Faith with stake

Five by Five

Faith with stakeSome weeks ago, when I was deciding not to sign on for the 40 bags in 40 days challenge, I talked about finding my own ways to keep momentum chipping away at the ongoing responsibilities of daily house care plus unpacking. However, between the craziness at work, plus my detox trips, it is undeniable that my ongoing momentum has slipped a bit off the rails, as it were.

Over the weekend, I got back into unpacking boxes and stuff-purging after missing two weekends (crazy proposal/taxes pileup followed by my “detox tuneup” trip). So yay! for that.

But as I looked around the main floor of our lovely contemporary ranch house yesterday evening — all the leftover boxes from moving are down in the basement, don’t cha know — I started thinking about how frustrating it sometimes feels with the slow pace of unpacking & de-cluttering, as well as all the other pieces of things where I’ve been falling behind. The file boxes of items that have survived the basement purge and been brought upstairs to find a home. The laundry that stays hanging on the drying rack or sits unfolded in the basket long after it’s been washed.

I know part of the challenge I’m facing is the way that my momentum keeps hiccuping from the weekends (some progress) into the work week (full stop). So, for the next few weeks, I’m trying to inspire myself into some regular, but manageable activity on these fronts even during the work week.

I’m calling it my “five by five” program.* For the:

  1. Five (5) days of the work week, I will
  2. Fold and put away (at least) 5 items of clean laundry
  3. Find homes for and put away (at least) 5 things bought brought upstairs after the stuff-purging
  4. Take (at least) 5 items out of the moving boxes in the basement and deal with them: whether that’s putting them in the trash, on the goodwill pile, in a file box for later transport upstairs, or on the pile of stuff Mr. Mezzo and I need to decide about
  5. Put away (at least) 5 pieces of general household clutter: incoming mail, kitchen stuff, new purchases, things (books, DVDs, office supplies, whatever) that have been used and not put away

Now it’s true that dealing with 5 items a day (particularly in self-renewing categories like “laundry” and “things used in daily life”) may not be an aggressive enough pace to get caught up. But there’s always the hope that some days the “at least” clause will be invoked and instead of 5, I’ll be handling 6, 8, or maybe 12 (!) things in a (or multiple!) category. And even at 5, this would be more regular effort towards these tasks than I’ve been giving.

Tonight’s report: after one whole day of this system, I’m back on the rails. Obviously, it’s easy to have a one-day winning streak, so we’ll have to wait and see whether and how this is sustained.

Still, happy to have made a strong step forward, and hopeful this will be a structure that — at least for a time — I can find to be supportive and not confining.

* Any resemblance to a favorite phrase of a certain back-up vampire slayer is purely coincidental. (Tara: “Five-by-five? Five what by five what?”; Willow: “See, that’s the thing: no one knows.”)


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