Surprising Outcomes of a 10-minute Cleanup


I’ve been doing my 10-minute-a-day cleanup — giving away 10 things a day. For me, it works like a charm because I can’t bear doing any more than that. And some days I’m not yet ready to give away the suit with the shoulder pads, but when I pass by a week later, then I’m ready. Some days it’s just harder to leave the 80s behind.

So a couple of days ago I ventured into my daughter’s room to find that day’s 10 things to give away. Basically, you could pick anything and there could be 10 — lipglosses, moisturizers, nailpolish. I just planned to wade in and stick with surface areas. A little a day and we’d be done by college (she’s in 6th grade).

Well, somehow she took to it and we cleaned and purged and sorted for 3 hours. She was so fired up and ready to give her room a new beginning that she asked if we could clean more the next day. Let me say it again so I can hear it: She asked if we could clean more the next day!

I learned a few things from this…

* My daughter’s room is now my favorite room in the house.

* Timing is everything — I don’t know if she was ever ready for this new step until now, so I’m glad I kept trying until the timing was right.

* It was a great chance to be with her and catch up and reminisce.

* I had to model (or force) discarding. I realized I’m as much to blame in some of this as my kids are — I have a very hard time giving something away that a relative had taken time to pick out for her, or a birthday gift that she only used a few times. I hate the idea of not fully using and appreciating something. But now that there’s order, I think she can actually appreciate what is still there. And hopefully we are passing along the other stuff to someone else who can use and appreciate it more than we did.

* I should publish this before old habits resurface!

Now I can’t expect the same success in the boys’ rooms, but I can dream. And if they’re not as eager, I can still lope along with my 10 things a day. For them, it might take till they get their PhD’s. Hey, if they get Ph.D’s, then I can forgive a few (thousand) stray Legos.