Thursday, April 7, 2011

Things I Love

So I'm trying something new and linking up about things I love today. My friend Kathy inspired me to try this so here it goes.

This past weekend I was at home in Summerville with my family. One of the things we ALWAYS do is get at least a dozen of blue crabs. It's mating season right now so a lot of the crabs are down deep (something new I learned) so they gave my sister a deal because they were smaller than normal. It did not matter to me they were delicioso!

These are a lowcountry favorite and my mom and sister seem to know how to season them just right. Living in the ATL, I cannot get them and my sister and mama always know to get a batch when I visit. But really, it's about more than the crabs. It's something special that the women in my family share. It's a girl thing. So we each get our tin pans, a cloth napkin, a cold glass of soda and we dig in! Every time there is a pan of crabs on the table, lots of laughs and love abound.

So, that's what I love on this Thursday. What about you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kid's Clothes- Oh Boy!

So the challenge of the 3rd week was to tackle our kids clothing and toys. I felt like Tsh knew exactly the things that have been bugging me because I had been wanting to get into both of these for some time. One day while the kids were at school(Hahahaha) I purged their toys and cleaned up their room. When they came home they were absolutely thrilled! They did not even notice all the toys that I had gotten rid of and in fact they still haven't! Some of the toys I just took out of rotation and put in the attic, and others I just gave away to Goodwill. I don't have pictures of the 2 large trash bags of toys that got donated because I did this before the actual challenge week. I have posted an after picture of their room though. Less truly is more with kids. I'm even thinking of going smaller. It seems like when I have things in bins like the big green one in the room, they don't dig in there for stuff. It's only when it's out and obviously on a shelf that they play with it.

Gotta admit that the clothing was not at all fun! This is because I like systems and I haven not been able to wrap my brain around how to organize it all so that just led to closets looking like these....YIKES. I know.

So now for the after!!

It's certainly not beautiful because I repurposed things I had other than the large pink tub.... but it is organized. On the top shelf are two boxes turned on their sides with summer clothes waiting to be worn for each child. Beyond these boxes on either side are clothes for next winter. In their drawers are winter clothes since the weather keeps changing here. Once we're hot for good, these boxes will be filled with winter items and on the bottom are going to be 2 more boxes. One for selling/giving (Ellison's stuff) and another for saving (mainly Jude's clothes for Asher).

Organizing these clothes really helped me to see what the kids really need. Ellison is in big time need of shorts (top box on the right) but has a ton of shirts. Jude is stocked for the summer with the exception of a few nicer things for church or family stuff. Shoes are now in the pink tub for Ellison and in the organizer for Jude. Elli is my child who needs to be able to clean up in a hurry and Jude on the other hand will take his time and find joy in matching them up and putting them away...kinda like his mama! Oh... and in the clear bins are underwear and socks, Pj tops, and Pj bottoms. I'm thinking of changing these for play clothes b/c I really want them to be able to get outfits out in the summer and not have to worry about if it's something that cannot be stained or ruined. The majority of our days are spent at home out in the yard or at a playground so it just makes more sense to keep like 4 nicer outfits for everything else. I got that idea from this post. Thanks to that post I have clear goal of 4/5 nicer outfits for each child and 7-10 options for play. I've found a wonderful thrift store nearby where I've been able to score Jude's play clothes at a dollar a piece! That is just AWESOME for this frugal family.

As you can see, I've been having a grand ole time. Totally in my sweet spot doing all of this stuff. I've been wanting our house to be more orderly for so long, but have just not had the margin to do it. I'm so thankful to be able to do this. Really thankful to make this place work better.

Love to all my faithful readers!
BChad :-)

Paper Trails

Man, these past 4 weeks have really flown by. I've been steady working towards a more organized space and I wanted to reveal a few more pics of some of my accomplishments in project simplify with simple mom.

Second up was the paper clutter. I had started working on some of our paper so I was glad for this challenge to see the project to completion. I managed to go from the pile of papers below to one family notebook and a nicely organized space in my new "office" ( a spot at the bottom of our stairs. it's all mine and I love it :-))

I found in doing this project that the biggest problem was that I had no system for papers coming into our house. Things like bills, artwork, school announcements etc. So after thinking it over here is the system that I've put in place. It consists of 4 crucial pieces: 1. A family notebook. 2. A file box for monthly bills, insurance policies and credit card information. 3. An expandable folder for medical information with a section for each family member and a place for general information about our health and life insurance policies. 4. A coupon expanding file folder for useful coupons.

I don't want to bore you to death but here's how I've put the system to work. Step one: Go get the mail. Step two: Immediately put all papers where they belong. Paper bills in the inside pocket of the family notebook, coupons in the coupon file, medical bills/EOBs (we get a bunch of these thanks to our not so great insurance) in the medical file and everything else either shredded or recycled. The key to success has been not getting the mail until I know that I'll have 5 minutes to go through it quickly. This has been in place for 3 weeks and its' working.

For artwork, I have 3 boxes on our bookshelves in our family room area for each of the kids and I place the artwork directly in there. Once they fill's time to purge.

I am really happy with how paper seems to be so much more manageable now. Whenever I have a question of where something should go, I find another hole in the system and figure out a solution.

In addition to the paperwork of a normal household, we are now starting to amass lots of paperwork related to missions. Thanks to my friend Melanie, that beast is under control....phew.

So I hope this all keeps working. Sure feels good to have a better handle on things.