Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Attempt at Organizing Our Lives

At work (an IT department in a state college) we have recently purchased a new software system called Request Tracker. It is a great tool to (wait for it...) track and organize requests, manage projects, and gives a snapshot of what's been done and what still needs doing. Sweet! If only I had this for my life! So I'm hunting down some ideas to help run the household that will make sense for the whole family.

Hubby created a list a while ago detailing what needs done each day to maintain some semblance of order. Things like vacuuming (we have a large, hairy dog), KP duty, laundry and more were listed by day. This seemed to work pretty well for a while then someone's schedule would change and someone would miss out on dishes or garbage and mess up the schedule. For months the list was displayed on the fridge, conveniently overlooked in favor of better things to do. And the house has fallen into disrepair or disorganization... or disclean? Or something. Google search is fabulous and here are a few sites and links that have helped get us on the road to organization.

Lara, the Lazy Organizer is a woman after my own heart and with each post I am finding ideas to use. She has done some organizational stuff like described above for her family, too. Check it out!

I also love MeckMom who has many things she 'just thought she'd pass on.' And I usually find lots to use here, too! Like this post on her Mom Game Plan from which I blatantly stole the format for my end result (with great appreciation from me [who needs to reinvent the wheel] and implied permission from her blog).

Oh, if you are as crazy-inspired by looking at and dreaming about organizational tips and tricks as I am, check out Chart Jungle where you can download and print charts for your personal use as long as you leave the copywrite info on it. Oh the bliss of a 4 year old, motivated by a secret prize if she only earns 7 X's on the 'Listen & Obey' chart! "Can I listen again, Mommy? Right now?" "Why, yes you may, darling!" There are many other kinds on this site than parenting, but if you read my previous post Our Spirited Child, you will know why this turns my crank. ;O)

So, here is my current document:
I made the first column blank to jot down who needs to be where and when. Not too many details - that's what the big wall calendar is for, but enough so we can see if it needs to be a fast dinner and who will be around for kp duty. On Saturday we will use this information to plan appropriate meals and chores for the following week. Hopefully this will keep us a bit more on top of our house situation. I did print this in color and laminate it, thinking we could reuse it again and again, and the dry erase markers just bead up on the plastic coating. Bummer. So now I am printing the form a few at a time to allow for change if something isn't working. And I will admit I get a strange, if brief, flutter of exhilaration when crossing things off lists!

There are a few items that didn't make the chore list, like emptying the dishwasher. It needs doing everyday and as good as crossing things off lists make me feel, it just seemed silly to note it every day simply to cross it off. Yesterday Grace (4) was promoted to chief silverware sorter, which she is thrilled about! Micah (13) usually empties the dishwasher daily and he started with the silverware at about 3 or 4 so I think it's time we start Grace on the chore. Last night as I was loading the dishwasher she could hear the silverware going in and ran into the kitchen howling to not forget her and the silverware are her job! Wonder how long that will last?

How do you organize your family chores? What keeps you organized and on top of it? Let me know!
Finally, here's a picture of Grace 'helping' me with the dreaded chore of braving the grocery store. Polly Penguin, who came home from preschool in a cooler with a snack back of goldfish crackers, had to come too. Grace and I both thought she was particularly at home in the freezer section!

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