Thursday, December 13, 2012

Never say "no", laundry solutions, and carrots

Happy Winter Morning!

I got my first question. So happy.

"My house has no utility room, just a walk thru hallway to the garage, with washer and dryer hook ups and one small shelf. Clothes are piled up all over. We step all over clean and dirty clothes to go to the cars. How do you handle that?"

My Aunt Ronda has THE BEST utility room back in the 70's. tons of storage, and big enough for a sewing and craft table. If I could wave a magic wand and put that room in my builder grade house, *poof*, how happy I would be. The utility room seems to have disappeared in floor plans of most new, affordable homes. This baffles me, as a builder friend once told me of a study done. He said that most women, if they enter their home through a room that is a work space for them, experience a greater degree of stress than if it is simply an entry way. I imagine that most of  these designs are done by men who don't get that, nor do the washing at home. Bless their hearts. ( That is Texan for "you idiot")
I can relate, walking past piles of clean and dirty clothes every time I come and go - stinks. Those socks and underthings taunt me with their "undoneness". Piles of clean clothes that belong to my kiddos were everywhere. The relentlessness of laundry in a house can wear you out. It sometimes feels like the socks start multiplying like Tribbles on Star Trek, except they never match each other! Still working on Christmas Tree ornaments made with orphan socks. Keep checking my Pinterest for that one. Also, immediately call  the authorities and have me committed when you see it.
As I examined my "laundry hallway", it doesn't get the dignity of being called a room, I began to see hidden potential. There was space up there. By "up" I mean that I went vertical. Most of our homes have 7 foot ceilings, yet without the floor to ceiling cabinetry that adorns the mid-century ranch counterparts many of us grew up in. Installing built-ins is not yet in my skill set, but I am working on it.  3 M to the rescue! I put those removable hooks that do not damage the wall as high as I could reach all around the space. It clearly states how much weight the hooks can bear on the package. So, using a level, I put two hooks side by side, that could hold a plastic laundry basket empty or  full of clothes. I purchased a different color basket for each of my Sweet and Precious Blessings (heretofore known as SPB's). That gave me a spot, off the floor to sort folded clothes. For an impromptu dry rack, I put smaller hooks directly over the washer, to hang unmentionables and even shoes.
When finished ( for a while) I put the children's baskets at the bottom of the stairs. They typically jump right over them and ignore them completely. Selective sight in a teenager is remarkable, especially when passing a full trash can, bleh. So I lay ( or is it lie?) in wait. When one of the SPB's asks, "Can I have a snack?", I apply the "When.........Then" principle. Back when I was a special education aid, I learned a great technique, never say no, just apply a needed condition. So my reply is "Sure! When you put your laundry away, then I will serve you hot, fresh, chocolate chip cookies". It is crucial to find out what they love more than anything and, not take it from them, but offer it at a strategic time. It's a win- win, really. Investing time in the things they love and having them around as a delayed gratification award sets a great example AND connects you to their hearts desire. Yes, with a teenage boy that can truly be a hot, fresh, chocolate chip cookie.
I have used carrots throughout the years with the SPB's. The carrots change, but investing time in knowing what they are has never been a waste. I use transitions to get small tasks done as well. The call to dinner will often have "Then....When"'s as well. "Nachos will be served when the shoes are picked up." It helps squelch the yelling if the see that a clean slate is rewarded. "A spoonful of sugar helps the nacho cheese go down?" Or something like that. Positive persistence works so well in our home.
Wow, I guess, as with most things, organizations isn't so much the clutter, but the people behind the clutter and those relationships .
Huh, maybe I this "Clutter Counselor" title is more leaning towards the "Counselor".  Should I try "Teenager Whisperer?" I don't know. Anyway, these good habits bring peace, joy, and beauty into our house. Let me know what works for you. Have any of you figured out what carrot to dangle in front of your husband? Dear Lord, that suddenly sound WAY inappropriate. Ha! Maybe inappropriate  carrots are the only solution with the men folk.

That, darlings, is another blog entry entirely.

Peace, Beauty, and Joy,

Amy Madison Designs
"Clutter Counselor"
"Teenage Whisperer"

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