Monday, May 5, 2008

Simplify to find freedom Part 2

Simplification that "works for me"

Recently I realized that keeping everything tidy and my lil guy out of trouble was harder than it needed to be. Here are a few of the changes I've made to correct that:

1. In my living room I have one couch and one futon that I kept "artistic" and colorful throws and pillows on. But, keeping them straight enough to really look nice and be an overall positive in the room was more work than it was worth. So I removed the throws and even though a stain now shows here and there, I'm happier with this final result. (Esp on the futon as we sleep on it every night so I have to completely remake it every morning!!)
2. Same thing in lil Rascal's bedroom. I used to have his crib made up with a fitted sheet, a folded feather comforter, two soft, furry blankets folded at the head, a pretty sheet folded over the comforter and a quilt hung over the edge, with a few favorite stuffed animals arranged through out. It looked great, but he developed a bad habit of chucking EVERYTHING out of his crib when he was mad about naptime, so I was constantly remaking that bed. I eliminated one of the furry blankets and the top sheet, and its much easier to make.
3. I kept getting frustrated bc I would clean his room and then as soon as I had left him playing for 10 minutes while I finished up dinner or something I would return to find EVERY toy he owned strewn about. So, now I put half of his toys up high in the closet, and the other half in his cabinet behind locked doors. I also got rid of all his little toys that he no longer played with. Now, he has to ask for a toy before he plays with it. I'm a bit more sane and I've heard that that is better for a child's development bc it forces them to really focus on one challenge at a time and increases the chances that they'll really pound away at it until they figure it out, rather than just throwing it down and moving on to the next toy.
4. I got sick of telling him not to touch cords and outlets and the computer and printer etc etc. So... I rearranged. Each morning I put away the phone charger (oh yes the brilliance is astounding, I know.) I moved the computer and printer onto a high shelf and off of its precarious perch on stacked suitcases. Now their cords are safely tucked away. Ben got rid of his record player that we had to always keep lil rascal from drumming on (though we only listened to it quarterly I think. We loved the idea, but it was too fragile to listen to with a toddler around and too loud to listen to while he was asleep! Catch 22. ) It made a good present for a friend.
5. We now stash the kitchen chairs in the bathroom so we don't have to constantly pull our boy off the table and clean up his salt and pepper sand castles. I also joined Free Cycle and scored a three tiered metal hanging fruit basket for the kitchen. No more bruised apples and pears as I try to convince the lil one that they're NOT balls. That seems to be a hard one to catch on to.
6. I'm also trying to weed out the clothes we don't wear / need. Limits the size potential of our clothing piles!
7. Here's one you might think is gross. But, I've been thinking, every load of laundry I do here costs me $1 (and that's with line drying) otherwise it would be $2. It also wears out the clothes, and uses lots of water, soap, and energy. (Not to mention my time and energy as I wash, and sort and fold!) So, I'm trying to be more discriminating about what goes in the laundry bags. "Is it really dirty, or did I/they just not feel like hanging it back up?" That's really the main question we ask. I'm a firm believer that showers don't need to be taken every day, and that clothes don't need to be washed after every wear! :)
***** Ok, these two are my next ideas to implement****
8. Every night we put lil boy down and then hang out for a couple of hours before we get ready for bed. That means that our clothes get dropped in the living room instead of hung up (our closet is in his room), and I have a pile to put away each morning, that I may or may not get to. Yes, sometimes that pile becomes a monster that starts to take over. So I'm going to try to talk Ben into changing into his night stuff with me before we put lil rascal down, and ... putting our clothes away.
9. I'm also toying with the idea of finding old wooden framed windows, putting hinges on them, and putting them on our book shelves stacked two high. Then I'll put latches on the other side. (Does that make sense? They would be like window doors and would keep the little one from climbing adventures and pulling all the books off the shelves day after day after day...)

Why did I share these often common sense ideas? Because I figured that I am probably not the only mom who occasionally gets so brain dead that I can't think of creative solutions to solve simple household problems. Then I waste so much energy chasing the boy, getting mad at the boy, feeling bad about getting mad about the boy, cleaning up after his escapades etc... You get the point.

OK what are your ideas in this realm? Please do share...


Xin Lei said...

I keep Fen's coloring books and pens in the bathroom and our recycling is also in there. It's a little troublesome because we have to unlock the door every time we use it, but we keep the bathroom door locked...and it saves a WORLD of chaos. Also, I have eliminated all sharp objects from the kitchen drawers, so Fen is free to go in and take a spoon out if she wants to play with it...and I don't have to be afraid she's going to nip her fingers off with the butcher knife! I keep a weaved breakfast tray on the table that holds all the mail, and various papers/bills that are of immediate concern...everything stays together in the tray and when I need to move it...nothing gets lost in the transfer. My biggest cleaning habit (which is so not revolutionary) is that at the end of the day, I take half an hour and make sure everything is in order (throw pillows, dishes, floors, toys, laundry) be ready to be messed up again the next morning. I may have to go to bed a little later than I prefer, but this way nothing every piles or builds's the same clean-up process every night. And I go to bed with a orderly home...which for me, allows a huge sense of peace and calmness. ok, those are my tips...pretty basic :).

troubling stars said...

Thanks for the the link to the essential oil site - the prices ARE
great, but how would we work shipping?
Isn't it great to stash everything in the bathroom? Kindof crowded
with 3-4 chairs in there but highly worth it to not have to punish Ro
10 times a day for climbing onto the kitchen table! My hard thing with
cleaning is that I have to do it while Ro is still awake bc Ben needs
the house clean when he gets home for his personal sanity. Its also
important bc he needs to go to bed super early (8:30-9:30) to get
enough sleep before his alarm at 5 something (the lil Rascal). Ben's
not someone who can survive on less than 8 hours, thats why Lil mans
first 9 months were so rough on him.
And if I clean while he's there he feels neglected and starts
wondering what I did during those almost 12 hours he was gone....
So.... all that to say - house has to be clean before 5:45 and stay
clean until the next day. Boo - not easy to do with the master uncleaner shadowing me around!