Hit the adapt button and bump that obstacle out of your way

Three days a week, I care for my two-year-old granddaughter. She’s usually here from 7:30 in the morning to 6:00 or 6:30 in the evening. We have a lot of fun, walking in the neighborhood and greeting dogs out for walks with their humans, baking cookies, scones and sometimes even bread together, reading books.

We sing and laugh. When you’re a young parent, you’re constantly balancing on a tightrope between keeping hearth, home and job together and giving your children quality time. When you’re a grandparent, you get to give the babies some of that extra attention you didn’t always get to give your own wee ones.

Thank goodness for grandparents! I’m more grateful than ever, today, for the two sets my own children had nearby all their young lives.

But of course, on the days I spend playing with my grandchild, everything else takes a back seat. That’s a bit of a challenge for my renewed clutter-clearing regimen. In fact, it feels like a great big monolithic obstacle in the way.

I so wanted to finish clearing out that basket today (see yesterday’s post, Tiny Changes Make a Difference), and I may yet get to it, but if I don’t, well, I’ve managed to clear another clutter pile while the little one practiced her potty training.

It’s as if my brain and my body went into adapt mode. Is there an app for that? Boy would I like an “adapt” button on my wrist.

The bathroom recycling bin, on the bottom floor of the linen closet, already storing another empty roll and new wrapper

The bathroom recycling bin, on the bottom floor of the linen closet, already storing another empty roll and new wrapper

This morning, this bin overflowed with toilet paper rolls, TP wrappers, empty toothpaste tubes, band-aid boxes and anything else our city recycling center will take that originates here, in the bathroom.  I apologize that I didn’t get a before pic.

While the little one sang and talked to her baby doll about the advantages of using the big potty, I grabbed a paper sack for the recyclables and the burlap bag in which we store the TP wraps. In no time at all, I emptied the bin and sorted the goods.

Burlap grocery bag full of TP wrappers; behind it, a paper grocery bag half full of the empty rolls and other bathroom recyclables

Burlap grocery bag full of TP wrappers; behind it, a paper grocery bag half full of the empty rolls and other bathroom recyclables

Ordinarily, I sort the recyclables from the tissue wrappers once a week when I clean the bathroom. I’ve never considered this routine chore a candidate for my fifteen minutes of clutter zapping.

During the holidays, I cut corners every way I could. This bin was one of those corners. Since Thanksgiving, I’ve let it go as we crammed it full. This morning, this bin was just one more pile of clutter I’ve meant to attend, and when the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it. Besides, it’s difficult for these old bones to sit still on the edge of the bathtub for ten or fifteen minutes. I had to keep moving!

That’s what I mean about adapting. If an obstacle gets in your fifteen-minute clutter-zapping way, find a way around, through, over or under it. Don’t let it keep you from making a little more clear space in your life.

Wait a minute! Why in the world do I save TP wrappers?

You may be wondering why I save the wrappers. When we decided to kick our paper towel habit, we found a substitute for everything but those icky messes you want to sop up, hold at arm’s length and dump into the outdoor garbage can as quickly as possible.

These wrappers are not as absorbent as a paper towel, but work almost as well to scoop the worst of an egg yolk from the floor or a bowl of oatmeal that somehow landed under the high chair. When we still had a feline companion, I grabbed plenty of hairballs with these wrappers, and late in her life, when she had less control, some of her potty mistakes too.

Time left over to suck up some dust bunnies

Geesh. I sound like Mr. Bill and his little clay man. Oh no, Mrs. Granny! Not the dust bunnies!

Emptying the bathroom recycling bin didn’t take fifteen full minutes, but by that time the child was ready to go back to counting coins into a small container. She counts well for a two-year-old! I took advantage of the opportunity, before replacing the empty bin, to grab my cordless vac and suck up the dust bunnies that had accumulated on the shelf.

The vacuum cleaner was mighty dusty itself, so I grabbed a damp rag and cleaned it up too. Two small messes done for the time being, and no longer raising their ugly clutter-monster heads every time I open that cupboard or walk past the vacuum cleaners.

My little hand-held vacuum-cleaning powerhouse, all dusted and tidy

My little hand-held vacuum-cleaning powerhouse, all dusted and tidy

What, you don’t think dust is clutter? Tell that to my itchy, sneezy nose when I stir some up!

Now that the holidays are over, I’ll return to my regular cleaning routine and these two messes will stay under control.

How do you handle obstacles to your clutter clearing regimen? Do you plan for them so you can keep on track? If you fall off the track, how do you get back on so you can keep going?

 

 

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