My “20 Things” song and dance might seem like something you’d hear while watching Mary Poppins, but I have to tell you, when you commit to cleaning up your home in small, swift batches, you get shit done. We are simply not neat, driven-to-be-impeccably-clean peoples. It’s not just because we have kids and a small house, but we lean on certain drop zones where items collect quickly, and clear slowly, and that then that build-up clutters our main pathways. Do you relate?
(Side note: I’m terrified that our new kitchen island is going to be a 30 sq. ft. drop zone.)
20 Things is my tried-and-true game, really. I probably “play” it solo once a day, sometimes more. It’s most effective in that moment when the mess around the house is getting out of control but there’s only 6 minutes before a conference call, or 5 minutes while dinner finishes in the oven, or 2 minutes while I’m waiting for the school bus to appear. I do modified cleaning really well in a time crunch.
Quick, wipe down 20 windowsills
Real fast, clean up 20 things that have gathered on the sink top in the bathroom, or the counters in the kitchen.
Go, pick up 20 things each, kids. You can all count to 20 now, this is great! And if you don’t know where it belongs, just leave it.
Easy, go put 20 toys from the bedroom floor back where they belong.
Hey kid, are you strong enough to carry a stack of 20 kids books back to its shelf?
Find 20 Things you’re ready to donate.
Occasionally, when time allows, 50 Things. 100 Things. This level of ambition is usually reserved for after 8pm, in the basement, with a podcast and wine. I’m telling you, stuff gets done.
Anyways, with this being the summer of major construction, no vacations, and limited disposable income, I thought it’d be a good idea to formalize a 20 Things to-do list for tasks (both chores and projects) that I’ve been meaning to finish around the house, but typically take longer than your average pause to re-stack children’s books.
Let’s see if I can get it done before September:
- stain the step on the side door
- build a little library
- haul free mulch
- improve art room yarn and thread storage
- clean dryer vent
- sand and refinish dining room table (chairs if motivated)
- sand and refinish living room coffee table (bought it from someone in the neighborhood so long ago that my youngest was a newborn and I drove it home on the stroller)
- paint doors on the hallway cabinet
- assemble Sam’s baby book (by his 3rd birthday?)
- paint and assemble birthday camper birdhouse (weird bullet that only makes sense to me)
- transplant groundcover
- finish installing the trim in the bedroom closet (hi, 2013)
- perler bead crafts (goodness, does anyone ever use them *all*?)
- beautify the kid’s play kitchen
- wash the basement sink
- convert the simplex clock to quartz
- wash gutters (the grimy outside more than the inside)
- extend the garden at the kid’s bedroom window
- haul soil/regrade house
- figure out how to display our collection of vacation shells, stones, glass treasures