Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Organizing our utility room and teaching Kids to work to earn money

Yesterday I was able to get a lot done, largely in part because I had a willing worker. Jonathan has decided he wants to buy an I-pod. Ken has one (which he won as a door prize) and Jonathan thinks he needs one too. Something that I really appreciate about our kids is that when they want something they very rarely ask us to buy it for them. They try to figure out how they can make it or how they can earn money for it. Last year Mara wanted a new bike and though we would have bought it for her for her birthday that is not until the end of September so we told her that if she wanted to do extra jobs that we would pay her for them and she could earn money for a bike. She worked very hard and bought herself a bike in June.

Our method of doing it is that the kids have to do their regular chores for free and they need to do any jobs that we ask them to do for free. But if they come and ask for a job for pay then we will find one for them. We don't pay a very high wage but also not so low that they are just making pennies. When they get in the working mood it is very nice for getting a lot done. Kids can be great workers!

Yesterday Jonathan cleaned out and vacuumed the van, vacuumed the stairs, scrubbed the shower, folded some clothes, did odd jobs and was my great helper in cleaning the utility room. He made over $6 for all that. Today he did a little shoveling and now is cleaning in the kitchen.

Here is one of our before pictures of our laundry/ utility room. We have a lot of storage here and it is an unfinished room and it just seems hard to keep it in order.

Here is another before picture showing piles of things. Not the sort of look that is very welcoming.

Here is a before picture of one of my piles of "stuff".
Here is an after picture showing our recycling center. I moved it to right inside the door so it is very easy to reach in and put stuff where it belongs. Also I added the big box behind where we can put the already full bags of stuff to recycle. After we got it cleaned I also had fun putting up posters all over which help make the room more bright and cheerful. The posters are mostly ones that we got from our friends at the DNR and they had wonderful information about trees and wildlife. The above picture shows our extra fridge which I use for flowers, and in the freezer section I store extra grains.
Next to the fridge I decided to make a gift center. I buy quite a lot of gifts ahead of time and I had them in boxes. I was able to fit most of them in this old white file cabinet (that I had been thinking about getting rid of.). On top of the file cabinet is a rubbermaid tote where we keep wrapping supplies (gift bags, ribbons, bows, boxes and recycled wrapping paper) On top of that tote is another box with gifts in it. I am trying to use up the gifts I have instead of buying any more this year so hopefully I will be able to get rid of this box soon and just have the file cabinet for gifts. In between the file cabinet and water heater I have a tall skinny box which has our rolls of gift wrap in it.
For the winter we also have our little kids table in this room. Where the kids can play games or whatever.
This is a view of the other side of the room. We moved down what Megan had been using for a dresser (before I fixed up her "new" one.) and now I am using it for storage down here. Also on the top of it I can fold clothes or wrap gifts. Above the washer and dryer Ken not to long ago put up a shelf and a rod which is very handy. The shelf is where we store our extra 3 ring binders and also the extra ACE scoring books. I also have my buckets for flowers neatly stacked next to the cabinet.

There is something very rewarding about getting a messy place all cleaned up. It was especially nice to have such a wonderful helper to do it with. It definetely works for me!


martha said...

Oh, Jonathan. what a sweet kid. at this rate he should a an ipod soon.

Emily said...

I like your pictures of cleaning up. I get a good feeling from getting something very cluttery and messy to neat and organized too. It doesn't always stay that way...but I'll work on that part too! :)

Martie said...

We do exactly the same thing in our home-- only 4 of our boys are saving for a Wii!

Looks great! And sounds like you have a great son and that you're teaching him some important skills.


miranda said...

I love that. I remember earning things growing up and I think it is a great thing to teach our kids. I think that kids are going the opposite way in most cases. I hope that turns around sometime. I also noticed that you mentioned ACE. Is that the type of schooling you are doing. That is what I did 1-12th grades. It brought back some memories.

Abbi said...

Thanks for all the commetns.
Miranda, We are using ACE for the majority of Mara's (and later the others) schooling. Ken used ACE some of the time growing up and thought it was a good system. It is also an easy one for the teacher, which is nice for me.
We don't use all of the subjects though and we do a lot of learning in other ways.


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