Thursday, March 6, 2014

40 Projects in 40 Days

As Lent approaches each year, I try to take some time to re-evaluate my habits.  We are not religious people, but I think it's as good a time as any to try to make some changes.  It's about that time of year when the New Year's resolutions are starting to tank and we start to lose our motivation.  One year I gave up soda, which, if you know me, is a HUGE deal.  :)  I wasn't quite that ambitious this year.  I saw a post on Facebook about getting rid of 40 bags of "stuff" laying around the house in 40 days.  I really liked this idea because our home is slowly starting to be overrun with "stuff".  I wish I could blame it on the kids, but we have started to accumulate things that are absolutely unnecessary.  However, I am giving this plan a little tweak.

Instead of trying to get rid of 40 bags of unneeded items around the house, I am going to attempt to complete 40 little projects that are staring at me everyday.  Someone I work with read that if a task takes less than 5 minutes, you should just go ahead and do it rather than putting it your to-do list.  I am broadening this concept to 10 minutes for the projects here.  Sometimes these will take me more than one day to complete, but I feel like if I work on it for ten minutes, that's a manageable chunk of time that will put me that much closer to checking it off my list.  Here's how this began:

Day 1: Emmett's bookshelf has been calling for some reorganization over the last few months.  We have one of those awesome IKEA Expedit bookshelves with the eight squares that we used as a changing table.  It also housed diapers, blankets, sheets, towels, etc.  We kept four brown buckets up top for these things, and then the bottom shelf had books and stuffed animals.  He's been potty-trained for two years, so the buckets started to hold toys, pajamas, and all those things I didn't know what to do with.  The teacher in me LOVES to have an organized bookshelf, but his books were cascading all over the floor.  We were lucky to find the one particular book he was looking for that evening, and we are also fortunate that he rarely has "that one book" that he must read before bed.  

Last night I gathered all those random baskets I had in the attic from my classroom-teacher days, and I brought them down to his room.  I started trying to sort the books into categories that made sense to him and not necessarily to me.  However, I quickly realized that I had too many genres of books, and I only had eight spaces.  I asked Emmett for his ideas on how to sort them, but he was absolutely no help.  :)  I am trying to remember that he has just turned 4, and this is not his idea of good time.  I got about 1/4 of the way through and gave up for the evening.

Day 2: Tonight I sat back down on the floor with him even though it was way past his bedtime to resume the task of sorting books.  I ended up with the following categories:
-Dr. Seuss
-As Seen on TV (Thomas, Bubble Guppies, Planes, Cars, etc.)
-Animal books (which then spread to Other Nonfiction)
-trains, planes, and automobiles
-holiday books
-books Emmett can read by himself
-other fiction
-Elephant & Piggie, Clifford, other series books
-other large books that won't fit in the other baskets :)

While he helped me sort these books, we came across so many of them that he loved but had forgotten that he had.  He had a very difficult time choosing which book to read this evening before bed.  He always gets to pick one, and Greg or I will pick the other book.  We both chose an "oldie but goodie" tonight that we hadn't read in a long time.  

The whole point of this process was not only to organize his books but also to help him remember from what awesome books he can pick.  We've turned them from spine-facing-out to cover-facing-out to help him choose easier and to make the books more enticing.  I have no idea if he will be able to keep them organized, but it's definitely a teachable moment.  Greg thinks they'll be trashed again in about a week, but I have more faith in the system.  Tomorrow's project will be making signs for the baskets to help him (and Greg) learn how they're organized.  I'll post the picture tomorrow when it's complete!

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