How to Always Find the Scissors

How to Always Find the Scissors

Do you spend too much time looking for a pair of scissors?!

If I told you to go get a pair of scissor right now, how long would it take you?  Or how much time do you think you spend going to the junk drawer for the scissors when you need them from another room then putting them back again, or worse….not being able to find them because you didn’t put them away?!

I have solved that problem in my house.  It was so simple that I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out.  Now you, my brilliant friends, have probable already done this and will be feeling sorry for not telling me sooner.  It’s OK.  I won’t hold it against you.

I went to the store, bought a bunch of cheap scissors (even some of those kid scissors that are on sale right now will work!).  Then I came home and put them in every spot in the house where I might need scissors.  I no longer look for scissors or hurt my teeth trying to avoid going to get scissors or spend any time fussing at people for taking my scissors.  I am sure if I counted up the amount of time I have saved through the end of my life I would have enough to take a nice long vacation.

Here are the places we now keep a pair of scissors:

1. In a kitchen drawer

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2. In my makeup drawer
3. With my first aid supplies
4. In my sewing/ironing area

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5. In my purse
6. In the car
7. With my essential oils/mailing supplies

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8. By my computer
9. With my school tools
10. In my workshop/garage

Sometimes I keep them in a drawer, sometimes I can hang them (like in the workshop).  But they are right at arm’s length in every room.

The key to the success of this plan is to leave the scissors where they belong.  Just use them and put them right back.  No need to carry them off anywhere.  You could even use tape around the handles to label where they belong.

Happy time saving!

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If You Really Loved It Then It Wouldn’t Be on the Floor

If You Really Loved It Then It Wouldn’t Be on the Floor

I have apparently gotten some kind of bug.  Not the sneezing or stomach ache kind, but the kind that drives your family insane from your a constant need to organize and clean.

Today, unfortunately for my younger boys, I will be cracking the whip on the Lego situation.  I have had it up.to.here as we say in the south.  You don’t need to even show where “here” is.  It’s understood to be too high to even reach anyway.

Last week we emptied their loft bedroom of everything except the beds and gave the room a fresh coat of paint.  Then we built shelves to hold the Legos and I picked up some storage boxes at IKEA while I was in Houston.  The boys tried to convince me that it would take way too long to organize all of the Legos, but they are out of their league when it comes to convincing.  Once I get a notion in my brain to straighten something it can’t be unconvinced no matter how many car washes you offer me.  Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.

I think they don’t want me in their room because they know that I can get a little aggressive with the trash bag.  I would never throw away a Lego (mainly because they cost more than all of my jewelry combined) but I wouldn’t think twice about tossing the cereal boxes they like to save to build tiny forts with or any craft projects.  One of my boys has a thing for using pencils that no one else wants because they are too short to go in the sharpener.  So he sharpens it with his pocket knife and does his schoolwork with these nubs.

But my motto is, “If you really loved it then it wouldn’t be on the floor.”  #TRASH

Cleaning the Lego room -- The Pennington Point

After I get that done I plan to keep the momentum going by cleaning out what used to be a study room for the kids and making it into an office for myself.  I’m not trying to hog the space, but they really never study in there. Instead they sprawl across the couch or front porch to do their work.  I can’t let a perfectly good 6′x10′ space go to waste.  Especially when I am working from a recliner in my bedroom with no desk or flat surface of any kind.  I just balance my computer on my knees while typing.  It works OK, but a desk and real chair are appealing.

Plus, if I had an office I might actually get something done besides sitting down to work then instead Googling everything that pops into my head.  I wonder about things….like the age of various celebrities or where to buy baby chicks.  I am hoping that being in a big-girl space will encourage me to focus like a real business woman.  Or at least enough to get over this cleaning bug.  Before my family has had it up.to.here with me.

Well, back to work.  Have a great weekend!

If You Give a Mom a New Chair…She’s Going to Want to Clean the House

If You Give a Mom a New Chair…She’s Going to Want to Clean the House

I have rarely looked forward to a normal day like I look forward to this one.  We are finally coming out of our flu fog and school is back in swing this week.  Hip hip hooray for simple problems like running out of eggs.

Speaking of eggs….we haven’t been on a full grocery run since before Christmas and we are down to eating rice and bits of mystery meat from the back of the freezer.  There’s only so much soup you can feed teenage boys before you have a mutiny on your hands.  Yesterday I found my 12 year old eating 4 toasted bread heels as a snack.

I may win a mother of the year contest.

So today a trip to the grocery store, after doing a few school lessons, will perk us all up.  If only because there will once again be bacon in the house.

Over the weekend we did a round of deep cleaning and rearranging.  There’s always some new need around here….a kid needs a place to study or my mom gives me a chair she doesn’t want and we have to move furniture to fit it in.

This inevitably turns into my version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”  It goes something like this:

P.S. I really did build shelves to hold my oils and they are available in our etsy shop!

I think the kids were wondering what happened to “Kind Nurse Mommy” who brought them ice cream and stroked their foreheads.  That’s my alter ego.  My super-hero self.  My true identity is “Let’s Get This House Clean and I Mean NOW Mommy”.

P.S.S. I’m getting super excited about the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit coming up this month.  I will be at both conferences; the first in Oklahoma January 17-18 and in Texas January 24-25.  I hope you will come and hang out with me.  It’s gonna be such a fabulous weekend!

Thanks for stopping by….have a GREAT week!

 

Unpacking is My Least Favorite Activity

Unpacking is My Least Favorite Activity

Weekend 1 of “Lisa’s Crazy Fall” is behind me.

On Thursday I drove to Houston for the Blog Elevated conference and spent two days with some amazing, inspiring people.  I learned so much that I am a bit overwhelmed with ideas.  It’s like my brain started up for a few hours.  I haven’t felt that in a while…at least not for the blog.  It’s been all homeschool and Shop24 work around here lately.  So be prepared to be wowed soon.

I drove back home on Saturday night and got myself unpacked immediately.  What is it about unpacking that is so unpleasant?  I have to make myself do it or I know I would keep living out of that suitcase for a month.  And the car……I empty that thing pronto to avoid having to go out there looking for my stuff five times a day….where’s my phone cord?  Where’s the book I was reading?  Who took my box of Kleenex?  Oh, it’s still in the car from the trip I took last week….no way Jose.  I take everything out the minute I get home.  It’s not that I am organized….it’s that I’m too lazy to look for it later.

Sunday we had set aside for a family work day outside.  The weather was fan-tabulous and we all enjoyed being out there.  We pulled weeds and cleaned the pool and picked up rocks in the field.  My kids like to sing together when they work, so it was a concert PLUS getting weeds pulled.  My favorite combination.

And now we’re back around to Monday morning.  The cooler temps make me all giddy to get up in the morning and enjoy the day.  I love to go outside and do school.  It stimulates the mind and keeps the house clean in the process.  This is also a big selling point for me to have them eat outside.  Less cleanup.

Again….lazy.

I am highly motivated by the idea of not having to do work later.

Lastly, if you’re not yet following me on Instagram you’re missing a great series full of my favorite things.  I’ll be doing a whopper giveaway at the end of this month and giving away ALL of my favorite things from the month.  Don’t miss it!

Have a great week!

Attacking the Mess!

Attacking the Mess!

I wish I could tell you we had a nice, easy weekend here with the family, playing games and eating chocolate.

But no, we had a work filled weekend.  The kind that makes you wish for Monday when all there is to do it some school work with the kids and dinner in the crockpot.

Since coming home from my parent’s house last week with some new chairs and an exercise machine, I have been on a mission to find a way to make it all fit in the house.  Finally on Saturday I decided to get rid of the sofa in my bedroom and the rocker in the nursery, to which my daughters promptly said they wanted to keep for their future houses.  This is a lovely idea, but would require a major cleanout of the storage building in 100° weather.  Or a magic wand.

I told the girls that if they really wanted to keep the furniture then they would have to clean out the storage building to make them fit.  This would be the true measure of how much they wanted it since the storage building hasn’t been cleaned out since time began.

They decided to go for it and went to work outside while the little boys and I worked on the house.  We cleaned out the old nursery, which I am sad to say, has now become the exercise room with our treadmill and my parent’s old elliptical machine.  I had lady dreams of that room becoming my sanctuary someday, but it will have to wait for some of these kids to leave home so I can move the ugliness that is 2 exercise machines into their old rooms.  We also cleaned out the study room and my bedroom.  It sounds easy, but when all you have is a 10 and 6 year old to help you lift dressers and big chairs to move them into other rooms it’s not a simple process.  I love my 10 year old, but he’s doesn’t quite have the instinct needed to move furniture.

I’d say, “You lift that end and we will carry it into the other room,” and he would look around like he didn’t know what I was talking about.  He’d drop his side unexpectedly, he would pull the wrong way, not know how to make his end fit through the door…..I had a few Calgon-take-me-away moments.

The older kids did manage to get the storage into some kind of order (I was amazed!) and got the extra furniture in there.  At this point I could fill an entire house with the stuff out there, which I believe is what my girls are hoping.  Not the boys.  They don’t even think about their future houses.  Viva la difference!

Sunday was a little more restful, even though there was a huge pile of junk left to be put away on the school table.  It nearly reached the ceiling and this neat freak mamma gets pretty out of sorts when her house is a gigantic mess.  I told the kids they could rest if they PROMISED to put it all away on Monday.

So early this morning I declared it to be a “Getting the House Back in Order and Clean Up the Mess Day”  We are putting away the huge pile and all of the little piles that have accumulated over the past few weeks, including the new pool float that wouldn’t inflate that has been in the corner of the kitchen for the past month and a half waiting for me to return it to Walmart.  I go there at least once a week.  Seriously.  Why do I not take care of these things?

That sucker is going back TO-DAY.

Once all of the stuff is put where it belongs, including the wok that my mother gave us that is so huge we may need to build a new kitchen cabinet to house it, we will feel back to normal.  Or I will.  One of the boys just said to me, “What mess are you talking about?”

Wow.

 

Getting Myself Organized

Getting Myself Organized

It’s been a few weeks of endless activity around here.  I spent Saturday driving girls around to craft stores so they could find what they need to create some jewelry for their shop.  Then we ate Chick-fil-A and talked about our favorite suspense movies.

My kids love those kinds of movies.  I don’t.  In fact, I get so nervous during them that my bladder gets all tense and I keep going to the bathroom.  The kids will ask me, “Do you want us to pause it while you’re in there?!”  No please don’t!  I can’t take much more.  I will just come back out after everyone is safe and there are no space fights or police chases or….gulp….sharks.

Back to being busy, this week will be no different.  I have a TON of things to tell you about and I hope you don’t get tired of me.  If you do you can use that energy to feel sorry for my family since they can’t click on a little red X to stop listening.  My brain never turns off.  It’s a blessing.  And a curse.

I have so much going on that I decided I needed a better way to organize myself.  Besides this blog gig and homeschool and summer activities, I am still working toward getting more fit and losing weight.  I can organize a little with my iphone, but the information is in 12 different apps and I spend all my time looking for them.  So I decided to order an old fashioned kind of organizer from my friend Celia, who makes the most beautiful, well thought out planners.  I’ve been looking at them for a while, wondering if I needed to get something tangible that requires the use of a pen.  Remember those?  Black, pointy, can’t find them in your purse?

So I ordered and got my planner which has spaces for keeping up with not only regular appointments and plans, but also fitness and spiritual goals.  That is just what I needed.  Then Celia emailed me and said she’s like to offer a special discount to my readers for the month of June.  How nice of her!  So if you want a planner like mine hop over to Celia’s place, The Printed Planner, and get yourself one!

I will be telling you about a lot of my favorite products over the next couple of weeks.  I’ve had these all in the works for a while, trying to get you deals and discounts on some of my faves, but didn’t realize it would all kind of fall at the same time.  Oh well….it’s still great stuff and you will love it all just like I do.  I never recommend anything that I don’t really LOVE!

And if you missed it last week, go check out my interview with Becky at Organizing Made Fun where I share how we keep all of our pool toys organized and some of my tips for traveling with kids.  There’s one tip about traveling that has really gotten a lot of attention.  Here’s a hint:

Speaking of travel, I will be spending the rest of this week getting the girls and I ready to go to Kansas City next week for the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop.  And I am also wrapping up the last couple of chapters on my ebook, so when I say I am busy….you should believe me.

Have a great week and don’t forget to stop back by and see what great deals I have to tell you about next!

Be sure to check out the ebook bundle, Natural Mothering, for some great resources!

I’m on a Cleaning Mission

This weekend proves what my whole family has feared….I am on a mission to get my house completely cleaned out.  I mean completely.

It started with my exhaustive bedroom clean out last weekend and is still going strong.  I’m like the movie “Speed.”  I have a sense that if I slow down with the cleaning & organizing I could die.

James must have picked up on my craze because he said to me yesterday, “For one of your Mother’s Day presents I am going to clean out my closet.”

I was over the moon excited.  He couldn’t have given me a better gift if he has said there was a spa weekend to go along with it.  I should tell you that we don’t share this closet.  It’s just his.  I never even look in there.  But the knowledge that there is this black hole of messiness in my house that I couldn’t clean or straighten was an albatross around my neck.

I didn’t complain much about it because I have read that verse in the Bible about a man being better on the corner of a roof than inside the house with a nagging wife.  Every time I wanted to let loose about the messy closet I pictured him up on the roof trying to get as far away from me as possible and it stopped me.  The idea of my husband being miserable because of me is enough to close even my mouth.  And that’s a tall order.

So he and the boys spent the entire afternoon pulling everything out, folding, sorting, stacking and putting it back in the closet.  It was awesome!  Best Mother’s Day gift EVER!

Speaking of my house, I wanted to thank you all for your clever ideas about my extra room last week.  Your main suggestions were a reading room/library, exercise room or sewing/craft area.  Well I hate to admit this because it proves that I am pampered and I like to keep that fact mostly to myself, but I already have spaces for all of those things.  We have a little room that we call our “study room” where we have shelves, a desk and a comfy place to sit.  I have a whole space for Shop24 to do projects like that. And my bedroom has plenty of space to do my exercises.

I think the moral of the story is I am spoiled.  Plain and simple.

But please don’t tell my husband because I am hoping he will keep the momentum going and clean out the garage.

But I’m not going to nag about it.  Nosirree.

Have a great week!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

I Think I’m Expired

I Think I’m Expired

I have to say, as much as I love the holidays I love this part of the year too!  No more events or fancy decorations and parties.  Those are fun, but I’m a homegirl.  I like to be home and settled in with the family.  The cold weather and no particular place to be lends itself to just snuggling up in warm clothes and having normal, quiet days together.

This past weekend we began what I call my Tax Season Project.  There will be a DIY portion of the project later, but the first few weeks are all about cleaning out and rearranging.  The boys are moving all around and changing their rooms.  Not big changes, except Levi is moving out of the nursery (sniff::sniff).  I’m not adjusting well to that, but Levi is pretty excited.

Since the kids had the bed arranging under control, I decided to spend Saturday cleaning out my bathroom.  It had been a while since I really, REALLY cleaned it out and the drawers and shelves were beginning to overflow.  I asked Elijah to help me, and off we went into the great abyss.  The amount of dust alone meant we were going to be sneezing for hours.  Yep, it was bad.

From my little bathroom I filled TWO WHOLE kitchen trash bags.  It’s hard to imagine where it all came from, but there it was.  Junk.  Bags and bags of junk.  After pulling the 20th bottle of unused lotion from a drawer I started to wonder if I have a problem.  I don’t have a lotion-collecting problem, I have a I-feel-the-need-to-keep-every-gift-even-if-I-don’t-like-it problem.  One drawer was literally filled with gifts from sweet friends of bath products that I never use.  I’m not fond of many smells and am unlikely to put them on my body.  So I will thank my friends for their generosity and toss it in a drawer only to throw it away 10 years later.

After that it was time to clean out the medicinal products.  It had been a while since I had reached all the way to the back of the cabinet, as evidenced by this bottle of something…

Sad.  Just sad.

I think what happens is I so rarely use any over the counter meds that I buy them when it feels urgent, then use a few doses and don’t think about it again.  It will be years later when another need arises, so I assume I don’t have any and go buy more.  Then in 2013 I end up finding 17 expired, mostly full bottles of medicine in the back of the cabinet.  I threw them all away and made a section in a drawer where they will be easy to find from now on.

I re-organized my make-up, the travel supplies, extra toothpaste & shampoo, got it all spiffy.  What’s weird is if you had walked into my bathroom before Saturday it would have seemed organized.  Everything was in its place.  But I had so much stuff I never use that it was wasting good storage space and making it hard for me to use what I need every day.

On my open shelves are only the products I use almost daily.  I made this picture big so you can see what they are, if you’re curious.

This week, in addition to enjoying my freshly cleaned bathroom, I’ll be doing school and having plain, old normal days.  We will continue to power away at the room arranging and hopefully have it finished by the weekend.  Got to stay on schedule people.

I hope you have a wonderful, simple, well organized week.

The Organized Homeschool

The Organized Homeschool

I thought I’d show you the nitty gritty of how I keep my school area organized and looking halfway like a normal space and not an explosion.

I don’t have the luxury of a separate room for school.  So we, like many homeschoolers, use the dining room.  What I do have though is a dining room large enough for 2 tables, so I have dubbed one of them “The School Table.”

I tell ya, you need a lot of STUFF when you homeschool.  And the books aren’t those pretty books with leather covers and fancy pages.  No sir.  They are huge and have spiral binding and they kind of slump down on a shelf.  There are papers and supplies and little clocks with movable hands, teddy bear counters, maps, notebooks, erasers, oh it is all too much!

A few years ago I crossed over to the dark side and even added a huge white board.  Can you say U-G-L-Y?  But we needed it and I will say that it has made a world of difference in our life.  We use it not only for school, but we leave each other notes, we make lists, we write Bible verses, we play games….it really is a family favorite.  Sometimes the little boys just draw pictures on it for hours.

I got the board at the office supply and we framed it with some trim from the hardware store.  Then I took myself to IKEA to get a shelf to fit under it.  It’s the shelf that pulls everything together.

The lower shelves keep those horrible, huge books organized and the baskets store all of the little, annoying things you have to have right at your fingertips.  I did splurge on the baskets from Pottery Barn.  I could have gotten cheaper ones but I needed them to be really sturdy since the kids would be using them every day. It was worth the cost since we’ve had them for several years and they still look like new.

I labeled each basket with Chalkboard Tags from my shop so we can easily change the contents in the baskets.  The needs change hourly around here!  I also jazzed them up with graphics from The Graphics Fairy (more on that later).

On the top of this shelf I keep a bucket of dry erase markers, the teacher books that I use every day, a microscope that the kids like to use often and some decorative things.

The tall shelf to the left holds our favorite (and most attractive) books.

If you are wondering about the candy machine, I use it for rewards.  The kids get a quarter for the machine when they have done all of their work to my satisfaction.  They love not only the little handful of candy, but getting to put the quarter in and turning the dial.  By the way, you can’t use your own quarters for the machine.  I painted a bunch of quarters white and I use those for the rewards, so if there’s an unpainted quarter in the machine at the end of the week when I pull them out of the back…I know there’s a sneak around here and we shut down the whole operation.

I can see that the machine needs to be refilled.  Note to self: buy candy.

I let the girls write Bible verses on the chalkboard above the candy machine.  It gives them an opportunity to be creative.  We change it about once a month.

Lastly, I like to use school-related things as a centerpiece for the table.  When we have guests over we use this table for eating and it still looks cute.  This week I am using a variety of sand timers with a jar of pattern blocks.

I change it all of the time though.  Tomorrow there may be a pile of clocks or some pencil bouquets lined up in old cans.  Whatever whim strikes me I go with it.

As for the kids own books and supplies, we keep those in individual lockers in the living room.  It’s dreamy.  Looks cute AND keeps their things separated and organized.  I wish everything were so easy.

We still have thousands of books and supplies we aren’t using right now but I need to keep….I store those away somewhere else.  The only things I keep out are what we are currently using.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of our homeschool area.  It works for us!

Follow up: Sadly IKEA no longer sells the shelf I used below my white board.  Their HEMNES sofa table is very similar and it is a part of the same collection that my tall bookcase in the photo is from, the HEMNES bookcase.


31 Days of Organizing Fun

I Work Too Hard

I Work Too Hard

Hoo boy it was a rough weekend.

We always clean the house and work in the yard on Saturday mornings.  It had been a couple of weeks since we’d been able to do a really thorough job.  Everyone pulled together.

Laundry needed to be done.

Bathrooms needed cleaning.

Someone has to stop and make lunch for everyone else.

Hard working boys dug up the gravel.

A leak under the kitchen sink in the guesthouse had to be taken care of.

The floors needed scrubbing.

Heavy farm cages had to be hauled back to where they belong.

And vacuuming.  So much vacuuming.

What, you ask, was I doing while this was all happening?  I was supervising, of course.

My life is so hard.