Last year I drove over 55+ hours with 3 kids 3 and under through 7 states, as well as moved from Utah to Texas by myself and unpacked my whole house singlehandedly in 4 days! (Which seems all the more funny now as I sit in my house that isn't all the way unpacked or organized and I had the help of my husband for a few months this time... granted I was super pregnant when we first got into our house here in mid-December and now have a newborn, but still!)
Well, now that baby is 3 months old and semi-nice to me (aka not always having to be in the Maya Wrap for me to do something productive... other than holding or feeding him that is), the stuff I've been itching to do over the last month since being a single mom and only being able to do partially, is now coming out in full force. Operation "Gut The House" is now in effect!
~Seasonal Clothes: This is actually a first for me! Who knew? I have a secret hate of clothes, they're everywhere! My husband has been the same size for the last 15 years and was single with a career and extra cash to spend for 3 years before we got married.... so we (*cough* HE), have a lot of clothing! So, after moving every year for the past 6 years I am finally faced with unpacking EVERY box and finding a home for everything and there is just not enough room! We have a t-shirt collection that can't be rivaled! Solution?? Shh... don't tell anyone! I pulled out the shirts that are actually worn and stuck the rest into a huge plastic storage box. Then I actually pulled out clothes from hubby's closet and the kids that were winter-ish... yah, we live in New Mexico, no need for anything long-sleeved or resembling anything to keep warm, and they met the same fate. My garage and closet are very happy!
**How to keep things Organized in the garage... look to Emilie Barnes! Thanks to my reading of the Duggars book last month I figured out a system that makes sense to my severe mental issues and have subsequently bought the book Survival for Busy Women. Talk about something that makes complete sense! By using 3x5 cards and writing out the contents of every box, highlighting, and keeping storage boxes numbered, you always know where everything is! I've also decided to make this work for keeping track of our books, movies, and other items that I'd like to have a record of should anything happen to the house and we need to put in an insurance claim and re-buy (i.e. electronic info., cloth diapers, school stuff, furniture)... complete with photos).
~Toys: Most of our toys are educational, but there are still too many! I've moved our play kitchen to the garage and all it's food items! The kids like to play with it, but it's a menace to pick up pieces and I'd rather have that mess out of doors. I've also bagged up toys into large ziplock bags and have them nicely tucked away in plastic storage containers (which can be found easily thanks to a note card box that states it's contents). Rotating toys has never been easier or more fun! I'm actually going to be adding more to the boxes. I don't know what the magic number is, but still feel like there's too many toys in the house. The kids are great about creatively using what they have, but I think we'll enjoy playtime all the more with less to put away at the end!
~School Supplies: Again, inventorying what we have is fabuloso! So, that was the first step. From there, the kids each have their own pencil boxes that have colored pencils in them. I know that there are other mediums that would suit little hands better, i.e. crayons, but colored pencils don't create as much of a mess so I'm more inclined to let the kids have free access to them! We also have a 3 drawer plastic thing (from Walmart/Target) that I repurposed as a place for coloring books and paper and placed in my laundry room where the kids can grab what they need. I also created little boxes that I keep their writing books, math stuff, and things we'd like to work on (something from Happy Phonics, Now, I'm Reading Books, etc.). Having a place for everything and knowing what you have is a HUGE way to stay sane while homeschooling. It's way more fun to be able to see what you have so you can actually use it!
~Clutter: Clutter makes me nervous! I'm also going through and trying to give away/garage sale, or pack away anything that's just taking up space! I'm convinced that most things I hate looking at, cleaning around, or trying to find a home for, just don't need to be cluttering my mind! So, while I hate single parenthood, I sure do embrace it when it comes to simplifying the house! Hubby won't be able to see what I'm putting into the 'discard' pile, but just like the clothes (that I'm so POSITIVE he couldn't tell me what's missing.... although when he came home for a few days he did realize it looked like there wasn't anything left in his closet! *laugh*....) if there was something he wanted I could pull it out of the garage easily. I have big smiles looking around the room and enjoy the simplicity!
I hope you have fun gutting your house and find yourself taking less care of stuff and more time with the people in your life!
Feel free to add your organization tricks too! Or coping mechanisms :-)