Monday, January 03, 2011

Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession;
it is through creating, not possessing,
that life is revealed.

~Vida D. Scudder
Just so you know...
I despise making grocery lists.
I also hate deciding what to have/make for dinner every night and looking for lost school forms or over due library books amongst tons of clutter makes me REALLY cranky.

For a long time now, a lot of my energy has been seeping out the cracks of my ineptly constructed home management system. (Actually, to be honest, there's never been a system...we have just been existing in a state of "coping".) Over the last 5 years, as my art business increased (yet with preschoolers still at home), both Mark and I have just done our best to survive.

I promised myself this past summer, that in January, after my busy fall caricature gig season was over, I would take the time to "bulldoze" what was there and rebuild something much better for our lives.

So...I have been cleaning.
Actually, I guess I should really call it "discarding", "eliminating" or "throwing away" and now the empty spaces where all those objects, clothes, toys, files were, are suddenly filled with fresh new energy.

The next thing I did was create sustainable and maintainable systems
so that it doesn't all return to chaos in a week...

Here are some of the home systems I have figured out:
There are 5 of us —2 adults and 3 kids-13, 9 and 6, living in about 1100 sq feet with one bathroom. (Each child does have their own bedroom.)
(Some of these things may be so elementary and obvious to you but these are all new and exciting discoveries for me....)

  1. A place for EVERYTHING: Every single item in our house now has a place to go away to (a shelf, a cupboard or a drawer), and so it is the responsibility of whomever was using it to put it away. If something new comes in, a spot must be found for it or it must go (or something else must leave). The kids each have one medium sized memory box in the storage room for their special momentos.
  2. School Crap: There is one spot by the front door for all the school things; library books, Friday folders, field trip forms. Its an old wooden mail sorter and works perfectly- with drawers underneath for spare keys
  3. Important Things: There is a filing pocket magnetically attached to the fridge for all the things like tickets, cheques, bills, forms to be signed etc. (bought at Staples)
  4. Laundry: all the kids now have their each colour coded laundry hampers for their dirty clothes and then when the clean folded clothes are put back into the hamper, they are each responsible for putting them away in their drawers.
  5. Meals and groceries: I have prepared a month of menus, divided into 4 weeks, into a word document and each week has a grocery list at the bottom of the page for that specific whomever is going grocery shopping for the week just needs to print off that list.
  6. Family discussion and agreement: all 5 of us have important things to do in our lives and we must work together as a team to meet everyone's needs. So, everyone must keep their personal space tidy (and clean up after they have friends over.)
So now I'm off to establish some new sustainable systems for my art studio business....

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