Today it's back to school, back to work, back to reality. We had a fantastic week full of fun between Christmas and New Year's; we had enough downtime to play with the puzzles and games that Santa so kindly delivered and enough energy to take on a local hike, a trip to the city and a New Year's Eve visit to the Bronx Zoo. Our week was both busy and relaxing... well, as relaxing as life can be with five kids seven and under. It was so nice to have a break from the daily stresses of work, school, homework and schedules. And, in the midst of it all, we found time to get organized and ready for the year ahead. How? By starting our spring cleaning in January -- which is a great way to not only clear out your cabinets, but clear your mind for the year ahead. Here's how we did it.
- Bathroom and linen closet: One day, while the triplets were in the tub and the other two were busy playing with Christmas presents, I aggressively attacked our medicine cabinet and linen closet. Out with the old, in with the new. Out went the expired (and possibly recalled!) bottles of Infant Tylenol and tubes of Neosporin. Out went the old prescriptions -- including some leftover painkillers from when I had the triplets in 2008... if I haven't succumbed to them by now, I think it's safe to say I don't need them! Unfortunately, in my haste, I also threw out one of my husband's current prescriptions but, that's a minor price to pay for the newly cleaned and streamlined shelves. Next item on the agenda: a visit to drugstore.com for some replacements!
- Kitchen Cabinets: I was very lucky to receive a slow cooker for Christmas. I imagine that this magical device will somehow solve my ongoing dinner dilemmas... and if it does, I promise to share the magic with you! In the meantime, this hefty new appliance needed a shelf to call home and that precipitated a whirlwind overhaul of our kitchen cabinets. Out went about 50 bibs. (I swear we used them all, sometimes in the span of one day; teething, drooling triplets go through a LOT of bibs!). Out went sippy cups and tupperware with missing lids. Out went random napkins and forks from takeout dinners in addition to broken crayons, dried up markers and playdough and used up sticker books. Yes, all of these things were in our kitchen cabinets. And now they are not. So, my slow cooker now has a place to call home, I know where everything is and, the kids have a newly organized arts & crafts cabinet where coloring books and crayons live in harmony, rather than battling the salad spinner as they were before.
- Toys and Bookshelves. During the fall, it seems like Toys R Us opens a satellite store here in the Lyons Den. All five kids have birthdays in October and November and the presents really peak in December, with the arrival of Christmas and Santa's annual bounty. Try as we might to keep things to a minimum, there's still an influx of stuff -- books, toys and puzzles that the kids naturally love but we really don't have the space for. That's why I also attacked our bookshelves and toy chests to cull the clutter and make room for the shiny new things. I enlisted the kids in this task, encouraging them to part ways with the things they've outgrown and create piles -- books for the school's used book sale, toys for a local charity and a big trash bag for the motley collection of trucks without wheels, puzzles without pieces, etc.