family

Try this at home: The 20/20/20

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It can be so hard to stay on top of the daily clutter in our lives. We spend all weekend getting the house “just so” only have it all fall apart by Tuesday.

There’s a simple tool that can help with it. It’s called the 20/20/20, and here’s how it works.

Set a timer for 20 minutes for three separate chunks of time: Reset, Prep and Rest. Get the WHOLE family involved. This is a time for everyone to pitch in!

Chunk 1: Reset from the Day (20 minutes)

Take this time to reset and clean up from the day’s activities. This might include things like:

  • Putting folded laundry away

  • Washing the dishes and wiping the counters

  • Emptying lunchboxes

  • Putting dirty laundry

  • Taking paperwork out of backpacks

  • Putting bills in your “needs attention” folder

  • Putting toys away (Tip: I tell my daughter that I will donate whatever she doesn’t put away. #truestory)

Chunk 2: Prep for the Next Day (20 minutes)

Take this time to mitigate any snags the next day. You might do things like:

  • Pick out outfits, and iron if needed (or wear clothes that don’t need ironing!)

  • Pack lunches, or get the lunch supplies ready

  • Put out cereal bowls and cereal

  • Take out something to defrost for dinner tomorrow

  • Check the calendar and the weather

  • Put any important paperwork or supplies in backpacks and purses

ChuNk 3: Rest and/or Primp (20 minutes)

This is where everybody gets to reap the rewards. The kids have been a big help, so reward them.

  • Make yourself a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine

  • Take a hot shower

  • Do some relaxing skin care, like a face mask or exfoliating face wash

  • Give your nails some love

  • Let the kids play some video games or have a favorite treat

  • Do some reading

  • Surf Instagram

And that’s it! On paper, it may seem like a lot, but once you get moving, time flies. And, if you think about it, if you start at 7:00 pm, by 7:40 pm, you have a clean, clutter-free house and a steaming cup of tea in front of you.

Pro Tips:

  • Get the family involved. Decide who does what during the 20/20/20. Make lists and post them.

  • Make it fun. Put on music. Try to beat the timer.

  • Don’t overdue it. When the timer stops, you stop. You can do the rest tomorrow.

By the time Friday rolls around, you will have kept on top of things and you won’t be planning to clean your house ALL WEEKEND.

Soooo, will you try it ONE DAY this week and tell me how it goes?!

A Script for Letting Go of "That" Gift

When helping my clients to simplify their homes, we inevitably find a treasure trove of gifts that have been given to them that do NOT spark joy. You name it - candles, soaps, scarves, trinkets, souvenirs, the works. You can probably think of the ones in your home right now.

We feel an obligation to hold on to these items, even though we don't find them beautiful or useful, for fear of offending the giver. The thing is, they are weighing us down.

I help people let go not just of the item itself, but of the guilt that may come along with it.

Here's how the conversation typically goes:

Client: "Ugh, so this is a scarf that my daughter gave me a few years ago for Christmas."

Me: "Does it spark joy?"

Client: "Damn. I knew you were going to ask me that. I really don't like it, but I'm afraid she'll ask me about it if I let it go."

Me: "The act of giving sparks joy in the moment. It's the person's way of telling you that they care about you. Once the act of giving is over, if the gift doesn't spark joy, then you can feel free to let it go and let it spark joy for someone else."

Client: "But what if she asks me about it?"

Me: "You say: 'Hannah, you remember how I am doing this KonMari process to simplify my home and my life? You know, I'm identifying everything that sparks joy? Well, I just wanted to tell you something. You spark a ton of joy for me. I love you. That scarf you gave me last year for Christmas does not. I let it go. [Wait for laughter and possibly a spontaneous hug of forgiveness.] And I want you to know that if I ever give you anything that doesn't spark joy, you can let it go as well."

Client: "Ooooh, that sounds good. Will you write it down for me?"

Me: "I'll write a blog about it and send it to you." 

Remember, simplifying and de-cluttering your life means having a ruthless focus on what truly sparks joy, so that you have the time and space to focus on what really matters. It's the gift-GIVERS in your life that matter, not the gifts themselves.

Happy simplifying, friends.

PS - If you need a little laugh, check out this hilarious Saturday Night Live skit about the oh-so-frequent gift: the candle. :)