Ok ladies, there are only 49 days until Christmas!!!!!!!!!! Now I don't want to hear any moaning later about where did the time go??? How is it Christmas already??? I am giving you fair warning!!!!!!
Get those homes in gear, clean them up & declutter!!! Once a week I've been making my kids get rid of at least 2 toys each (=8!!!). Now, I know eventually, after a while, they shouldn't have any toys left...right??? Wrong!!! We should have done this long ago. We should've been doing it since Caity was born (she's 6 1/2 now).
I told the kids that they have to make room for new toys for Christmas (although in my ideal world, the grandparents will discover the value of savings bonds or some other college savings. We put money in to each of our kids' savings accounts at bdays & Christmas). Now, don't get me wrong, every child needs some toys at Christmas, just not a zoo of them (x4 kids...you get the pic).
We have been giving our used, good condition, no longer played with toys to a woman who cleans them up and gives them out to girls & boys who might not otherwise get Christmas gifts. This is a win-win situation. We get rid of excess toys, other children get toys, and perfectly good toys don't just get thrown out.
Another thing (even though toys is probably the MAIN thing)...how many duplicates of things do you have. You know what I am talking about...you keep buying the same thing over & over because you can't find it??? Ok, I'll give you an example...I was cleaning out my junk drawers (yes plural) in my scrapbook chest. I found 4 full-size pairs of scissors, 8 small pairs (+ we already had 2 small pairs in my desk and 2 that my mom had just bought).
Ok, that's 4 full size, and 12!!! small pairs. I kept 2 full-size (desk, scrapbooking) and 4 small size (one for each of the kids...I know Rory is too young yet, but she'll need her own pair eventually and they're with the others, so they aren't taking any extra space).
OK, now for the golden rule...Assign things a designated spot!!! If you always put things away where they belong, you will never lose them (unless as in my case, you always have people "borrowing" things)!!! If you have frequent "borrowers" make the offenders use the item where you store it. If it's scissors, make them bring the paper to your desk (or wherever it makes sense for you to keep them). When they are done cutting, they go back in their spot.
If you don't have an assigned spot, make one!!! My desk scissors are now in a little caddy that sits on my desk (it's chrome w/daisies that's actually made to hold the big kitchen utensils...whisk, tongs, etc), but since I have a Pampered Chef utensil caddy I don't need this one in the kitchen. So, I repurposed it, and it's working perfectly.
Anyways, I also found 3 extra staplers and over 100 pens. I put the pens I have room for in my pen caddy (one of those single drawer dividers that you find by the plastic silverware trays). The extra pens, staplers and scissors, I took to my kids' school. The teachers are having to spend their own $$ on items that we have laying around by the gross in our homes and aren't using.
Now, that's just my office supplies :) Anyways, apply it to whatever you are having trouble with. I replaced most of my kitchen utensils with Pampered Chef tools, so all my extras went either to my church's kitchen or my brother's (who just got his first apartment). Get rid of duplicates or what you don't use!!! It's the only way!!! Otherwise you will always be looking for stuff because you have so much to sort through that you can't readily see what you are looking for.
Ok, since I have so totally gone off on a tangent away from my original train of thought, I will now veer back to it....getting ready for Christmas.
Now is the time to start buying gifts. We always buy most of our kids' gifts on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) because you can get great deals. However, I shop for them all year long (clearance aisles...aren't they great?). Santa got Caity a pink leapster a few months ago for only $20!!! They are normally $85. I've picked up 2 fuzzy pink purse notebooks for just a few dollars for Caity and Brea. I bought Jacob a bunch of stocking stuffers (bathtub crayon sets, other small toys) for only 25c in last year's after Christmas sales.
Other than my kids and dh, I am almost done buying. I still have 8 other gifts (not including small teacher gifts) to buy. I will probably do most of that shopping in my Pampered Chef catalog, since 7 of them are adults (ok all 8, but my baby cousin is 21 and living w/mom & dad, so he'll probably get fast food gift certificates since he's always on-the-go).
So, basically I am done shopping except for my immediate family. Everything I've already bought is wrapped and being stored in 2 plastic bins I just bought (so they don't get messed up...or opened by the kids:) ).
I have made my Christmas cards and gift tags. The only thing really left for me to do right now is decorate (day after Thanksgiving), get ready for Thanksgiving (will start this on 11/15), and bake cookies for Christmas (will start weekend after Thanksgiving). There are other things to do, but for right now, I'm good. I kind of don't know what to do with myself, I've never had it this together this early before. I am one of those last minute, grab what ya can, Christmas Eve shoppers. This year, I may just go out on Christmas Eve to watch everyone else hustle and bustle...or maybe not!
Please ladies, get it going.....you don't know how good nothing to do can actually feel!!!