Clean Your Workshop: a Game




As a frequent board game player, I've long been aware of the mysterious power that little colored wooden cubes can hold over people. Occasionally, intelligent grown men will break out into long winded discussions over whether the acquisition of a small wooden cube is acceptable according to intricate, but really rather arbitrary, rules.

I've often thought: if only this absurd motivational force could be harnessed and applied to some useful purpose. Here I attempt to do just that with the cleaning game!

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Step 1: Stuff You Need

a treasure chest (any sort of box with a lid)

treasures (small trinkets of your choosing)

small bowl (victory point track)

mascot (optional)

the rules sheet (below) (also in pdf)

Step 2: The Rules

Print out the rule sheet (below) (also in PDF format below)

It's very simple really. Assign points to various tasks. Assign point values to the trinkets. For each task you complete, move the appropriate point trinket to your victory point track.

The game is over when you give in to some excuse to stop cleaning, you close the lid of the treasure chest or you have successfully cleaned your entire house/workshop!

Tally up your points and mark it down on the calendar with a gold star.

So far I've managed to clean my whole apartment with this game, playing the solitaire version. So, it's proven to work, at least once!

Maybe I can actually photograph my workshop now.

Step 3: Is It Fun?

I'd say it's about as fun as playing a game of solitaire with a deck of cards is fun. It's definitely productive. There's something satisfying about collecting your victory point and then tallying your points up at the end.

I interviewed some random strangers who gave positive feedback (in exchange for victory cubes)

(Sorry the image notes seem to be busted lately.)

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    10 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nothing motivates me better than a new project, itself. So I make it a point to make some new tool rack or organizing gizmo every now and then. Once I'm done making it, it obviously needs a proper space cleared for it. Shortly afterwards, it magically gets filled with whatever is supposed to go into it. Then more often than not, my workspace gets rearranged and organized a little more while I figure out the best spot to put it and what needs to be in it. It's usually about 3 weeks later when I figure out it's worthless and it goes in the trash. But my space is a bit cleaner by the end of the process. :)

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    har! hehehe I have so many project ideas buzzing in my head that they all clamour at once and become like a white noise and I don't know where to begin. It's overwhelming, and then the messy workshop becomes a source of procrastination. Once the workshop is clean then I feel calmer and able to actually do one of them.


    Yes, I suppose it depends on your personality. It might work for more people if there was an element of strategy to it. Not sure how to do that though.


    Maybe you could decide on a treat for yourself based on the number of points you get. For instance, if you get 50 points, you can go get ice cream. I have a teacher who used to quiz herself in college, and for each question she got right, she would eat an M&M


    It's good! I don't want to reward myself with food, cause I wanna keep the weight down. But I've been using other types of rewards like: letting myself by that particular software or power tool after getting so many points or achieving so many arbitrary goals.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I agree- the weirdest things can have profound motivational effects. I needed a way to make myself regularly perform a boring chore, so I invented a tortuously complicated mathematical formula for rewarding myself with money for doing it with harsh penalties for missing more than one day running.

    I won't explain the maths because it involves O notation (tl;dr version, I get O(2n / n2) pounds after N days with certain limits), but even though the money was going to be mine anyway it still works like nothing I've ever tried before.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Ha ha, very nice! I've been trying to find a way to get my daughter to clean her room without a big fuss, and this might do the job. Can you post a PDF or attach a large version of the rules sheet images?

    1 reply