Friday, August 16, 2019

Keeping Chaos at Bay

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The end of summer is my New Year’s Eve. And the first day of school is my fresh start New Year’s Day.

It makes perfect sense to me. That’s when everything is starting up. School, activities, all that new stuff that that will continue all the way through the “traditional” new year. We’ve got new schedules to adhere to, new curriculum and materials for school, and September can be a recipe for chaos if you aren’t ready for it.

At the beginning of the school year I like to set up systems. I figure that my kids have aged a year, they have new things they need to be responsible for, and everyone is ready after a long lazy summer for a fresh start.

So we’ve dealt with school, and we’ve dealt with chores, and I’ve even found a way that we can do allowances without going crazy. But today I’m talking about corralling the actual THINGS and the new systems we’ve set up.

We've got one in the bathroom that stores all the hair things. Last year, the thing was all about bows, so we’d worked out a system for bow storage, and we were doing a “donut bun”, so we had all those supplies at the ready. This year, it’s all about scrunches, head bands, and ballet style buns that lie flat and require hair nets, so we rearranged everything to keep supplies both accessible and neat. I got a few new storage containers, the girls know where things are supposed to be, and they’ve taken on responsibility for keeping things organized.

We have one for school work. During the past year we streamlined much of our curriculum, as well as changing where we do the majority of our work. That meant that I purged some old stuff, and reorganized the rest. I want the girls to have some ownership of their own stuff, but I also want to make sure it’s as contained as it can be, since our school room doubles as our dining room!

We have one in the pantry. I spent a good full day cleaning that thing out to make it both neat AND accessible. I’d like the girls to be able to reach their own snacks, without having to dig around and create a mess. So I bought a set of plastic drawers specifically to hold fruit snacks, raisins, granola bars, and pretzels. They know how many snacks are appropriate (in theory) and how to get them.

I even have one for the car! I have systems I set up in the trunk of the car, because there is nothing more annoying than trying to figure out how to balance the shopping with the soccer bags, especially when all the seats are up so I can haul multiple kids along with the gear. If my trunk is organized, that means I don’t have to worry about it.

I know that everything won’t stay organized. Inevitably, things will fall apart within weeks (hopefully months?) and I’ll have to adjust. But right now? The chaos is far away!
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