Stop Buying Duplicates – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

Do you find yourself frustrated when you look for something at home? We need a certain amount of things on hand in our pantry to help us with our daily meals. What does your pantry look like?

My pantry is deep, so I work at pulling things forward, so I know what is in there. This also helps me to use the items that have been in there the longest. When my pantry is in disarray, I find that I purchase duplicate items.

Decluttering and organizing the items in your pantry will help you plan your menu and will help you save money. Children love to help sort items, so if you find that your pantry needs a lot of attention, call in the troops. Start with one shelf or area at a time. Pull out only the number of items you can sort in 15 minutes. Do not empty your pantry at one time.

There are many ways to sort your items depending on the size and shape of your pantry. I have a set of boxes that hold my spices. I sort canned goods by soups, vegetables, beans, fruits, and canned milk. On the shelf below that, I sort out the boxed items. On the bottom shelf, I sort my baking items.

When you put groceries away, put the new items toward the back and pull the other items to the front. Check expiration dates. I have found expired canned goods in my pantry, so I know it can happen.

Don’t go all perfectionist on doing this. You don’t have to have all the labels facing the same way. You don’t have to sort your spices in ABC order. Just putting things that are similar together will help you.

As you use the last can or item of something, put it on your list to purchase the replacement. I have taught my children to do this, too, because they cook as much or more than I do.
How do you organize your pantry?

Today’s Zone Mission is to spend 15 minutes working on one shelf of your pantry.
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!
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Finding Focus – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Do you find it hard to keep our focus with all you have going on around you? Raising children and teaching them at home changes the dynamics of your life. You have lots of things going on in your home at one time.

Using a timer and a list will help you with your focus. The timer will bring you back to reality when you have been interrupted. If you have a child who loses focus, a time will help that child, too. Children who dawdle over school work often respond well to a timer.

I have a few boys who are easily distracted. I used a timer for math when they would drag it out too long. I would assign a certain number of problems and tell them to see how many they could do in 15 minutes. There were times when long division or fractions caused a lot of angst with my children, and the timer was a welcome relief when they were mastering these new skills.

If you have a child who does not enjoy reading or writing, you can use the timer for those subjects, too. Set the timer for 15 minutes and assign their reading. Many times, they will get immersed in the story and want to finish it after the timer goes off. What the timer does is gives them incentive.
If your children are at an age where they have a lot of paperwork for school, using the timer can help you alternate sit-down work and activities that get them out of their seats. The movement time helps them process what they are learning.

The timer can help you and your children with focus. If you are not using one daily, try it today.

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter 1 shelf in the fridge.

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

My menu plan for Thursday is stir fry chicken and veggies.

Have a wonderful day!
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Kitchen Hot Spots – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

Have you discovered that you have a kitchen hot spot that needs attention every day? For anyone who cooks and is home most of the day, kitchen hot spots pop up. If you leave the house and come back, a kitchen hot spot creeps up on you.

One reason for this is that the kitchen has a lot of flat surfaces. You counters and a table. Some of you have a kitchen island for food preparation.

Flat surfaces just beg for you to pile things on them. As you declutter your flat surfaces, put pretty decorations out on them. I use a tablecloth on my kitchen table all the time. This seems to help the hot spots from landing on my kitchen table.

However, I do have a kitchen island, and it is the place where everyone in the house piles things. I have to take care of this hot spot nightly. It is a part of my routine when I am shining my sink each evening.

My counters do not collect too much clutter, but the boys will line plastic things up to dry out. I have to match bowls and lids each morning.

In one of your daily routines, you have a hot spot drill. It does not matter if you deal with them in the morning, afternoon, or evening. What matters is that you spend a few minutes daily dealing with your hot spots.

What is your kitchen hot spot?
Your Zone Mission today is to deal with your kitchen hot spots for 15 minutes.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is grilled chicken salad.
Have a wonderful day!
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Making Your Routines Solid – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool
                      
Each month we practice a specific routine. As you are practicing this month’s routines, how are you doing with shining your sink and decluttering daily?

Your routines are like a dance. You take it one step at a time in a certain order, and before you know it, you are done! Of course, I know there are things that pop up that you have to work around sometimes. Appliances break. Children get sick. You get sick. Appointments pop up on your calendar.

The secret to managing these interruptions and not losing your momentum with your routines is to keep them simple and keep practicing them. As I am writing today, I have had the dishwasher running, the washer going, and the dryer on. I get up every 45 minutes to switch things out and drink my water.

You can do this with your routines. If you need a sticky note or a written list in a sheet protector, then write out simple routines for yourself. It will help you keep track. If you have an iPhone, you can download a free app to help you.

FlyLady Plus is a free app that is a part of The FlyLady family, and it is available in the app store from iTunes. Your three daily routines are set up in the app. The Zone Missions are also set up in the app.

Today’s Zone Mission in the kitchen is to shine your sink. That was our habit in January. How have you done with keeping your sink shiny since January?

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is tacos and a salad.

Have a wonderful day!
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Start Your Week Off Strong – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

               

 

Happy Monday!
This is the first day of your school week. Let’s strive to start off strong this week. First, get dressed down to your shoes. Get your children up, and after they eat breakfast, send them to get dressed down to their shoes. I have learned over the years that it is less messy if they get dressed after they eat and brush their teeth.
Check your Morning Routine and see where you need to declutter and which Home Blessing you are doing today. I wash my sheets on Monday. The boys wash their sheets throughout the week.
Next, check your menu plan and make sure you don’t need to be thawing out ingredients for dinner. I have started using an electric pressure cooker for many of our evening meals, and it has been so nice to start dinner a little later in the afternoon.
Usually, the dishwasher is ready to run just after breakfast, so I get it started while the boys are brushing their teeth and getting dressed. As you can see, we have fine-tuned our routines. Each person knows what to do each morning.
We start school as they finish their morning routines. They take turns checking on the outdoor animals and refreshing water. So there are different start times for them. They know to start with math, and then they work through their subjects and talk to me as needed for directions.
As they work through their morning schoolwork, we alternate movement activities with sit-down work. This helps them focus when they are doing their paperwork.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the kitchen counters and wipe down.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers and a salad.
How strong is your Morning Routine? How can I help you with ideas on making it great?
Have a wonderful day!

 

Zone Missions: The Kitchen

Monday – Declutter Kitchen Counters and Wipe Down

Tuesday – Declutter 1 Kitchen Drawer

Wednesday –  Declutter 1 Kitchen Cabinet

Thursday – Declutter one shelf in the Fridge

Friday – Wipe down the Stove and Microwave

 

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Nurturing Your Relationship – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

 

 

Happy Friday!
In recent weeks, I talked about the importance of a regular date night. Another part of keeping your relationship healthy with your spouse is to have a regular time away from the house and the children. If you can arrange one or two nights away once or twice a year, it will give you and your spouse time to connect and talk without the distractions you have at home.
If your budget is limited, you can look for inexpensive ways to get away. Your investment in your relationship is worth it. If you have to serve simple meals and save some money for a night away, then do it. If you get a tax refund back in the spring, earmark part of it for a weekend away. Spending a weekend at home without the kids will lead to doing projects. The purpose of this time alone is for you both to relax and enjoy one another, so I want you to strive for getting out of town alone with your spouse.
Being homeschool parents is a lot of work. It takes a lot of time and sacrifice. This is one reason why you need to have this time away to let the stress go. This is a time for you both to have fun as a couple. This is a time for you to remember why you got married in the first place. This is a time to keep the fires burning. One day you will wake up, and all of your children will be grown and moving on with their lives. You will be a couple once again. Date night and weekends away will help you have time to nurture your relationship as husband and wife. You don’t want to realize that you don’t really know each other after the children are grown.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the dining room.
Your Home Blessing for today is to empty all of the trash, sweep, and mop.
My menu plan for Friday is dinner out with my husband. The boys will be having BBQ with my mom.
Have a wonderful weekend!
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Let Your Kids Get Messy – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Children learn by doing things. Sometimes this means that children get messy and dirty while they are learning. Let them play, discover, learn, and get dirty. They are washable, and they will learn skills that will enhance their lives. Learning through play makes and education fun and memorable.
If you are a perfectionist, the previous paragraph probably gave you chills to think about, so bear with me and keep reading.
The main issue you have with letting your children play and get messy is that you don’t want to deal with one more mess. My children have daily clothes that they can play in and get dirty in. They wear clothes they can paint in and play in. If they get really dirty, and let’s face it – boys can do that easily, they just drop their dirty clothes straight in the washer. It is really not a big deal if they play outside and get dirty.
When they get messy inside when painting, doing crafts, or cooking, we work together to clean up any mess that is made. We wash hands frequently. We use aprons. We wipe counters and sweep floors. Really, with team work, it does not take long to clean up.
The rewards of their creative play are many. They are engaging different parts of their brain when they are doing creative activities. They are learning about the world around them and how things work. They are learning that somethings do not work as they think it will. They learn science and math concepts through messy playtime. They relax and think about the deeper concepts you have been teaching them.
If you do not let your children have messy playtime, try it this week. Let me know how it goes.
Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the Entryway.
Your Home Blessing for today is to declutter paper and magazines.
My menu plan for Thursday is chicken stir fry and veggies.
Have a wonderful day!
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Getting Dressed to the Shoes – Getting Organized

Getting Organized in your Home and Homeschool

 

quote-shoes

Happy March 1st! I enjoy the beginning of a new month, and I enjoy this time of the year as it begins to warm up after the winter. In March, the habit we will be practicing is getting dressed all the way down to our lace-up shoes. This one habit causes a lot of discussion, and unless it is against a cultural belief, I want you to try this habit with your children all month.

It sounds simple enough to get dressed down to the lace-up shoes, but it takes some thought. It takes some planning. You need to have the laundry caught up and put away. It is helpful if you practice your Before Bed Routine and lay your clothes out each night. Teaching your children to do this habit will help you start your school day off faster and more peaceful. We all want that in our homes!

One common statement about wearing shoes in the house has to do with the dirt children can track into your home. If you teach your children to clean their shoes off before they come into the house, this will not be a problem. With four boys and living in the country, I taught them to sweep the kitchen floor. When they would come into the kitchen door and track dirt or leaves into the house, I would remind them to sweep behind themselves. It did not take long for them to realize that it was easier to clean their shoes outside. I always used a nice voice with them when asking them to sweep behind themselves. I do not yell or scream to get them to do things.

Start today with everyone in the house getting dressed first thing in the morning. Let me know if your school day goes better when you do this. It sets the tone in our house that we are ready to work when we are dressed down to the shoes.

Your Zone Mission today is to sweep the front porch.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is grilled chicken and a salad.

Have a wonderful day!

 

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Motivating Children – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool
                     
How do you motivate your children to help you around the house and do their school work without complaint?
Using a reward system is the best way I have found to motivate my children to help around the house. Rewards are based on the children’s favorite activities. If my children do their dailiy routines and their school work without complaint, I do something fun with them. They love playing games, fishing, and going to the sporting goods section at the store.

They are not paid for doing their routines or cleaning up behind themselves, but I do pay them for doing things above and beyond their list.

You know your children better than anyone. You can pick rewards that they appreciate without adding clutter to your home or spending a lot of money. Children often want just uninterrupted time with us. My children look forward to the 30 to 45 minutes I spend with them at night playing a game with them. They realize that I work, and I have to get my work done before I play. They know that I expect the same from them.
When it is time to detail clean in the Living Room, I let my boys clean out the sofa and chairs. They call this Treasure Hunting. They never know what they will find!
My children are not naturally organized or neat and tidy. Well, one of them is born-ogranized, but the rest are like you and me. Developing their routines and picking up behind themselves keeps my house from falling into chaos.
We use The FlyLady’s Homeschool Student Control Journal to help them develop their routines and take care of their bedrooms.
Your Zone Mission today is to detail dust the living room and vacuum under the furniture.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is cheeseburger bake and a salad.
Have a wonderful day!
If you need more help with organizing your home and homeschool, you can download  The FlyLady’s Homeschool Teacher and Homeschool Student Control Journals for free.

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Decluttering One Area at a Time – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

              

 

How did you do this month with decluttering? We have talked about delcuttering books, papers, and more this month. If you spend 5 to 15minutes a day decluttering, you will see progress and have peace in your home. Homeschooling brings lots of papers and books into your home. You can manage them, but you have to continue the habit of purging.

You are likely over halfway finished with your school year and starting to think about next school year. Take a look at what you already have on hand when you start making your book purchase list. If you have books you are not going to use, talk to some of your local homeschool moms to have a book exchange. This is a great way to bless someone else with books you are not using, and you might find some books you need.

If you use many classic books in your homeschool, consider how to best provide these for your children without stuffing your bookshelves with more books. I use library books and electronic books when possible. There are some classics that I do want to have a hard copy on my shelf, and I reserve a section in my bookshelf for those.

Collecting books for the sake of having them will overload you with books. Your children will not be more educated because you have too many books. Often, when you have too many books, you are too overwhelmed to hunt through them for the book you want to use.

This week, we are decluttering in several areas. You will spend just 15 minutes a day in each area, so use your timer. We will start in the Living Room or Family Room, and then we will spend time decluttering the Front Porch, Entryway, and Dining Room.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter in the Living Room or Family Room for 15 minutes.

 

Zone Missions: The Living Room, Front Porch, Entryway, Dining Room
Monday – Declutter Flat Surfaces in the Living Room

Tuesday – Detail Dust the Living Room and Under the Furniture

Wednesday –  Sweep the Front Porch

Thursday – Declutter the Entryway

Friday – Declutter the Dining Room

Menu Plan for Monday – Bunless Burgers and Salad

Weekly Home Blessing – Wash the Sheets

Have a wonderful day!
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