Tweaking the system

Back in January, I laid out some pretty detailed plans for myself.  I have mostly stayed focused on those.  They also prompted me to have a hard conversation with my family about the house stuff.  We defined what it really means to clean up after dinner and who is really responsible for what.  As I type this, my kitchen is fairly clean.  There are no dishes on the counters or in the sink.  And that’s progress for us.  I’ve also tried to create some new, very simple, habits that will help keep the chaos in check.  For example, I take the time to unload the dishwasher in the mornings, something that bogged things down for those responsible for cleaning up.  Also, I’ve been putting clothes away more regularly at night, but when they don’t get put away daily, I tackle this specifically on the weekends.

Aside from habits, I’ve tried to clean out spaces that had become too cluttered. I’m kind of midway through that, leaving the living room in a bit of chaos, but a whole room has been cleared out.  I’m trying to set aside a time every week or so to purge.

I also broke down and hired a housekeeping service to come once a month.  I just have them here for a couple of hours, but that’s helped keep some of the clutter at bay. Doesn’t help with the issue below, but it’s a boon to me, at least.

The money front has been harder, but I have created a good habit of checking on things regularly.  It helps having an app that makes it easy to check in, so that when I think of it, I can look.  Mr. Geeky and I have cut out some things,  as we’ve seen subscriptions and other things pop up that we realize we’re not using, including finally cutting the cable.  That will help in the longer term.  I’ve also made some progress on debt, and made myself a clearer plan to pay it down. A struggle on this front has been that extra money has gone toward college savings instead, but I’ve rearranged the savings plan as well to manage both of these things.  Mostly, I think we need to cut some spending somewhere–mainly in things like food and eating out.  I’m starting to keep a closer eye on patterns, and find myself doing math in my head about saving x amount per week by, say, bringing lunch.

The algorithms book has helped a little on both these fronts.  Just choosing a place to start–either randomly or using a system–has been helpful.  My closet and drawers are now organized according to a LRU system.  Not only is it helpful in finding things, but will be helpful when it comes time to decide what to get rid of.  Whatever’s in the back is a candidate for going.

I usually set goals for the school year, but I think I’ll be sticking with these for a while.  There’s enough there that I can break them down into parts, focusing on one area at a time for a month or so. I’m looking forward to feeling more significant success in both these areas.

2 Replies to “Tweaking the system”

  1. Unless your debt is very low interest or you’re making like 300K/year combined (for top private schools, less for public schools), it (probably) makes more sense to pay down your debt than to save for college because of how colleges treat your assets for financial aid calculations. I could be wrong about this, but it may be worth looking into. You can play with college financial aid calculators for schools that your kids might target to see what different combinations of assets will do for the amount of grant money schools will be providing.

    Of course, cutting extraneous spending so you can do both is a better option!

    Good luck!

  2. Good for you in making progress on multiple fronts. It’s not easy managing a household, I know. It sounds as if you’re getting some good routines going.

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