Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy Newness

Transitions can be a lot of things. I often find myself struggling with change, but this year, the transition and resolution planning has gone very smoothly. In the spirit of betterment, I post a picture of our fancy new organizational center. This came to be from many different sources, much discussion with my husband, and meditating on what our family really needed to take us to the next level. Let me share with you where the ideas came from, and what we have done, in hopes that you may figure out something that will work and fit with you.

I love the mommy craft bloggers out there. I got the patchwork pocket idea from Shim + Sons, and since I am not as talented as she, I kind of did my own thing out of the little scrap fabric I had on hand. Plus, we had a very large cork board already, so I made do somehow. Even though they are uneven, I was very pleased with myself for turning them out.

The pockets are actually chore pockets. The chore pocket idea was taken from A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion. Diann Jeppson uses this with her family, and the system really resonated with me. Basically, the top pockets represent a room or area in your home. They are filled up with tickets (blank index cards here) of all the jobs that need to be done to keep that room or area clean. We kept it fairly simple with things like sweep the floor, dust the light, etc. Each person is then given two chore pockets ('to do', and 'done'). I dole out four jobs for each person each day (whatever seems most needed). My three year old only participates as he starts to show interest, and my six year old isn't required to do all four if it seems to be stressing him out too much. My eight year old is required to do them all, and so far has done so without too much disdain. Part of the joy is that I have four chores too, and so does Dad. We can do the chores at any time during the day, but at 4pm, whatever isn't done need to be done then.

I like this system because it is VERY flexible, yet it allows us to get a lot done with very little struggle or hassle. The kids like it because they know what they have to do, and then it's done. I'm really happy, because I don't have to do it all. Little things I never thought about (like dusting the ceiling fans) are getting done. I highly recommend Diann Jeppson's book if this system intrigues you, and you want to understand it better.

Next, I bought Managers of Their Home (MOTH) to help me in scheduling my days. The middle section with the colorful strips of paper is my first attempt at using the MOTH plan. I resist schedules and have a very difficult time sticking to them, so I really worried about using this and "failing". So far, I have found this schedule to be very helpful for our family, even though we do not use it rigidly at all. It acts as a guide, a kind of ideal day, or reference point for us. There are certain parts of it that we stick to 100%, and others that we can throw out at will. Just having it posted on the board somehow relieves some tension.

The last part of this is my menu posted with what we can eat for snacks as well, so when my kids say they are hungry, we can look and see what we can snack on that day (today it was a fruit smoothie, yum!).

*MOTH is a Christian ministry, so for some people this book may conflict with personal beliefs. I also wanted to note that I do not believe in scheduling babies for eating or sleeping.