This Move

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We’ve arrived!  We moved in a snow storm, but got it all unloaded before the big one hit.  From there, we were sitting under about 16″ of snow and bitter-cold temps.  Nearly 2 weeks later, we are digging out and settling in.

Our living room (see my daughter being silly as she tries to get out of the room in time!)

Our living room (see my daughter being silly as she tries to get out of the room in time!)

At first, I was super pleased with our progress.  Boxes were being unpacked and things were finding homes, but this week, as we began a bit of homeschooling again, I found myself frustrated and overwhelmed.

Then, I remembered this always happens.

Every time we move, I end up needing to deal with a few bad habits we’ve gotten into in the previous house.  Sometimes the issues are direct results of the move itself.  This move was, and is, no different.

1.  I am sick of the paper trail my children leave about the house.

I am all for creativity, but oy! the paper trail is maddening!  I snapped this photo the other day and then asked my little moms-of-many group to please advise (feel free to offer your own advice as I’m still working through it all!).

papers in living room

This scene is recreated all over my house every day of the week, and most every child in the household contributes.  My bigs try to be a bit neater about their paper, as do I (yes, they got this from me), but my littles draw and dump at will.

This sort of thing needs to stop.  Problem is, I’ve been too lazy to stop it.  I’m to blame for paper and pencils and crayons and scissors *gasp* and glue being TOO easily accessible.   So, this move, those things are finding a new home with new rules.

2.  My little boys stand (and often jump) on the furniture.

We had discipline for this in the old house, but I wasn’t always as consistent as I needed to be with it.  I didn’t stick with it as is needed to actually break bad habits.  This move, I am determined to nip this in the bud and stop this behavior once and for all.

“Method?” you ask?  Every time they stand on, jump over or off of the furniture, they must stand, nose to the wall, for as many minutes as their age.  The 3 year old gets 3 minutes, the 5 year old gets 5 minutes, and yes, my newly turned 8 year old gets 8.  (Eek!  Can you believe the 8 year even stands on the furniture sometimes?!  You ought to be feeling better about your parenting skills already!)

3.  I need to do better about the “place for everything and everything in it’s place” rule.

I’m just going to be honest here, my organizational skills are severely lacking.  Every little thing I organize has to be brainstormed and often reworked before it actually makes sense.  It is a painfully slow and ugly process.

When we move, I have to find new places for things and then learn where those place are.  About the time I learn those places, I realize where I put things makes no sense and needs to be reworked.  (We have a saying here, “As soon as you know where it is, we’ll move!”)

This move, I am hoping to get things organized sooner.  (As soon as I typed that, I sat here blankly for a few minutes.  Who am I kidding?  I won’t get organized any sooner than I normally do because I haven’t somehow magically gained 4 more hours to my day or grown an extra set of arms or a more organized brain.  Yeah, scratch that...)

This move, I am hoping to get things organized sooner.  There, that’s better.

So, there you have it…a little taste of life in our new home.  Never a dull moment!

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43 Comments on This Move

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43 thoughts on “This Move

  1. Chalkboards/dry erase boards help a bit with the paper mess around here. I also made my son an art bag with pockets on the outside for crayons/pencils/etc and that way he can just put his papers or coloring books in there quickly.

  2. Thank you thank you thank you for this post! We’re moving in 2 weeks and I’m feeling the overwhelming frustration of it all too. I know that partly I’m dealing with the lack of organization on my part, and just thinking about how much we’ll ruin a rental with 5 boys :) We struggle with #1, #2 (eek, age 10 still does this!) and #3, so thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone!

  3. My daughter had a problem leaving her things scattered throughout the house, so we started a rule that each thing we find will be a fine of $1.00. She earns money from reading books, some chores and other things, so she really doesn’t want to part with her hard-earned money, so it is a great thing to motivate her to keep her things put away. However, the past few weeks I haven’t enforced the rule and she is creeping back into the messies again – thanks for the reminder that I need to start the fine rule up again! 😉

    Glad you got moved before the snow!!

  4. I hear you on the “everything in its place” rule! We’ve slacked on that too. We have handy baskets in most rooms as a quick dumping ground, and we do quick tidied throughout the day, so sometimes we don’t notice it. This wouldn’t be bad, except it means the younger children (and likely mess culprits) often get by without learning to pick up after themselves.

    About the paper, we have that too! You can be thankful that they draw on paper and not walls! :-) Have you ever seen those little plastic drawers – either Sterilite or Rubbermaid? We have quite a few of these, and use them in many ways. One is for paper fun. I put each child’s name on their own drawer, and they can keep whatever paper they want as long as it fits in the drawer. If I find random paper laying around, it goes in the garbage. It doesn’t eliminate the problem, but helps a lot.

  5. My mother was an art teacher and we did a lot of crafts as well.
    You might try setting up a crafting station where craft supplies are supposed to stay. [Sort of like your ‘command central’ from a different post.]
    Or a place where each child is able to submit their artwork for consideration for display on the art wall. [My mom had one entire wall covered in cork tiles for the purpose. It corralled the art without stifling the creativity and it was never unsightly because it was always decorated.] It’s also wise to set a limit to the number of displays each child can make and have the artist select which of his/her own to remove for the newest masterpiece. Have a file for storage of removed art and a system for culling to keep it manageable. [Again involving the artist is a good way to avoid hurt feelings. Many may be able to be converted into greeting cards and sent to people outside your immediate family.]
    Also you could assign each child their own sketchbook or sketching notebook both to create and store their masterpieces.
    One of my friends instituted a mild fine [hers was a quarter] to regain possession of anything that was left behind for Mom to clean up.
    Ideas for discarded art-
    convert into stationary and envelopes
    take a digital photograph and store electronically discarding original
    burn in fireplace and observe the unusual flame colors created by the burning pigments
    paste to a piece of newsprint and use as wrapping paper [bulky]
    paste to unwrapped packages or boxes wrapped in plain brown paper or newsprint as decorative paper
    use as illustrations for creative writing notebook stories
    I hope the above suggestions are helpful to someone. They are my gleanings from growing up with an art teacher.

  6. To help contain my children’s artistic endeavors, we bought them each a composition notebook. I think you can find some with part blank space and part lines; we just bought the regular lined ones and the lines didn’t bother them. All drawings, doodles, painting, cutting and pasting was contained to that notebook. Some even pasted in their birthday cards and valentines. It became a scrapbook that was surprisingly expandable for even bulky things. I even sometimes wrote in their journal to praise them for something I’d been proud of. Some of my kids used it to write poems or stories. My oldest is now 19 and it’s quite interesting to see a glimpse of his earlier creative self in the pages of that book. Before we bought the notebook, I was likely to just toss every odd scrap of paper. This way, I wasn’t fighting loose pages, and they created a keepsake.

  7. Book safe. That’s what has tamed the crayon mess at my house. I did a post about it a couple of months ago and I’m surprised that it still works. Before that, I’d find crayons everywhere. My husband has always joked that nothing in this house is safe unless it’s under lock and key. He’s right!! 😉

    • One of the moms in my group does the same thing! I’m not locking ours up (yet), but I have put it away and they have to ask. Already there is a marked difference. 😉

  8. Congrats on the move and beating the snow storm!! :)

    As far as the standing/jumping on furniture, you might find that a consequence that is more related to the “crime” might work faster/better/easier. Here is an idea of how that would work: Since the “offense” falls under not taking care of the things God has given us, I would first be sure I had taught them how that was important and then let them know that if it happened again, the person(s) would need to pay x amount of their own money into a jar or whatever. Explain that since standing/jumping on the furniture contributes to its wearing out faster, this helps to pay for replacing it when you need to buy new furniture.
    I think sometimes it is simply matter of making them (painfully) aware of their responsibility to keep things nice. If they have birthday money (or allowances or maybe you have a vacation fund or ….whatever it is your children have) and are anything like mine, they do not want to be paying those precious dollars or cents into a couch fund! 😉
    Again, this might not work for every family’s situation, but thought I’d throw that idea out there.

  9. For the paper, the only thing I’ve come up with is spiral type noetebook/notepads/or sketch pads for them to write, draw, and color in. NO paper is allowed to be teared out, if I find paper tore out of the books, that torn paper goes into the trash. I can’t STAND the paper mess.

  10. looks like a beautiful home! can’t imagine that much snow! we got about 12 here and i’m alittle sick of seeing white everywhere! I have the same prob. with the paper,colors,sissors and all that EVERYWHERE! Just remember, someday we will all have a spotless house (when they’v grown) and then we will miss it….i’m sure:)

    • I have thought about that. I was even thinking back to when I only had littles and I know I felt like a crazy woman, but now I look back with rose-colored glasses thinking, “those were the days.” hee hee

  11. My older kids keep most of their paper trail in the gameroom or their rooms. It definitely makes a mess, but I don’t see it as often, because I don’t visit those rooms everyday. When I get up there and clean there is a lot of paper going to the recycling bin. The littles each have a space on the wall for me to hang their projects. When the wall is full I take down my least favorite and there is magically room for more. I often give my littles half sheets of paper rather than the whole sheet and they are quite content, but have less space. We have used binders to store their work and we periodically mail papers the kids have made to other family members.

  12. Paper trails…AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I found a solution for us but can’t remember where I got it. Anyway, I got a binder for each child, punched holes in computer paper, and gave them each a supply to put in their binders. It takes lots of reminders at first, but the rule is, draw in your binder unless you are making a picture for someone else. A great benefit that has come from it is the children have to decide what to save or toss when their binders get too full. I love this because it helps them learn to manage clutter for themselves, which will serve them well now and later in life.

    • Oh your exception would be my issue. We make lots of gifts here. Then they do not place them in a good spot. Like with their papers in their room. Or it their overnight bag for grandma. Nope! The file them on all flat surfaces in my house!

  13. #1 is my biggest frustration. I’m a crafter myself. I love art. I love them expressing themselves. But It drives me up the wall that the create so much and that doesn’t get a home. They think that every picture needs hung all over every wall, doors, and trim. There’s a limit. Then the mess they forget to pick up. I’m working hard on this. I will not surrender every inch of my wall to kids. I limit my fridge art. They hang in their rooms. I need to put a gallery in my hall. I’m thinking the Styrofoam 4×8 covered in fabric. And a digital picture frame to scan art to. I want to be respectful of them but it was driving me bonkers. Had to set my foot down.

    • I’ve started using an app called Keepy that I can snap a photo and file in the app so they can see it but we don’t have to store it. That’s been a great tool!

  14. Wow, Amy, your good! We moved here a year ago! It took a few trips. (22 years in one house will do that…..;).)_ And when we got here it was freezing! We had a POD full of “stuff” that we had sent here ahead of time, a Very long Uhaul truck full of “stuff” that my hubby drove, and finally a 16 ft car trailer full of “stuff” that I pulled….;). But, I, too, do not like living in boxes….:p.
    But we did take a month off from school – from the rush of filling the POD & sending it – to the point of unloading some boxes so we could live…:)
    It did me awhile to even find my school box…..:(
    Blessings to your family & the house looks great! papers & all!

      • It was kind of funny. We had some friends help us un-pack the POD. And the were wonderful enough to bring some of the things into the house. But when they left and I walked into the house – I cried! My hubby came & said “WOW” – what did we do? this is not organized at all! So, we took everything back outside in the garage & sort of started over again. (with 6 kiddos – you can do that..:) Beds, dressers, then our stuff for our classroom! Now, we did not start school for 3 more weeks – but at least we could get a bit more organized. And once we got back into school – I was even able to get pictures up on the walls. Whew! Moving is exhausting! But, that’s why we rely on the Lord’s help!…:D

  15. When it comes to the paper trail, I have a bin for my daughter where she can put any and all art work she does. When it’s full we go through it and keep the best ones. You could have one for each child – it becomes ‘their’ bin so their stuff doesn’t get mixed up with their siblings.

  16. 😀 To help you feel better… My boys jump on & off the furniture too… they are 2… 4… 6… and 11… yes, I said 11! There… now don’t you feel better? 😀

  17. I also have a paper trail problem. The ONLY thing I have found to work is I made a “paper only at the table” rule. My kids now know that the ONLY place we do anything with paper is at the table. I then have a 30minute family clean-up at night. I do still however sound like a crazy lady as I remind them that they can’t eat lunch until the paper trail/homeschool work is off of the table so we can eat! My hungry kids seem to be getting this. I hope this is helpful. Enjoy your new place!

  18. We have used a modified Workbox system in the past to keep paper managed. I gave each kid a bin with plastic pouches, actually scrap booking organizers, for each subject. The last thing was a card of to-do’s including putting all of their schoolwork back in the bin and then their chores for the day. once all of that was done they got a treat.

  19. Sounds like you’ve gone thru several moves. Have you done any posts in the past about moving tips? We did about a half dozen moves in a 2yr window before doing our 1st big move overseas (anticipating many more in the future). I found that downsizing our possessions at each move helped, as well as finding portable organization so that things will always be in the same place no matter where we are: like “the craft tote” which contains basic art & office supplies.

    Our two yr old is definitely a furniture climber and jumper. We’re having trouble with the kids breaking all the house rules with babysitters that they never do with mom & dad (I.e. standing on the table throwing crayons across the room). And how do you pent them from picking at wall paper during a time out (I remember doing the exact same thing as a kid).

  20. I struggle with the paper with “I must keep this drawing”. I said we would unpack the bulletin board (24 x36 inches) and she could keep only what artwork fits. She said okay and we have yet to unpack it. :( I also encourage her to keep her papers in the spiral notebook instead of tearing them out. I will be interested in eating all the suggestions for this issue as it is a problem for me too.

    • We have them put their hands on their heads or folded in front or behind them if they start using their hands to play or be destructive.
      Hope that helps.

    • Sorry about that first comment was for the posts above yours regarding wallpaper picking in time out.

      For the art accumulation you could archive using digital photographs and burn them to a pen drive or cd when you get too many in your computer/camera memory. Then she can keep it all without any clutter.

  21. I think you are doing amazing for only being there a couple weeks:)
    We have moved a FARM 4 times in 8 years, and I am TIRED of that kind of mess-add to our confusion 4 with cognitive special needs, and I am about bonkers with their mess all day long, on top of trying to sort, organize, and maybe do a little school too!
    Check out pinterest, there are TONS of great ideas there, it is my GO–TO place when my brain is maxed and I need inspiration
    Love the look of the new house, and all that snow, wow-you have more than we have here in Wis!!!

  22. I’m a mom of two wonderful boys. We are a sensory friendly house. I love finding great sensory friendly items that help with their energy. We have a indoor trampoline. Because it’s clod where I live it’s hard for them to get out and run and play. So when they need to jump they go to the trampoline. Tumble mats help as well. Sometimes kids need to flip. A giant exercise ball. You can get them plain and with nubs on them. This ball has done a lot for our home. Great for exercise and balance. It’s been used as a chair for bouncy boys who just can’t sit still. A ball for maternity use. A ball to play games with. You just keep finding great ideas to use with it. I also got the kids a bouncy ball they sit on that has a Handel. They hop around the play room and just love it. The more functional ways I give them to express themselves the less they do it in ways I don’t truly like. ( they use to jump on the couch too.) good luck hopefully spring will. Come and they will get out side where they can bounce to their hearts content.

  23. Ahhhh, paper. :) we have a box for each kid where the art is stored. The oldest’s papers are easier to maintain because he likes to draw. The 3 yr old on the other hand likes to cut and glue. I would like to make an art display space and have them Pick out what they would like to display with a number of pieces allowed. Since I haven’t done that I keep a box and have the oldest weed things out as he gets less attached to old drawings. We have had sketch pads and such but my kids go through so much paper that I consider the sketch pad good for travel or church, not every day use. Gets pricey always buying new ones. Binder isn’t a bad idea, box is easier to throw papers into. 😉

  24. We have a basket by the door of each of the main rooms, towards the end of the day (or sometimes in the morning before breakfast) we empty the baskets and put each item in its place. Each child that is old enough is responsible for a basket. Sometime with the littles I helped (all are old enough to put them away now). As for paper we have 2 bins 1 recycling and one for keep. If the children want to keep those pages, they drop it in the keep bin, every few days I give them back and they either put them away or recycle them. White boards do help, but keep permanent markers out of reach :) I’m glad to see you in your new home and settling down. Blessings to you :)

  25. I am SO glad that it’s not just me. We just moved again right after Christmas, and while I love the blank slate of establishing new habits and purging stuff that doesn’t fit in our new home, I loathe the transition of it all. Thanks for making me remember that it’s normal!

  26. My kids each have two boxes. One is for “little things” {treasures that can’t be parted with, but have no logical place to belong} and a coloring box {any project having to do with paper}. Everything goes in there, and if it can’t fit, it’s time to sort out and purge! :)

  27. The paper is out of control here, too! Thought it was just us, but I’m glad to know it’s not. My kids love to draw, write, color, cut, and glue paper!
    I’m going to be trying your method for breaking the standing on furniture habit. We have always had old, hand me down furniture until last month! Our in-laws bought us a new couch, loveseat and chair! But, I don’t want it ruined! So, I will try your method and see if that works. My problem is lack of consistency. :-(

  28. I’m definitely going to use your idea for jumping on the furniture. I also have the same paper problem. :) Ah, the life of a mom-of-many! We have 9 children. Our oldest is married, and he and his dear wife are working on baby number 2. Our 19 yo dd is courting and will probably be married before Christmas. Enjoy these days with all of them in the house. These days just fly. I always enjoy your blog, and feel we are “kindred spirits”. Lol!