Each night as the day winds down and everyone becomes cranky and tired, Mom would make one more push to clean the house before bedtime. Everyone would gather together in the messiest room in the house, usually the living room or family room. Then we would all play a little game she liked to call “Twenty Things Before Bed.” At the count of three, the family would scatter and try to be the fastest person to pick up twenty items laying on the ground. If they could get them put them away and get back first they were declared the winner for the night.
This genius idea resulted in five to ten minutes of utter pandemonium, with everyone scrambling to grab things off the floor. My favorite was to grab the sock box, a huge bin filled with the unmatched socks for the family. If you were lucky enough to get there first and put it away, you had a good chance to win the game. Piles of books were great too, because you could carry lots in your arms and put them all away in a bookshelf somewhere. It was the problem of whoever left them on the floor to find them again. Lego’s were generally another winner, because you could carry a lot of lego’s in your shirt, dump them in the toy box and run with all your might for Mom.
Eventually the family dwindled to only a few members, but this tradition passed on to my children and beyond. Any tricks a Mom can use to get some help picking up is a good thing.