The 80/20 Rule


It’s called the Pareto Principle. It was named after an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto and to my understanding, it can be applied to many things. I don’t pretend to have more than a layman’s grasp of it at best, but in essence, it states that in 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

For instance, in parenting, approximately 80% of your success is stemming from 20% of your efforts. You parent all the time, true, but some actions are more effective than others and this principle states that your most effective actions are actually about 20% of your overall efforts. And that 20% is producing the greatest part of your efficiency.

Put another way, the way I intent to use it, look at any given room in your house, the kitchen for instance. You are only using 20% of the items in there most, perhaps even all, of the time. If I follow through on this principle then that means that I could get rid of 80% of the contents on my entire house and my day to day life would not be measurably impacted by it. And that’s the moment in this train of thought where I begin to smile.

I have been looking around my house for a while, loathing the clutter, the junk, the cheap made in you-know-where crap that trails the 6 kids like space debris dragging behind Haley’s comet and I am convinced that this rule is accurate. I am surrounded by stuff that doesn’t need to be here. And I just don’t have the energy or inclination to look after stuff anymore. There are only about five things I want my life to center around anymore, and none of it is about trying to determine who’s going to use the giant plastic Shrek head from some McDonald’s Happy Meal



Day 3 through Infinity…

The clothes. THE CLOTHES!!! Dear God the clothes! I HATE laundry. If ever there was a job that is more hamster-wheel, no end in sight, it just keeps coming and coming, it’s the LAUNDRY. This is how I feel about Laundry…see this guy:

How Greek is my laundry?

Sisyphus

That’s how I feel about laundry. “Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.” Over and over and over and over again, ad infinitum. I want out. There is NO possible way that they are wearing/need to wear 80% of what I wash. It Not Possible.

Laundry in our house breaks down like this:

8 People

The Golf Pro and I, being the main purveyors of the laundry, try to be minimal about what we wear.

Oldest Son too is a minimalist, although he will wear the clothes of almost any other male in the house, fit be damned.

Oldest Daughter has a sufficient collection of clothes and is very self-sufficient about her own laundry.

Middle Son takes the minimalist approach to it’s ugly extreme. He has one and a half outfits he will wear every single day if left to his own devices.

Youngest Son, our future giant, is rapidly growing to equal his older brothers in size and is moving into their wardrobe, which means that we basically have about 50 tees, all about the same size, which they will all three be out of at once.

Youngest Daughter…our clothes horse. She alone has more clothes than everyone else in the family put together. That is what happens when you have an older sister, 3 Grandmas and a second Mom and you love clothes. This girl manifests her love like crazy. Then she wears on average 5-6 different outfits a day. Then her Mom gets a nervous eye tick.

The Baby is 2 and a half. He wears clothes ranging in size from 18 months to size 7. Those are the brakes when you’re the caboose. We love him much.

Somehow, this seems to translate in about 8 million loads of laundry a week. What up with that? Well, no more! There won’t be any bigger challenge than the laundry. It’s going to take total commitment and no small amount of time, but I’m down on it! 80% Baby, 80%!


Day 2

Today’s 80/20 project didn’t seem like much, but it took most of the day. WoW.  I will have to start posting these by the date, because there is no way that I could keep to this pace. The good thing is that I have all year to work on it. I like that idea. All I have to do is try and keep the project going a little bit at a time.

A lot of today was about getting paperwork ready for the coming return to school as life once again resumes it’s normal pace. There is a LOT of paperwork! 6 kids, two of whom have their own lawyer, 5 classrooms, social workers, adoption proceedings and the normal schedules and appointments that life requires.  One of my favorite teacher’s used to say “every wife needs a wife.” I have found that statement to be more than true.

Here’s today’s 2 part project. Go Me!

Before the 80/20

And here we are after the 80/20. Actually, it’s more like 70/30. I don’t think I’m at the full 80% yet…

After 80/20 No2

And here’s part 2. My basket of important paperwork:

And a definately 80/20 achieved here:

That’s the latest.  More importantly, I’ve begun to identify the stuff where the rubber is going to hit the road…books and clothes.


DAY 1

It’s called the Pareto Principle. It was named after an Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto and to my understanding, it can be applied to many things. I don’t pretend to have more than a layman’s grasp of it at best, but in essence, it states that in 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

For instance, in parenting, approximately 80% of your success is stemming from 20% of your efforts.  You parent all the time, true, but some actions are more effective than others and this principle states that your most effective actions are actually about 20% of your overall efforts. And that 20% is producing the greatest part of your efficiency.

Put another way, the way I intent to use it, look at any given room in your house, the kitchen for instance. You are only using 20% of the items in there most, perhaps even all, of the time.  If I follow through on this principle then that means that I could get rid of 80% of the contents on my entire house and my day to day life would not be measurably impacted by it. And that’s the moment in this train of thought where I begin to smile.

I have been looking around my house for a while, loathing the clutter, the junk, the cheap made in you-know-where  crap that trails the 6 kids like space debris dragging behind Haley’s comet and I am convinced that this rule is accurate.  I am surrounded by stuff that doesn’t need to be here. And I just don’t have the energy or inclination to look after stuff anymore.  There are only about five things I want my life to center around anymore, and it isn’t trying to determine who’s going to use the giant plastic Shrek head from some McDonald’s Happy Meal.

Example #1

The closet in my bathroom:

80/20 rule No1

This is after I have gotten rid of the 80% I don’t think I will use (actually it’s more like 30% left. I will never wear a couple of those necklaces, but they were gifts).  Voila…

80/20 Rule No2

There’s still the purses and shoes to go, but I’m giving myself plenty of time.  But seriously, what if I got rid of 80% of the stuff in my house?  I think I’d be better off. So, I’m seriously considering crowd-sourcing my purge. I’m thinking about posting some stuff on facebook and giving it away.  That part I’m stealing from the Pioneer Woman because it’s a great idea :-)

And so begins the first part of my Transformations Project.  Let’s see how it goes!