Every time a bell rings pick up your shit and put it where it goes

The pile was growing.

“It looks the same as it did last time I looked” you might have said to yourself.

Your eyes would’ve seen what your eyes would’ve seen. But your eyes wouldn’t have been giving you the whole story.

It might have been the same as the last time you looked but if you had been following it for a while you would have seen that it was changing. Almost imperceptible changes, a piece of paper here, a piece of mail here, there a pen, here a children’s book, things were being added to the pile and the table was a mess.

Someone had to do something.

At one end of our family room sits a dining room table and a couple of chairs. The laptop sits on it and the rest is just a nice inviting flat surface for whatever one might be carrying and would like to ditch. Over the last few weeks all sorts of cool stuff had been piled up on top of it.

A carrier for diapers and wipes for the baby, which is actually really handy when there’s a diaper changing emergency, and all of them are emergencies, sits on one edge and will likely stay there. But the department store flyer and the unsolicited catalog of kitsch items (I don’t know if they are intended to be kitsch, I give them the benefit of the doubt) have got to go.

I walked into the room this morning and said, “Hey, we’re going to play a game! I will set my phone timer randomly and when the bell rings each member of the family (except the 13 month old, he doesn’t get to enjoy big kid games yet) goes to the table and picks up an item or two of theirs and throws it away or puts it where it belongs.

H, the 7 year old young man of the family, immediately saw through all this and declared the game bogus. But I told him that the table was going to be cleaned up one way or another and we could make a game out of it or he could just pick up all of his things immediately.

The game ended up going alright, the table isn’t perfect now but it’s tons better, and a big job got chunked up and wasn’t as painful as it could have been. Now if we just keep playing games like this around the clock for the next few decades we should be caught up with everything.


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