Batting Cleanup: How To Use Baseball Strategy To Organize Your Home

Who would've thought? Baseball strategy is a lot like home organizing strategy!

Game 7, two outs, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth.  You step up to the plate knowing that a base hit gives your team the championship, making you a hero for the ages…

Baseball history is littered with glorious moments like this.  But the truth is that the vast majority of games are won or lost in the smaller moments: practice, applying the fundamentals, and employing a good strategy.

Fall is in full swing and most of us are prepping the house for the colder months.  The grass needs one last fertilization, the garage needs to be completely sorted out, the snow tires need to be checked; it feels like there are a million details to work through.

Think like the manager of a baseball team to get through all your chores while maintaining a cool head.

Play to Your Strengths

Every player on a baseball team has a different job.  Starting pitchers are expected to pitch six innings or more; a closing pitcher rarely pitches more than one.  Hulking players are put in the lineup to launch towering home runs; speedy players wait on the bench for the chance to simply run the bases.

Your family is like your team.  Everyone has different strengths.  One of you might be better at visualizing the optimal way to utilize a space.  Another might be best suited to heavy lifting.  Kids with a lot of energy and short attention spans need tasks that can be done with quick bursts of energy such as taking a trash bag out, or emptying out a space to get it ready for re-organization..

  • First base:  Figure out who does what best and assign tasks accordingly.

One Game at a Time

A baseball season is long!  One hundred and sixty two games long.  In comparison, pro hockey teams play eighty two.  Football teams square off a mere sixteen times.

The games themselves aren’t short, either.  Nine innings worth of pitching changes, drama, and bench-clearing brawls with no game clock running can take a while to wrap up.

Baseball players don’t think about playing the entire season in one go.  They don’t approach every game as if it were make or break.  One game at a time, they say.  Organizing your house is a remarkably parallel experience.

  • Second base: Think of the house as a full season, each room in the house as a game, and different closets or messy areas as innings.  When you break down the immense task of cleaning your entire house in this manner, you prevent yourself from being overwhelmed.  Make a priority list of spaces and take them on one at a time.  Typically, the master closet is a great one to begin with, as you will reap the benefits immediately, and on a daily basis once it is organized.  With the weather changing soon, the garage is a great second location to get ready.

You Don’t Always Need a Home Run

Everyone loves a home run.  It’s the most dramatic play in the game.  A home run brings the crowd to their feet every time.

As exciting as a home run may be, if your team is continually swinging for the fences, you’ll lose far more than you’ll win.  Managers and coaches tell their players what kind of hit they need based on the score, who is on the base paths, how many outs there are, and a variety of other variables.  A bunt, a long fly ball for an out, a ground ball to the first baseman…all of these plays can be perfect in the right situation.

When you’re organizing and cleaning your house, the tendency might be to make everything as perfect as can be. 

The truth is that some things in your house are more important than others and you shouldn’t spend unnecessary time finding the perfect situation for every little thing.  You’ll get bogged down in details and lose sight of the big picture.

  • Third base: High traffic areas need to look their best.  Items that you use all the time (such as daily shoes, jackets, and children’s school supplies) should be given prime real estate in your storage areas.  However, things you only use once or twice a year (like luggage or ski equipment )can be respectfully stored in a back corner. Showcase the things you love and let the rest of your belongings play a supporting role.

Victory Deserves a Celebration

The thing that keeps ballplayers going throughout such a long and grueling season (besides money) is the possibility of reward at the end.  There is a reason that players douse each other in champagne and go completely bonkers when they win: they are ecstatic!  They have worked incredibly hard for a long time to reach the finish line and they celebrate accordingly.

  • Home run: When you start a gigantic project, lay out your attack plans, but don’t neglect to plan the celebration.  A lavish dinner on the town; a long weekend trip out of town; that new TV you’ve been dreaming about; or simply a trip to the local ice cream store for a sundae!  Having a payoff at the end will keep you motivated when you’re worn out about halfway through.  Celebrating at the end will make all the hard work worthwhile.

Play ball!

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