Routine Maintenance

Getting Organized in your Home and Homeschool





How do you handle routine maintenance in your home? The FlyLady has a page on her website with free Control Journals. She has one for home maintenance. This would be a great starting point for you this summer, if you do not have a regular practice of home maintenance.

My grandfather helped raise me, and he was a mechanic. He taught me a lot about home maintenance. I know that most people do not think about home maintenance a lot, and you can save time and money to have things that you check on regularly.

How often do you clean out your dryer venting system? Mine needs to be done once every three months. I put it on my digital calendar to remind me when to do it quarterly.

Do you check your filter system for your heating and air conditioning unit? This is something that everyone has, but I do have a heat pump system. I check our filters monthly and change them, or I ask one of the boys to change them for me. This is also on my digital calendar during the first week of each month.

Do you have seldom used plumbing in your home? We have one shower that is really small, and it is not used often. I have to run water in it every so often to keep it from evaporating completely in the drain line. I have learned this lesson the hard way.

Newer building codes often call for fire alarms to be hard-wired into the electrical system, so some of you may not have batteries to check. For those of you who have battery-operated fire detectors, you need to check them quarterly. Put it on your digital or paper calendar to check these batteries.

What are your routine maintenance projects?

Your Zone Mission for today is to declutter the top of your dresser.

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

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and veggies.

Have a great day!

Color Coding

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Last week I shared a lot about my laundry routine, and I had many of email replies. I love it when you write to me!
One of the ideas that was shared was to use color coding for family members. You can assign each person a color for cups, towels, washcloths, and more.With a large family, I used this method somewhat when I had all 6 children at home. I did not always have the same style plastic cup when mine ranged in age from toddler to teen, but we could always tell who the sippy cups belonged to.

My mother made personalized towels and washcloths for the children one year. She used three different colors for the six children, and they used them until they were worn out. They did hang them up to dry after their bath and reused them a few more times. I had so much laundry at that time, and it did help me.
In an effort to keep wet towels off the floor and out of the dirty laundry baskets, I instituted one basket in my room for wet, dirty towels. This is when I started washing towels more often. If I assigned a color to each of the boys, their wet towels would likely end up in their dirty laundry baskets.Since they only wash their clothes once a week, I can see where the wet towels could be a problem. I don’t choose to follow up with them on hanging their towels up in between bath times. I pick the things that I want to check on consistently. I would rather check once a day to see that they did swish and swipe than to remember to check on their wet towels.

How many of you use color coding in your household?
Your Zone Mission today is to clean off your nightstand.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wipe your windows and mirrors.
My menu plan for Wednesday is fish and baked potatoes.

Have a great day!


Summer Routines


Summer Routines


As we are approaching the end of May, I want to encourage you to have a summer routine set up. Your children’s schedule should change as you transition into summer. I use summer as a training time for new skills for the boys. This summer my two oldest will be working outside of the home, so the younger two boys will work on new skills. I am already thinking about how I will add this to their routines, and I am thinking about their rewards.

While I have taught them the Home Blessings, we have always shared in doing them. This summer, we will have only 3 of us sharing them. Last summer, we had 5 of us sharing them. I want them to know it is a BLESSING to care for our home.

I will be going back to doing my Home Blessings on Monday morning this summer. Then, we will transition into a little review work in math and some independent reading. I will teach them new things to fix for lunch, and we will have fun activties a few afternoons each week.

Another way I am going to work with them is to firm up their daily zone mission in their shared bedroom. One of them is a born-organized person, and he does most of the room maintenance. So I am going to work more with the younger one being responsible for his areas.

We will also try some new recipes for our evening meals this summer, and I will include them in the preparations. I will share these along the way. Our spring was so busy, and I kept our menu so simple that I am ready to branch out again.

For rewards, we will go swimming a couple of times a week, do the summer bowling program, go to few skate days, and go fishing.

Tell me what you want to do with your Summer Routines and Rewards?

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter one dresser drawer.

Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.

My menu plan for Tuesday is taco and a salad.

Have a blessed day!


FB Cover - Tami Fox

You can do it!

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool



Would it surprise you that sometimes I don’t feel like doing something? Last week, my last load of laundry of the day was ready to be folded. I walked into the laundry room, and I really did not want to fold that load of laundry. It was close to bedtime. It had been a busy day. I was tired. I had a lot of excuses going through my mind at the time.

I reminded myself that it only takes a few minutes to fold laundry. I set the timer for 5 minutes, and I took a deep breath and folded that load. It took 4 minutes to fold. I could have made excuses for 5 minutes, but I decided to turn it around and just do it.

When I was done, I was glad I changed my thinking. Otherwise, I would have gone to bed thinking about it. I would have wrestled with it in my mind. I would have probably gotten back up and folded it anyway.

I moved on to the next part of my Before Bed Routine. I washed my face and brushed my teeth. Then I went to bed.

There are going to be times when you want to put off something until “later.” When this happens, use your timer or turn on a song. You will find that it often takes a few minutes to do what you want to put off. You can do it!

What have you been putting off?

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter the flat surfaces in your bedroom.

Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.

My menu plan for Monday is French Toast, bacon, sausage, and eggs for the guys in my house. I will be having chicken and salad. (I stick to my gluten-free lifestyle as much as possible)

Have a great day!

Pick It Up and Put It Away Today

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Peace in Your Home by Putting Things Away

By picking things up and putting them away daily, you are going to make it easier to do your Home Blessings. You will have less clutter around the house, and you will have more peace.

But we have stumbling blocks when it comes to putting things away. We also are not consistent with having our children pick up behind themselves daily. You can usually track your children through the house by following the trail they leave in their wake.

You can tell when someone has come into the house because there will be things dropped where they came in the door.

You can look in the bedrooms and see the piles of things that just need to be put away.

You get overwhelmed. You are tired. You feel like you are trying to stay ahead of everything and yet you feel like you are just treading water every day. I want you to thrive! I want you to have abundant living. I want you to have peace.

Today, I want you to use your timer to pick things up in three areas of your home. You can split this up in the morning, afternoon, and before bed routines. Only spend 15 minutes in each area. If your children need to help by picking up their things, make it a game. Call it a reverse scavenger hunt. Play music. Sing and dance.

If it is fun, it will get done! The FlyLady tells us this all the time.

Start at your Launch Pad area where everyone comes into the house. Put everything away that has been left in this area. If you do not have a place for everything, you need to keep decluttering until you can put everything away.

Next, go to your kitchen. Put things away. I know you have things sitting on the counter. The kitchen is a big catch all area in our homes.

Finally, I want you to work in your desk area. This is the main area where you process paperwork, pay bills, review school work. This is a dumping ground for paper. Spend 15 minutes throwing out papers.

You can do this! I know I am asking a lot of you today. I want you to have things nice and pretty for the weekend. I want you to go out on Saturday and have Family Fun Day!

Today’s Zone Mission is to use an old toothbrush to clean the bathroom faucets.

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

My menu plan for Friday is rotisserie chicken and a salad.

Have a wonderful weekend!
FB Cover - Tami Fox

Just Keep Tossing Things Out – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

First, I want to thank those of you who emailed me yesterday with your questions and suggestions. Laundry is a big topic, since most of us have a lot of it. I wanted to share a few thoughts from the emails.
How do you find time to declutter in the children’s rooms when they are home with you all the time?

When you have several young children, you have to find ways to occupy them while you are decluttering in their rooms. Otherwise, they might be making a bigger mess for you to clean up. I have found that if I let them play with something that they do not normally get to play with, they are entertained for 10 to 15 minutes.

One time, I set my little ones up at the kitchen table with salt dough to play and make a mess. I carried one dresser drawer at a time to the kitchen island and decluttered clothes one drawer at a time. I only did this for 15 minutes at a time, so it takes a couple of sessions to get through all of the drawers. It is worth it though!

When I need to declutter in the closet when there are young children at home, I give them something to play with in the floor that I might not otherwise let them play with. In other words, I will give them a toy with lots of parts and pieces that are appropriate for their age. I spend only 15 minutes at a time, and then I switch out and play with them. If they are still entertained, I will try to do another 15 minutes of closet decluttering.

Bear in mind, I had 5 boys sharing a closet at one point, and it took a couple of days to get through their closet when I switched out seasons.

Another painless way to declutter clothes, is to do it when I am doing laundry. By tossing the worn out clothes and donating the too small clothes, I have fewer clothes to go through at the change of seasons.
The best advice I have when dealing with laundry and clothes is to just keep purging.

Your Zone Mission for today is to toss old cosmetics and perfumes.

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

My menu plan for Thursday is chicken and veggies.

Have a great day!

It’s a Sure Thing Every Day – Getting Organized

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Blessing Your Family with Good Food, Clean Dishes, and Clean Clothes

Most of you reading this have more than one child in your home. Even if you only have one child at home, there are still things that have to be done in your home every single day.

You will have to cook every day. People like to eat. In my house, the boys really like to eat. Each week, I plan a menu, and recently, it has been very simple. I have repeated the same menu because of my travel schedule. Now that conference season is over, I am going to add more variety to our menu plan once a again.

Include your family in the menu planning and cooking. They will be learning important skills, and it will help you to have some extra cooks in the house. When I am having a busy day, my boys can handle the cooking for me.

Grocery shop once a week. This will save you time and money. If you are not stopping at the store daily, you will not be spending extra money on the impulse items you see in the store. I grocery shop on Friday afternoons. This helps me have what I need in the house for the weekend and the whole next week. It is rare when I have to go back to the store for something.

If you are cooking a lot, there are going to be dirty dishes. Teach your children to rinse their dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher immediately. Teach them to rinse dishes and pots as they cook.

When you are doing dishes, use the time to pray for your family or to count your blessings. Use this daily task as a blessing for your family. Change your mindset, and it will change how you feel about those dirty dishes.

Set a timer when the dishwasher is ready to unload. For the most part, a dishwasher can be emptied in 5 or 6 minutes. We tend to procrastinate emptying the dishwasher, but it will help you keep your sink shiny if you have a dishwasher that is ready to be reloaded with dirty dishes.

You need to do at least one load of laundry a day. In my case, I have to do 3 loads of laundry per day. Each person has a laundry day to do their laundry and wash their sheets. I do a load of towels daily. We do a load in the morning, a load in the afternoon, and a load in the evening.

Laundry has 5 steps, and we get hung up on getting through them all.

1                     Sort
2                     Wash
3                     Dry
4                     Fold/Hang
5                     Put Away
Folding laundry is a time to reflect on your day. You are blessing your family with clean clothes. You can invite the children to fold clothes with you. It can be fun!

Put your laundry away as soon as it is folded or hung up. If you have room in your closet and dresser, this only take a few minutes.

Tell me which of these three things is the hardest for you to do daily.

Your Zone Mission today is to declutter one bathroom drawer.

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

My menu plan for Wednesday is spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad.

Enjoy this quick video on today’s topic!

Have a great day!

Closing Out Your School Year

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool


Do you have a process for closing out your school year? After 17 years of homeschooling, I have learned a few things that help me finish up a school year. Later, this will benefit me when I am ready to start a new school year.
During the last two weeks of school, I spend 15 minutes a day going through each of the boys’ stacks of materials. I only need to keep a few records in my permanent school file, so I declutter as I go along.
Completed workbooks get tossed. Books that will be used by another child are put back on my bookshelves. Books that my youngest has completed get passed on to others. I go though binders and toss papers. Usually, I put the empty binders back in their area to be used the next year.
For my high schoolers, I update their transcripts with final grades. For my younger children, I just make sure I have filed their end of grade testing papers, attendance sheet, and have their updated immunization papers filed.
The next step is to start planning for next school year. I make a list of the books I need to order, and I place those orders now. It can cause problems starting school in August if I do not order the books in a timely manner.

Finally, I will go through our supplies and toss the items that are no longer usable. During back to school sales, I have a better idea of what I need to buy if I have purged the used items.Here is a quick video on Closing Out my School Year:

How do you close out your school year?
Today’s Zone Mission is to shine your tub or shower.
Your Home Blessing for today is to dust and vacuum.
My menu plan for Tuesday is chicken and a salad.

Have a blessed day!




Teaching Life Skills – Kids in the Kitchen

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool



How often do your children cook? Teaching your children to menu plan, cook, and clean up is a big set of life skills. As you are transitioning into summer, you can assign a Head Chef of the Day. Involve your children in the whole process of menu planning and shopping. Let them learn to cook what interests them. You will be raising good eaters and helping them gain life skills.
Teach them to clean the kitchen as they go. Fill up one side of the sink to place dirty things. Then rinse them and put them on the dish rack or in the dishwasher. When we load the dishwasher after dinner it is only the dishes and bowls that we used at the table. The rest of the pots and pans have already been washed and put away.
Teach them to cut vegetables in a safe manner. Until they are teenagers, I do most of the vegetable chopping. But they do need to learn this skill, too. We make a lot of salads, and if you eat many salads, you know how much time can go into chopping vegetables. I do buy the organic mixed green salad mixes in a big container each week. That helps a little bit, but I buy seasonal vegetables that require washing, peeling, and chopping.
Teach your children how to use leftovers creatively. Browned ground beef can be fixed in many ways. We use it for tacos, taco soup, chili, beef noodles, beef and cooked cabbage, and more. It is a menu stretcher for me.
Breakfast can be a fun meal to learn how to cook. There are so many ways to cook eggs. We also enjoy waffles or pancakes. We eat different kinds of breakfast meats. I work hard at providing a balance of carbs and proteins for their breakfast. Oatmeal and fruit or yogurt makes a great meal, too.
Lunch planning usually happens at dinner for us. We see what we have leftover, and we talk about ways it can be used for lunch the next day. We also make cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese, soup, subs, or other sandwiches.
Your children need to learn the balance of the different types of foods we need for a healthy diet. Teach them while they are young.
It’s a great time of year to teach your children about gardening. Let them pick some vegetables to plant. They will be invested in the process and may try vegetables that they do not normally eat.
Your Zone Mission today is to clear off the bathroom cabinets.
Your Home Blessing for today is to wash sheets.
My menu plan for Monday is hamburgers and salad.
Have a great day!


Declutter and Donate Weekly

Getting Organized:
In your home and homeschool

Happy Friday! It’s the end of the week and errand day for me. One of the things I do on errand day is donate the items that are in the give away box in my van.

Throughout the week, I find something daily to add to that box. Some days, I put 5 or 10 things in the box, and some days I put one thing in the box. It does not matter as long as you are getting rid of something daily.

Encourage your children to declutter in their rooms, too. Kids like to collect stuff, and when you go in their rooms, you are appalled at the amount of stuff they have accumulated. Teach them through example that you do not have to hold onto stuff to be happy.

Challenge everyone in your house to declutter 3 items a day for the whole week. Have them put the items in a box in your car. You want it out of your house.

You can also challenge them to find 3 things a day to throw away from their rooms. Kids have trash and paper clutter in their rooms, too.

Since we are decluttering in the kitchen this week, I want you to look at your appliances on the counters. Do you use them all? If not, find a place to put them out of the way or give them away.

As we are entering summer, you can declutter a little at a time in the areas that are hard to get to during the school year. Make a list of those areas. Assign one area for each week of the summer. If you have to spend more than a week in an area, you can come back to it.
Just spend 15 minutes a day for 5 days in an area. This is not open season to spend all day decluttering an area.

Today’s Zone Mission is to declutter unused kitchen cleaning supplies. Replace dishcloths and sponges, if needed.

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!