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« Do you know when enough is enough? | Main | The Night Before Clutter Class »

Toy Pickup Can be Cured by the Sunday Box

Years ago, Dr. Ogden Lindsley, a Kansas educator, came up with a way to inspire excitement for cleaning with a simple tool he called “The Sunday Box”.  Here’s how it worked:  Anything left out when it was pickup time was deposited into the Sunday Box.  The items remained there until the following Sunday when the confiscated items are returned. 

Before you implement this procedure, you need to advise everyone about this new family activity, otherwise your kids may balk at the perceived injustice of withholding their toys.  Using the old phrase of “forewarned is forearmed”, you can prepare them for what’s to come if they violate the new rules. They may not believe you the first day, but they certainly will by the third day!

To reinforce his point, Dr. Lindley would deliberately leave his briefcase in the living room.  His daughters were delighted to deposit it into the Sunday Box!  To the girl’s amusement, he would moan, “What will I do!  I have tests for students in it.  My day tomorrow will be ruined.”  The next morning when he went to work, he saw the curtains in the widow flutter, and eyes peered out to see if he really did go without his briefcase. 

Lindsley claims that this kind of strategy is what makes the Sunday Box effective.  It is similar to the mayor of the town being seen in traffic court paying his own ticket.  Now that’s being a good administrator.  It’s also a clever way to clear the clutter.

As Mark Twain once said, “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightening that does the work.”  And one of the best forms of lightening for kids clutter is the Sunday Box!

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