwork. I bought a three ring binder from Wal-Mart and a package of 3 ring punched one sided folders. I labeled each folder with the person’s name that lives in our household. When I’m handed a reminder note that my son has pictures for class, I record the date on the calendar and then it goes into his folder for reference. The folders hold dentist and doctor appointments, birthday invites, library reading dates and more. My folder for instance has my appointments and my husband’s are in his. I keep the binder with my calendar on our desk where everyone can view it. I purge as needed and don’t have paper stacks anymore on the counters.
Now what about that artwork? My little guy is coloring and painting new pictures all the time and at daycare they make something for most holidays. I love everything he brings home, but sometimes the refrigerator looks a little overwhelmed!!
Here are a couple of ways I like to keep his artwork on display but not feel weighed down with paperwork:
● Hang a piece of yarn, rope or fishing line across your child’s wall, up towards the ceiling, with tacks. Then use clothespins to hang up their artwork. When they want to put up new projects go through and purge what is not needed and keep your favorites.
● Now where to keep those favorites? Use an expandable filed folder with dividers, from any office supply store, and store by years. Another great way to keep artwork in one place is by purchasing a frame from dynamicframes.com, that can hold up to 50 to 100 pieces of artwork at one time.
Even though my son is not in school yet, he already dons a backpack for daycare. Between the backpack, shoes, coats, etc. I have a hard time finding my entryway or my son’s room. Therefore the following tips might help you out in the same situation.
● Use a hanging shoe organizer in your entryway closet for all gloves, scarves and hats.
● Use a hanging sweater organizer and give each child a cubby hole. This is where school work, backpacks, gym shoes & even small instruments can go.
● Buy tubs in various sizes, one for Legos, one for cars, and so on. Take a picture of each toy and tape it to the outside of the tub and label each tub with a permanent marker. This way your kids will know where their toys go when done playing.
Stop by again today after 6:00PM for more great " Control It" ideas, giveaways and FREEbies at the "Organize It" Party.