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Home Management, Down to a Science

Yael Wiesner

Whether or not you were a chemistry geek in high school, physics may help you finally take care of that cluttered toy closet or messy bedroom floor

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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DEFY NATURE Can you fight the forces of gravity or the law of inertia? At home you can! Make sure the places where objects gravitate are actually where they belong. Combat the law of inertia by making sure all home management tasks follow some sort of cycle

H ypothesis: Home management is a science that can be learned, so running your home doesn’t have to be an experiment with unknown variables.

Discover which scientific principle is being tested in your home laboratory and learn the formula to tackle it.


This fundamental principle of physics states that the mass of a collection of objects never changes, no matter how the parts are rearranged or transferred.

Household Application
The Law of Conservation of MESS: The mess of a collection of objects never changes, no matter how the parts are rearranged or transferred. Aha! Reorganizing a mess or moving it from place to place will not help you eliminate it. Stuffing all the clutter in the living room into a garbage bag on Erev Shabbos may improve the look of the room, but not the situation. Making decisions about the mess, dealing with what’s there, and removing what’s unnecessary — that will take care of the problem. 

Formula for Resolution
mess = do it differently 

To get rid of the mess once and for all, the process needs to be adjusted:

• The piles of paper from the dining room table that were moved to the drawer Erev Shabbos and then back to the table on Motzaei Shabbos need to be dealt with and filed away. Redo the filing system to make both filing and retrieval more convenient. Set up a convenient inbox to dump papers in so that they will still be in your line of vision without cluttering up the table.

• Stop reorganizing messy toys in the closet. The half-life of a toy closet that hasn’t been decluttered recently is about five minutes. If the toy closet isn’t working, come up with an entirely new system. Something has to change. Throw away broken toys. Rid your home of unused oversized toys. Transfer all toys to uniform, clear containers, especially the ones that come in funky non-stackable containers — no need to hold on to those. A drawer system may work for toys with lots of pieces, or try keeping toys out of your children’s reach and just bring down a few every day.

• Don’t keep refolding the same clothes. Make changes in the way you store clothes. Cut down the supply to items people truly like and wear. Separate smaller items by dividers, or purchase drawer inserts to maximize the space of big shelves.


According to this second law of thermodynamics, everything in the universe, when left to itself, tends toward more and more disorder and eventually chaos — unless new energy enters into the system.

When the house is flying (“object in motion”), it will continue to fly unless the pilot prepares for landing

Household Application

What a relief! It’s not just you and your home, getting cluttered, dirty, disorganized over time… it’s the entire universe! Order naturally diminishes unless someone or something gets involved.

Our homes get messier and messier because they are following the laws of physics. What we need to do is introduce “new energy” into the system.


Formula for Resolution

energy = healthy habits

Despite the action and craziness each day brings, do something, anything, for one minute to keep the house in shape. Adopt some of these healthy habits into your daily routine to increase order and prevent chaos from taking over:

• Rid your home of a few pieces of clutter each day.

• Wipe down the bathroom sink each time you walk in there.

• Throw away torn books.

• Throw away broken toys.

• Wash a dish instead of putting it in the sink.

• Unpack your travel bag as soon as you get home.

• Throw the dirty sock in the hamper instead of stepping over it.

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