Wednesday, May 14

new normal

So, with things going as nicely as they are, I have decided that it is time to get our lives back together (again). To that end, I have decided to come up with a new budget system, a debt-reduction plan and a savings plan. I have also decided to step back to a time when our meals and activities were pretty thoroughly planned.

I both crave and resist organisation and routine, but can see now that without some kind of solid structure, managing our four lives will be nothing but an exercise in disappointment and frustration. I also know that I could be much more productive than I am now, not only because I see other parents of young kids doing more than I dare dream, but also because I am bored, listless and spend a heck of a lot of time sitting on my butt.

To that end, I have been researching different free tools. Specifically I am looking for a task system (chore chart), a meal planning system, a debt reduction system, and a budgeting system. So far I have found this debt elimination tool (link to .pdf mid-page) at Organize Your Life and am building a budget spreadsheet similar to hers (but that appeals to my aesthetic and numbers nerdiness). And this DIY "command centre" from momready looks like something I could whip up this weekend to hang from the front door (which has become our fridge/bulletin board because it is conveniently located and unlike our fridge is magnetic).

The other side of all of this is de-cluttering. I don't think we've lived anywhere for as long as we've lived here, which means we're 1) actually completely unpacked; 2) a little restless and 3) very, very comfortable. A little too comfortable, perhaps. I proposed last week that we have a garage sale and Andrew looked at me like I had bat-shit on my head - but my point is, we have a lot of stuff that hasn't done much more than collect dust this past year. Maybe we sell it, maybe we donate it (note to self - YWCA thrift store WOMAN - f*ck VV Boutique and their questionable charity work), but whatever we do I want it gone. I've attempted (with some success) to streamline our storage, but the fact that things get piled up because there just isn't a place for them to go is adding a level of frustration that I am beginning to think is totally unnecessary. A bit more poking brought me to this article on getting organised by that chap from Clean Sweep (oh, I do miss TLC) - I think I may try out this "two bag" technique for a week and see how it goes. I'd like to think that I will not fill more than one bag *total* with trash, so perhaps instead I will do two bags of get-rid-of stuff and leave it at that - next week I will put it on craigslist, have a garage sale or donate it all.

• Start slow. It's taken months for your house to become cluttered so it's not realistic to try and organize everything in one day or even a weekend. Instead, start small - one room or section of a room at a time. Make a commitment every day to de-clutter another part of your home until it's done. A simple trick to get you started is to use the Two Garbage a Day technique. Every day walk around your home and in 10 minutes fill one bag with trash and one bag with items that you want out of your house - send them to Goodwill or set aside for a yard sale. Everyday for a month and the change will be huge!

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