Friday, April 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing (Homeschool) Challenge

Laura over at I’m an Organizing Junkie began the year off with a 52 Weeks of Organizing Challenge.  Well, here it is Week Fifteen, and I am just jumping aboard.  “Better late than never,” as the saying goes.  And, in my case, better with a single-minded focus for my 52 mini-projects than with my usual scattered approach – starting too many things in too many areas of our home and lives at once, resulting in little success at finishing any.

So, what is my focus:  Organizing Our Homeschool a bit better! 

Yep!  By the end of the year, I hope (key word – hope!) to accomplish 52 “small” projects, which will make our home a bit more organized and our learning activities that much more effective, accessible and exciting.  (And, yes, regular readers, I know I have attempted a similar long-term, short steps project before with my self-initiated Creative Curriculum for the Home, but I got waylaid by life events and lost steam.  So, I am letting that go for now and seeing if Laura’s 52 Weeks might help keep me on-task, motivated and accountable.)

So, with no further ado, let me announce:  We have begun our 52 weeks of Organizing Challenge and yay, Daddy, yay, me! Since Daddy has been around to play house-husband a bit more often of late, in the past month or so, I have made a good start at catching up on half of the fifteen week’s worth of projects I am “behind” on.

I had to laugh when I saw this week's 52 Weeks post over at Organizing Junkie is about Organizing Closets.  For, although the part of our home I began with is not a closet, it was being used more like a deep, dark closet.  during months of pregnancy, ligament pain, hubby being away and having a newborn and two older youngsters vying for attention, I got into a bad habit of tossing things in there "to get them out of the way", before closing the door and ignoring the mountain of mess behind it.

Yikes!  What a disaster that room became.  In fact, I was actually going to put up some "before" photos here to own up to my shame, but -oops- I left the camera out and the kids got to the buttons.  Those photos were accidentally erased, it seems.  (Probably better that way!)

Photographic evidence aside, let me just say the room was not one that was safe to move in.  So, my first 52 Weeks mini-projects involved braving it, bit by bit, from the door in order to begin turning it into a workable Play-and-Learning Space again.  I am proud to say, progress has been being made.  In recent weeks, the following mini-projects have been checked off:

  1. Recovered Play and Learning Space, Pt 1:  I sorted some books and with muscle help from Daddy and even the older kiddoes, removed book boxes from the disaster room to recover our Office/Play and Learning Space.  Granted, the boxes invaded the laundry room, where they are now stacked safely until the basement family room repairs are done and the books can be shelved.  (If the repairs to the basement get made this year, we will cull our book collection further, putting “keepers” in their permanent home on bookshelves in the basement family room - another item for my 52 list!)
  2. Recovered Play and Learning Space, Pt. 2:  To get through the aftermath of my insidious "toss it in and block it out" habit, I had to remove boxes, bins and piles of  “kids’ stuff” and other junk that had piled up in the room.  Some of this was thrown out altogether; some was freecycled or donated.  Much of it is now stacked with a minor semblance of order in the garage until it can be further sorted, organized and labeled according to mini-projects yet to come (Can we say, "future mini-project?").
  3. Recovered Play and Learning Space, Pt. 3:  I uncovered the boxes and bins of breakables, memory items and other “important” stuff from the center piles in the room and, after having to part with a few items that sadly didn't make it, I stacked the rest in neat boxes “safely”  along one wall of the room until the basement family room repairs are done and the items can be put in their permanent homes.  To be honest, I really don’t like it still in the room, but i cannot think of a “safe” place elsewhere to put it. (Ideas, welcome).
  4. Rediscovered “Work Shelves”:  I rummaged through the house to find any and all white shelves that could be re-purposed once again as work shelves for the kiddoes.  I must say that cheapo ClosetMaid-type shelves have served me well over the years as toy storage, book storage, clothing storage, end tables, shoe bins, low benches for the kids - you name it.  I love their flexibility, even if I dream of getting furniture and storage pieces that are a bit more high-end.
  5. Set Up Uniform Trays and Bins on “Work Shelves”:  After realizing I will not get around to re-purposing collected clementine boxes by reinforcing the bottoms of them and, perhaps, painting or covering the sides of them, and also recognizing that not only did I not like the look of these boxes “as is”, but also that smaller bits of learning materials fall right through their non-reinforced bottoms, I gave in and spent a few dollars.  With help from Dollar Tree cookie sheets and bins, I set up the shelves with practical “pull out” containers for play and learning materials that have a uniform look I can tolerate.
  6. Created a Baby Corner:  I cleared one corner of the Play-and-Learning Space for Jack, setting out up to three activities/toys on the floor for him to access. I ensured there were no loose cords or other dangers in the corner and that space can be “fenced off” if need be once we start spending more time in the room again.  (Now, I just need to keep an eye out for an inexpensive non-breakable mirror or reflective surface to put up on the wall for him.  Anyone know of one?)
  7. Made Morning Lotto Charts:  Recognizing the need to find more time for cleaning and organizing overall, and to get a better start on our days, I worked with the kids to create Morning Lotto Charts.  We put these on the well, at first, to get used to using them.  Then, we moved them to the kitchen table.  Now, they are in binders.  (My goal is to create a “mission control”, “household notebook” or whatever you wish to call it, for each of the children over time so they are trained never to get as disorganized as I have become.  Wish me luck.)
  8. Made 5 T’s for Bedtime Charts:  Knowing that sleep (and good sleep habits!) are vital to maintaining both health and an alert mind for learning and play, the kids and I created 5 T’s for Bedtime Charts to help us re-focus on pleasant bedtimes, which, I believe, will lead to more pleasant and productive days!
And so it is that I not only have begun my 52 Weeks of Organizing Homeschool efforts, but documented them also.  I apologize for not including visuals, but (a) there was that button mishap with the camera and (b) if I wait to post until I have photos taken, cropped and uploaded another week or more will slip by before I finish this post.  I don't want that to happen. 

Why?  Because, even though I have made a fair start on my own, without the well-wishes, encouragement and tips afforded by others meeting similar challenges I am not sure I will stay motivated to stay the course.  So, please, bring them on!


Anonymous said...

Laura has a posse that go out and hunt you down if you don't stick with it....only kidding. Hey this is the first thing I have stuck with. Good luck!

Michelle said...

WOW! You've been busy! I can't wait to see the after photos! Good luck!

Barbara OT said...

What a great organizing idea! I think people are too dependent on 'materials' - forgetting the downsides of clutter. Can you say 'distraction'?

Ticia said...

I had to laugh at the "no pictures" thing......


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