Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Goal Number One: The House

Took CJ and BH to the park one Sunday night when BB had the big 5 at a church event. She sat still for precisely 1.023 seconds while I took this photo.

I've started to write a post on summer goals several times, but have obviously not finished or posted anything on that. Until now.

Here we are halfway through this much-loved three months' break from school. I'm trying not to think yet about the future, about school starting back, and about having two 7th graders, a 6th grader, 4th grader, and one in 1st grade. How can this be?

I'm not sure how it is, but it is, and life rolls on, doesn't it, including the wonderful, short summer!

So, summer goals. This'll be rambly, I'm afraid...

Long before school was out, I started thinking and praying about how to use the time over break. Here's Goal Number One, along with a progress report.

The Whole-House Purge: Very ambitious. This would've been a scary big goal even if we hadn't been living in super-survival mode for the past three years. Add to this my own low confidence level - it's been so long since I took on a large project and was able to finish it - and it sounded impossibly overwhelming! I've prayed for wisdom, endurance, confidence, and that BB and the family would be on board with the idea of the whole thing. I'm praising God for granting all of the above, though I confess that here midsummer my energy's been a bit flaky, but that just means I need to be sensitive to the right times to rest or slow down.


-Two kid bedrooms completely cleaned, purged, and organized. So far, the kids are maintaining their simpler spaces better than in the past. That looks so...short and sweet there in two sentences. It was a major undertaking. But so worth it!

-Our gameroom and book closet: Also cleaned, purged, organized, given clearer purpose and standards of neatness. This was also a huge task. It's wonderful to have a solid idea of what books, school supplies, craft items, and games we own. And to have less of everything. Also, striving to maintain higher standards of tidiness. Put.Things.Away!

-"Dining" Room: it's the room you see when entering our house and has been a pretty wasted, inefficient space most of the time we've lived here. We never use it for dining. It's become a school/study area, also receiving a thorough cleaning. The changes in this space were mostly about developing a clearer purpose. It didn't need the purging other areas did. We repurposed an old Ikea computer desk (ditched the old computer), brought it downstairs and I now have an official Desk of My Own. I can't tell you how happy and satisfied this makes me feel. I've had fun trying to slowly but surely make it pretty and organized. Till now, I've had a migrating pile of books, papers, my planner, etc, that just junked up space. Now it all has a sweet home.

Using items we already had, we've created space for 4 people to camp out and study, as well as making sure we have some storage areas for school-y things: flash cards and paper and at-home school books and such.

I am looking forward to working from my desk on homeschool days. It's just a way better set-up than my being at the kitchen table in the middle of too much activity and traffic at times. My desk is still downstairs where I am aware of goings-on, but just enough out of the way that I can do one-on-one work with one of the girls and both of us be much less distracted!

-Garage: This space is 2/3 BB's job and about 1/3 mine. The total work is about 1/3 finished. BB has purged and organized much of the stuff that's out there - tools, yard care items, wood for projects, coolers. He hung some shelves and was also able to sort his nails and screws and things in a much more usable and sanity-saving manner, mostly using small plastic drawer organizers. We bought a few of these, since we had little on hand that fit the need.

My task in the garage is to pick through the tubs of clothing I've been holding onto as hand-me-downs, and reduce it pretty significantly.

What's left:

-Our bedroom: This includes a large, unsightly pile of clothing I've removed from kids' rooms. Must be sorted, stored, donated. Plus general cleaning and purging of BB's work desk and our chest of drawers.

-Our closet: YIKES. This one scares me most, I think, as it's our pretend attic. We don't really have an attic, so it's where I've stored things that I don't want baking in my garage: old letters and mementos and photographs. Our clothing needs serious paring down. Plus, the space is just full of randomness and needs to be inventoried and freshened up, the volume lightened.

-Laundry Room/Pantry: One and the same. Shouldn't take long. Needs some purging and deep cleaning, possibly a few organizational improvements.

-The kitchen: Definitely needs cleansing (reducing the amount of stuff) and deep cleaning. Mostly, though, I want to focus on thinking through traffic flow. There's a lot of us rambling about that space at many points in each day. Organized Simplicity challenged me to think through the location of things more strategically, working to reduce traffic jams when possible.

-Toy closet: Has been a random catchall/storage area for toys. I don't mind this at all. But I'm thinking of pulling the randomness out and turning it into a little kitchen/grocery store play place for the little ones. Nothing fancy, just using our own pretend kitchen. I want to reduce the chaos in that area. So it needs super-purging and organizing. I'm looking forward to that one. Should be a neat place for the three youngest to play together.

Well, I didn't mean for the home-purging to take up one whole post. But there you go! I'd say we're about halfway through. And I'm tired! It will take rest and breathing and pacing ourselves, and praying for perseverance to finish the project.

And Baby H had a fun time at the park, too...

ps: Baby H is showing signs of better sleep patterns, hooray! He's gone from two wakeups a night down to just one, and even slept through a few nights recently!! Thanking God for this!

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