I am loving this simple game for a life with less clutter and fewer condiments.
My name is Margie and I am a habit tracker.
Since early 2019, I've been keeping tabs on myself, thanks to James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits.”
Why bother? The idea is that you’re more likely to make progress on your goals—marginal gains—if you track your habits. Awareness meets accountability.
“Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. … The difference a tiny
improvement can make over time is astounding.”
—James Clear, “Atomic Habits”
Each month, I list the habits I want to track on a daily basis in my logbook. In March, I added clutter control to my list. The idea was that if I spent more days a month on my goal for less stuff that I’d make small but steady progress.
It sounds great in theory. I just didn’t do it in practice. I shine at my morning 10-pick-up habit. I have some impressive dinner dishes streaks. I am getting more morning exercise.
Yep! I’ve made consistent progress on a number of behaviors I want in my life.
But clutter-busting? I was collecting daily goose eggs for that particular habit. So, it got me thinking about an RYC game to hack this particular chores habit.
I do love a good dice game, so I decided to roll with them again. Introducing: "Every Little Thing."
How it works
At the beginning of the week, make a list of categories of clutter you’d like to tackle.
It’s called “Every Little Thing” because it’s a good list to put nagging or small things that you’ve been meaning to get to or that have been piling up. Soy sauce packets, I am coming for you.
For example, here’s what my weekly ELT list might look like:
Every Little Thing
3. Junk drawer.
6. Beauty products.
Side note: Condiments may seem odd, but I have the French’s army of mustards in my refrigerator as I write this, not to mention all those soy sauce packets, and our collection of his and her mayo. In the name of fridge space, I am toying with living dangerously and going all in on full-fat mayo. Oh man, this blog is life changing.
OK, back to the game.
Each day, roll the dice. Your first roll is your category.
Roll again. Your second roll is the number of items to get rid of in that category. At the max, you’ll only have to find 6 things to say goodbye to that day. Marginal gains, baby.
Tackle your clutter chore as quickly as possible. Once done, I like to take a moment to savor my awesomeness. If not me, then who??! Celebrating our small wins helps reinforce future behaviors. It feels good to be a winner!
Now you have a choice. You can mark that category off for the week—and roll again if you happen to get it. Or you can let it ride and take your chances that you might roll it again. I generally base this call on how much there is to deal with in that particular category.
Extra credit: Be a golden retriever (i.e., over achiever)
When your friends know you love words, they send you messages that say things like, “Fun fact: ‘golden retriever’ rhymes with ‘over achiever.’” Now I am sharing that adorable, tail-wagging tidbit with you.
One thing about chores and habits, the starting is often the hard part. So, if you’re playing ELT and you feel like tackling more than you rolled—say you get on a roll, go with it.
Just be sure to throw yourself a treat afterwards. You, my friend, are such a good girl or good boy.
What I like about this game:
Here's to less stuff and more daily celebrations. Remember, you deserve better.
I am Margie Reece. I am here to help you rock your chores and have some fun doing it.