veruca salt syndrome

I’ve coined a new phrase – the Veruca Salt Syndrome.


Like it? I do. It’s catchy. People will say, “What is that all about?” And we’ll be able to tell them.

OK, I promised you that I could help with this V|S|S (veruca salt syndrome). I added the bar lines because there is a real VSS, the Vision Sciences Society. And it has nothing to do with Veruca Salt. Nothing whatever.

Alright, let’s get down to it.

Remember, V|S|S is the all-or-nothing approach – (click HERE for the reminder) – the spoiled child in us that says if I can’t have my house clean and organized now then I’m not going to do anything!

Let’s kick V|S|S to the curb, shall we?

The other day my daughter and I were visiting a friend. We got to talking about cleaning and organization (I can’t imagine how that subject came up – honest – it wasn’t me) and she mentioned her living room and how it was a mess. Then she said an interesting thing:

“I don’t know where to begin.”

There it is. There’s the beginnings of V|S|S. Because she went on to say, “So I’ll just keep living with it the way it is.”

It’s not that she’s a bad person. Or unclean or unsanitary or anything like that. Not in the least. She’s actually quite the awesome person. She simply doesn’t know where or how to start so she does nothing. And hates it.

There’s a couple of different approaches we can use to tackle a room that seems overwhelming to us. Each approach shares some common items – a timer and 3 boxes or bags.

I’ll just share one approach today. And only the 1st two steps of the approach. We’re going to take this slow so it sinks in.

A word of caution: These different approaches will only work if you actually follow them. Don’t pretend to do them and then tell me they didn’t work. I’m not gonna buy that.

Approach #1
With your timer in hand, set it for 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Whatever you think you can handle at that moment. But you must promise to stop when the timer goes off. That’s part of the deal.

OK, go to the room of your choice. I suggest you pick the one that everyone sees when they walk in your door.

Do you have your timer, boxes or bags?

1. Start by picking up all the trash.
It’s amazing how much cleaner a room is just by doing that. Use one of your boxes or bags for a garbage can. Or bring in an actual garbage can. When the timer goes off, stop.

Take a step back and look at the progress you’ve made; not at how much more you have to go. This right here is the big hang up. This is what stops people. This is what causes  V|S|S to happen; focusing on what isn’t done.

If you finished picking up the trash before the timer went off, then proceed to step #2.

2. Take a break.
This is a hard one. And this is also what gets you into trouble because most people don’t do this one. They think they have to clean all day long without any breaks. Not gonna happen, folks. You’ll wear yourself out.

You don’t have to clean the entire room at once.

I know that may be hard to internalize, after all you’ve been tackling projects head on and killing yourself to finish them your entire life. Am I right?

You don’t have to do it that way any more.

How do you eat an elephant?


One bite at a time.

(Side note: Why would we want to eat an elephant? They’re so cute, yet leathery)

How do you clean a room? One thing at a time.

So set your timer for the same amount of time as you did in #1. Go do something enjoyable for you. When the timer goes off, stop.

If you still have trash in the room, then repeat steps #1 and #2 until all the trash is gone.

That’s it for today! Simple, yet it makes a difference. Get ready for the next steps . . .

About organizedbyjenn

Busy wife and mother of 7 children; grew up in Oregon, currently lives in Utah. Loves the outdoors, organizing, crafting, running, and eating chocolate
This entry was posted in Cleaning, Organizing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to veruca salt syndrome

  1. Kari says:

    Oh I’ve always known where to start. But no one will cooperate. Step one: Get rid of kids. Step two: Get rid of husband. Step three: Live a clean and organized but lonely and pathetic existence.

  2. Pingback: approach #2 | organized by jenn

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