Yesterday I met with a new client that has some organizational challenges but overall has a great space and is simply looking to declutter and then pull together the spaces she has, specifically the closets. As we walked through the home, she pointed out the board games in the living room and apologized for having them "out" (they were in their boxes) and explained that the family likes board games. It reminded me of the space in my own home and the challenges we have had in storing board games through the years.
About a year ago, finally fed up with this ongoing challenge, I got real and then brutal. I've said this before, but when we purchased our first home, I asked a friend of mine who was a master gardener at the local botanical garden what his best tip was for gardening. "Be brutal." That was it. Be brutally honest with yourself about what you need and that advice has been applied throughout my life, especially organizing. Once fed up I realized we had approximately 20 board games that we NEVER PLAYED or had so many pieces that it was nearly impossible to get it all back in the box creating a situation of lids half on and pieces scattered to the four corners.
While the family was away at work and school I sorted, created a Goodwill load and then reorganized the games in a new space which works great for us. I'll be honest, brutally honest. I don't know that it is "pinworthy". It certainly is not like an image from a Pottery Barn mag. But, this space is real and honest. It follows my criteria for organizing.
I'd love to see some photos of your board games organization. Post over at my Facebook page today!
From a journal posting on September 16, 2016
If you have seen my vision board on my FB page or blog, you will see a huge component of self-care including yoga, healing, travel (yes, this is self-care) and retreat. This weekend I said, "yes" to it all and stepped off the cliff and into the void at the first Wise Woman Full Moon Retreat in Nashville.
The invitation came months ago and I siad, "no". My thought process was that I was launching my own reatreat and could not attend someone else's and I had a potential speaking engagement on the table. I mean, really, I only have so many hours in my day. As the wheel of the year turned and life became fuller and a little more chaotic, my well began to empty and no matter what I did, I could not seem to refill.
Four weeks ago I sat down at my computer and emailed my friend - the retreat facilitator - and asked "Is there room for me?" She said yes. I immediately began to second guess myself. Road block after road block presented itself and mirrored to me the things that I so desperately needed to clear.
Despite it all I continued to say "yes", prepped my family, moved heaven and earth, loaded the car, packed my basket of items to take from class to class and hit the road. Here I sit, alone at a beautiful retreat center outside of the city during a break and my only task is to fill my well and for that, I am grateful. I think of few times in the last 20 years that someone else held my energy, took care of me and nourished me (think delicious vegan meals all weekend).
I await the unfoldment.
(Below are my altar supplies that I sat up outside my tent on the first day - the dry day. Abalone shell, sage, circle of women candle holder, Angel Radiance candle, rose quartz heart and my smudge fan all in an African fair trade basket.)
"You did not do as I asked. You have never treated Harry as a son. He has known nothing but neglect and often cruelty at your hands. The best that can be said is that he has at least escaped the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy sitting between you." Albus Dumbledore speaking to Vernon and Petunia Dursley in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince
As a mom who parents as I do, one of the questions I am asked the most by friends and acquaintances is this: "How do you get your kids to do chores?" It is also the question, as a mom, that most leaves me scratching my head. But for those who really want to know, here is how we did/do it.
1. Train them while they are young.
Both of our children began picking up toys as soon as they were old enough to get them out. We helped. We trained. We taught. We were the example. And yes, we picked up 5 to their 1 and that's okay. If you begin at a young age, you can do this. And no,it's not easy. We have one child who will do what we ask (with or without some grumbling) and one who will do what we ask (with or without an hour-long tantrum).
What if you didn't train them when they are young? Read on! It's never too late to start (that is one of the secrets to life, btw).
2. Give them age-appropriate chores.
Our son began helping to empty the dishwasher when he was 4 and his specific job was the silverware - yes, including the sharp knives. Before that he may have helped put away dish towels or other things, but this is the chore that stands out in my mind as part of his daily duties. He now does the entire dishwasher minus the silverware which his sister does (less than joyfully, I might add). He is now 14 and his chore list looks different. Our daughter is 10 and she has the same number of chores but they are not as difficult. (I'll post our chore list tomorrow!)
3. Just say no.
You know what I see as the biggest obstacle to your children helping in the home? YOU! I know. It's judgmental. I'm okay with that. Let me give you an example what saying no looks like at my house. My kids: "Mom, can I watch TV?" Me: "Did you finish your chore list?" My kids: "I'm tired." Me: "Me too. Too tired to cook your dinner, take you to the football game, schedule your playdate." My kids: Silence, then "okay". My children are 14 and 10. They are healthy, have all they need (not all they want), they attend two of the best schools money can buy and my husband and I bust our tails daily and sacrifice to make that happen. So, there is no laying around the house, watching TV, playing Barbies.....until the work is done. Period. This. Is. Not. Negotiable.
Our children are loved. They have been nursed and rocked and cuddled. They have been read to every night (our 10 year old still starts the night with a book in our bed and is then carried asleep into her room by my husband). They are doted on by grandparents and aunts and uncles. They are also polite and responsible and the children that other parents want to come over in hopes they will set a good example. And, I believe they will continue to grow and thrive and be fantastic and successful adults who will care for others and serve their communities due to the way we have raised them.
A few weeks ago I trimmed several bushes around the house and the Sun and the Moon (mainly the Sun), carried the branches down to the road for pick-up. This is how we roll. If you do one thing for your child to see him or her on their way to a successful future, I truly believe this is it. Give them chores, stick to the list, and just say no.
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.