Saturday, August 15, 2009

Attn: Mothers. Dread Driving?

My life two years ago was in complete disarray. I was an unorganized mess. Sloppy would not be a too far fetched term. I had just been married with a new baby, and had no idea what housework really consisted of, and how easy it actually could be (if I’d done it efficiently and routinely). Then my good friend Sandra gently introduced me to The first time she told me about her, I dismissed the idea because I thought it was too overwhelming, and of course, it would never work for me. I had come to terms with myself as a messy. One year later, Fly Lady came up in conversation again. The lightbulb in my head went off. I put my pride to the side and decided to give it a whirl. Here I am 3 years later with a house that I can welcome anyone in without a terrible sense of shame. And it’s so easy to do. Let me tell you. My purse and car get cleaned out at least once every two weeks. I dust. I even dust the car.

I know, I know, some of you reading this may be thinking, “duh?” but I know there are a few of you whose ears (eyes?) have just perked up. I know many a person who is victim to a messy mentality. And don’t think I’m judging you all the sudden. Because I’ll tell you what. It’s like an addiction. And every day I have to make a decision to overcome it. Really! I love it because I am winning. My bed is made, and my counters are clear. I don’t think you understand.

So, here are a few tips that I have learned along my journey to make your life outside your home less chaotic. I hope you will find that it will be less of a chore to get out if you can keep these things in your car!

First and foremost, you always need to know where your keys will be to go anywhere. We have a bowl on our counter for keys and other knick knacks that we may need on our way out. This can include things such as hand sanitizer and hair ties.

To save a little bit of gas money, and to increase our free space in the van, we’ve taken out the back seat. Once our third baby comes along we’ll need again, but for now it’s great. By taking out the backseat you can save up to 2% on miles per gallon. !!! Adds up quickly. But also I love to garage sale, and it’s great to have the space to buy bulky things.

In the free space we have, we keep two duffles bags, and our double stroller. In duffle bag number one, I keep things for an emergency, such as non perishable food, bungy cords, jumper cables. A warming blanket, candle, matches. Also, a First Aid kit, battery, and a rape whistle. (The whistle just kind of snuck itself in there... but you never know when you'll need something like that.) Nothing too grand, but something that just might be verrry useful one day.

The other duffle bag is much more fun. We keep many bottles of water and prepackaged snacks. How much money and time did I used to spend trying to get everyone something to eat whether it was a “quick” stop in the grocery store, or unhealthy fast food? I feel so good saving the money and time, but also giving my kids something that is substantial and not loaded with calories. Not to mention it keeps them quiet for a while.

We also have extra outfits (including something comfortable for sleeping, even if it’s not pajamas.) Weather appropriate tops, bottoms, socks, and underwear. Lots of diapers and a package of wipes. And always sweatshirts, because you just can’t tell what Buffalo weather will throw at you. Hair ties. Necessity in a growing family of girls. Bathing suits. Sunscreen. And one towel. You never know when that local wading pool, a friend’s sprinkler, or Lake Erie will be particularly appealing. And an umbrella, which can be good for any sort of weather.

You know what else that towel is good for? A stall. Yea, that’s right. We carry around a little potty in the back of our car. Numero uno, dump it out, then wipe it with those handy wipes that are already in your duffle bag. Numero dos? Line it with a plastic bag (another must in the duffle bags. Lots of plastic bags. So useful!), wrap it up, and find the nearest garbage can. Job well done. Especially since Madeline rarely ever will go in a public place (she inherited some germ phobia from me). And, speaking of which, it’s a good thing that hand sanitizer is in that bag, huh?

Some other things that plastic bags are useful for: when you go to a place like Aldi and need your own bags, putting dirty diapers in, putting dirty clothes in, putting garbage when you're cleaning your car in traffic... My grandmother gave me the grand idea of using a tissue box (sans tissues) to stash plastic bags in. That way, they are easy to find and grab, and your kids won't be putting them over their faces when they're bored in the back of the car. yay! Thanks, Grandma!

In our glove compartment I have hand sanitizer and our Canadian money. We live close to the border, but if we don’t know where our passports and Canadian money is, then it’s not easy to get over the border.

If you think that my car is always nice and tidy, you’re thinking wrong. But it only takes five minutes to clean out the garbage, and put all the things that don’t belong in your car in a basket to go in the house. And to stash all the things that belong in the duffle bag after you forget to zip the zipper and it all fell out.

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