Sunday night was the last night of freedom for the kids before school started. We had a dual-purpose family meeting in the living room. One of the purposes was to spend time in prayer with the kids, commissioning them, so to speak, to be representatives of their Lord, our church and our family at school this year. It was a powerful and special moment for us.
The other purpose of the meeting, admittedly, was created by me without knowledge of wifey. It was the announcement of the Clutter-Free Campaign. It was met by three pairs of pupils that could have won a gold medal in synchonized eye-rolling. I was not discouraged or deterred.
As our kids have grown, an unfortunate genetic trait has been passed down to them from wifey. It’s the Clutter Gene. Additionally, it seems to be contagious, for I too am guily of clutter. The Noble household is a hectic, non-stop adventure with few established routines and many interruptions, guests, and spontaneous happenings. You just never know what happens around here from day to day. And we thrive in it. A few of our friends seem be a little overwhelmed by our busy-ness and joyful embrace of life’s chaos. Others get sucked up into it.
However, the problem is that our family life produces clutter. I defined clutter Sunday night for them as “piles of crap lying around in wrong places.” Pretty ignominous. But an effective definition.
What happens around here is that in our comings-and-goings, whatever is in our hands as we walk around the house inevitably is put down in certain hot spots and left there. It’s like the unfortunate back round dumping ground. Once someone throws out an old sofa, everyone else assumes, “Hey, we can use that place to dump our junk!” And clutter-piling begins. So it is for the Nobles.
After the CFC announcement, I took the family on a tour of the house to point out clutter zones so they would understand what I was talking about. Adelyn made sarcastic remarks the whole way. Sam just kept shaking his head with a bemused look. Wifey had this look of “you’re-a-complete-idiot” the whole tour but kept a good attitude.
After pointing out dozens of clutter spots, I said, “OK, here’s the goal: Clutter-Free in 30 Days. If we all deal with a clutter spot every day or so, we’ll be a CFZ (clutter-free zone) before we know it.”
I then documented our clutter spots (some of them – the bathroom cabinet is off-limits) in photos as an everlasting reminder of how things were at the beginning of the CFC.
I think part of the campaign’s genesis was a thought-remnant from reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done (reviewed here). In it, he advocates limiting your “collection buckets.” For us, any horizontal surface has become not just a collection bucket but a clutter pile. All in all, it was a pretty good beginning, I thought. Caro cleaned off her desk Monday, and I de-cluttered my dresser also.
While I doubt the variety and speed of life will change much, perhaps the piles of accumulation will. If you’d like to join the CFC, leave a comment, and maybe someone will make us some t-shirts…