Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Make it Fun, Moms. Make it Fun.

Ever ask your child to clean up her desk (or her dresser or the dining room table), and when she's finished, it looks something like this? I think I see a stick of deodorant. Right there on Katherine's desk. . .  in my dining room.

Katherine's Desk Before

I hate clutter. It makes me tired. 

But the fact of the matter is there are six of us in a smallish house, and we use every last square inch of our space. We live here. We play here. We homeschool here.

Mike and I even work here.

And because of that, clutter happens.

This morning I tried something fun with the kids. I had each of the younger kids - Julia, Katherine, and Wenxin - pick one household surface that was cluttered. 

Each of them took a before photo. That's Katherine's before photo at the beginning of this post. 

Then they set a timer and had a five minute frenzy, decluttering at lightning speed.

When the timer sounded at five minutes, they each took an after shot.

Katherine's Desk After
Julia took the reading nook.

Reading Nook Before

It wasn't too bad to begin with, but just looking at it now makes me happy. 

Reading Nook After
Wenxin took the dining room table. 

Dining Room Table Before

Dining Room Table After
They were so stoked after the first round that they all picked another area, took their before shots, and set out on another five minute frenzy.

In under 15 minutes, I got six areas of my house totally decluttered with almost zero complaining. Sweet.

Racing against a timer. Before and after shots. This was so much better than lots of verbal commands and correction from me. This was fun.

I wish I'd thought of this on my own, but I didn't. Asha and Christine, authors of a new book, Minimalist Parenting, sent me the suggestion this morning via email as a part of their ongoing MinCamp. (Sign up for MinCamp -- it's free -- and they'll send great ideas like this to your inbox each morning.) 

OK, actually, their idea was for me to set the timer, and for me to take before and after shots, and for me to learn a little about conquering clutter. 

I like my way better.

FYI, I know that my children must learn to work hard. . . to respect my authority. . . to do their chores with excellence. Life isn't always fun. I get that.

But wouldn't life be better with a little more fun? 

Shouldn't we moms inject silliness and fun and joy into daily life at every chance we get? In the same way that I want my parenting to be gentle and winsome, I want our home to be fun. Sometimes I just need some new ideas.

Thanks, Asha and Christine. Keep the creative ideas coming my way! 

And for those of us struggling to make it fun while keeping all the plates spinning -- wouldn't it be nice to still look stylish in the process? Check out my two latest posts on fashion: Working My Mom Style and Stitch Fix, I Want to Love You.

All photos in this post were taken by my kids!

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works for me wednesday at we are that family


  1. Great idea!! (Visiting from the Minimalist Parenting Facebook page)

  2. Brilliant! Let's see...eight kids times a few areas....equals my whole smallish house! Sweet. Thanks for the tip.

  3. awesome! i am going to try this, thanks!

  4. Thanks for this. Must try it out


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