Family Council

family council

I have three kids going in three different directions. I have a hubby who is better at other things than communicating his schedule. I also work at home, homeschool one child, public school for another child, and adult mental health program daily for the third. To say we are in the running in circle stage of life is accurate.

Because I don’t do well with focus, I will never be one of those perfectly put together moms. But  I had to come up with something that would allow me to keep up with each child’s schedule as well as all the things that I needed to accomplish. All of our kids have a bit of a passive aggressive streak in them. It must be inherited. So often times there will be a whole lot of bickering and attitude before a blow up that finally settles what the issue they are struggling with. Continue reading “Family Council”

ADD/ADHD to the C.O.R.E.

C.O.R.E. Cleaning

I told you in my last post that I would share with you what I call the C.O.R.E. method. It is the method I use more than anything else. I am ADD to the bone. I also struggle with other issues, so finding a homemaking method at this point is a life journey for me. There are very few steps to the C.O.R.E. method and none of those steps will be new to you. If they are it will be easy to catch on. Continue reading “ADD/ADHD to the C.O.R.E.”

5 Homemaking Methods I Have Tried

5 Homemaking Methods I Have Tried*This post contains affiliate links.

The reality is I am not a great homemaker. My house stays just this side of horrible most days. Other days I lose the battle and it becomes like a corn maze – with junk instead of corn. For decades I have sought out books to help me become the homemaker I see in my head. Continue reading “5 Homemaking Methods I Have Tried”

One Way to Organize a Spice Drawer

Spice Drawer

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I have a LOT of spices.  In the past, my husband has always come up with an efficient way to store them.  But in this house, he’s been so busy remodeling the whole house that he hasn’t had time to get to that – despite my frequent complaints.

I’ve tried several different approaches with only limited success.  But I finally had enough.  No, I didn’t make my husband fix it. I fixed it myself and I’m quite pleased with the results.

Take a look at this afternoon’s 30 minute project:

  1. First I removed all the spices from the drawer and set them up on the counter.

One Way to Organize a Spice Drawer

  1. Then I cleaned out the drawer. Apparently some of the spices had spilled – probably because I didn’t put the lids on tight.  Oops.

One Way to Organize a Spice Drawer

  1. I went through the spices looking for ones that were really old, duplicates or rarely used.
  1. I labeled the top of each spice bottle so I could see at a glance what was in the bottle. I used a black sharpie on the bottles that with light colored lids and a silver sharpie on the bottles with dark lids.One Way to Organize a Spice Drawer

 

  1. I put the new storage containers in the drawer and put the spices back. I got the containers at Dollar Tree for $1 for 4 trays.

One Way to Organize a Spice Drawer

  1. I almost had enough room for everything but I did have to double stack a couple of the short spice bottles and put some of them in the extra space along the back and side of the storage containers.

One Way to Organize a Spice Drawer

I am one happy camper!  The drawer looks a lot better and now I won’t have to spend 15 minutes digging for the one spice I need.

Do you have a lot of spices?  How are yours organized?

10 Organizing Tips That Make My ADD/ADHD Life Better

organizing

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I have ADHD and it’s a pain.  Because of it, I have to use a lot of strategies to stay out of trouble.  Here are 10 of them.

  1. Don’t sign up for trials. There are a lot of tempting opportunities to try things out using a 30-day trial.  Unfortunately, in order to do that, you have to sign up AND provide payment information AND remember to cancel before the trial period is up. I don’t do trials because I’m scared I’ll forget and end up paying for something I don’t need.  The only time I’ll consider a trial is if it’s something I’ll probably sign up for anyway.
  1. Leave lights on as a reminder. I get sidetracked easily so sometimes I leave lights on in a room to remind me that something needs done in that room.
  1. Gather stuff as you go. What I mean is this – the grandkids are here quite a bit and they bring lots of stuff with them.  If I wait to gather their stuff until they’re getting ready to go home, I always forget things – sometimes important things like my grandson’s blanket.  Then somebody (usually my son or daughter-in-law) has to make a special trip to get the blanket. Oops.  But if I gather stuff as I go, it’s ready to go when they are.

My daughter does this, too.  She was here today with her baby, Everly.  Everly took a nap on my bed and had a few things with her on the bed.  When Rachel brought Everly down, she brought all her stuff, too.  She said that if she waited until later she’d forget.  Yes, she has ADHD, too.

  1. Use bags or purses with lots of pockets. This may not be necessary for everyone, but it works really well for me.  I always buy structured bags with lots of pockets so I have a designated place for everything.  If I have a designated place, I’m much more likely to put things where they go.  If I have an unstructured bag and everything’s thrown in there, I can’t find anything and there’s no guarantee the thing I’m looking for is even in there.
  1. Include friends and family on to-do lists.  This sounds really bad, but hear me out.  Because those of us with ADD/ADHD have a slippery grasp on time, it’s easy for a lot of time to pass before we realize it.  And if we’re not careful, we can easily neglect our friends and family.  The solution to that problem is including friends and family on to-do lists.  I know that when I include family and friends on my to-do lists, I’m a much better and more attentive friend or family member.
  1. Do something to help yourself remember people’s names. I am TERRIBLE at remembering people’s names.  I can remember lots of details about them, but not their names.  I got tired of having to ask again and again and again so I came up with a way to remember.  It works really well as long as I do it.
  • Listen to them when they say their names (sometimes I zone out – not sure why).
  • Repeat their names over and over in my head.
  • As soon as possible, write their names down. Also write a brief description of what they look like.
  • Come up with some cutesy phrase to help me remember. Sometimes I can do this and sometimes I can’t.  If I can, it helps.
  • Every time I see them, I say their names in my head. “That’s Joe and Mary Smith.”
  1. Have set days for certain tasks. I used to be better about this but my schedule is so crazy now that I’m having a harder time.  But the one task I still have scheduled is paying bills.  If it wasn’t for Saturday being bill paying day, I may or may not remember to pay them.  But always doing the bills every Saturday keeps me on track.  Having a set day works for lots of other things, too.
  1. Keep the house clean and de-cluttered. This may not be an issue for everyone, but it is for me. I get overwhelmed easily so I need my environment to be orderly.  When my environment is messy, so is my mind.  When my environment is in order, my mind has a better chance of being in order, too – notice I said better chance.  It’s not a guarantee but it helps a lot.
  1. Read directions carefully. I am so bad about skimming over directions and missing important parts.  It’s especially bad when I’m reading recipes.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed a recipe for the blog and realized I missed a bunch of steps when I made it.  My recipes and projects all turn out better when I slow down and read carefully.
  1. Read aloud and talk out loud. Again, these two tricks may not work for everyone, but they sure work for me.  Reading out loud helps me focus.  Talking to myself helps me work things out and stay on track.  Have I ever been caught talking to myself?  Oh, yeah.  And I’m usually really embarrassed.  Most of the time the people who catch me say they do it, too.

Those are 10 more ADD/ADHD organizing strategies that work well for me and might work for you, too – even if you don’t have ADD/ADHD.

Do you do any of these?

How to Break Down a Task

How to Break Down a Task

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In David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, he talks a lot about projects vs. tasks and how projects don’t belong on a task list.  The reason projects don’t belong on a task list is because projects take time, planning and multiple sessions to complete.  Nothing should go on a task list that can’t be completed in one step.

If you find you’re not getting some of the things done on your to-do list, perhaps the problem is that the tasks are too big.  Even if those undone tasks aren’t technically projects, perhaps they still need to be broken down into manageable chunks that fit better in your time budget and motivation level.

I break down bigger tasks into bite-size pieces all the time!  For example, I don’t like cleaning house but I do like having a clean house.  If I write on my task list

Clean house

It’s obviously vague enough and overwhelming enough that it’s easy to ignore.  But if I break it down a little, it’s more doable:

  • Dust
  • Master Bathroom (dump trash, sink, toilet, shower/tub, floor, glass, wash rug)
  • Main Bathroom (dump trash, sink, toilet, shower/tub, floor, glass, wash rug)
  • Glass
  • Dump trash
  • Change sheets
  • Kitchen (microwave, stove top, sink, cabinet fronts, change sponge)
  • Mop

If you find that you’re still struggling to get the house clean, you can break it down even more.  Instead of doing the whole house at one time, try one room at a time and list each individual chore for that room.  Let’s clean the living room:

  • Dust
  • Vacuum upholstery
  • Vacuum dog bed
  • Clean windows inside, as needed
  • Wipe any spots off wood furniture
  • Vacuum rug
  • Sweep floor
  • Mop

You can either do all those tasks in one sitting or work on them on and off all day.  Marking off eight tasks makes me feel much more satisfied than marking off one (clean living room).

If you’re working on a paperwork project, like doing your taxes, you could break it down like this:

  1. Make a tax folder or retrieve tax folder
  2. Gather information you already have
  3. Make a checklist of what’s still needed
  4. Start gathering information
  5. Download turbo tax
  6. Input information
  7. Print taxes
  8. Mail taxes

If you’re working on a craft project with a deadline, like a quilt, you can break it down, too.  Here’s what I usually do:

  1. Decide on a design.
  2. Figure how much fabric is needed.
  3. Purchase fabric.
  4. Wash fabric.
  5. Iron fabric.
  6. Cut pieces (if I have a lot, I would probably break this down, too – maybe by color or piece size).
  7. Sew top together (again, if it’s a big quilt, I would probably subdivide this).
  8. Add borders.
  9. Iron.
  10. Sandwich quilt.
  11. Quilt (I would definitely subdivide this step. If I had a deadline, I’d figure out how many squares I needed to do each day in order to finish on time and then I would make a chart for my planner.)
  12. Wash quilt.
  13. Take photo.

I also use subdividing for organizing.  I clean my desk off regularly but it always ends up a big mess again.  Cleaning it off is overwhelming!  So you know what I do?  This is going to sound really dumb, but on my to-do list, I put

Desk (5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5)

Each of those 5’s represents 5 minutes.  I have a timer on my desk which always shows either 5 or 15 (15 minutes is my other magic tool).  I set the timer for 5 minutes and do as much as I can.  Then I walk away.  I come back later, when I have 5 minutes free, and do it again.  It’s absolutely amazing how much I can accomplish in 5 minutes.  By the time I finish 30 minutes of 5’s, I’m done.  Sometimes it doesn’t even take that many.

See what I mean?  Most of the time I can’t handle a task on my list like:

Make a quilt
Clean the house
Do taxes
Clean off desk

It’s overwhelming.  So any time I can, I subdivide.  It’s like a miracle!  If you’ve never done it, you should give it a try.  You might be surprised at how much more productive you are when you break down your tasks into tiny, little bites.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes.