Today at the Garvey’s, it’s “leave it like you found it day.” Yesterday was “clean the house night” and every week (for the past two weeks, thanks to Jay’s brilliant suggestion) the day immediately following clean the house night is “leave it like you found it day.” The goal (as the clever name of this day implies) is to leave everything exactly as it was found all day long. (And since we cleaned last night, this means sparkling clean and clutter-free! Woohoo!)

So, if the toothbrush wasn’t on the counter before brushing your teeth, the toothbrush goes back in the drawer—just like you found it. If your pajamas weren’t on the floor when you woke up this morning, they don’t stay on the floor when you’re done getting dressed. If the blanket wasn’t in a heap on the couch before you watched T.V., it gets folded when you’re done.

Now I know what you’re thinking:  Shouldn’t everyday be “leave it like you found it day?”  Ideally (for the parents in the house anyway) the answer is yes. But I’m guessing if we announced that one to the kids they wouldn’t even try it for a day. Here’s why:  it’s too hard! Seriously, to say “OK, from this day forward you will never leave anything out ever again when you’re done using it” is completely unrealistic. And deep down I know it, the kids know it, we all know it. An absolute, draw-the-line-in-the-sand approach like this is much less effective because deep down we know it’s really not possible to be perfect—especially when we’re trying to create a new habit.

But, leaving things like you found them for one single day—now that’s doable. And the best part is—it’s actually quite fun. We’re all in it together. And saying “Hey, remember what today is…” as a subtle hint, is much more fun than “Pick up your backpack! Put away your shoes!” as a not-so-subtle-command. Plus, it’s one step forward in the process of making everyday leave it like you found it day.

If you have cleaning on your horizon this weekend, why not try a establishing a “leave it like you found it day” in your home? Who knows, it may turn into leave it like you found it two days (like my daughter is already lobbying for,) or leave it like you found it week, or leave it like you found it month, or even leave it like you found it lifetime…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves! One step at a time—that’s how change happens.

Have a great weekend!

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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