Friday, October 14, 2016

Get In Your Own Way

Domestic humorist Peg Bracken suggests a strategy for housekeeping that is the foundation of my approach. The first few rounds can be trying. Choose a time when the family is away, life support is easy to come by, and you are free to devote more than a day to the process. In I Hate To Housekeep, Bracken suggests tossing the house first thing in the morning, stripping beds, emptying cupboards, and starting whatever else is hanging up easy production under the roof.

Putting things back together generates interesting decisions.

Bracken consciously recommends this strategy to compel finishing the work. I find when I'm literally knee deep in the house, it's easy to identify things that aren't doing a damned thing to earn their keep. The process is like initiating a personal tsunami. The more often it happens, the easier it is to manage. After thirty-six years in the same place, I can reconfigure two rooms single-handed in half an hour.

Secret weapons make it easy to sort live wood from dead. One is the thrift donation bag that lives on one side of the main exit. The other is the toy bank. I kept a collection of covered plastic buckets to house my child's surplus playthings. He was happy to have clear play space in his room knowing that favorite gifts and personal acquisitions waited in the basement. Every month or so he'd sort his collection, surplus things, and fetch old friends from the bank. After a year or two he was happy to share things he'd outgrown -30-

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