Let’s Declutter Some Paper Today

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
As we have entered the third week of the month, tell me how you are doing decluttering paper daily. I have received emails and comments from many of you who have implemented this routine into your day.
Decluttering paper is a necessary habit for us. If we do not declutter paper regularly, it will take over our homes. Papers cause some of you emotions. Papers cause some of you to make decisions on what to do with it. Some of you are paralyzed when it comes to getting rid of papers.
What should you keep?
What should you toss?
Will I ever need it again?
Will my kids want to have their papers when they grow up?
I need to make a decision, so I should keep this paper.
Meanwhile, you have papers you have been holding onto for months.
I want you to take a deep breath, set your timer for 15 minutes, and start dealing with your paper stacks.

Really try to take action with one piece of paper at a time.

Trash it or shred it.

File it. (Set up files if you don’t have anything set up.)

Make that call if needed.

Decide how to handle your children’s school papers. You are not obligated to keep every piece of paper your children produce. Keep what is necessary for state laws for homeschoolers. Keep some sentimental papers. Share their artwork and writing with others. Then, whatever is left, toss it in the trash.

While you are decluttering paper, keep telling yourself to let it go. Having a lot of paper in your files is not your security. You will be decluttering paper for the rest of your life. Even in a digital age, we produce a lot of paper.

Keep practicing this habit. Write it down on your daily schedule. This habit will also help you if you struggle with keeping up with your bills because you will be going through your mail daily. Set up a file or envelope to put bills as they arrive. Make a note for bills that are on auto-pay. Make a note for statements that you receive electronically.
I want you to have cleared flat surfaces and no piles of papers sitting around your house. You can do it!

Your Zone Mission today is to detail clean the shower or tub.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.

My menu plan for Wednesday is Turkey Pie and a salad. (The pie is a freezer meal I made previously.)

Have a great day!

Decluttering and Avoiding Burn Out

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

Are any of you feeling burned out? As a homeschool mom, you have a lot of things you do in a day. When you start decluttering, do you keep it quick and easy?

In reading some of your emails and seeing posts on Facebook, I have noticed that many of you feel like you are accomplishing your decluttering only if you make a bigger mess and spend hours doing it.
There is a better way to declutter. You can declutter in small, consistent steps and be successful. Your perfectionism wants you to dump everything and sort through it at one time. This leads you to burn out.

During the late summer and early fall, I have tackled large home projects, and I work on them in small steps. I cannot spend 8 hours making a huge mess to clean up again. If you find out you have to move and downsize in a short amount of time, you would need to declutter deeply and quickly. Most of you are not in this situation, so don’t make your decluttering projects a huge event.

Yesterday, I dropped off this week’s donations from my decluttering. It was not a huge amount of stuff, but it was nice to get it dropped off. You do not have to fill your vehicle to go to the donation center. A small box of donations a week will make a difference, too.

If your children need to declutter in their rooms, you need to help them break it down and assist them. You need to give them a specific goal for decluttering, such as clear off a dresser or get everything up from the floor. If they need to declutter the closet, keep it short and sweet. Divide it into reasonable sections. Only have them work on one area at a time per day. Do not pile it on them either.

Decluttering can be quick and painless! Use your timer and set limits. If you set the timer and keep resetting it, you are spending too much time on decluttering at one time.

You can do it! Keep it short, sweet, and simple!

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter under the bathroom sink.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is leftovers.
Have a blessed day!

Swish and Swipe Daily for a Clean Bathroom

Getting Organized:

In your home and homeschool
Dear Friends,
Happy Monday! It’s the start of a new week! Are you ready to get started?
Our Zone Missions this week are in the Main Bathroom and the room of your choice. This is the week that you can pick a room that needs decluttering and a quick rescue. Hopefully, your Main Bathroom does not need a lot of detail cleaning.
If you swish and swipe each day, your Main Bathroom will stay maintained. This one habit takes less than two minutes a day to do. It’s so simple that many of you skip over it, and then you realize that your bathroom needs a thorough cleaning.
To swish, you just need to use your bowl brush each morning for a quick swish. If you have boys, you might also need to use a piece of toilet paper to wipe around the rim. (smile) I swish my toilet each morning after my shower. The boys swish their toilet during their morning routine. I keep a Rubba Swisha in all three bathrooms in a plastic vase with water and body wash mixture.
To swipe, you just need a cloth to wipe the bathroom counter and sink. If you keep most of your things put away, it will take less than 60 seconds to wipe this down. I use a FlyLady purple cloth to wipe my sink and tub areas.
I extend my swipe time to also include wiping my shower walls and tub. It only takes a minute to wipe my walls and tub, and it helps me keep the bathroom tidy and clean.
When it is time to do the monthly detail cleaning in my bathroom, it really does not take long. I need to sweep and mop it. I go through my supplies and declutter. I make sure I have what we need on hand, and I am done.
This way, I have more time to spend on decluttering somewhere else in the house, or I have time to declutter in the garage.
When I travel, I automatically wipe down bathroom surfaces. It’s a habit that is ingrained in my morning routine.
Tell me how your main bathroom looks today.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the bathroom counter and wipe down.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is ham and fixings.
Have a great day!

Routines and Changes in Life

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
What routines do you have firmly in place? The ones that stick even when your world seems upside down.

We all go through seasons of change in our lives. I went through the season of life of being newly married to parenthood. There were many changes in those years. There were some routines that I had established at that time, and there were a lot of things I was not doing.

We continued having children, and with each children, new routines were forged. Schedules were changed to accommodate nap times and bedtimes. What I saw was that young children liked routines and predictability.

When I started following the FlyLady, there were certain routines that I was already doing really well, and there were things that I struggled to do on a regular basis. I did not jump right into all of the routines at once.

There are some of you who are reading this who feel overwhelmed with adding in new routines and decluttering. That is okay. You just need to start with one thing and build from there over time. The FlyLady has a practice one habit a month, so you have a pretty big grace period to work on your routines.

The FlyLady wants you to start with shining your kitchen sink for a month. As you practice this routine, and it becomes a habit, you can just jump into the current Habit of the Month. In October, we declutter paper. This is an excellent habit for homeschoolers to practice. In November, we will work on menu planning. This habit saves us money and time.

The routines are practical, and they work no matter what season of life you are in. If you have small children at home, you will practice some of the habits with them. If you have older children, you will include them in blessing your home. They will also practice some of the habits with you, like getting dressed down to the lace up shoes.
Throughout the summer and this fall, we have been through a very difficult time with our family. Even on the hardest days, my routines stayed firmly in place. I am so accustomed to my routines that I don’t think about doing them. I just do them one thing at a time. This gave me much peace on a day that felt less than peaceful.

The only times I skip parts of my routines are the times when I am so sick that I cannot get out of bed. I keep my routines basic with what The FlyLady suggests. Each part of the routine has a purpose. There is no fluff.

If you are having a lot of change in your life, practice the routines until they are habits. It will help you have a feeling of peace.
Have you decluttered paper this month? After you finish reading this, spend 5 minutes tossing paper. Then check on your kitchen sink.
Today’s Zone Mission is to clean the stove top and microwave.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

What are you doing for fun in your homeschool?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,

Have you been having some fun in your homeschool this year? Hands on learning and field trips can help you inject some fun into your learning.
Some of you are happy when you plan lessons and check off boxes. Educating your children is more than that. Educating your children should include giving them a love for learning. A love for learning does not just come from checking off boxes.

My young adult children still enjoy learning. By using hands on learning in our homeschool, my children have learned science and history and truly enjoy those subjects.

Use dramatization, projects, music, reading, and experiments to make it fun to learn concepts. Drawing and art mediums help your children process information on a deep level. By using the creative side of the brain for art, they are allowing the other side of their brain to absorb the math lesson they learned earlier in the day.

Choosing a field trip once a month to go along with your science or history topic will bring these subjects to life. It does not have to be a big field trip. We have enjoyed quiet field trips to the local science center to observe the animals in the aquarium.

This fall I have two field trips planned that will enhance our study of colonial history. What do you do to bring fun into your homeschool?

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter under the kitchen sink and check supplies.

Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and a salad.

Have a great day!

The Top 10 Things You Are Putting Off Around Your House

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,
Happy Anti-procrastination Day! This is the day of the week that you pick something to do that you have been putting off. Many of you are masters at putting things off. Somehow, you start to think that things will go away if you ignore them and put them off long enough. This might be true of some things, but for most things, you just need to do it. (I almost said, “Suck it up, Buttercup.” LOL)
Why do we procrastinate? One big reason we procrastinate is perfectionism. We tell ourselves that we do not have time to do it. You might not have time to do it all at once, but you can get started on it.
Think for a minute about that one thing you have been putting off. What is it?
Another argument you come up with for procrastination is that you are too busy. A way to deal with this thought is to schedule 15 minutes in your afternoon routine to deal with things. I know many of you are balancing busy schedules, so am I.
Each night I take a look at my calendar for the next day, and I look at my master To Do List. I write down 3 things I want to do the next day. Some days that might be a portion of a bigger project.
I have learned a lot about being patient with the time it takes me to do a bigger project. I have worked on my master bedroom for the better part of a month as I painted it. Each day, I do something small to put it back together. I am discerning about what I put back and where I put it. I have a giveaway box for things I do not want to put back in my room.
Some of you put off parts of your basic routines, zone missions, or home blessings. In talking to many of you, I can list the ten things you put off the most in caring for your home.
The Top Ten Things You Procrastinate:
  1. Swish and Swipe
  2. Laying Out Your Clothes for the Next Day
  3. Dusting
  4. Cleaning Out the Fridge
  5. Vacuuming
  6. Sweeping and/or Mopping
  7. Decluttering Paper
  8. Paying Bills
  9. Going to Bed at a Decent Hour
  10. Getting Dressed to the Lace Up Shoes Each Morning (See #2)
This is in no way an exhaustive list. These are just the ones that I have learned in mentoring ladies the last two years that they need to work on regularly.
Tell me what you are procrastinating. Am I on target with my list?
Your Zone Mission today is to clean out the fridge one shelf at a time.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is spaghetti and a salad.
Have a great day!


Using Your Timer to Keep You From Burning Out

Getting Organized:

In your home and homeschool
Dear Friends,

Do you have several areas that need attention today? Write down no more than 5 things that you would like to do today, and then assign letters or numbers to each one. Make something on paper that you can draw from a hat. Set your timer for 2 minutes to 15 minutes and work on each thing.
As a part of my job with FlyLady Premium, I host LIVE decluttering games. On Monday night, I host a live BINGO game. We play along for an hour, and it helps motivate the members. I call BINGO letters every 5 minutes, and the participants work on their list and share with the rest of us what they are working on for that 5 minutes.
Other days of the week, I host 30 minute decluttering games. We change themes from Zone Missions to other decluttering projects, such as dealing with paper clutter or shining our kitchen sink. Having a timer displayed and playing fun music makes the time go by quickly. We have a lot of fun, too.
I want you to have fun blessing yourself and your family with a clean home. Using your timer, playing music, and making a game out of your decluttering projects will help you get it done. If you have something you are procrastinating, put it on the list and play a game to get it done.
Change your perspective on caring for your home. It’s a blessing to have a clean home, and it is a blessing to be able to clean it. You don’t have to spend all day cleaning. If each person picks up behind themselves, that will make the biggest difference in your home. If they are big enough to make a mess, they are big enough to clean it up. You can make it a game for little ones to big ones. Everyone enjoys playing games.
Using your timer is not a punishment or race. It is a tool to help you set boundaries on how long you work on a project. It’s to help keep you from burning out.
What are some things you can do today to bless your home?
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the junk drawer or one other drawer.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Have a blessed day!

Do you love your kitchen?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
My kitchen is my favorite place to be. It is the hub of my home. We cook, eat, do school, play games, and entertain in the kitchen. It is a very important room in my home. Do you love your kitchen?
This week we are in the Kitchen for our Zone Missions. You can do some small missions each day to make your kitchen inviting and beautiful. Just clearing off the counters will make a big difference in your kitchen.
If your kitchen is a dumping grounds for clutter, work on getting rid of it. Over the summer, I did a kitchen renovation, and I did some deep decluttering. It feels so good now to have more room on the counters and in the cabinets.
Another thing that helps the look of your kitchen is to keep the sink empty and clean. Shine your sink each night before you go to bed. During the day, just maintain it and ask you family to maintain it.
When I did my renovation, I moved the dish drainer under the kitchen sink. There are a few things each day that I rinse and use daily. I have a portable water bottle and an immersion blender that I use daily. Both of these are hand washed and put in the drainer until the next day.
When I decluttered the cabinet with the plastic bowls and containers, I limited how many I kept. I gave away or threw away many of the ones I was not using. I trashed the items that no longer had a mate.
What are some things you can do to change how your kitchen looks?
Your Zone Mission today is to clear the kitchen counters and wipe them down.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers for the guys and grilled chicken for me.
Have a great day!

Do you write letters?

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Dear Friends,
In thinking about different activities for our school day, I have added letter writing to our daily schedule. This serves many purposes for us. It expands our creative writing. It helps with spelling and grammar. It enhances our handwriting. It brings us closer to the family member or friend we are writing.
Have you taught your children to write a letter? If you have a friend or family member who lives far away, start writing them letters. Ask them to write back to your children. If you have an out of town friend who has children close to the ages of your children, consider having them become pen pals. I remember having a pen pal when I was a child. I am still friends with her today.
Having a house full of boys, letter writing has not been popular. But I have stuck with it, and I am requiring it this year. I think it is an important skill, and I am seeing them improve in their skills.
Teach them the parts of the letter as you are writing. You have the date, salutation, body of the letter, and signature line. Most of our letters have a paragraph or two written by each of us.
If you have very young children, start with them dictating a letter to a grandparent, and then ask them to illustrate the letter. It is very interesting to see what things small children find fascinating to write (or dictate) in a letter.
In a digital age, letter writing is a skill that is not practiced as much as it was in the past. Let’s keep this alive into the next generation.
Start thinking about your Christmas card list. Your children can help you by signing their names if you start early and do a few cards a day. It will make your cards special to the recipients.
Teach your children how to address and envelope from the recipient name and address to your return address. Show them where to put a postage stamp.
See if you can tour your local post office. My homeschool group does this every couple of years, and the children find it interesting to see how the mail is sorted to be delivered to our homes.
What are some other ways to encourage writing and literacy in children that you can do?
Today’s Zone Mission is to detail dust the dining room and put out some fall decorations.

Your Home Blessing for today is to empty the trash, sweep, and mop.

My menu plan for Friday is pizza and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Starting Your Before Bed Routine Early

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your emails this week. I asked you to tell me where you have difficulty with your routines. Overwhelmingly, I heard that many of you struggle with the Before Bed Routine. You are tired and ready for bed, and you skip parts of the routine or don’t do any of it. Some of you are collapsing into bed at night.

As you have gathered from my descriptions of my routines, I am early to bed and early to rise. After 9:00 pm I am winding down. I start my Before Bed Routine right after dinner. I check the calendar and weather. I lay out clothes and anything else I need first thing in the morning. I shine the sink. Then, I work on my writing or have mentoring sessions for a few hours before I go to bed.

Because I get up at 5:00 am, it is not hard to fall asleep by 10:00 pm. Many years ago, I stayed up later, and I slept later. I still got in my required hours of sleep, but I was getting up with the children and not before them.

Once I realized that my morning quiet time was a little too loud as Nerf gun wars and pop guns were being played with by the boys, I decided it was time to get up before they did. Now, my quiet time truly is quiet. (smile)

Many of you have a lot of things going on as dinner time wraps up, and if you have little ones, they are not able to do as much as my older children can do. But you can include them in the cleaning up of the kitchen. You can give them little things to carry for you. You can give them a small broom or a rag. Keep them close to you, so they are not tearing up another room.

Then send them off to get their clothes for the next day. While they are doing that, you can get your clothes laid out. Ask them to get their socks and shoes ready, too. As much as you can mirror what you are doing with what you are asking them to do. If you have toddlers and babies, take them along with you as you get your stuff ready.

Use teamwork as much as you can within your family. If you have a large family, assign older children to a younger sibling to do various things around the house in the evening. The goal is for everyone to do the Before Bed Routine, so you have a more peaceful morning.

When you are ready to go to bed, you should just need to put on your pajamas, wash your face, and brush your teeth.

Please keep your questions and comments coming!

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter around the Launch Pad Area. (The area where you put things for the next morning. It is usually near the door.)

Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.

My menu plan for Thursday is spaghetti and a salad.

Have a great day!