Solve one chronic problem today

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Strangers in the street probably know that I am a HUGE fan of Marie Kondo’s philosophy. I don’t know what magic is in her Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but her acolytes agree, there is something. I will likely spend a few future posts talking about the main point of her book, decluttering, but today there is another Kondo-ism that is worth looking at.

As she says repeatedly in her book, hers is not an ongoing declutter project. In her perfectly soothing and authoritative “voice”, she reminds readers: Tidy all at once, once, and never again.
Obviously, there is maintenance. But her point is to deal with this problem once and not have it hanging like a cloud over your head every day.

My husband drives our daughters to school almost every morning so that I can help start my son on his homeschooling right away. This is a great help. As he leaves with his hands full, he calls out for me to lock the door behind them. I don’t. Not (only) because I’m a jerk, but because I know he will inevitably come back for forgotten x, y, and z. I don’t know why this always bothers me marrow-deep. More importantly, my daughters have inherited my rather specious brand of punctuality and this back-and-forth inevitably leads to some passive-aggressive grumbling (also courtesy of my gene pool) about being late and an overall bad morning.

After SEVEN YEARS of this, I finally heard Marie’s voice addressing this issue. “Solve it once, and never again.”
The solution was a simple “launchpad” just outside our bedroom. Starting the night before, everything that needs to go to the office with him goes on a small end table now always kept tidy for this purpose. Library books I need returned, plates that go back to his mom’s, the unholy trinity of phone, wallet, computer bag.


This was not noble-prize winning, but the peace it has created in our house makes me think it should at least be nominated.
So now I ask, what’s one chronic problem that plagues you or your household every day? Come up with your own “fireman’s pole” solution. Maybe the above scenario isn’t relevant for you. The point is to spend some time thinking of one which does create unnecessary stress and take care of it. And as Marie Kondo reminds us, you probably don’t need any more trips to the Container Store to do it.


  1. Reply

    I need help tackling my garage. I don’t even know where to begin; I am SO overwhelmed. I just want to burn it down and then start all over…ARGH!

  2. Reply

    Garages are behemoths. There is no way to tackle them at once. What’s the BIGGEST annoyance?something that ignites your pyromania every time you see it/bump into it? Something that could be solved in under 25 minutes and $10?

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