The 10-Minute Task


So lately I’ve been trying to attack the mounding clutter in my house. It takes shape in the form of mountains of laundry, towers of books and magazines, boxes with bizarre amalgams of tools and laundry detergent, styrofoam plates and dried flowers (WTF?). Saturday night, BB and I were in Barnes & Noble and I found that guy from TLC”s Clean Sweep, Peter Walsh, who also does some segments on Oprah. BB bought me the book, called It’s All Too Much, and I pretty much read it in one sitting.

One of the many many many things ol’ Pete tells you to do is to create a “10-minute task” box. (Well, ours is a basket, but whatev.) You write down a bunch of crap that needs to get done in your house, break it down into tasks that won’t take but about 10 minutes, and put it in the box. Then each night, or whenever, everybody in the house draws one, you set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes, and off you go to do your thing.

So. Last night was the first night of the 10-minute task, and BB and I collectively decided that whoever does dishes doesn’t have to do a task – dishes are task enough. I cooked, he cleaned, I drew a 10-minute task. Believe me when I say that even though I came up with the damn things, they still suck. The first one I drew was “clean out all the old and half-empty bottles out of the showers.” Well ewww! BB had just showered before dinner so it was all wet and humid in there and I wasn’t in the mood. I put that one back and drew again: “clean off and put away all the papers on the desk in the office.” Was I crazy when I made these up? Finally, I drew “clean out your sock and underwear drawer.” How easy!

Off I went to complete my task with one eye on Steve Wozniak and his forever-flapping hands. The way my dresser is configured, I have four little bitty skinny drawers on either side of four large long drawers. One side is for miscellaneous crap I don’t know what to do with, the other is for underwear and such. DUDE. Not to get all TMI or whatever, but I’ve been hanging on to some stuff for FAR TOO LONG. In fact, this task was quite the trip down memory lane – at one point, BB walked in and was all Hey, didn’t you used to wear that when we were dating? EIGHT YEARS AGO? And I was all, but it’s pretty! Or it used to be…

All in all I threw out a large garbage bag full of old bras and underwear, sports bras, strange suck-you-in contraptions that I wore under my wedding dress, and so on. But here’s my conundrum: I found a good handful of underwear that I bought but obviously never wore because the tags are still in them. I have this bad habit when it comes to underthings of thinking I’m going to love something, buying it in three colors, wearing the first one, and then hating it. So then I have two left and by that time I’ve lost the receipt. What’s a girl to do? Do I give them away to the Goodwill? Will they toss it because it’s underwear, even though the tags are clearly still on them? Do I give them to a friend, risking friendship AND reputation?

For now they’re sitting in a bag on the floor in my bedroom. Who knows…at the rate my clutter-clearing is going, they may still be there another five years from now. And by the way, I never got to my socks.

One thought on “The 10-Minute Task

  1. Lindsey says:

    i have the same issues…though andy would seriously laugh at me if i told him he had to draw a chore🙂 maybe i’ll do it for myself though…i like it!

    umm..about the undies…if someone offered me new undies for free, i would totally take them. i’m always offering my clothes to friends…(not underwear, but…). just find someone your size and say “hey, want some undies?” a true friend would say “heck yeah, thanks! let me buy you a coffee!”

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