I haven't been as active on my blog as I first intended to be. Part of the reason is most likely because I wasn't clear on why I was blogging, what the purpose of the blog should be. Was it a means of keeping a record of my children, was it to try and build a brand and make money, or was it just an opportunity to share (and sometimes seek) good advice? Without any clear focus, the ideas I have for topics aren't planned out and at random; I'll latch onto something and begin to write.
Last week, a former student of mine posted to a group she started on Facebook looking for some money saving food tips. After posting one of mine, it inspired me to draft a blog post about saving money, something I happen to be very good at. That led me to start another draft about money in general, and budgeting, something else I am very good at. Both of those posts are soon to come as I am tweaking them a bit - this post is a little more stream of consciousness.
One point I make in my post about money is that being organized is directly related to money. It saves time, it prevents wasting money on replacing items, and prevents late fees/penalties.
In today's world, it can be very hard to stay organized. Many of us have schedules that are rough enough. Add in kid's homework, endless paperwork from various sources (insurance, banks, taxes) it can be overwhelming.
I also have a self diagnosed form of ADD that is visual in nature. I don't mean to make light of anyone who has ADD, and am completely serious when I claim to have it. Just as a child with ADD can't not pay attention to a noise or a motion that most of us may not even notice, I can not NOT pay attention to clutter or objects that are on flat surfaces. As such, my house has a lot of pictures and art work hanging on my walls, but there are very, very few items on any flat surface. We are in the process of having our kitchen redesigned and I only half joke with the designer that I want my counter tops all installed at a 45 degree angle. If I walk into my kitchen and one of my children has left something on my counter tops, it is as if I have tunnel vision, and that is all I see.
As you can imagine, with 3 kids in the house, this led to a lot of yelling on my part for people to pick their stuff up and put it where it belonged. As you can imagine, my kids soon learned to tune me out and then I had to up the ante, threatening to throw the items out. Of course, my kids called my bluff. They knew that I wasn't going to throw out an itouch that their uncle had given them for Christmas. I was stuck.
Then, it was as if God spoke to me. On Facebook.
A friend from high school published a picture of a chore bucket. Instantly, I had the answer. I drove right over to the dollar store and purchased a bucket. Just before dinner that night, I explained to the kids how the bucket would work. I told them I was tired of yelling AND I was tired of them not understanding how important it was to me that their stuff not be left around the house. I told them that when I found an item, it would go into the bucket on top of the refrigerator. In order to get an item back out of the bucket, they would need to complete a chore of my choosing and done to my satisfaction.
That next day, 4 items went into the bucket. 4 chores I hate doing got done (sweeping the basement stairs, dusting the molding in the foyer, dusting the molding along the stairwell and emptying the shredder into the recycling bin). Items were handed back. The next day 2 items went into the bin. 2 more chores were done. Over the next two weeks I would occasionally find an item. My kids were unsure how serious I was, so they had taken to leaving items they were too lazy to put away in their bedrooms on the side of the stairs in the dining room, rather than the kitchen table or counter tops. I also found some items squished in along side the television, in an attempt to hide them. These went into the bucket. More chores got done. But, by the time 2 weeks was over, I found nothing! And, even now, I rarely find anything. All done without a single yell - from me or from them. (Okay, I lie. One time my husband got yelled at because I made the mistake of not filling him in and he made the mistake of believing my youngest to just give him the water gun that was in the bucket.)
I never realized how much time I spent wasted worrying about the objects left around, yelling to have them put away and then often doing it myself so I could clean up. Who knew peace in the house, and in my mind, could be found at the bottom of a bucket.