The dumping rule

IMG_5760 R jolly jumper

When there are 7 children in the house (or even just 1 or 2!) it doesn’t take long for a trail of destruction to threaten to take over. I do have systems in place to make sure it doesn’t get too out of hand but even with pack-up times built into our routine throughout the day there are certain areas that just seem to get cluttered with a pair of shoes here and a hairband or two there, plus a towel on the floor and a pair of knickers decorating the door handle… and so on.

I asked my worst trail maker what consequence they thought was appropriate for people who left their belongings laying about for others to pick up. They responded after some thought that they should pick up twice as many things as they had left behind. This was a brilliant answer as this happened to be exactly what I had been thinking of doing anyway (I love it when that happens), so I promptly instigated it as our consequence on the spot. One item left on the floor equals a consequence of picking up 2 more items, plus the original one you left in the first place.

It is amazing how quickly you can get the house tidied when there are a couple of bits and pieces strewn about. I just start at the front of the house and pick up the first item, identify the owner and point out it plus the 2 other items they will be required to put away. It a minute or two everyone is zooming about collecting stuff and the house is back to ship-shape. After a few days of this, I simply let everyone know that I will be conducting a dumping check in the next little while and they go scrambling off around the house madly putting their stuff away without me having to do anything.

It goes great with the 10 times rule for those who can’t remember to hang up a towel or shut the door.

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5 Responses

  1. Ok this is a brilliant solution to those extras constantly being scattered around the house!!!! Thank you, this may well just save my sanity, will be implementing this TODAY 🙂

    • Hi Kate, how did it go for you? I am giving everyone a dumping check in 5 minutes warning and they are getting everything picked up before I get there. It’s kind of annoying though – there’s no one left who needs a penalty to pick up the stuff that I have dumped!

      • Ang, I was just telling my husband tonight how much I am LOVING this new rule! It is working soooo well in our family already 🙂 It has taken a lot of stress off me about stuff left around or how to deal with it (consquences-wise) in a way that wasnt onerous on me (like picking it all up for them and packing it away – work for me plus they wouldnt even care, lol!) – now they are quite happy/ok to do the extra items (for now haha) and its such a logical but reasonable to implement consequence so im really happy with it. when my 6yr old daughter left scissors out today (with a toddler around, thats a big no-no) i simply and calmly increased the number of items she had to pick up to reflect the magnititude. saves me brain-space to have an automatic consequence. great idea to give a warning sometimes too before doing a big check, will try that too! thanks, your blog is such a blessing 🙂

  2. My mother would warn us that she was going to box up anything left out. We would dash about, grab our stuff and put it away. Sometimes stuff did get boxed up and put away for awhile before she would sort through it.

    • I do remember coming home from uni late one night and going to get into my bed to find a huge heap of belongings that my Dad had put under my covers! Didn’t work though – I just pushed it all out onto the floor and went to sleep! I personally don’t like this method though. For one, I have to do all the picking up and two, sure enough there will be something the child needs to have (like their school books etc) in there that can’t just go away for a while.

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