Tag: housework

The ‘You Didn’t Put it Away’ box.

One thing I love about the Little Mister is that he’s super creative and inquisitive. I love the way that he can use his imagination to turn a crappy box into a car or a bunch of pipe cleaners into a pair of ridiculous glasses. He’s always so busy! It’s fantastic and it makes me feel good (i.e. relieved!) that he often opts for play over screen time.

This can come with its drawbacks, though. He hoards every little treasure he finds. Because everything – even a ripped piece of paper – can turn into the most magical thing. So you can imagine how hard it is to throw things out sometimes! Like, I wouldn’t say you’d find him on a kid version of the show Hoarders any time soon (I’ve read about some extreme cases), but he obviously accumulates a lot of clutter if you let him. On top of that, he’s 4. He doesn’t want to stop playing to do something as boring as tidying up. I am constantly nagging him to pack one activity up before he starts another.

A few weeks ago I really felt like my message was not getting through to him. I was sick and tired of the mess in his play area. I could tell he was slowly inching his way out into the family room because obviously (not that he could admit it) he was finding that he didn’t have the space to play. Which of course created more mess. I know. Who’s in charge, you’re asking? Well, despite my best efforts (and trust me I tried), I was not. It was relentless!! It was challenging to find a balance between expecting him to be accountable and learn how to do it himself, and not enabling him by losing the plot and doing it for him. Ex-bloody-sausting. I tried so many ‘appropriate’ parent-y things that came to mind. Some things helped a bit, but it felt like we just weren’t getting there without the constant whining and arguing and stand off tactics (my mum would say it’s my karma haha). Absolutely gorgeous kid, but OMG – stubborn (don’t know where he gets it from).

Finally, I remembered a concept I’d heard of a while ago. I decided to try my own version. After a bit of tailoring it to our situation, I think I’ve made some progress!

I have introduced the ‘Black Box’. It’s not as ominous (or aeronautical) as it sounds. It just happens to be a black and white, collapsible storage box from Kmart.

I bought one that doesn’t look anything like the storage boxes the Little Mister already uses in his play room. This is a different box. A special box that holds many powers. It can be a negative consequence and a reward all in one.

If I’m noticing the spread of chaos and destruction (i.e. toy/play clutter) getting a bit out of hand, I bring out (or threaten to bring out) the Black Box. I will give the Little Mister manageable tidying tasks to do or a time limit and if they’re not completed, he knows those items are going in the box. Originally, the plan was that he wouldn’t see those items for a week, but his sense of time is still not fantastic (although getting much better) and to be honest, he created so many other games/things to play with (he’s very resourceful – an asset to his character but not helpful in this situation haha), that I wasn’t getting the desired effect!

I modified this system. Now he will lose things he hasn’t put ‘where they belong’ (my mantra) and when he does tidy up properly (without arguments or constant whining), he can pick any toy (just one at a time) from the box to put back into circulation (provided he puts it where it belongs of course haha). It seems to be working!!

The only exception we make is for his sleepy comfort toys. They have to go straight to bed to wait for him. None of us could handle it if he was forced to bed without them ?

I also secretly like this system because it gives me a chance to quietly cull some junk each week (of course this is a very tricky thing – I have to be sure he won’t miss it but I do have the out of sight out of mind thing on my side)! Things like ripped up pieces of paper (not kidding), drawings and scribbles that he’s forgotten about and aren’t sentimental or indicative of some new stage in his development. Textas that are all dried up, parts of crappy $2 shop type toys that are broken, etc. You know the kind. They’re like the scourge of the earth and no matter what you do to stop them from entering your home, they cannot be stopped! Aargh!

I am wondering if I could even start a Gumtree (online trading post) toy selling racket from this hahaha.

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OK, I’m kidding, but it’s tempting!! Although, creating a little ‘donate to charity’ collection around birthdays/Christmas may be a possibility.

In all seriousness, if some ‘good’ items stay in the box for a prolonged period of time and are overlooked repeatedly, they may just go to a ‘better place’ (the op shop) or be archived for sentimental reasons (mine)!

I am hoping this system continues to work! Wish me luck!

How do you convince your messy kids to tidy their stuff? How do you get away with ditching some of their crap treasures? Any other cool ideas that work/ed for you? 

Children are gross: A journey through time with NapiSan.

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BC (Before Child), I couldn’t have cared less about the existence of fabric stain removers. Seriously. Could. Not. Give. A. Crap. Sure, I had a token tub of Vanish NapiSan sitting neglected in the laundry, for extreme situations, but I just didn’t understand the fuss.

Now? Three and a half years into this parenting game? Literally cannot go a week without it. There’s always something. I honestly have no idea what people used before NapiSan existed. Elbow grease and something complicated you’d find on Pinterest that you had to make yourself with items no-one has ever heard of? Um…no. Could. Not. Deal.

When the Little Mister was a newborn, I knew there’d be a lot of horrible nappies to change but I had NO idea what number threes (also known as the poonami) were. You know the kind. The kind of liquid madness that obliterates entire jumpsuits and car seats. The kind that you swear only happens when you’re about to leave the house or while you’re driving.

*shudders*

Sometimes the cheaper jumpsuits were hastily put in a bag and thrown out – ain’t nobody got time for that!! But a lot of the time, we needed to salvage what we had. And into a bucket of NapiSan it went to soak before being chucked into the washing machine for a quick cycle. It was always such a relief to see the pristine, sweet smelling item at the end. Yay! I can touch it! It’s like that terrible terrible TERRIBLE thing never happened!

Then solid foods came along. Purée flying all over the joint in all colours of the rainbow. Bibs meant nothing. They were just arbitrary pieces of fabric or plastic. If I could have put the Little Mister in a full length water proof jumpsuit for meal times I would have. In the summer we settled for nearly naked. I must have soaked about a million bibs and tiny outfits daily. OK, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it felt like it! Oh, that bucket and that little tub of Napisan were my best friends. FYI, did you guys know that mashed banana dries on really really hard and turns black? GROSS.

After all that came *dun dun dun* toilet training! I won’t go into too much detail (either you’ve lived it and are traumatised enough already or you are blissfully not living with it and you might be eating or something right now), but you can imagine what happens to little pairs of jocks when your kid is learning to get to the toilet on time. Or when your kid is in denial about needing to do number 2s without nappies or pull ups to fall back on (literally – ew).

Then your toddler becomes a pre-schooler. Paint stains. Dirt. Mud. All those things that mean your kid is learning and getting busy doing the best kid stuff. Totally fine with me as long as I have my NapiSan! I’m so stoked to have just discovered the Vanish Preen Oxi Action trigger spray. It’s very satisfying to use – not to mention easy.

It’s been quite the journey with my good friend NapiSan. One of those every day things you take for granted. I’m sorry, NapiSan. I love you. I appreciate you.

Without you, clothes stains would be a nightmare and ‘stain removal’ would mean throwing everything with a stain in the bin (i.e. removing it from my house – get it? Stain removal?). Which is not exactly economical. What do you think I am? A gazillionaire?

I trust you, NapiSan. You have been there when things have gotten really really really ugly. I know you’ve got my back. You haven’t judged me as I’ve made ugly dry retching faces over the bucket or the machine. You have pretended not to notice some of the stuff I’ve put my hands in (don’t worry I always wash and sanitise afterwards). You’ve never wrecked my family’s clothes.

You’re awesome and I’m glad you’re in my laundry.

So tell me, lovely readers, what every day household products are you grateful for?

House it going?

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I don’t know why but whenever I’ve been away from home for a while (even a few days camping), I come back bursting with ideas and inspiration for my house. It’s like I’ve had some space and perspective and I’m ready to embrace my home again after some much needed time out. I don’t always get so far in my aspirations for creating the home I want (the usual crap excuses about money, time and energy), but I like to try 🙂

I got excited about seeing interior design magazines at the newsagents’ while I was away (the only time I really get to pay attention to what’s on the magazine racks). I visited small shops filled with cool home wares. Stuff I hadn’t seen before at home. It all gave me a fresh perspective. New ideas. Time away from the saturation of images on the internet really gave me the ability to see things more clearly.

Also, I bought a shower curtain with sequins on it. I know. The world’s gone mad. But damn, it’s beautiful.

I’ve become obsessed with a few ideas upon my return from the camping trip I am yet to blog about:

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I am so in love with the chevron look. I know it’s been the trend for a while now, but I am only just getting on board. I love the bright, summery feel. There’s something fresh about it and you can match so many different colours together for a bright home. I needs me a chevron bedspread cover stat! Don’t even get me started on the bargain plates, bowls and cups (with the multi coloured chevron design) I got for our camper van (if I was sponsored I would tell you where I got them from haha)!

I’m really into the mixing and matching idea and chevron prints just seem to be a great starting point that doesn’t feel too scary.

I am also thoroughly enjoying The Organised Housewife blog. It’s not as 1950s as it might sound. You don’t have to be a stay at home mum (or even a mum or even a wife) to benefit from it. For example, my husband has recently gotten on board and is enjoying my newfound enthusiasm! It’s full of achievable (key word if you ask me) tips and daily task ideas to keep your home clean and organised. I love it because you don’t have to dedicate a massive amount of time to it each day. The author (Katrina) keeps everything realistic and easy. It’s not written just for domestic goddesses. It’s for every day people who aren’t always naturally organised – if I can enjoy it, you can too! There are plenty of great de-cluttering ideas too, which suits me fine because I am going through a massive purge of our household – we shall be hoarders of useless stuff no more! If you follow The Organised Housewife on Facebook, it’s great because the little daily tasks to help you maintain your home organisation pop up in your timeline just when you need them! I have a serious blog crush. No other organisational website/blog has ever caught my attention (and believe me I’ve tried).

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As per usual, I have decided that my house does not have enough of “us” in it. It’s a perfectly fine place that is nice enough looking, but if you look at the walls, there are not many personalised hangings/photos that include our little family. There are photos of scenery and of our dogs, but none of us!! They aren’t enough of a feature and I want to change that with a colourful photo wall above our television. That wall currently houses some blue fabric covered canvases that I created (with the help of my mum and her staple gun) when we moved in 6 years ago. I have struggled to think of a way to freshen things up in that area for a while now and after having a browse on Pinterest I am wondering why the hell I never thought of this before.

Also? I am obsessed with this colour (and anything in its family):

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Seriously. How good is green?! I have long been obsessed with anything in the aqua/blue green family, but I’ve decided it’s time to branch out a little. I know very little about the names of colours but this one is my current favourite. Now give it to me in a chevron design and we’re golden! I mean, green. Isn’t it just so fresh looking? I could almost eat it. I am also obsessed with green beans at the moment (so not relevant and something to do with me needing more iron or something I’m sure).

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Also on my list for 2014 is to give my little big boy a brand new bedroom. The idea of decorating is very exciting, but there is so much decluttering to achieve first so we’ll take it step by step! He’s currently in his cot which has been converted into a toddler sized bed but it won’t be long until he needs a full sized single bed (the little monster won’t stop growing). I want to give him a room which makes him feel safe, happy and grown up! Pinterest assures me that I will probably be able to sneak some green chevron in there somehow hahaha. Kidding. Maybe. Maybe not.

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So that will keep me busy this year, right? Don’t even get me started on what needs doing out the front of our house too! In between the overseas holidays and other crazy (but exciting) plans we have, I am sure I can achieve SOMETHING!

What home interior styles are you digging these days? x

PS. Sorry about the title of this post. I like puns.

How to run the perfect household (yes this is a joke post).

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I find that all households (especially those with children inhabiting them) benefit from some good organisational systems. As the perfect housewife *cough splutter* I am about to share with you my amazing, foolproof secrets to success. I am not even going to charge you for accepting my life changing advice!

WHAT A DEAL!!

Let me start by saying that there are so many ways in which you can make your inner domestic goddess shine, despite having a busy lifestyle. I know this is controversial, but did you know that I can show you how to train your offspring from the age of 1 to assist you in your daily housework?

I KNOW!!!!!!!

Keep reading to find out how! I’ll give you step by step guides on how to transform various household tasks from dreary chores to happy housework!

THE SUSPENSE!!!!!!!!

Sorting clean laundry.

Step 1 – Remove items of clothing one by one from the washing line/clothes horse.

Step 2 – Hand each item to your child labourer to place in a basket.

Step 3 – Retrieve clothing items from the tupperware cupboard/playroom/couch/child’s mouth.

Step 4 – Place clothing items in basket.

Step 5 – Repeat steps 3 & 4 a few more times.

Step 6 – Have a glass of wine/nap/meltdown/call a friend/give up.

Voila!!!! Clean laundry, ready to sort!

Putting clean dishes away.

Step 1: Remove dishes from drying rack/dishwasher.

Step 2: Open appropriate kitchen cabinet with complicated child proofing device key thingy you installed a month ago and still cannot get the hang of.

Step 3: Remove toddler from kitchen cabinet.

Step 4: Swiftly place the dish/es in the cabinet.

Step 5: Repeat Step 3, Step 4, Step 3, Step 4 several times.

Step 6: Close cabinet.

Step 7: Comfort crying, broken hearted toddler.

You’re doing great!!!

Cleaning the floor.

Step 1: Wait until you notice your child eating assorted days old crumbs/fluff/dead insects. Decide if you will just let that take care of itself or move to Step 2.

Step 2: Well done for making it this far – someone got some sleep last night! Hurriedly run for a dustpan and brush (or dustbuster if you are rich and live in a filthy big mansion).

Step 3: Spot clean and leave until Step 1 presents itself again.

Housewife of the year!!!!!

Taking out the rubbish.

Step 1: When your child approaches the bin, say firmly “NO TOUCHING.”

Step 2: When your child puts their hands in the bin, say firmly “NO TOUCHING THE BIN. IT’S DIRTY AND ICKY.” and then make a grossed out face to demonstrate.

Step 3: Watch your child laugh in your face, before repeating steps 1 & 2.

Step 4: Put bin in garage/outside the house and shut the door.

Step 5: Forget about it.

You’re a star!

Visiting the supermarket for groceries.

Step 1: Think about it.

Step 2: Say, F*CK THAT.

Step 3: Order online.

You’re welcome!

So there you have it, dear readers! A few easy steps and you now have domestic bliss on your hands (or some other substances you can’t quite identify).

Ta-daaaaaaaaaaa!

And I’m out.

 

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