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Ready, Set ... Tidy!   
by Laverne Herrera-Hay  


"My house was clean yesterday" - sorry you missed it!" Does this sound like a plaque that could be hanging in your house? It could certainly be hanging in mine! It seems like every day is a struggle to keep the house clean and orderly. I've tried to say: "the heck with it, it's ok to have a messy house." And while I really believe that it is ok to have a messy house, I'm way to OCD to actually let it happen. So, I found myself constantly picking up after my husband and daughter and being completely frustrated that I had to constantly pick up after my husband and daughter.

I tried implementing all sorts of things: chore charts, stickers, rewards . . . any bribery tactics really. They didn't work. So, I tried not caring that I had a messy house. That didn't work either. Then, one day, I was reading an article in FamilyFun Magazine. A mom in Flagstaff, Arizona was suffering my same ache. As I read the article, I swore I had written it myself. Except, she came up with a technique she claimed worked above all others. In a final desperate attempt, I decided to try her technique, just this weekend, and guess what? IT WORKED! She is brilliant; a sheer genius; likely the smartest women on planet earth! I contemplated keeping this secret to myself (of course, the article is published in the March 2011 issue of FamilyFun Magazine), but, what kind of selfish, uncaring person would I be if I didn't share? So, I now share with you what Hope Gibbs of Flagstaff, Arizona shared with me.

"The One Minute Tidy"
Here's what you do, or the jist of it: Call the family together in the living room (or whatever room you wanna clean). Hold up a kitchen timer and let them know you are setting the timer to go off in one minute. Announce that everybody needs to work their super-hardest on cleaning up the room for one minute. When the timer goes off, everybody needs to sit on the coach and the game will end. I encourage you to read Hope's article as it is much more detailed and interesting than what I'm about to write but here is what happen when I tried it. Keep in mind, I had never done this before. Okay, so, we were just getting ready to sit down and watch Monsters Inc. for the bazillionth time when I looked around my living room and noticed that it had thrown up. I thought, perfect time to try it! Out of nowhere, I stand on our coffee table and announce that before our bazillionth and one time of watching Sully, we were going to play a game. I explained the rules, asked them to get ready, I set the timer and yelled: "GO! Before my very eyes, my daughter and husband were running here and there, laughing in excitement, grabbing anything they could and putting things where they belonged. I was cheering them on, yelling "don't forget baby Sarah, put her in her crib in the playroom, ooh, ooh, the crayons, put them in the crayon bin. Honey, your jacket, hang it up! I was overwhelmed with joy and as giddy as a school girl. Dear God, it was working for me too. 20 seconds left I announce. The running and cleaning became more frantic and more things were being put away. The timer goes off, everybody runs and sits on the couch and mama is standing, mouth wide-open in disbelief. It was almost better than Christmas! As happy as I could be, holding back the tear of joy I say, Wow! Excellent work family! Wasn't that fun? The yeses, sure was, great idea, can we do it again remarks were sweet-sweet music to my ears. We all snuggled onto the coach in our newly cleaned and very tidy living room and watched Boo sneak into the factory. It was about 20 minutes into watching that big blue monster when it hit me: there was no reward given, my daughter didn't ask for a candy, my husband didn't think I was nagging. They just cleaned the room! Fabulous!

So, kudos to you Hope Gibbs of Flagstaff, AZ! Because of you, I sat down with my family for 1.5 hours and did nothing on a Sunday afternoon! It happen again last night. I yelled: One Minute Tidy, set the timer and away everybody went. This thing works - You Gotta try it too!


Laverne Herrera-Hay works as a moderator of Northwest Denver's largest online community for connecting families and sharing resources in the neighborhood



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You started your own business because you have a burning passion for what you do. You are also - we hope -- good what you do and have a desire to help others. Little do you know that running a business includes, well...running a business. This little bombshell can throw many a new business owner for a loop. I receive numerous phone calls every week asking me how to start a business as a professional organizer. The first thing I say is that the organizing part is easy because it is a natural gift (sometimes a curse); it's running the business that can trap you. This is not to scare a potential entrepreneur away, but to help them realize that it's not all fun and games doing what you do best.... read more



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