House For Six

household management

40 Bags Weekly Recap: The Tupperware Abyss

Deme Crinion1 Comment
Happy Friday, friends!  Are you ready for the weekend?  Dumb question.

Last week was a week. Our main car has been in the shop for over a week now, taking winter cabin fever with a colicky baby to a whole new level. 

Thankfully, the temps climbed into the 50's for TWO DAYS and it was like a massive block party with neighbors running out to the vitamin D in droves. It was even warm enough for this little girl to take her stroller for a test drive.  How is she so big already?!?!
(as seen on the Insta)

Anyhow! Today we're checking in with a 40 Bags In 40 Days update.  I'm still fighting the desire to do it all at once or not at all.  This task is so big and I don't have the time or energy to do it in one chunk. Which is the point right? The whole purpose is to make a little progress each day which adds up to a lot in the end. So, I'm like Dory up in here when it comes to progress - just keep swimming, just keep swimming....

I'm still plugging away at purging all the cabinets in our kitchen/family room area.  And these two above our pantry may have taken the tiara for "Most Likely To Drive My Husband To Insanity".  I joke.  But not. 
My rockstar husband has been getting the kids up in the mornings because his wife doesnt function during that part of the day for awhile now.  He also makes Mia's lunch for school and his own to take along to work. Finding what he needed in this abyss was simply a delight.

These cabinets are really deep so this is just the first layer.  Who knows what was shoved behind all this....
 Well, I do now.  After we pulled everything out I discovered all our picnic/outdoor dining stuff (paper and plastic ware, serving trays, and a plastic pitcher).  As well as some other randomness.

The main task was to get a handle on the ridiculous tupperware situation and weed out anything that didn't belong there.

We moved all the picnic items to a cupboard in big bar thingy,  ditched any tupperware pieces that had lost their partner to the recycle bin, and organized the rest.   James is much taller than I am at 6'4", so we put the lunch boxes and items I don't access as much on the top shelf.  All our remaining tupperware and some paper plates went to the bottom.

One of the most frustrating things about this cabinet was trying to grab the right travel was like attempting to remove a bowling pin from the center of the gaggle without knocking the rest of them over.  Strike every time.

So, we used an extra basket to corral all the cups and lids into one contained spot.

A couple months ago (when we were making/freezing food in prep for baby) we grabbed a bulk pack of these medium tupperware containers from Costco.  And we love them. I've purchased the variety packs with various sizes before, but we really don't need 12 different options of shapes and sizes.  Large, medium, and small will do the trick for us.
Obviously, we kept a few other sizes for the time being.  Now that we've actually excavated all our tupperware, we're going to pay attention to which ones we use the most, then ditch the rest.

It felt so good to finally address this black hole!  It even gave me motivation to tackle the rest of the pantry. Sure it took me 3 days, but it's done. I have two more kitchen cupboards to tackle, then we'll be moving on to another zone.  Huzzah!

I'm also still working on this desk area....

I'm breaking up my old office between the desk above and an equally disastrous area I've carved out in our master bedroom. 

Those gems are comin' up next week.

This small way of doing....this progress made in inches.  It is so against my nature.  Dang it, I just want two uninterrupted hours (when I'm not exhausted at the end of the day) to knock _______out. But that's not my current reality.  Once I stopped whining and accepted my turtle existence of slow and steady, would you believe we actually started to see some real progress. 

How are you faring?  What's been your hardest area to deal with so far?  If you haven't jumped in yet, it's never too late to start!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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40 Bags For Lent: Ready For Some Serious Decrapifying!

Deme Crinion4 Comments
I'm at that place where I go through each day praying that no one knocks on the door....because then I would have to open it and reveal my complete wreck of a house.  Our home pretty much screams "SURVIVAL" at the moment. Or maybe even "I give up". 

And it should.  Newborn days are very much survival days, but the house crazy is starting to make all of us a little twitchy.

I managed to actually clear off a large counter yesterday that hadn't seen the light of day in months, and you would have thought I just returned from a relaxing day at the spa.  Clean surfaces....ahhhhhhhh.

A la Instagram:

As timing would have it, I also read Ann Marie's annual 40 Bags In 40 Days post which coincides with the 40 days of Lent.  I already knew that a spending freeze would be part of my Lent (after all the generous gifts from Christmas and birthdays and baby), but I think this would be the perfect compliment to that commitment.  We certainly aren't in need of more stuff, and we are in desperate need of dealing with the stuff we do have.

I've wanted to jump on this challenge in the past and have done several purges in the past few years (here and here), but I'm looking forward to tackling small areas at a time with better focus this round.  I tend to want to do it all at once or not at all.  If I can't tackle an entire area at once, then my procrastinating ways reign.  It's the same with our house projects...we tend to go on a big project kick and then go long stretches without touching a thing. 

But that approach isn't going to fly with a new babe in tow.  I have small windows throughout the day to get things done, so I need smaller doable tasks. Otherwise, the piles will continue to grow around here. 

Sadly, I'm not exaggerating.  Our dining room from my perch on the couch (an accurate depiction of the current state of our home)....

I'm using Ann Marie's printable to help keep me organized and motivated.  I filled it out in pencil - important since I ended up shifting things around.  Each week I'm focusing on one area/room of the house and slowly working my way from the main level, to the upstairs, and finally to the basement.  I'll post a weekly update here on the blog and will be sharing our progress throughout the 40 days on Facebook and the Gram.

Every time I have purged down our things to only that which we use, love, and truly need, it has been so freeing.  And brought such peace.  We've had so many changes over the past few kiddo is back in school, our new baby is here, and our schedules have drastically shifted.  We've all felt a bit out of sorts and I owe it to our family to provide a sure place to land.  We all operate better when we're in a good routine and when our home is working for us, not against us.  It's time to regain control and do some serious decrapifying.

So bring it on, Baby!  Who's with me?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Kids' Chores and Allowance

Deme Crinion4 Comments
After finally coming up with a weekly cleaning schedule for myself, I got to thinking about the kids.... 

Ready for my mom confession?  The kids have totally gotten away with little to no responsibilities around the house.  For years.  And when we have assigned chores or tasks we I've been very inconsistent with making sure they get done.

(This was Mia's room before we purged and organized it last year.  Granted this was the oh-my-gosh-I-can't-take-it-anymore moment after all three kids had a hay-day in here.  But still. Hurts my eye balls)

Part of that was due to the fact that we had 3 kids in 4 years (read: survival).  It was also about having too much stuff, and not being able to maintain it all....kind of the opposite of "a place for everything and everything in it's place".  It's hard to enforce room pick up when the kids aren't even sure where there stuff is supposed to go.  And then there was moving and all the house chaos that comes along with it.

Now that they're a bit older, and the house is getting a little more organized (constant work in progress), we could all benefit from a family chore system. 

Jack pulls up the rear of our kid caboose and he does more at 3 years old than Mia (our first) did - benefits of having older siblings to look up to.  Keeping in mind their individual personalities, here's a few age-appropriate chore ideas we came up with for each...

The 3-year old
-Help put away silverware from the dishwasher (he already does this)
-Match socks
-Help dust
-Help set table

The 4 year old
-Help Dad empty indoor trash cans before garbage day
-Match socks
-Help dust
-Help set table

The 6 year old
-Help take out the recycling
-Help with laundry (fold, deliver clothes, and I've started teaching her how to use the washing machine)
-Fold socks
-Set the table

Daily expectations for all (some still supervised):
-clear their dishes from the table after meals
-brush their teeth
-get dressed
-make beds before school
-keep their rooms tidy

They've also been asking about allowance.  I'm not sure if we're going to do that or a commission system, but we feel like it's the right time to start.  What's even the going rate for allowances these days??  What system do you use with your kids?  I would love to hear what's worked best for your family!

We're also fans of Dave Ramsey and I'm thinking about Financial Peace Junior.  Anyone have experience with it? 

Chore charts are in the works!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!

Our Weekly Cleaning Schedule

Deme Crinion4 Comments
That post title makes it sound like we have one.  We don't.  But we need one, so I made one.  And I'm hoping that it's the one.  Know what I mean? 

Part of my Lenten commitment this year is to better serve our family.  We're blessed to be able to have one parent home full-time, and since that happens to be me, it's kind of sad how much I have avoided the everyday cleaning tasks.

James is such a huge help and pulls more than his fair share in the household chore arena.  If he were the one home, I know that he would have this whole maintain-a-decent-house-thing knocked out of the park.  Honestly, it's just something I don't like to do.  Which is odd because I love having a clean house. Go figure.

I think the main reason I don't like doing it is because when the house is out of control or I have major piles to deal with, the task of getting it back in order is so overwhelming it's hard to even start.  I've tried making a cleaning plan before and it was a big fat flop....because I did what I always do - get super motivated to do something, set way too lofty goals that I can never sustain, poop out, and quit.

So, I tried to approach this with simple, easy, and doable in mind.  I've always been inspired by Becky's post on keeping a house clean in just 15-20 min a day.  Now, her cleaning approach works for an already clean house.  Uhhh, not there yet.

BUT. Tis the season for spring cleaning and I thought this year I would use our new weekly cleaning chart to guide us through our spring cleaning routine.  I'll need to spend more time on each task up front since we're not in maintenance mode yet, but hopefully after that, I should be able to knock out each of these in just 15-30min a day, depending on the task.

Here's how the chores fell (with a download for you too!  The Word file can be edited)...

(Download the PDF here and the Word version here)

Mondays - I thought I would start off the week with an easy one: dusting. This just involves going around the entire house with a Swifter duster, wiping down every surface.  This is a great one for the kids to help with, just watch the fragiles! 

Tuesday -  We'll bust out the vacuum and hit all the carpets and area rugs (although there's plenty of little messes to vacuum up throughout the week).  Every once in awhile I'll do the vents, window sills, etc. too.

Wednesday - We have two full bathrooms upstairs.  They'll get a full wipe down, the toilets and showers will get scrubbed, and the glass will be cleaned. 

Thursday - One of my least favorites - mop/clean the hard floors in the kitchen and living areas. Anyone have suggestions on keeping it simple and easy?  Swifter Wet Jet?  Steam cleaner? Help!

Friday - This is laundry day.  We've been trying to figure out the best way to crack the laundry nut for awhile.  Here's what I know.....laundry and I are not friends.  And when we do a load a day, I feel like there is constantly laundry out on the couch needing to be folded or waiting to be put away.  So, doing all our clothes once a week, seems to work best for my sanity and it yeilds the best odds of the clothes actually making it back up to their drawers.  I also didn't like having the laundry waiting for me on the weekends, so knocking it out on Fridays means we go into the weekend and following work/school week set up for success.

There's also a half bath right next to the laundry room that I'll wipe down and give a quick cleaning on those laundry days.

Weekends - One of the main reasons I wanted to do this weekly cleaning sheet is because I didn't like dedicating our entire weekend to chores.  Especially, once the warm weather hits and we have yard work to throw in on top of that.  Taking care of the house during the week, means we have the weekends free to take care of any smaller, less frequent chores and to just have fun!

Daily Tasks:

Beds and toy pickup - This is something that I need to work on with the kids.  Picking up smaller messes as we go along and before we move onto something else is just a good habit for all of us.  And it helps to avoid those overwhelming messes or the frustration that comes with returning to a crazy house. Or that awkward moment your neighbor unexpectedly knocks on your door.

After dinner kitchen clean up -  We've gotten into the habit of cleaning up the kitchen right after dinner lately and it's been great. We clear the table, load up the dish washer, hand wash any big stuff (and dry/put it away) and wipe down the counters before we move on to family time.  This only takes about 15 min and it's so nice to have the kitchen done and ready for the morning.  Because the LAST thing I want to do after the kids go to bed is clean the kitchen.  On days that happens, I usually leave it for the morning...which is not how I love to start the day.

10 min power pickup - We have a split level home, so once we move upstairs to get the kids ready for bed, that's it.  They're not coming back down.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who's kids can switch into nutso mode right before bed.  That's usually when they're overtired and we've missed the calmy-go-upstairs window.  And when that does happen, getting them to stay on task and clean up is a major, drawn out event.  We usually just chuck it up as a loss and attempt to get them upstairs, leaving the wreckage behind. 

So, having the whole family pitch in to do a quick 10 min power pickup about 30 min before we're ready to head upstairs should help to ease the transition to bedtime and leave the house mostly picked up for the next day.


I'm planning to jump on these tasks as soon as I get home from school drop off.  The boys are with me M/W/F and we usually get back to the house just before 9am.   It's so easy for the day to get away from me, so I think making this our very first priority will start the day off on a good note.  It won't take long and doing something productive right off the bat, usually puts me in a mood to do more productive things.  Here's hoping anyway!

For the next couple weeks my focus is going to be on purging and spring cleaning the house.  We're mostly unpacked and have been in the house long enough now to know what things we will and won't use here.  We got through that first phase of unpacking where we set things up, and got things to the right rooms.  Now it's time to deal with all the stuff that we didn't have a place or use for. 

I'm not sure if we'll have a garage sale in the spring or just sell a few things on Craigslist and donate the rest.  For now, I'm going to move everything to be sold/donated to the garage, so that it's not taking up space and adding more clutter to the house.  I'm so ready to have the house in a state where we can actually maintain it! 

Over the years we've tried everything from rigid scheduling to totally flying by the seat of our pants.  We've learned that our kids do best (from babies to now) with a routine.  But I've also learned that we just won't stick to a completely strict schedule.  With kids come a lot of variables.  Some days we'll be able to get to everything and some days we won't.  I'm learning to create schedules that are more realistic and leave margin for those off days.  Is it wrong to say I'm lowering my standards?

Perfection and a spotless house are certainly not the goal here...but we do want to take better care of our home.  In the end, it will give us more time to spend with each other and help us better enjoy the time we're in it. 

How do you approach keeping your house clean?  Or getting it clean? Do you have any tricks for an easy and doable routine?  If you have kids, how do you get them involved?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!