Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Organization 101

Ha! Organization 101 is so not a great title, but it was all I could think of. I am not very good at keeping things organized. Mama Bear over at the campground came up with a great idea to have people share how they organize their homes/children/clutter so that we can ALL get some ideas this spring. Everyone is encouraged to either put up a blog post about it, or leave a comment so we can all get organized this spring! She has included a contest in the whole thing to encourage people to participate. Please share!

I get asked quite a bit "how I do it" with so many kids everyday. First off if my husband didn't help me I don't know what I'd do. Now that he is on 12 hour shifts I am a bit nervous. Bit being an understatement. Secondly, I feel like I am getting crazier as the days go by. However, I do take up to 6 small children into public at a time by myself, and while it is not my favorite thing to do, it is do-able and crazy.
We'll start with the van. You can't see all of them but there are five carseats/boosters in this picture. We have a specific order we all get in and out of the van, and 'jobs'. I think I learned this from my friend in Michigan who has 10 of her own. Mother Hen, Little M, and Little Miss E get in in that order. Then I put Baby J in his seat and Snug climbs in last. I then get in, close all the doors, and buckle everyone in. I climb into the front seat without getting back out. When we get out, Mother Hen is in charge of unbuckling everyone in the backseat while I get everyone in the front. No one gets out until I call their name when it is their turn to get on the stroller/get a buddy's hand to hold.

Welcome to my entryway. It consists of a small closet and three coat racks. The adult one isn't pictured, but it is where #1 and I each get to hang one (although anyone who has been to our house knows we don't follow that rule well) jacket, and we have a small basket hanging there that keys go in and our camera hangs there too. These two coat racks are for the kids. On the top is fone for my kids. Their jackets and hats hang there. Snug has a small bag that we put winter hats/gloves in or sunglasses/sunscreen to keep them handy.
The coat rack on the bottom is for my Draycare kids. They each have a spot (unless I have several extra) to hang their jacket and under it they have a spot for their tote bag (Little Miss E's was left here today so you can see one). Their tote bag contains any small things they bring along and I don't want lost or papers/projects they have done during the day. Underneath it is the shoe bin everyone's shoes go in. Some of them have play shoes that stay here.

From my entryway you go to my kitchen. Our meals are always planned a week in advance. Not only do I never have to think "hmmm, what to make for supper?" I also can buy things in bulk and plan a few weeks ahead of time if need be. I included pictures of my glass canisters (mostly from IKEA) that I keep my grains, beans, pasta, and rice in. This helps me know when things are getting low. I don't judge things in boxes very well and I get tired of bags ripping. The shelf in the top picture is above my stove and cupboards. I am kinda vertically challenged so I keep a stool in the kitchen so I can reach them. Snug uses this stool to help me around the kitchen reach things he shouldn't. Recipe box pictured in the bottom picture has all the recipes I will be using for the week on top, in the order needed. I dig for them once to make my grocery list. As I use them , I put them away again.

While I am getting paid to watch children, I also expect them to pull their weight around here. I treat them like they are my own children, and we say that this is our "family" while we are together. All the plates and bowls are at child level and they set the table for meals. Most of them can also reach the silverware, and big kids are expected to help little kids. They also clear their own spot when they are done eating...thus the plastic dishes. They are not tall enough to set things nicely in the sink, so they get tossed/thrown/dumped into the sink and I'd rather not replace all the dishes once a week.

On to the dining room. This cupboard houses our phone and big people dishes on top, and preschool activities on the bottom. We try to have school sessions at least twice a week where we work on letters/numbers/colors/shapes/fine motor skills/problem solving. Each bin has a certain supply and puzzles are on the bottom right.

I love using boxes and baskets to organize...but sometimes I go overboard and things get cluttered. Anyway, this is how we organize mail. We have a basket for unopened mail, mail for each of us, and one for things that need to be filed or taken care of. Does it work? Um....for about a week...and then all the mail gets dumped on the table again. Grrr

Here are our rules and schedule. Our calendar (for the kids to learn, not to organize our schedule) is on the left. We follow the same schedule every week. It gets varied a bit depending on school pick ups and drop offs, but pretty much the same.

So this is kinda an embarassing picture because this is what the boys' room looks like right now. REALLY messy. I am in the process of switching winter/summer clothes and of course Baby J is now in 9-12 month clothes! I had to put away all the 6/9 and remaining 3/6 month clothes. I keep the boys' clothes in totes...one size per tote.

That's about it. In general I end up flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to having a home daycare, but under it all my mom informed me I AM indeed organized to be able to do that. Not sure how it works, but I know if I didn't do a few little things to organize everyday I'd go crazy! What do you do to keep organized? I'd love to hear your ideas, and so would Mama Bear.


MamaBear said...

That was AWESOME Jenney! Really! I love your recipe idea and the car procedures, and I totally agree about using the glass jars. I found some bigger canning jars at garage sales.

You ARE VERY organized!!!! (even if the mail ends up on the table sometimes)

Savvy Little Women - Kate said...

Oh I love organization...but our mail is always a problem :)!

All Things Family said...

Holy organization batman! I may be stealing some or your ideas...I am SO not that orgainzed!

Michelle Riggs said...

Great ideas! I love them.

Love Mom said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Come back any ol' time! I am definitely stealing some of your ideas!