Winterize Within: Conclusion and Reflection

autumntunnelPhoto by stuckinseoul

Again, I thank you for joining in the Winterizing Within series this week.  I hope you have found some inspiration for thoughtful and intentional preparation for the end of the year.

This final focus on winterizing does not involve any work, and in fact, it should not be limited to just one day.

We spent our week cleaning out, sorting through, and taking action on the stuff of raising children.  Throughout today and the days that follow in this beautiful time of autumn, pause a little each day to consider who you and your children have become in the months that are now behind us.

Spend time as a family reminiscing about the best of the last year.  Make notes to yourself in a journal, scrapbook, or photo album.  Tell the grandparents a story or two about the growth you have seen in your children in the past year.

Before the hurry and scurry of the holidays picks up, fill up your gratitude tank with the simple joy of appreciating this moment in time.

What has brought the most joy to the life of your family in the past year?

Winterize Within, Part Five: Photographs

dandelionmay

Today is the final “work day” in our Winterizing Within series.  I’ve so enjoyed the positive feedback from those who are working along on preparing homes for the upcoming holidays and winter months. More than anything, I created this series to motivate and inspire my own projects around the house.  What an encouragement to have others come alongside me to join in these tasks!

I have to confess that I have saved the photograph project for the last work day as a sort of “dessert” for myself after a week’s worth of sorting and purging.

I love taking pictures and nearly every shot that finds its way into my camera is a picture of one or both of my girls.  What gets terribly neglected, however, is following through on all of those shots by getting them out of my hard drive and into a tangible format!

This will be the focus of our winterizing project for the day – work through the pictures of the past year, make decisions on them, and take action!

We’ll use our 3 Ps to guide the process:

1) Sometime today, pause to sit down and work on photographs.  This process will look different for each person depending on what picture taking and photograph storing looks like in your home.  Perhaps you have printed pictures that need to be sorted into albums or organized in scrapbooking materials, or maybe (like me) you need to dig through your hard drive files to find the pictures from the past year.

I’m going to aim for spending three minutes working with my pictures from the last ten months which means I’m setting aside thirty minutes for this project today. If I don’t set a firm time limit, I can get lost in editing and organizing my photos!

2) If you have been steadily printing photos throughout the year, you may have no need to purge anything today.  Because I’ve neglected steady work on my photos from the past ten months, I won’t be purging as much as I will be making decisions on ten month’s worth of photography.

I’ve planned to devote three minutes to each month of 2009, beginning in January.  I’ll set the timer and work quickly through each month, selecting which photos will go into a “to be printed” folder.  (The photo you see above is one I shot in May 2009 and is definitely marked as one of the “keepers” for the year!)

What will your process look like today?

3) Finally, most importantly, push yourself to take action on this year’s photos!  Again, this could be slipping them into albums, sending them to be printed, or even just getting the unprinted shots better organized in your computer.

Other examples of action might be planning a scrapbooking event, backing up your picture files, or creating photo books for yourself or for gift-giving.

Of course, you may need more time than would be reasonable to set aside for just one day’s work.  If nothing else, get started on this 2009’s photos, and make firm plans to continue taking action on them through the end of this year.

What does photo organization look like in your home? Do you take immediate action with your photographs – getting them printed quickly after you shoot them, or do you tend to wait and do a mass printing several times a year? I would also love to hear about your favorite ways to store, print, and display your best photographs from each year!

Winterize Within, Part Four: Books

seussbooksPhoto by evelynshere

Wow! We have been working hard this week.  I think today would be a great day for a lightweight project.  Today, we’ll focus on Winterizing Within with our children’s books.

As we have each day this week, we will use the 3 Ps to structure our winterizing efforts:

1) Pause to find just a little time today to sort through the children’s literature in your home.  Thirty minutes or less seems right for today.

2) As you work through the books in your home, you may want to focus less on purging and more on pondering about where your child is on his path to literacy.  Do you have a new toddler who is ready for slightly more complicated stories?  Or is your preschooler ready for chapter books?  Would the upcoming holiday gift season be a good time to add new life to your home library?

Invite your older children to think about which books to keep, and which can be donated, sold, or tucked into storage.

3) We’ve been pushing ourselves quite a bit this week.  As you sit surrounded by the books that mean so much to your family today, take a moment to luxuriate in the joys, beauty, and timeless truths offered by literature.  You deserve a little downtime to read, reflect, and respond to whatever inspiration you find in the pages of your family’s books today!

What is the state of your home library? Is it up-to-date and organized? Are there books that need mending? Is your child ready to move up to more challenging books?

Winterize Within, Part Three: Games, Media, and Hobbies

gamePhoto by luis de bethancourt

How are your Winterizing Within projects going this week?

Today’s projects should be fairly easy to accomplish and are more focused on older children.  For part three of our Winterizing Within series, let’s tidy up the games, media equipment, and hobby parts and accessories that our children have accumulated.

We’ll use our 3 P’s to guide our time:

1) As we have each day this week, first pause to clear a spot in your schedule.  If you would like to have your children’s input on the project for today, schedule your winterizing work for a time that will work for all of you.

2) Set your timer and start to purge – tidy up the board games, straighten up any media you have in your home (music, movies, electronic games, etc), and if your children are involved in hobbies, provide some assistance in giving their hobby “stuff” a once-over to make sure everything is where it should be.

3) Finally, push yourself to determine if anything that has been straightened up today is ready to find a new home.  Are there movies no one has watched in months?  What about old games that are still in decent condition?  Invite children to consider selling that which is no longer being used.  The allure of a financial return may be great motivation for them to be able to say goodbye to some of the things taking up space in your home!

How is the decluttering process different as children get older? At what age do you start to have the child make more of the decisions on clutter and “stuff”?

Winterize Within, Part Two: Toys

toysPhoto by timsamoff

It’s time for Part Two of our Winterize Within focus for this week. Yesterday, we applied the 3 Ps (Pause, Purge, Push) to children’s clothing.  Today, let’s focus on toys.

When I shared 10 Clutter-Free Gift Ideas for Kids last week at Simple Mom, many of you shared in the comments that your homes are already overrun with toys, and that the gift-giving season brings in more toys to an already crowded home.  Today is a great day to spend a little time determining what should stay and what should go before those holiday gifts are unwrapped!

1) Pause to make time today to work in a toy sorting session – thirty minutes, forty-five minutes, an hour, whatever fits today’s schedule.

2) Purge those toys!  If you don’t have much time to work with, limit your toy purging to getting rid of broken, non-donation-worthy toys.  If you have a little more time after you sort out toys headed for the trash, decide which toys could go into storage, which toys could be donated to friends, family, or charity, and which toys could be repurposed with a new life.

3) Most importantly for the purposes of winterizing, push forward with your decisions and get those toys moving!  Take the garbage bags to the trash, box up the ones to be stored, and prepare the ones for donation for their new homes.

As you purge the toys in your home, don’t forget the importance of separating yourself from your children’s stuff! Finding new homes for the toys your children have collected doesn’t mean you are discarding beloved memories; rather you are making space for the things your children truly cherish to be honored and enjoyed.

The process of toy purging is something I always intend to get to on a monthly basis, but sometimes my intentions fall by the wayside. Is regular toy sorting and purging a part of your regular schedule? Do you work better with input from your children or is this a task better done alone for you?