A boy after my own heart

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On Sunday morning Reuben asked me to run him a bath. But before I did that he asked me to do two things:

  1. Take out all the small anti-slip discs (Munchkin Grippy Dots) and wash them.
  2. Put them back in matched pairs, in the order of the rainbow which he then proceeded to tell me.

A boy after my own heart that one.

Cupboard cheatsheets—don’t make me think

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How was your weekend? Good? Ours was okay, thanks for asking. Other than Jane spending most of yesterday (Sunday) in two hospitals, in St Andrews and Dundee, with young Isaac (10 months) who hadn’t been at all well last week with a vomiting bug that had left him a little dehydrated.

What redeemed it, however, as a good weekend…obviously…was that we finally got around to tidying up the linen cupboard.

Before Reuben and Joshua were born, in November 2008, we reorganised the whole house and tried to think through what we might need to find in a hurry once they boys’ were born. For example,

Q. What if the boys’ are sick in their cots?
A. We’ll need quick access to towels and fresh linen

That was where Operation Gareth-Really-Is-Obsessively-Organized-(-With-A-Zed-) began. Together, Jane and I, reorganised all the cupboards in the kitchen, the drawers in the sideboard in the dining room, the bathroom cupboards, and finally the linen and towel cupboards on the landing.

Cheatsheets

And then I created A4 cheatsheets to stick to the inside of the doors. The example above is for the linen cupboard, as updated this morning.

I took as my inspiration the title of Steve Krug’s book on Web usability: Don’t Make Me Think.

My thinking was that with twins we weren’t going to get that much sleep—oh! how right I was—and at 03:00, in an already sleep-deprived state, we wouldn’t necessarily want to be hunting through a jumble-sale-of-a-linen-cupboard hunting for that elusive pillowcase or duvet cover. Now, we just have to check the cheatsheet on the inside of the door and … wow! there it is.

It’s also really handy for those house guests who insist on changing their bed’s linen at the end of their visit (hint, hint!).

Other cupboards

I also have a cheatsheet taped to the inside of the following cupboards:

  • towels cupboard (from top left to bottom right: medium, large, small, facecloths, more large).
  • cupboard above the oven, showing the oven’s various settings (it uses symbols rather than words on the dial).
  • boiler cupboard, showing controls and settings, and which also includes the emergency call-out number and account number.
  • cupboard above the washing machine, showing the various wash programmes.

Very useful

“I always get such a slagging for these,” I said to Jane on Saturday afternoon as we re-organised the linen cupboard.

“I know,” said Jane. “They are really useful, but most people wouldn’t go to the effort of creating a sign for the inside of their cupboards.”

They are really useful.

And just to prove it, the linen cupboard cheatsheet proved itself again this morning as we changed the linen on Joshua’s bed at 06:00 after he’d been sick on it. And himself. And his cuddly toys.

Passion pens

Jane needed Reuben and Joshua to be distracted for 15 minutes on the run up to dinner this evening; they were tired and fractious and needed something to focus on.

So I invited them to sit on my desk and help me work out which pens in my desk drawer worked and which didn’t. And it all went very well. Reuben had a pile of pens and a pad of scrap paper to scribble on, and Joshua had the same.

I was helping Reuben sort out a few pens when I picked up a biro-wannabe, not a proper Bic, but a cheap imitation.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, “I hate these pens with a passion!”

Reuben tested it, it worked and so he added it to the pile of tested-and-working pens.

“I’ve got one of these,” said Joshua looking back at his pile of pens. “I’ve got a passion pen… and another… and here’s another passion pen. I’ve got lots of passion pens.”

I didn’t have the heart to throw them out after that.