I keep lists, lots of lists, and my friend Brittany thinks this habit is “adorable” and “precious.” She recently sent me a link to author Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s website (a link that is NOT safe for work) about a list Amy has decided to keep.
In opposition to a bucket list (a list of things you wish to do before you kick the bucket), Amy has also started a list of things she doesn’t want to do. The name of her list rhymes with bucket but begins with the letter F. If you didn’t click on the link above, just think about it for a second and you’ll eventually figure out why I’m not naming it outright on our family-friendly website.
Brittany is well aware of the fact that I already have a list such as this, though mine is lacking Amy’s naming creativity and is simply called: “Things I won’t do again.” This list is as important to me and the way I live my life as is my list of things I want to do. Often, expressing what you won’t do leads to very positive results.
For example, when I was in my 20s, I abandoned my car in the middle of the street to engage in an intense yelling match with a woman over a parking space. There was a lot of nonsensical screaming about how I felt entitled to a spot that this woman stole from me — and, well, the police became involved. I wasn’t protesting against human trafficking or genocide or something actually horrific, I was on the verge of being arrested over a small piece of pavement in front of a CVS Pharmacy. Hours later, when I had calmed down, the embarrassment of the situation led me to write “I will never fight with anyone over a stupid parking space again” at the top of a new list. In DC, where parking can be a nightmare, this life rule has led me to be calmer when hunting for parking, kept me out of jail, and also out of physical harm.
Most of the items on my “Things I won’t do again” list actually have to do with being an unclutterer, which is why I’m mentioning Amy’s list, my list, and my awesome friend Brittany. Here are a handful of them:
- I will not go more than a week without doing the laundry (except in cases of a structural impediment, like being without power, or when on vacation).
- I will not throw my clothes on the floor and I will not put wet clothes or towels in the hamper.
- I will not keep a gift out of guilt.
- I will never abandon a pan on the stove for hours with food still in it that needs to be disposed or refrigerated.
This list is especially good at motivating me to stay on top of my responsibilities. In the evenings, when the siren call of the television and comfy couch are singing my name, I’ll first take care of chores before kicking up my feet and relaxing. I’ll say to myself, “I don’t go more than a week without doing the laundry,” and then put a load of clothes in the washing machine.
Do you have a “Things I won’t do again” list, or a more creatively named one like Amy? If you think it could motivate you to change your behavior in a positive way, maybe this strategy could work for you. It has certainly helped me to maintain an uncluttered life.