Five steps to cleaning

Not the real EP, or the real clean room.

Recently, I stood outside the EP’s bedroom door, scanning it, sorting things in my mind. She sees me looking all over the room, and says, “What’s wrong?” I point out to her that the room is so messy, she literally can’t walk on the floor. She shrugs it off, “I just haven’t had a chance to clean in a while, and it’s soooooo messy, it’ll take all day.”

After breakfast and getting ready for school, she says, “I’m early, so can you unlock the computer and let me play Minecraft?”

I say, “Good news. Here’s your chance.”


“I need you to do five things before you play on the computer.”

Her eyes narrow suspiciously, “That doesn’t sound too bad.”

“Number 1. Go make your bed. Just pull the sheets up to the top of the bed and put the cover on straight. Pretty simple, huh?”

She comes back a minute later, “How about now?”

“Number 2. I need you to pick up all the stuffed animals, and put them on the made bed. No big deal, just go through the room, and when you see a stuffed animal, throw it on the bed. Simple.”

She shrugs and does it. When she returns, I say, “Number 3. Now pick up all the clothes. Shouldn’t take long, it’s not a huge room. Just make a quick sweep through the room, and everywhere you see clothes, throw them in the hamper. And hey, you’re halfway there!”

It seems simple enough, so she does it and comes back, “What’s number four?”

“Books. Just pick them up off the ground, find a place in the bookshelf. They don’t have to be organized, just off the ground.”

A few minutes later, she says, “Okay, what else?”

I smile, “Number five. Get everything off the floor.”


I point into the room at the remaining items, “Hey, look, there’s just five things. You can pick up five things, right?”

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