Category Archives: Major Learning Project

Back to the Kitchen… Kids in Tow

Hi all, it has been an interesting week. With Thanksgiving last weekend and then the dreaded stomach flu going throughout our household I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked to have been on my learning project.  Although I was able to catch up on the daily decluttering challenges, I did not get to implement  the organization solution in our front entryway as planned.

Instead, I got some much needed down time on the couch. For an active busy bee like me, that was hard to do. I did enjoy the extra snuggles with my little ones though! It was at this time I was able to really reflect on their growth since the summer. I think I may be underestimating their potential to contribute to the daily household chores. My daughter, who is 3 1/2, and son, 20 months, have the ability and the desire to help in the kitchen, but as a busy family I do not often give them the opportunity, or independence, to. According to WebMD children as young as two need responsibilities in the household to feel like they are making a contribution.

Upon Reflection…

I remember a learning experience my son and I had a few weeks ago. It was the usual busy weekday morning. Getting the kids ready for daycare/preschool, unloading the dishwasher and loading the washing machine all the while trying to remember where I was supposed to be that day. Clearly, I need to be more organized!

I turn to see my son trying in frustration to wrangle a spatula out of the dishwasher. Cute, he is trying to help, I think. At the time, I remember being frustrated. We didn’t have time for him to play in the dishwasher. I instinctively reached out to free the utensil for him, but something stopped me. “Wait… ” I say. “Slow down city slicker. You got this.” I grab my phone to document his learning…


I also learned something very valuable that morning. By simply engaging with him in a simple household chore, he was working on his problem-solving and fine motor skills and his success brought him joy! I still try and encourage his growth, but I believe consistency will be key going forward.

I had seen some great tips on Do it on a Dime’s YouTube channel that I want to implement in our kitchen to help continue my children’s contribution and learning experience.

I have moved the children’s dishes down to their level and will start the routine of getting them to set their own place at the table and put their clean dishes away. I also gave my daughter the task of feeding the cat earlier this week (only because the smell of it made me very queasy!) and she has been asking to feed the cat almost everyday since. That is going on the chore list for sure!

My family and I got back on the healthy train this weekend, so I am looking forward to a happy and healthy upcoming week!

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with Clutterbug
  • Share my daily progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Implement organizational systems – Front Entryway bench, overhead shelf, and coat hanger
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can help

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

Organization Starts with Decluttering

I am not a caterer, but you might think I was one by the amount of small plates and wine glasses I have – strike that – HAD. Why was I keeping 15 mismatched small plates and 14 wine glasses?! No clue! I have NEVER used all of them in one single day, let alone one single setting.  Following Clutterbug’s 30 Day Decluttering Challenge, along with hundreds of other like-minded people around the world, has been the perfect ticket to help kick start my journey to becoming more organized! What was more helpful was posting my purge pile, or my new organized and decluttered space, to Clutterbug’s Facebook page. The social support here has been amazing! At the end of the first week, I had two boxes loaded for charity and one bag for our local Food Bank.

Starting with the Kitchen Cupboards

I am a visual learner and this is one of the main reasons I am drawn to following Cassandra from Clutterbug on YouTube. Each day of the challenge she posts a few minutes of her process in decluttering that days assigned space, followed by a personal story or inspirational message. (trust me, Day One’s story will have you in stitches!)

In addition, her highly organized home is providing great ideas that I can adopt in my own. I found her recycling system under her kitchen sink to be a great idea, one in which I wanted to implement. Efficiency is the goal! Although our outdoor recycling bin is about 15 steps from my kitchen sink it was a real chore to continuously travel there while cleaning the kitchen. This idea reminded me of Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management  I learned in Business school. Applying those principles to the task of cleaning my kitchen should certainly save me a lot of time and energy. (Side note: Sadly, I didn’t just invent this notion. Apparently, Christine Frederick did almost 100 years ago!)

Finishing under the Kitchen Sink

It was late last Friday afternoon and I decided to tackle the installation of my new recycling bin under the sink. My mom was scheduled to come over to assist. Why my mom? She is super handy! But I decided I was going for it – alone. I grabbed the cordless drill, two Halloween candies, the instructions and went for it. The instruction sheet said it should take 15 minutes. I laughed. An hour and a half later….

I figured using an electric screw driver… um cordless drill… would be easy enough, so I didn’t bother YouTubing a “How To” video. This might have contributed to the longer than predicted time to complete the installation. I ran into a couple frustrating moments that might have been prevented had I watched Bill on YouTube.

First, tightening a drill bit in the keyless chuck is counter intuitive. You need to turn the chuck counter clockwise to tighten it. Righty Tighty doesn’t apply here! Second, stripping a screw can be avoided by adjusting the torque. How do I know I was stripping a screw and that it is bad thing? I remember the high pitched sound and my mom’s reaction: “ROBERT, stop! You’re stripping the screw!” In his defense, he is a bit hard of hearing. Thanks to Bill I now know one way to prevent it!

The drill will be an essential tool with the upcoming organizing systems I plan to install. In light of the little I have learned so far on YouTube about the drill, I certainly plan on tapping into other resources to become more efficient.

The Dark Side of Sharing on Social Media

Sharing a personal journey to becoming more organized requires vulnerability. In my exuberance to share on Clutterbug’s Facebook page the momentum I have gained in my own journey, I did not for one moment expect that others may be Facebook shamed. This past week I witnessed a mother, who posted a photo of her over cluttered kitchen to seek advice, shamed for the way she lives. Online shaming is real my friends, and it is ugly. What is more shocking to me is that most, if not all, the people sharing on this page are adults.

While this incident was ‘contained’ to Clutterbug’s Facebook page and didn’t go viral, it still happened. Shouldn’t adults know better? It is increasingly becoming apparent to me, as an adult educator, that there is a need to promote appropriate digital citizenship in adult education. Online shaming is being done by adults, not just the youth. And that is a shame.

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with/ Clutterbug’s
  • Share my dailty progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Implement organizational systems
  • Identify ways in which my little people can help

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 




Finding the Golden Ticket to Getting Organized

I like to consume…. I enjoy materialistic goods, as is apparent in my closets, drawers and kitchen. I also like to consume information. I am a curious cat! When embarking on this project I went on a journey to find the golden ticket to getting organized, the perfect solution to the state of my disorganization. I went to the smorgasbord of organization strategy and had a feast! I sampled so many organizational resources, both in print and online, but did not find the perfect one. What I did find was a workable combination, and that makes me excited!

Resources – You could eat for a lifetime!

If I am continuing with the smorgasbord analogy – you could eat for a lifetime with the amount of organizational resources that are out there. From mommy bloggers, to professional organizers (books), to mommy bloggers who went pro and now offer online courses for the low price of $100USD. It’s true!  On that note, I’ll have….

A huge helping of Overwhelm, with a side of Indecision

As I already identified in my first post for this learning project, having a disorganized and cluttered home can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed and can impair decision making. However, it is not just my current state of disorganization that has me  paralyzed…. It’s also my perfectionism…. there I’ve said it. This all to familiar trap of not wanting to start a major project until I have found the right (a.k.a. perfect) solution. 

Here, the author of Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist’s Guide to Getting–and Staying–Organized has set out realistic expectations that even this perfectionist can handle. I am going with being organized enough!

Getting, and staying organized, is a mind shift to a new perspective on how your living space best works for your lifestyle. I have discovered through the readings this past week that even though I don’t know what the finished product is going to look like exactly, it’s a journey in self-discovery and it just might get messy before it gets sorted!

Starting with a Network of Clutterbugs

I have discovered some great tips from fellow Canadian, Cassandra Aarssen of Clutterbug on home organization. Fortuitously, on October 1 she launched the 30 Day Decluttering Challenge! Each day, I can follow along with Cassandra as she illustrates on YouTube her methods of decluttering each of the spaces listed below. As a bonus, I can tap into the very active ClutterBug Organizing Advice Facebook group, which has over 23,000 members, for advice and to showcase my wins. I am excited about this social learning opportunity!

Photo source:

What to keep, what to toss, what to donate… oh my…

When decluttering I need to decide what I keep, toss or donate. This can be a challenge – I mean for the most part, the items in my home were brought in for a reason. To help me make these decisions I can follow Clutterbug’s S.P.A.C.E Method, aided by the anti-perfectionist’s list of questions:

  • Do I need it?
  • Does it belong here?
  • Does it fit with who I am now?
  • If I were to let it go, would I end up replacing it?

On a side note, I did consider Marie Kondo’s advice to hold each item and quietly ask myself, “Does this spark joy?”, but then I would have to throw out my can opener, and most definitely my Spanx… both of which I need!

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with Clutterbug
  • Share my progress on Instagram
  • Identify areas to that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Identify ways in which my little people can help.

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

Proposed Learning Project

Does it bring joy? Getting to a purposeful and mindful life….

As an adult, I sometimes take informal learning for granted. There are times when I learn without even realizing I am learning. Can anyone relate? As I am reflecting on my summer as a stay at home mom with my two very active and curious children – my daughter, who is three (turning thirteen) and my son who is twenty months – I am amazed at how much I learned about them as individuals and us as a family. For example, I learned that my daughter has an amazing capacity for empathy and even though my son isn’t speaking intelligible words yet he can communicate. I feel incredibly blessed that I could spend this time with them and get to know them better. Here’s the but… the rub… the 21st century/1st world problem….

I didn’t spend as much time with them as I could have. Why? Because I was consumed by organizing a lifetime worth of stuff! My house is full of STUFF. Please do not get me wrong, we are not certifiable hoarders. Although on busy days, or during our current home office renovation, you would think we might be. I believe we are an average North American family who have unwittingly, and at times knowingly, subscribed to the materialistic culture we live in. Bothered by the impact it has had on my life, I turned to Google and started my journey of learning about this culture and how it impacts families.  I was not surprised to find a University of California study documenting how American middle-class abundance has lead to a cluttered life. This study confirmed my belief that clutter leads to higher stress levels in women.

Furthermore, Regina Leeds claims that parents who exhibit disorganization in their homes can lead to disorganized children. It can also lead to indecisiveness for those who live in this environment. This makes sense, if my daughter has 13 pairs of jeans it may be hard for her to decide which pair to wear! How does this affect her decision making abilities in other areas of her life? Thankfully, “the essential organizational skills, to eliminate, categorize, and organize, are learned and can be applied to all areas of life.”

This brings me to my major learning project proposal. I want to start living a more purposeful and mindful life while minimizing the impact of a materialistic culture. More importantly, I want to learn how I could negotiate a life within this culture that doesn’t rob me of my time with my children, my husband and even with myself. I believe the start of this journey is to get my house in order! I am purposing the following learning outcomes:

  1. Identify and implement sustainable organizational systems and processes with the view to create an efficient and healthy household.
  2. Explore methods of engaging my young people in the process of becoming organized and mindful in a materialistic world.
  3. Identify methods of disposing of material goods with the least environmental impact.

Proposed learning resources

Too Messy?

As this is a journey of self-discovery and a new way of being, it just might get a little bit messy (literally and figuratively). I do have a concern of finding the right balance of sharing visual evidence of my learning without infringing on my family’s privacy.  Also, wondering about an appropriate hashtag. Something light and fun, perhaps.

Feedback on my proposal is appreciated!