Friday, May 17, 2013

Operation Sanity: Girl Stuff (part 1)

It has been 10 days since I wrote about using business skills in my homemaking efforts.

I actually started this process a couple weeks before writing about it, as the Lord was prompting my heart to see this whole SAHM thing as a long-term gig.

It's going swimmingly; so I thought I'd give you a few updates. 

From hence forth, any such attempts shall be part of the larger production: Operation Sanity.

So after making a kajillion and one lists, Operation Sanity began with one project: Girl Stuff.

Girl Stuff is all the pink and purple and polka dot and rainbow and sparkly things that take over my house.  This includes toys, shoes, clothes, hair bows, pillows, bags, books, and DVD's. But mainly toys (because if I step on one more lego....)

Seriously... this stuff was EVERYWHERE! Especially between 5pm on Friday and 8am on Monday. It goes like this: On Friday at 5pm, the last of the parents pick up their wee ones from my house. Enter Hurricane Girls Gone Wildly Messy (HGGWM). It rips through my house and leaves me with a FEMA-worthy destruction site by the time Chloe gets on the bus on Monday mornings.

It took me all day Monday (every Monday) to put things back in place... mainly because I had lost the use of my feet after stepping on shards of piercing shiny plastic torture devices (aka, legos).

I have tried many toy-organization systems in the past. Most recently, we divided toys into 5 containers and rotated the containers every couple days. My only rule was that each container had x number of toys. So if they wanted to keep and play with a toy out of container 1, then they had to pick a toy from container 2 to put back, etc. We ended up with four containers full of toys nobody wanted, and one container full of I-will-fight-you-to-the-death-for-these-because-every-single-one-is-my-very-favorite-toy toys.

It was all downhill from there.

So, about three weeks ago, after a particularly harrowing weekend of HGGWM and I-will-fight-you-to-the-death interventions, I decided to get drastic(ish). I put all the toys in one huge pile in our living room. Then I had the girls take turns picking which toys they wanted. Maple's picks were labeled with an "M," and Chloe's toys were labeled with a "C." (I'm nothing, if not creative.)  The only toys not labeled were legos, kitchen accessories (that go with their play kitchen), books, and dollhouse furniture. 

The rules go like this:  

 Your toys stay in your room. 
Only the four categories listed above (legos, kitchen, books, dollhouse) may stay in the play area, in their designated spaces. 

You MAY share your toys with your sister...
 but if a fight breaks out, the toy goes to the person whose initial is on it. 

I will ask you to pick up your toys once. 
After that, they will be transported to an undisclosed location to be returned to you upon completion of one chore - the time and task to be determined by yours truly.

I also ditched the idea of keeping the toys in small, categorized containers (another system we have tried in the past, to no avail). Because Chloe chose mostly small figurines and Barbies, she throws all her toys in a large wooden toy box in her room. Because Maple chose mostly stuffed animals and dolls, she tosses her toys in the bottom of her closet. Neither place is pretty, but both can be hidden (behind a lid or a door) and thereby completely ignored by mommy. (Adapting an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mindset is another part of my new sanity plan. Perhaps I'll write more on that later.)

It's only been three weeks, but I think that has given me enough time to claim that this has been BY. FAR. the most successful toy organization system we have ever used. It goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the new "speed cleans" (which I shall write about in another post), and there have been no tears over toy-sharing in three. weeks.  (Can I get a witness?! ThankyouJesus!!)

Of course, being sisters, the girls have found new things to fight over. But any argument that starts with toys ends with one question: Whose initials are on the toy? The. End.  No more whining (about toys). No more tattling (about sharing). And no more threatening to take away every toy you own because some children have no toys and would love to have as many as you have and you should just choose another of your kajillion toys instead of fighting over the one that's in your sister's hand!  

But mainly, I haven't stepped on any legos. ThankyouJesus!!

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The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood