Today is my five-year old's birthday and also the last day my family from out of town is visiting. I thought I would repost a principle that has helped me so much. It allows us to break things up in bite size pieces and makes an immediate, visible difference.
An easy and effective principle that can help us clear the clutter in our homes slowly but surely--and then keep them clean consistently--is to “take five.” My friend brainstormed this principle, and I’d love to share it with you! Each time you enter a room in your house, do five things. It’s as simple as that!
So let’s say you head to the bathroom and you see stray items on the counter. Take five of them and put them away. If there aren’t five, put away however many there are (let’s say two—a curling iron and a hair brush), and then wipe out the sink, clean the mirror, empty the trash—whatever adds up to five things.
From the bathroom, you enter your bedroom. Take a minute to find five quick things to do and do them. Make the bed (if you haven’t already), put your clothes hanging over the chair away, pick up the socks on the floor and put them away, throw the wet diaper on the floor beside your bed away, and put the laundry in the basket by your bed away (disclaimer: these real-life examples from my life may not necessarily reflect your experience and should be modified accordingly) :).
As clutter starts to disappear, “taking five” in each room will get a little more intense. You can get to that deeper cleaning as you have to look harder to find five things to do. When your kitchen counter is clear and wiped down, you can get around to wiping down shelves, the inside of the microwave, the cabinets, the fridge—things that can sometimes get neglected. You can even have each of your children "take one" quick job to do and divide the work, so it gets done faster.
So often we can walk from room to room, doing little more than what we came into that room for. The “take five” principle really reminds us to do a little more than the bare minimum, to work just a wee bit harder. It’s not that hard to do (which is great when we're busy with kids), and the results will be visible immediately!
Take five and tell me how it works for you!