Thursday, July 29, 2010


Makin' a List...Checkin' it Twice

It was a good day to wake up with a sinus infection. It was gloomy and looking as if it could rain at any minute. Not feeling too hot, I climbed back in bed after breakfast was fixed and slept until noon when the Yard Man had to leave for a meeting. I wrangled Mini-Messers 1 & 2 for a little while then sent them off to watch shark week and play with Legos while Mini-Messer 3 took his nap. I retreated to the sofa with my list and pen in hand to prepare for our "family meeting".

We have started having a little family meeting on Sundays to plan our week. We delegate chores, discuss obligations and schedules. So far, so good. It only takes us about 15 minutes. I let the MM 1 & 2 choose from a few chores so they can't say, "I didn't want to do that." They have a couple of jobs to do on their own and a couple with mom and dad. It seems to be working pretty well. When the Yard Man returned from his meeting we sat down to chat for a few minutes and filled out our Call-See-Do list and our Chore Chart together. I continued to fill out our weekly B-L-D Menu and Grocery list. I created a few cute lists of my own based on the ideas I've gotten from my org books to post on the fridge as reminders for the whole gang.

This system has been working quite well, so I'm sticking to it for now. It will probably change when school starts back in TWO WEEKS (Yikes!). After having it in place for a few weeks, a couple of changes hopefully won't throw us off too much.
Practical Tip- I'll be happy email you a PDF of the Room-by-Room chore chart I created. Just comment below!

Practically Put- For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10
Practically Yours,


Tidy Friday [pronounced- Fridee] ;-)

"Organized" or not I have always enjoyed having a tidy house on Fridays. It sets a great tone for the upcoming weekend. When tidy, the house is ready for unexpected guests, or spur of the moment gatherings, or even better...just knowing it's neat and you won't have to mess with it over the weekend!!! I want to feel like I am ready to receive friends and family in comfort. An untidy home I feel is a reflection of how well I manage my responsibilities.

On my monster to-do list for today I included tidying. I made a quick list in addition to my to-do list of all that needed to be tidied. When it's broken down (to me) it looks a little less daunting.

#1 quick dusting with swiffer duster (up & down) (15)
#2 vacuum carpets (10)
#3 help boys fill bins w/out of place toys/books and put them in their homes (5)
#4 swivel sweep hardwoods & kitchen (not swiffer---"swivel") (5)
#5 wipe bathroom (down) (5)
#6 windex front door (even though it's a moot point b/c the Mini-Messers put their hands all over it 5 mins later...but I did it.) (2)
#7 Fluff throw pillows (2)

It only took about 45 min! I was shocked when I actually semi-timed myself. Looking at the addendum, I thought Wow! I've got my work cut out for me!!! But It wasn't that bad. So, even if it isn't deep cleaned, it's clean enough to not have to worry about if someone stops by or if we decide last minute to have friends over. Nor will I spend my entire weekend worrying about the need to tidy up (except for the TOYS maybe)!

Practical tip- Make a to-do list. Make and addendum and allocate a certain amount of time of each task. When you break it down it doesn't look as intimidating. And it's a little easier to hold yourself accountable.

Practically put- So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. - Romans 14:12

Practically Yours,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


When the Purge Regurgitates all over You!

Yesterday, I started my room-by-room purging and making more room for storage. I started with the spare bedroom closets. I went through clothes, shoes, hat, pocketbooks, unwanted gifts, etc. Wow! I felt like a new woman as I separated everything into piles---keep, purge, donate, consign. I finally got everything back where it needed to be. I was so proud!

I had a bag of fall clothes that I needed an extra storage bin for sitting off to the side. Today, I walked over to where the bag was to assess exactly what size box I would need. I couldn't find the bag. I texted "The Yard Man" and dragged him out of a board meeting to tell me where it was. I then learned that he thought he was being helpful by hauling it out with the garbage for weekly pick up earlier this a.m.!!!!!
Ummmmmmmmmm What???????? (Bite you tongue, Bite your tongue.)
Okay honey. Thanks for helping. Does this mean I get to go on a shopping spree to replace all that you threw away???

Practical Tip- LABEL EVERYTHING! Even if it's only temporary. Create dialogue---so others know your intentions.

Practically Put- And why do you worry about your clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. - Matthew 6:28

Practically Yours,

Friday, July 23, 2010


I think most would agree that Mommas are the "Hub" and heart of a family. We are the ones who know who, what, when, where, and why 99% of the time. We have lots on our plates. Our moods set the mood and tone for the rest of the day for our family, in many cases. Sometimes I think my heart and tongue are in need of an organizational over-haul too.

The Heart-Tongue Over-Haul---

Earlier this week, I woke up grumpy and immediately couldn't wait until 8:30 pm so I could go back to bed. The Mini-Messers grated at my nerves, The Yard Man "wasn't listening", and the geriatric pets were just in my way AND this was all before breakfast! My happy Mini-Messers suddenly turned irritable, The Yard Man stormed off to work and the geriatric pets were just still in my way. So by 9:00 am I realized that my bad mood had carried over into everyone else's day. Great. What a nice gesture from MOM!

At that moment I decided that I MUST do better. I do not have the right to ruin everyone's day! Nor do I want my children to grow up thinking I am a total grouch. This scenario is not typical. However, if they see it enough they too will think it's okay to subject others to their bad moods. I do not set a very good example when I act like that. (Not to mention, that behavior is not very pretty!) I want my children to respect me. I want my husband to think I've got it all under control. And I am not EVEN trying to give the impression that I'm not allowed to have a bad day, because I will from time to time and that's just life. I think I get like that when I feel overwhelmed by my "To-Do List". I often wonder how I'll ever get it all done. And I don't want my family to think I'm Super-freak!

Well, I found something to help me! It's called Xanax!!!! Just kidding! I know I need that too but actually...I was doing my daily thumbing through one of my fave org books and it popped out at me like it was written for me. The co-authors, Emilie Barnes and Sheri Torelli note that we must #1 Delegate- because we can't do it all by ourselves...others in the home need to be responsible for certain tasks. #2 Dialogue- Let others in the home know how you're feeling or if things aren't working and need to be adjusted. #3 Interaction-Allow others in your home to work along side you. You will learn a wealth of info about each other while tackling all your duties. They also suggest giving my nasty attitude to God to let him clean it up. As for my tongue, I need to learn to bite it! I'll have to do lots of praying about that.

Now, all this is obviously not a 1 day job. I'll have to get up and remind myself daily of these things. After all, it should become a habit if you do it long enough. Right? I think remembering these things will help create a greater sense of peace, respect, and happier hearts in my family.

Practical tip- Delegate, have Dialogue, Interact, Give it to God, and Bite your tongue!

Practically Put- Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also praises her.
- Proverbs 31:28
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. - Proverbs 16:24

Practically Yours,

Sunday, July 18, 2010


So I have spent my day creating the family "HUB". I actually really enjoyed this dreaded project. I have cleared a space in the kitchen to make our family hub. Every family needs one! It doesn't have to be a fancy desk or workspace. If you've got that, GREAT! I f not, an extra shelf or cleared counter top will do. It's the place where calendars and memo boards hang, schedules are posted, and family files can be found. I decided to use a standard file box and a card file box that everyone in our family can easily access.

In the past my PILES were my FILES! But No More, My Friends! I have hanging file folders labeled appropriately with manila file folders in each one. The tabs are labeled for every category and aspect of our family's life. I have started using the "touch it once" policy. I touch paper/mail one time only, then put it in its home - trash or file. If "The Yard Man" needs to look at it, I made a clip that is labeled "touch once" to encourage him to do the same.

I also made the cutest card file EVER!!! I took Mini-Messers 1 & 2 to the pool and sat by and made my file box with all my appropriately labeled tabs and cards. This little box has "in a flash" info such as; important phone numbers, chore cards for the each member of the family, important dates, gift wishlists, schedule cards, etc. You can put anything in there that you think your hubby, sitters, grand-parents keeping children, or that you might need in a flash. The cards can be easily edited as well as the file tabs. I love mine! I found that the standard manila dividers were far too boring for me and didn't suit my I made my own.

Practical tip- Start with little projects like filing systems. They help you feel a sense of accomplishment and it keeps you motivated. I like making things unique, different from what you can buy at the store. I have a bad habit of trying to do it all at once and making it ALL perfect and it inevitably does not get finished, I get discouraged and never go back to it. Doing a little at a time works much better, I think. So...Stop waiting for that perfect moment to do it all. Start now with less stressful projects so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Practically Put- If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done!
-Ecclesiastes 11:4

Go ahead, pick your project!

Practically Yours,

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Here we go... According to the experts the best place to start is with yourself! I have been soul searching and trying to figure out why I am not as organized as I'd like to be. So here I am...wide open...short-comings and all!!!!

  1. I get easily distracted by external "things" calls, other commitments/obligations, text messages, facebook, BLOGGING!!!
  2. I enjoy being lazy sometimes
  3. I have not been the greatest at holding my children accountable. Why? Because sometimes it's just easier to do it yourself.
  4. I feel overwhelmed.
  5. I try to implement too many other people's ideas of what works, rather than what works for me.
  6. I was neurotic as a child. I dreamed of being Marcia Brady and my room was always spotless when I went to bed so I could wake up feeling refreshed. And maybe now that I realize that Marcia Brady is not real and neither is her perfect bedroom, I have also realized that I was a disillusioned child. (wow...deep)
  7. We lack good storage
  8. Poor time management
  9. Perhaps a tad on the ADD side
  10. Flying by the seat of my pants is fun sometimes!

So there you have it. Whew! that that's off my chest...I'm off to get organized.

Practical tip- Get your soul-searchin' on! Examine your day---like your diet. Carry a notebook or piece of paper with you. Each time you notice something out of place, undone, or disheveled, make notes and then address why you think it's that way (books/toys out of place: I didn't make the boys put them away, errands didn't get finished: I answered the phone call of a long-winded friend when I could have called her back later.) If it's something an older child or spouse should have done, make note and hold him/her accountable also. This might help you determine what's holding you down and help others in the house notice where they're falling down also.

Practical Plan- Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. -Proverbs 16:3

Practically Yours, "The Manager"

To Whom it May Concern, Some of you who have followed me before know that I love blogging! I find it to be therapeutic when I have the time. Well, I am back and I have a new blog in store! "Practically Put" is my documented, unscripted attempt to organize my home and my life! My hope is to feel somewhat free from all that weighs me down and keeps me and my family from living our lives as happily as we can. My goal is to conquer the bulk of it in a 45 days. Now, I'm not promising 45 consecutive days...this is me we're talking about! But I'm going to try my best. This is not necessarily going to be about de-cluttering or finally throwing away the unwanted gift I have stashed for quick display just in case the giver decides to stop by. This will be more about organizing information/schedules, maintenance/cleaning, finding homes for the things we use, and giving my family a sense of security that "mama's got it under control".
Let me debrief you on who and where I am. Back in October of 1974 (just kidding. that would be a BLOG all by itself)) forward a few years to July 2010 and what you see, is what you get... I am a God-fearing woman, wife to the cutest, sweetest guy I know (we'll call him "Yard Man"), mother of 3 adorable boys (we'll call them "Mini-Messer 1" (age 7), "Mini-Messer 2" (age 4), and "Mini-Messer 3" (age 18 mos.)), daughter of 1 set of parents, sister to 3 brothers, owner of 2 VERY OLD dogs (Dixie 14 and Linus 16), daughter in law to 1 set of parents, sister in law to 3, volunteer of the local Junior League and my church, member of the "Bunco Belles", and friend to several crazy women who are like the sisters I never had! With all that on my plate, I also have a few side-dishes from time to time...neighbor, homeroom mother, speech therapist, children's party-planner, stationery designer, NOW my new-found obsession...organizational junkie. Without all of the above I wouldn't be ME. These people and things are the fabric that make me who I am. However, with all these titles, obligations, and responsibilities come many events to be PUT on calendars, papers to be PUT in files, children to be PUT in cars, clothes, toys, and books to be PUT away, dinners to be PUT on tables, dogs to be PUT in the yard, numbers and emails to be PUT in my phone, trash to be PUT on the road, etc. So you get it! I, like most busy moms, find myself PUTTING stuff and people where they belong...all the time.
With the help of a few really good books written by "the experts" and "the written Word", I want to figure out a way that I can continue doing these things and taking care of loved ones and do it in the best way possible for me. I am learning as I go and hope to inspire someone else along the way. Maybe a few of you can offer some advice and tips worth trying. I hope you'll continue on this journey with me! You never know, it just might be what you've been looking for and you might be able to take something with you along the way---PRACTICAL tips/tricks, giveaways, and maybe even a good chuckle or two! I am not attempting to be entirely PUT (because that would make me perfect). I am not as awful as the people on that hoarding show but I'm just not quite "PUT". Being more PRACTICAL would suit me better and would bring me towards my ultimate goal of being "Practically Put"!

Practically Yours,
"The Manager"