In my “semi-middle aged” years (of which my toe has just daintily crossed the line), I have determined that clutter makes me nuts.
Not in the true OCD sense — and my heart goes out to people who struggle with those kind of issues — but in the sense that my brain, my heart, my soul are soothed when things are put away and rooms are tidy.
But, I also still live with two active boys.
Who each wear two socks each day.
And leave them in various and sundry places.
Two socks per day times two boys is four socks times seven days a week equals 28 socks times 52 weeks a year….You get the idea.
They also love to drink water. And lemonade. And juice. And get a new cup each time.
I love their art work. And school work. Even when it’s strewn all over the living room. And my office. And the kitchen.
Get the picture?
(There is someone somewhere — possibly my mother — who is saying in their head – or even out loud, “Well, Kimberly, just ask them NOT to leave their socks around. Ask them to use ONE glass a day. Ask them to PICK up after themselves.”)
Do you think I have not tried this?
But clutter seems to reign supreme in my humble abode. The true test of which of us are actually the clutter creators will occur in approximately 5.3 years when Thing Two leaves for college and I will be an empty nester.
I sometimes feel like ranting.
I sometimes feel like raving.
But then I remember two things: 15 minutes and count to 27.
My grandmother used to say, “Just set a timer for 15 minutes. It’s amazing what you can get done around the house in 15 minutes.”
You know what? She was right.
Fifteen minutes will get laundry started, dishwasher unloaded and reloaded and the living room picked up.
Fifteen minutes will change the sheets, clean the vanity and fold a basket of laundry.
With all due respect for Grandma, my most helpful keep myself sane in my cluttery casa is to count to 27. Yep. Pick up and put away 27 things.
It’s a Flylady thing.
I don’t even remember the details of the 27. Except that she called it a 27 Fling Boogie.
I’m no longer an active Flybaby (although my house would be all the better for it, if I’d get back on that wagon). But I have pulled some wisdom from my years fluttering along and attempting to follow the system.
And one of those nuggets is the number 27.
I don’t care how messy my kitchen is: 27 things cleaned/wiped/put away later, it looks great.
If my living room looks like Hurricane Jason came through it, 27 things put away can get it looking ship shape.
My bathroom can look like it hasn’t been cleaned in weeks — which may be true to some degree – but 27 tasks later, it’s shiny and clean.
I love the finality of having a number. I can’t possibly clean forever. Only 27 things have to be dealt with, cleaned or put away.
I don’t have to weed the entire flowerbed. Just 27 weeds, thank you.
I count to 27 in my head as I work. It keeps me motivated. It keeps me accountable. It keeps me focused on the tasks at hand.
The only room to have defeated this method is Thing One’s bedroom, which I discussed in Thursday’s post: I’m not running a cockroach hotel.
Twenty seven doesn’t work in there. Unless you add about 6 zeros.
So, I just close the door.
And count to 27.