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Episode 155

April 20, 2021

Does it feel insane at times how often we clean specific areas? Let's introduce the word 'entropy' to the front of the room. This word can be frustrating as well as liberating. How can we use entropy to work for us and not against us?

Diana Ballard

Mom Training


Episode Transcript

The Mom Training Podcast with Diana Ballard


Diana:     Hey ladies, we are still talking about spring… And the lovely time of spring cleaning. We’re getting closer to the summer. It’s coming up. It’s getting a little warmer but this still is an awesome season for us to clean house, and kind of make new goals. It’s just a good time. As we talked last time about planting new seeds, the symbolism of spring, and what that can do for us.


   We’re going to talk about a word that I have a love-hate relationship for. I mean, I don’t like it but I like it in that fact that I know now what is happening… And the word is entropy, and if you don’t know what that is, a dictionary example would be a lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.


   So, I want you to look at your house right now, and see where entropy has come in. Now, let me tell you a couple of places entropy completely takes over. Just a gradual decline, literally, just day by day, every day. It’s something I have to keep up all the time.


  My shoe hallway, which have coats, which we’ve put away all the snow stuff. Praise the Lord, because that took up so much space. Like all these snow pants, a couple of different jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, snow boots… Holy moly, that hallway had more entropy than probably any place in my house. Because it just like every single day would just get worse and worse, if we didn’t clean it up, like literally, every day.


   Or the top of the fridge. How many times have you cleaned off the top of the fridge, like I never have? Well, what if you did?... What if you did clean off the top of your fridge, and it was completely clean. Maybe there’s a couple of things you kept up there because you’re like, “This is where I’m just going to keep them.”


  But say you cleaned off the fridge, and all of a sudden, one thing gets set on there… and then two, and then five, and then seven, and then 10, and then 25. Then all of a sudden, you’re like, “Holy crap, what happened to the top of my fridge?” It was just a couple of weeks ago, and this fridge was clean, and I didn’t have a problem with it. So, what just happened?


   Entropy is what will happen. A gradual decline to disorder… Or folding to specific drawers. Maybe you’re the person that like every single person’s drawer is folded so nicely. I’ve seen that. I’m curious how long it lasts, unless you’re in there all the time, reorganizing things. Your kids are old enough and want to have that, and have the desire to do that, and have the ability to keep their drawers 100% organized. Or there’s a different place when you come in, there’s a flat space that keys get put. And then something else gets put, and then something else gets put, and it’s a constant area to have to clean up.


   My homeschool area, oh my gosh, constantly entropy. Constantly having to go through and organize that thing and clean it out because I’m not the only one in it. The kids are getting in it. They’re getting supplies down. You find something and, “Oh, I’ll just put this puzzle piece here… Ok, I’m going to put their scissors up here… Oh, here’s a glue stick. I‘m not going to reach down into the bucket all the way down by the floor. I’m just going to put it up here with the rest of the stuff. I mean, entropy is a pain in the butt.


   Now, the reason why I like the word is because, knowing that that’s what’s happening gives me power, gives me choice. Gives me something that I have to work with. So, instead of just being ridiculously mad, or upset like, “Oh, my gosh! I just like cleaned this so recently… yada, yada, or whatever… That I am like, “Okay. I get it now.” It’s constantly going to happen, no matter what.


   And especially, having a family. I mean, entropy can happen when you’re single. But I believe it happens a lot slower. Someone might argue with me on that, but they also don’t have a bunch of kids, and a bunch of animals, and a husband that works full time and has part-time stuff that he does on the side, and all these kinds of…


   I mean, there’s lots of things that play into it. And it just could be, convenience of us setting something down. “I don’t know where to put this dumb thing…” Trust me, that happens all the time. Like, “Why are there five pens stuck under the toaster oven? How did that happen?” Like where did that come from?


  I literally, just today, cleaned out the cubby that my toaster oven gets put in because there was stuff all around it. I’m like, “Oh, what happened?” You know, there’s a bill, some random piece of mail with it, a couple of pens. There’s a mini sewing kit. I’m like, “Where did this come from? Why is it here?”


  Because we have to pull out our toaster oven, and set it on the counter, every time that we use it. Because it’s in a little cubby thing, and I don’t like to use my toaster oven in it because then it heats up everything above it, which are my vitamins and minerals and stuff. So, we have to pull it out to use it, and then when we put it back in, somehow, it just has accumulated so much stuff. It’s like it’s really is spectacular to me.


   Has entropy come through your house? I would guarantee, probably yes. Go find a corner. Go find a place in your bedroom, the nightstand next to your bed, the drawer next to your bedroom… There has been some gradual disorder happening in a lot of different areas.


   So, what do we do? Do we just sit there and cry? Maybe… I’ll give you permission to cry if you need to cry for just a minute because I totally feel for you. It can be really frustrating to literally work your butt off all day, and have things become a disaster again very quickly. I mean, it really is almost insanity at some point, where you’re like, “Oh, gosh. Okay, we’re cleaning this again.”


   But you know what, if you know that entropy is a real thing, it can help you not lose your mind. As much as it does help you become determined to either you get rid of more stuff, get organized, stop buying more stuff. Stop encouraging buying of anything else.


  This last Christmas was my first real minimalist Christmas, and it was kind of uncomfortable, I’m going to just be honest. That’s probably because we had other people watching our Christmas. Anyway… Some family that we’re visiting. But like my kids got five things, and they got one toy. The other things were clothes, shoes and a book. There was definitely a lot of different emotions that came with that. Not because… That was what I wanted. I was done with Christmas in October. We were ready to roll. But it was more that, it was like, “Is this enough?”


   We always have this mindset that of consumerism around us, like kind of pushing us to get more and more and more. “Oh, that wasn’t enough. I need more... It’s not big enough so I have to…” So, it was an uncomfortable Christmas for me this Christmas because I actually did a minimalist Christmas. And my kids did fine. My kids had no problems at all. But it was me that was like, “Did I do enough? Are they happy? Is everything okay?” And kind of being concerned like, “Are they thinking,” people around me”, that I’m a bad mom?” I mean, the thoughts can run through your head.


   But there has to come a point where we get determined enough that we’re not going to have a mess in our house. Or we’re not going to have a bunch of crap all over the place. And that’s where I was at that point. It was like, “You know what, we don’t need a ton of more stuff.” I don’t even know where we put a single extra thing because we live in a very, very small house that we’re flipping and that we’ll eventually sell again when the market’s better for us to buy another one. Right?


   Entropy helps bring determination to never go back, of like, “Hey, we literally cannot have more stuff come into this house.” Like there has to be more exiting this house than there is coming in because I’m sick of cleaning up the same areas over and over again. And putting things away that really shouldn’t even be anywhere in this area. Like why is there something from camping supplies of ours, on top of my fridge, when we haven’t gone camping in like a year and a half, two years? “Why is that in here?” I mean, it’s amazing how things can accumulate around us.


   So, I want you to take entropy and the thought of the continual gradual movement towards disorder. To have it help you become determined to get on top of your house, especially with your spring cleaning this year, see the places that have troubles, and focus on them.


  One that used to be a problem for us was on top of my piano. There’s no problem now because I am on that top of the piano every single day. Not literally on top of it, like dancing or anything. I mean, like I’m on top of making sure that there’s nothing on it, and because I want it clean. I want it to be a breath of fresh air.


   So, what areas of your house need help? What areas of your house have continually declined, that you need to focus more on? Whether taking care of the bills, organizing the papers where they need to go in the filing cabinet. Clearing out things that really just need to be thrown away.


  What needs to change in your house? And I invite you to do that, and actually face the problems. Pick an area, even just one area to focus on, to try to keep clean for a while. Focus on one area at a time, and it literally, will bring you so much more clarity to not have a bunch of crap piling up all over the place.


   So, I’m excited for you, for your spring cleaning. I love cleaning things up and organizing things all day today, and it just feels so much better. So, get out there, clean your house, you just fight that entropy and be determined to keep your house organized.


   We’ll see you next Tuesday on The Mom Training Podcast.

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