Friday, October 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing: Classroom, Shoes and Books

Everyone pitches in...
Okay, so the last time I actually posted about our progress in the 52 Weeks of Organizing Home(school) Challenge, I was only on Project 14.  Now, that is pretty pathetic considering we are actually in the 41st week of the year. 

So, let me set the record straight:  I have not stopped trying to organize our home(school) as part of the 52 Weeks of Organizing Challenge.  I did, however, revert (more than once) to my old, not-so-effective habit of putting organization low on my focus list – doing what I could, when I could, as I could, around the busyness of my children and their needs, the desire for our family to spend ample time together enjoying the great outdoors and, well my own distractable mind. 

As I look back at the past several months, I see a two-steps-forward-one-step-back pattern in which the steps back were sometimes enormous ones that set me further “behind” than I was to begin with.  Not so heartening…  Yet, there have some successes and those are worth noting.  Among them, I:

Recreated Our Classroom Space (#15)

I spent quite a lot of time making a classroom space that would work for us this fall based on our needs and goals.  You can see pictures and read all about it here and, if you’d be kind enough to do so, you can click over to our contest entry at My Special Needs Network and leave a comment, which will act as a vote towards helping us win $250 in sensory supplies and equipment.

Enabled More Independence with Footwear Storage and Accessibility (#16)

As the kids’ feet are getting bigger, my old system for storing and accessing shoes was not working.  One recent morning, the shoe explosion by our front door was just more than I could take, so I printed out a kids’ shoe-sizer and measured the each child’s foot.  Then, I spent time sorting out out-sized and out-of-season shoes (the latter of which I had to retrieve with our welcome, but unseasonably warm weather of late).   

From there, I re-purposed shelves, bins and boxes that we already had in order to house everyone’s footwear close to the front door.  Once this functional, but far from fancy (or even appealing!) updated shoe system was in place, the kids helped me put their shoes where they belong.  No more shoe explosion!  Ahhhh.  (Happy sigh.)  However, further work still needs to be done both in simplifying our shoe collection and also in finding a more compact, attractive, yet accessible system to house shoes by the front door for a family of five. Ahhh!  (Not-so-happy groan.)  Your ideas are most welcome!

Re-Housed Kids’ Room Books (#17)

We were all satisfied with the Montessori-Inspired Quiet Time and bed Time Book Shelf System we had in place.  That is, until Jack moved in with his siblings and began to wreak havoc on it.  Now, paper-paged books just aren’t safe in his 15-month old curious hands.  Something had to be done.  

I wanted to take the shelf out of the kids’ room, but Luke and Nina protested.  So, we compromised.  We decided to take the labels off the shelf and to fill it with board books that Jack could use without causing too much damage.   

Then, we opted to limit paged books that would be housed in the room to two bedtime reading selections, which are now kept on a high shelf for Mommy or Daddy to retrieve as needed.  

Of course, this required clearing that high shelf, which had collected an entire shopping bag’s worth of odds and ends, which the kids were reluctant to put back where the bits and pieces really belonged or to part with the things altogether.  It also meant stopping to read each of the "I remember this board books" that they had not seen in a while before shelving it.  

And, of course, Jack tried to unshelf the Jack-safe books as quickly as Luke and Nina could shelf them.

So, a project should have taken under a half hour turned into one that dragged on all afternoon.  That's okay.  No one ever said organizing with five- and four-year-old “help” is expedient or easy.  But it sire is worth it. Through “helping”, the children gain a sense of ownership over the end result and also begin learning life lessons about decluttering, organizing, cleaning and maintaining spaces.  Plus, in this case, we now have tweaked our bedroom book system to one that works for little hands and big hands alike.  

And, let me tell you, Mr. Little Hands is happy to be able to select books without anyone stopping him. And, mama is happy to make the room just that much more Montessori-inspired by revamping this corner to allow for more independence and freedom for Jack.

Moving Forward

Of course, there has been far more organizing going on in the house than those three projects – including much time spent slogging through our basement disaster – but it's slow progress down there and nothing  worth documenting yet.

Thus, in week 41, I find myself not even half-way through the 52 projects goal for the year.  I could be disheartened by that, especially as the 52nd week is just around the corner and autumn always flies by.  But, instead, I am choosing to be motivated. 

It’s time to really rev things up again.  If I aim to reach my goal of doing 52 projects, I cannot keep up the haphazard pattern of work I have been in nor can I simply do one project week.  Nope.  I have got to focus, focus, focus and make this a DAILY habit – over and above other habits and interests. (Um, like stealing moments to blog instead of to clean and organize at times.  Oops!)

Now, I know I have intended to do this before and failed.  Today is a day to begin anew.  Wish me luck!

(And, sorry, no before pictures.  It's hard enough some days to motivate to organize without taking a picture of the small corners of disaster I have yet to tackle.)

How have your own organization projects been going?  Are spaces you've finished working for you or do old habits come back to haunt you?  Any ideas for maintaining "done" spaces would be appreciated.

This post is being shared at I'm an Organizing Junkie's 52 Weeks of Organizing Challenge.

1 comment:

Wonder Woman I'm Not said...

Sounds like you've been busy. Sometimes the first things we try don't work so we need to keep trying until we get it right. At least it's two steps forward and only one step back, could be worse :)


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