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Borderline OCD? Try 20/20 system

I don’t technically have obsessive compulsive disorder, but I’m for sure a borderline case.

Four kids, a husband who wears cow patty-caked boots, an indoor cat and two floppy-eared bunnies later, I’ve been forced to learn some coping mechanisms.

A day, hour or even a minute doesn’t pass without something someplace being moved from where I placed it. And since the kids and animals are home all day, our home can look more like a barn when the sun finally sets.

Time to clean conveniently arrives when it’s also time to go to sleep — at least that’s what I’d prefer to be doing.

So to motivate myself, (because nothing can start my day off worse than a messy house) I’ve implemented a 20/20 system.

And it is serious business to me!

Real serious.

Ask Matt.

He came home one evening to find me flinging and literally sprinting back and forth across the house like a mad woman, cleaning to beat my timer.

That’s the point. I set our oven timer for 20 minutes. Then I try to accomplish as much cleaning as possible in that time.

When the timer goes off, I stop. Period.

Then I set it for 20 more minutes. I can do whatever I want during this time. Usually, I read or play online.

The cycle repeats itself until I’m completely finished with my chores.

I LOVE this system!!

Besides motivating me to get the chores done in a quick amount of time, it allows my sick and twisted brain to know exactly how long it takes to clean a particular room or fold a basket of laundry or iron a pile of clothes. Because it never really takes as long as you think it does.

My kitchen can be swept in two minutes. The dishwasher unloaded in about three minutes, and I can fold a basket of clothes in just a whiff of time.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to clean. I’ve been known to offer (and actually follow through with) cleaning people’s houses. I love the transformation — making something better.

But even the most borderline cases of OCD become paralyzed with the workload. And everybody is tired. At least it seems like everybody is always complaining (like me) that they are tired.

This system has allowed me to persevere when I feel like giving up. And I have given up at times. Left the clothes overnight in the dryer. Counters littered with that evening’s takeout. Yes, I’ve been guilty.

But I never sleep well when the house is a wreck. So, mostly, I push through, and it’s always worth it.

At the end of the night, when you slip between the cool sheets of your cozy bed, I will almost guarantee the lemon Pinesol smells of your spotless house will lure you to sleep.

And the satisfaction you feel will make all the crazy running through the house you just did worth it.

— As seen in the Lawrence County Record


Categories: Frugal homemaking on the farm


My name is Ginia Oehlschlager and I'm a small-town gal from Missouri. Join me as I document my crazy life on the farm with my husband and four kids. I'm always looking for frugal, simple ways to live the life God set before me. Where faith, family and fun come together on the farm.

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