19 January 2012

Let It Go

I consider myself to be sort of the anti-pack rat. I don't really have a problem with holding on to too many things, and I am more than willing to sell or donate unused items.

This doesn't mean I always do this. It just means I know I am capable. (Unlike most people in my family and my husband's family . . . but we're not even going to go there.)

I am also not a big fan of cleaning. Just keeping up with the laundry and vacuuming and kitchen stuff makes me woozy. But the truth is . . . the less stuff you have, the easier it is to clean (and organize). We're making a concerted effort to par down right now . . . resolution-y January and all. It helps that we are getting ready to move in a few months—additional built-in motivation.

So, my biggest tip for keeping all those resolutions to finally have a clean, efficient house is (drum roll please) . . .

Get rid of stuff.

If it sounds too easy, it's because, well, it is.

Here are some specific tips I use for deciding what stuff goes and what stuff stays. (And, I'm trying to see how many times I can use the word "stuff" in one blog post.)

Household Stuff
Less cleaning, more playing with cute babies
Think about the end result: How nice it will be when dusting/cleaning doesn't take forever. A few meaningful framed photos, knick knacks, or candles can be nice. Moving 27 separate items just to dust the top of the TV stand, not so much.

Kitchen Stuff
Ask yourself these three questions: 1. Do you use it? 2. Do you use it? 3. Do you use it? 

Clothing (and Shoes and Jewelry) Stuff
Does it serve a specific purpose? Does it make you feel fabulous? And (ooh, here's the hard one) does it fit?

Sentimental Stuff
If you're mushy, embrace it. Then move on. Even I keep lots of stuff I will never use/need again. (Um, three ginormous boxes of baby clothes in the attic, anyone?)

Now I think I need to take my own advice and go organize a closet or something.

14 January 2012

Second Semester Is a Go!

We just finished week two, semester two, and have decided to take a somewhat different approach this semester/year. After the first week, I really started feeling way too scheduled . . . my neurotic planning and homemade "curriculum" didn't feel right anymore. So, I made a couple of changes.

Let the fun begin
First, I eliminated my weekly "agenda" and instead will simply be using my semester overview notes as a guide instead of trying to get to every "subject" every week. In other words, instead of planning what to DO at the beginning of each week, at the end of the week I will recap what we actually DID. Of course, I will  probably still have a variety of things printed and ready in the binder at any given time.

Second, I'm trying to let Agent E take the lead more and wing it more than previously. And the result so far is that she does want to learn, she loves to learn, and she will come up with ideas about what to learn all on her own. For example, this week without prompting (too much, anyway) she wanted to learn about telling time (which we started a while ago but didn’t get very far). We worked on learning to the hour and half hour, but have a few worksheets ready to go for learning 10-, 5-, and 1-minute increments. She became curious about fractions, too, so we’ll likely incorporate that next week. We’ve also been talking a lot about Florida and the move in June (again, her interest). 

Our library books for the week
Third, I'm working on finding balance for myself, particularly when it comes to computer time versus reading time. I find that if I don’t mention it, but just sit down and pick up a book myself, she is more likely to join me (and read on her own) than if I say hey let’s read something, or why don’t you go read a book. Also, as I consciously make an effort to spend less time on my laptop, her computer time seems to be waning as well (on it’s own, not because I put a limit on it) . . . or perhaps the novelty is just wearing off. 

I was wondering if I should start keeping track of the books take out of the library each week, and that seemed like a lot of work/typing . . . so instead I decided to take a photo of them. Okay, so maybe it's not brilliant, but it was a lightbulb moment for me.