I was in the local home improvement store last week, looking for ways to improve my home. And by improve, I mean buying paint for yet another Pinewood Derby. Yes, my 12th, and final, Pinewood Derby. I suppose congratulations are in order. We intend on continuing our streak of having very creative, and slow cars. (more here.) However, this post is not intended to be about my glorious history of creating slow, but clever, cars.
As I was walking down the aisle, I came upon a giant stack of black boxes. Big boxes. Big black boxes. More specifically, they were Rubbermaid 32 gallon storage bins, with lids. Until I saw them, I did not even realize I was looking for one. I bought one - not cheap ($30 - lid cost extra) - and took it home.
That evening, I tried to suppress my glee as I unveiled my find to the family. They were much less excited.
You see, we have four boys living in the home, ages 10 to 21. They are wonderful, they are righteous, they are smart, they do the most important things, but they are messy. They just leave stuff around the house. Constantly. My EC and I are getting older, and more tired, and I am getting crankier. We are tired of constantly reminding them.
"Take your shoes to your room"
"Don't leave your socks on the couch"
"Throw your wrapper in the trash"
"Don't just leave that on the floor"
"If you leave that there, the dog's gonna eat it"
I'm sure that you have never uttered such painful difficult phrases - count your blessings.
So I called the family together and showed them THE BLACK BIN. (I warned my EC in advance - always a wise thing to do.) This is what I said:
We are tired of the constant messes in the kitchen, family room, hallways and living room. We are even more tired of asking you to put your things away. So, beginning now, I am using THE BLACK BIN. (Wishing I had some pre-recorded music for effect here)
As you know, I am the first one up in the morning. Starting tomorrow, part of my morning ritual will be to pick up anything that is yours in any room that is not your bedroom, and put it in THE BLACK BIN. This includes clothing, shoes, books, electronics, backpacks, half-full milkshake cups, homework, etc. All of it. THE BLACK BIN will be outside on the back patio.
There will be no announcements, warnings, or second chances. I would suggest that if you can't find something, you look in THE BLACK BIN. I would also encourage you to not leave milkshakes, food or drinks lying around, because they go into THE BLACK BIN as well. Any questions?
There were no questions - just an interesting assortment of shocked and/or bemused expressions.
The next morning, I made my rounds, picked up stuff and dropped it in THE BLACK BIN. Took all of two minutes. When my EC got up, the house was all neat and tidy. I enjoyed it. It has been a week now, and the house is still neat and tidy. And I think my EC loves me more. Best of all, there has not been one conversation about picking things up. It is a "nag-free zone". I think the follow-up will be a weekly "Clean out THE BIN" chore on Saturdays.
2 pairs shoes
1 pair dirty socks
1 missionary journal
1 Nintendo DS charger
and this morning's addition, a comfy quilt.
So far it has worked lie a charm. Less nagging=less contention. They can just quietly resent me. But at least they can do it in a clean house. My EC shouldn't have to be our maid. So far I have resisted my desire to put the dog in THE BLACK BIN.
I have also set a goal that I will not put any of the boys in there, either. (It's a goal, not a promise.)
LDS humor mormon humorist