Monday, October 10, 2011

Organized Chaos

Life in the Party household can be quite chaotic.  I feel like I have to be one step ahead of everyone in order to make sure all tasks, assignments, and commitments - parties, recitals, and soccer games happen on schedule.  I felt like I was floundering a lot last year - and had several calendars going to try to keep everything straight... a small dry-erase calendar in the kitchen, my electronic calendar on ipod and computer, the momAgenda - nothing seemed to work.

I think I'm a visual person.  If I don't see everything clearly laid out in front of me - I have a hard time remembering what I'm supposed to be doing or where I'm supposed to be going with what kid.

With Jack moving up to the official Boys Room, we suddenly had an entire room to fill.  A whole space with no designated purpose.  I toyed with the idea of creating a lovely guest room like we had when we originally moved in - but that didn't seem practical seeing as the only people who use that room are our buddies from NC - and that's only once or twice a year.  I considered making a playroom - since it's just down the hall from the kitchen - but the kids are getting old enough to send down to the basement playroom - giving them yet another place to clutter with toys and junk didn't seem like the best choice.

So I claimed it as mine.  MINE.  James lovingly calls it my 'workshop.'  Now a lot of people give me a hard time - saying the whole house is mine - but that's not really the truth.  The reality is every room has been either taken over by children or serves a designated purpose.  I really didn't have one central place to organize our family - a Command Central, if you will - a term I picked up when I took that Busy Moms Guide To Survival Class a few summers ago.

Slowly but surely I've been organizing - relentlessly purging - thinking hard about where things should go - and what you see before you is the fruit of that effort.

Meet the Mama-cave....

Sleeper sofa brought up from the basement and re-covered via the new two-piece slip covers.  Can I tell you how much I love these?  Not only do they fit tightly with elastic bands - but the second piece to contain the seat cushions separate from the remainder of the couch means no sagging fabric collecting in a wad on the floor.  Amen.

The Calendar.  I took the idea from my friend Ashley who has a ginormous wall-sized magnetic dry-erase calendar in her kitchen.  I covet that.  But they are very expensive (from my research via Mr. Google) so I decided to be creative with a big corkboard and some pretty ribbon.

The dresser is what the kids each had in the nursery before graduating to 'big kid' furniture.  It now houses all of my craft supplies (punches, stamps, adhesives, papers, scissors, pens, etc...)  The top three drawers are labeled for each child as a place to store important papers until I can file them in their 'to be saved' files in their rooms.

I simply move the dates around each month - just little circles I created in Photoshop and cut out from cardstock with a 2" circle punch.  The important things/events/places to be are written on other 2" circles I also cut out of cardstock.  I realized though - as I was putting this post together - that I could get creative and make pretty ones that match in Photoshop.  Things like church, dance, soccer that remain the same each month...  I'll have to get on that...

The bookcase was also part of the original nursery set - now it houses my jars of stuff (paper clips, push pins, rubber bands, etc..), non-specialty scissors and markers, the recipe books I use most often when menu planning, and the middle shelf is designated for my Bible study and reference materials.  (That is the topic of another post.)

I totally stole this idea from Kathy when I saw it on her blog.  No matter how organized I was with the re-purposed dresser, it kept feeling cluttered - either I had stacks of paper for each child (from the absurd amount of paper that comes home each day in their respective backpacks) - or I stashed them away in those top drawers - and would forget about what I'd stuffed in there.  This hanging file system works wonders.  I'm able to do what Kathy suggested and dump papers here each night - then when I have time - go through them later and decide what needs to be kept, what needs to be recorded, and what can be tossed.

This area is still a work in progress.  Right now the folding table works - sort of.  My intent was to use it as a sewing/craft space, which seemed like a great idea - until I tried to sew on it.  The movement of the needle made the entire table wobble.  Not so great.  Deonne is looking into building a small table of the same dimensions - so it will fit when the sleeper-sofa is pulled into a bed.  I'd like him to craft it so it looks sort of like a built-in - we'll see how that goes.

 But I'm loving my space...

 I'm loving being organized...

I'm loving being able to see what we have coming in the weeks ahead...

And I'm loving having a quiet space to read, study the Bible, and help Anna do her homework.  And Anna loves having a place she can work independently on her homework without her brothers all up in her business - but is close enough that she's within earshot of me in the kitchen.  I'm thankful she can be to herself and not distracted by the TV or toys or games her brothers are playing.

So this is how we organize our daily lives... 

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