Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week #2 Challenge - The Launch Pad

The second weekly challenge from Toni at "A Bowl Full of Lemons" is our launch and landing pads in our home. Well, technically, it's from Laurie, of "Handy Man, Crafty Woman" who is guest posting on Toni's blog for this week's challenge.

So here I am to show you our launch and landing pads. Our system maybe isn't the greatest, but it works well for our family. And I need to apologize right now for the pictures, I have misplaced my camera cord so I am using the camera on my phone to take pictures with and it's not the greatest quality.

First off, when you come into our house, you are standing in our living room. Our living room is mostly carpet, except for the part of the floor that you are standing on when you first come through the door. That area is about 3 feet by 5 feet and is linoleum. I hate linoleum, by the way. But we live in a rental and the flooring is not our choice. If it were my choice, the whole area would be hardwood.

So, anyhow, we have a rug here where we put our shoes and boots while they are wet and/or muddy. With six people in our family and with each person having mulitple pairs of shoes, we have a LOT of shoes, so we try to keep only one pair of shoes in use at each time. The rest we try to keep in the front closet, which is just beyond the linoleum.

We have four hooks on the wall above the linoleum (and behind the door). These hooks are used predominately for the kids' coats and backpacks. It's an easy system for them because they all have hooks at their schools as well. Plus, it seems to be easier for our kids to keep their coats picked up when we remove as many extra steps as possible, such as opening a closet door and using a coat hanger. When we have guests over, we move the kids' coats to the closet and we use the hooks for our guests' coats and purses.

We also have a little shelf with three hooks on the wall next to the door. I use these hooks for our keys as they are really not sufficient for coats and such. I also will occasionally hang a gait belt on one of the hooks so that I don't forget to put it on before leaving for work.

For our kids' paperwork from school, I go through their backpacks once they are on their hooks and pull out all of the papers that I need to look through, which I do at the kitchen table. That is also where I sort through the mail. It's convenient because it is also right next to the trash can and the recycling bin. I sit down with the kids' paperwork and have them rapid-fire decide whether to keep it or toss it once I have had a chance to look through it. I do the same thing with the mail. I sort through it and then toss out anything that doesn't need to be kept. I need to come up with a better plan for organizing the bill paperwork, but I recently brought up an old plastic file box that I can use to sort it. I plan to keep it under the desk.

There is also our large family calendar on the wall close to our kitchen table, so I can mark down our activities as well as the due dates on the bills.

That pretty well covers most of the landing and a little bit of the launch. For the kids, our launch includes their backpacks, coats and shoes being ready and accessible by the door and the things that need to go back to school being already in their backpacks.

For Hubby, he doesn't really need to launch each day so he is kind of on his own for that. For me, I keep my work bag and my suitcase in my car, so that I don't have to try to remember it. Because here's a little secret - I constantly forget it otherwise. :)

So that is our home and our launch pad.

House Progress

Well, in the time that I have spent AWOL from the blog this past week and a half, a lot has happened. I went back to work, we got a ton of stuff done around our house (including throwing out probably about 15 bags worth of trash above and beyond what normally goes out) Almost our entire house got cleaned up and sorted though. Our living room got arranged, all of its clutter (minus the entertainment center) got corralled and gone through. Our end tables and floor areas were all neat and spic and span.

In the kitchen, all of the dishes got done, the Tupperware cabinet got rearranged so that things wouldn't fall out on my head when I opened the door. The counters all got cleared off and decluttered, our built-in bookshelf got decluttered, our table got cleared and cleaned off and looking nice and neat. Our garbage can found it's way back to the kitchen and our floor was nicely swept and mopped.

The kids' bedrooms all got neat cleaned up and organized. Everything got pulled out from under their beds, their closets (which are used for toy storage) were neatly arranged and organized, their beds were stripped and made with fresh sheets and blankets, their bathrooms were cleaned, one of the bathrooms, which has been out of commission for awhile finally had a date with a repairman who pulled a tiny pink toy teacup from somewhere in the pipes below the toilet. That toilet was draining slowly and, um, solid matter would not make the trip down the pipes. So, yeah, it was time for it to be fixed. The repairman even offered to give me back the teacup. I politely refused.

Let's see, I got a bunch of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away. I had Hubby bring an unused dresser up from our basement to put into our guest room so that I could put the kids' clothes in there. You see, the kids have this horrible habit of putting clean laundry in with dirty laundry, so at this point in time, I do not trust them with clothing in their rooms. Yes, it is something that they need to learn and it is much more beneficial for them to learn to be responsible with their clothes than it is for them to be responsible for their toys, but if their toys make a huge mess, it's an easy fix. If their clothes get all jumbled together and end up in the laundry room, it's not such an easy fix. Well, it is, but it's also much more time-consuming. So, therefore, all four kids' clothes are stored in two dressers and the closet of the guest room.  In addition to all of that, we also got the guest room all nice and tidy and arranged. I also managed to get rid of a ton of clothes. There's still a lot of work to do in the clothing department but I'm making serious progress.

The linen closet got cleaned out and linens placed neatly inside. All of my washcloths are neatly folded and placed in a basket for easy retrieval. It makes me very happy!

Let's see - next area - the den. The den got completely decluttered of big items, there are still a few items that need be gone through or that need to find a home yet, but the den has shown an amazing amount of transformation. The furniture that is going to be in the den is still out in the garage at this point though, since we have also had a TON of snow lately and we're not anxious about carrying a hide-a-bed couch and a loveseat through a foot or more of snow and ice. Sorry, it's just not happening. Plus, we still need to carpet clean the entire house - including this room.

The other bathroom also got thoroughly scrubbed down from top to bottom. And the medicine chest and small decorative shelves in there got cleaned out and cleared off. That one tiny bathroom took almost an hour to do. Let me tell you - my boys need to learn to aim - that was what took most of my time. I was cleaning up the area under the toilet where there is a gap between the toilet and the floor. Blech! I will be happy if I never have to do that job again!

Our bedroom got a lot of clearing out as did the basement. Hubby rearranged our storage area in the basement to make it look a bit more neat and presentable and rearranged two areas down there as well. There is still a lot of work to be done down there, but it's showing huge amounts of improvement at this point.

And that is why I haven't been around on the blog much to post about the progress being done on our house - we have just been so busy making the progress that I haven't wanted to take the time to post about it. Oh, and we found the missing Nintendo dsi. MIL gave one to the boys (to share) for Christmas and about three weeks ago or so, they lost it. Couldn't find it ANYWHERE. It was under the couch. Oy! But it has been relocated and now we are once again a 2 dsi family. We got one for Natty for his birthday. Natty was saving up his money for one and he had $60 saved up, JoNo chipped in $10 of his own money - realizing that if Natty got a dsi then the one from Christmas would be his, and then we took care of the rest. Now if we could just find and keep track of the games, we would be set! :)

So now what we have left to do is: (on the bedroom level of our house) maintain the work that we already did, clean out the bathroom cupboards upstairs and vacuum and shampoo the carpet. The management company needs to come out and repair some screens and fix two windows and then this level of the house is done! Whew!

On the living level, we need to maintain the work that we already did, organize the entertainment center in the living room, clear out and organize the front closet, vacuum and carpet clean, organize the cupboards and cabinets in the kitchen, organize the built-in bookshelf, and give our fridge, freezer and pantry a good scrub down. Then of course, sweep and mop.

On the lower level, we need to maintain the work that we already did, clear off and organize the shelves in the den, take things to the garage, to donation or to the consignment shop, vacuum and carpet clean, continue on the laundry quest, clear out two closets in our bedroom and make them neat and orderly. Clear off the shelves next to our chair in our bedroom and move a few items out to the den area as well.

In the basement, we need to continue working on the great laundry quest, continue to sort through the clothes and get rid of the excess and then we also need to take out the carpet pieces we put down there, since we had some water come in through one of the windows with snow melting. We also need to take a couch out of the basement as well to be put out by the curb since it also was damaged by the water. And then, our house will be pretty much in order once again.

Okay, that's enough of a post for now. Just know that there has been an incredible amount of work done around here (though I still haven't found my STUPID camera cord! Grrrr!) and there is still a fair amount of work to be done. It's all happening though. Sometimes slowly and surely, other times, it happens quite rapidly. I'm hoping for the rapidly option at this point.

Also, in other news - related to the job front. Due to the nights I missed at work due to JoNo and Hubby's illnesses and then Hubby's surgery, my hours this month were seriously cut. I have put out the word that I am willing to pick up shifts and work PRN (as needed) just to be able to keep some hours and income flow, and I have also applied at a few other places as well. I applied for a job with our public school system, I applied for a job with the home health company I was with before I took the job in the other city. I plan to put in more job apps this week as well. I'm not worried about a job and our income, yet, but I really need to find something before the end of this month. That much I do know. So, wish me luck!