May Tips: Spring Cleaning, Socks & Solutions

May 9, 2023

Sock-sorting party: From invitation to task nearly complete!

Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family

Currently, here in the 4Kid4CatTogetherVerse, we have 54 unmatched socks that live in a laundry room bin. 54? Yes, you heard that right. And at least a sixth of them are mine, including a very beloved pair of Darn Tough ski socks! In a house of 6 – 7 humans, how is this mathematically even possible? What socks ARE our kids actually wearing, Dr. Together and I pondered when he called me to the basement to show me the Sock Situation.

Well, whether you are a slow spring cleaner or a non-spring cleaner, we have seen the power of Togetherness come to life with a few approaches I’m happy to share. Also don’t come at me with the easy solutions to this because we have already tried the OneMassiveBin approach and the kids even all got one of these in their December holiday stockings. All fails, people, all fails. So, as we do around here, Dr. Together and I are hoping to make Togetherness a little collaborative and a lot of fun.

  • Host a Together Party. Our Sock Situation Solution involves each kid showing up to a living room Sock Sorting Party with every single sock they own (and yes, this includes the socks that our youngest inevitably and constantly shoves between couch cushions). We are paying a quarter per pair of socks matched – and no bringing pre-matched socks (one particularly mischievous child has already tried this). We will eat chips and salsa and we will match socks. If that isn’t some good old-fashioned fun, you tell me what is. Along the lines of this strategy of using collaboration to assist with some Togetherness, a few more anecdotes follow.
  • Together Team Time. Borrowed from Aisha’s approach here (which is around strategy and planning), and my former boss’s calendar invites for Spring Cleaning, The Together Team has set aside time in December pre-holidays and around Spring Break for our work clean-ups / clean-outs. This includes everything from clearing post-its, scanning hard copy papers that have accumulated, inbox clean-outs, document re-naming, and so on. We declare goals prior to jumping into the 2 – 4 hour time chunk and then we show off our accomplishments at the end!
  • Together Tidy Time. Back when I was a full-time solo parent, I used to feel like I was constantly bustling while my kids were . . . relaxing. That didn’t feel fair! So now we have a new rule: no one sits until the parents can sit. Family Tidy Time was introduced, fun music or audiobooks were added, and each of us worked our list for a set period of time, Pomodoro style. A bit of parallel play for tidying, re-homing items, and such. Dr. Together and I did 90 minutes of this last Saturday (agreed upon in advance), and it sure felt good to get suitcases put away and some broken flower pots cleaned out. Bonus: I can see my office closet floor for the first time in six months!

I managed to find time for a quick Together Tote hand-off with team member Lauren! We’re a fully-remote, WFH team, so it’s a bonus to get to see a colleague in person! And did you know we have MERCH?!

So, as we approach the end-ish of the academic and fiscal years, I’m wondering how you might incorporate this collaborative approach to Together-ing and Tidy-ing. Need a Team Black-out Day? A Family Tidy?

#clipboardsandclogs #togetherforever


Together Treasure Box

  • Is your Family Command Center in order? Mine kinda sorta is! … We’re working on it, at least! Getting ALL the info in one place so that ALL the family members have access to what they need is always a challenge!
  • As the school year winds down…We offer this blog post with some tangible tools and strategies to help with all those end-of-the-school-year Together Transitions you’re working through!
  • Celebrate those teachers—always, and especially this week. I offer you a plethora of resources and ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week! Or maybe even a Teacher Appreciation MONTH!? PS No mugs, only gift cards!

Top Together Tributes  

  • Work in The Cave?!  I’m  not sure how legit this place is, — and it certainly is expensive — but I love the idea of accountabili-buddies and distraction-free work sprints! How would YOU use a Cave Day? PS Our friend Kelly sometimes leads these free of cost!
  • Team Scheduling is…Fun or Unfun?! Controversial Alert! As I create an Adventure Menu for my annual Maine Cousin Reunion, I am on Team Scheduling-Creates-Fun AND You-Must-Also-Be-Flexible. Because moods. And weather. And I hate things on my calendar most weekends. I’m so curious what you all think of this! (Thanks, Max!)
  • Teacher shortage experiment! My ears perked up when I read about long-time Together partner Northside Independent School District and their creative teacher shortage solution. Also, I would have been all over this as a high school student.
  • You’ll ALWAYS feel better with a plan for the week. (This is basically the entire thesis of my work, right?!) Here’s my friend Laura’s take on it in a recent podcast! PS Any teacher-centered podcasts you all love? Write me here to share more.