Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

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

 Mishpacha image

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.

Related Stories

Family Fiction: White Flakes

Esty Heller

Frumet reaches for the dips again, and my smile wanes. I can’t — she can’t take refills. It’s just… ...

Adviceline: Embarrassed to Leave Kollel?

Rabbi Zev Leff, Rabbi Yitzchok Frankel, Mrs. Batya Weinberg

My husband wants me to stay home with the kids while he works. But in this community, I’m embarrasse...

The Gardenia

Shayna Friedman

She did a last once-over in the mirror, deciding she looked absolutely perfect. Wasn’t that the most...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Do You Know Where You’re Going?
Rabbi Moshe Grylak If Mrs. Esterhazy hadn’t gotten sick
Birthright Drops Reform
Yonoson Rosenblum The numbers tell the sad story
With Fresh Eyes
Eytan Kobre Members of an ever-tying people
Gift-Giving Guide
Yisroel Besser There’s a skill to giving a teacher a gift
Time for a Career Change
Jacob L. Freedman “How can a bochur even afford to smoke?”
Today I Am a (Learned? Committed?) Jewish Man
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are bar mitzvah celebrations good for the Jews?
Major in Mothering
Faigy Peritzman “How do you picture marriage? Discussing quantum theory?...
When Parents Disagree
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Connecting heart-to-heart when you don’t see eye-to-eye
En Route: Food for Thought
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The bread we eat today also comes from heaven
The Twins: Part II
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer “Bead,” she says again, with a little smirk
Dear Acquaintance
Your Possible Friend at the Clinic Why do you make it harder for me — and for you?