Snow is one of my favorite things. I love the smell in the air. Watching it fall is in my top ten joys of life. It’s not just pretty to look at, though. Snow demonstrates how even the smallest things can collectively make an impact–something I think we often forget.
I’ve been sick since Christmas, which has only added a ton of stress on top of Dashing’s ongoing illness. It’s also put a damper on my plans to power through the rest of the house cleaning. I’m tired all the time, and too much moving around makes me cough, so how am I supposed to make any headway?
The answer is…do something. Anything. Load the dishwasher. Spend five minutes to clear off the coffee table. Sit in my comfy chair and open mail. Doing even one small task–especially a visible one–may only be a single step on a larger journey, but it’s still a step. Every action you take toward cleaning will add up and pay off. It doesn’t even matter if all you’re doing is maintenance. One thing I try to do every night is to collect the tea cups from the living room and put them in the sink. This is a task that literally takes seconds to perform. There is virtually no strain on my body to carry three cups from one room to the other. Its impact is greater than the task, though. Next time we make tea, the cups are in place and the coffee table isn’t covered in dishware.
Today, when I woke up, I couldn’t breathe easily until I took my cough syrup. I cancelled my attendance at a craft market until tomorrow because I knew I physically couldn’t handle it. I know my limits and I’d more than reached them this time. However, even on a day like this, I have a to-do list of small things I CAN do to feel like I’ve made progress. This is what I wrote:
- transfer old computer files to DropBox
- take down greenery
- design artwork for blue table top
- go through @least 1 box of papers
- work on photos
- stuffed animals
- clear off the hooks by the basement
The two things on here that require any physical activity are taking down the last of our Christmas greenery and clearing off the basement hooks. That’s it. Everything else can be done sitting down. The greenery will take me all of 5 minutes and the hooks (of which there are only 4) will probably take even less time. But those are also highly visible areas; the impact it will have on the overall neatness of my house is huge. The other items, you’ll note, are almost negligible in their visibility, but each one will bring me closer to good organization. Transferring files from my old computer to Dropbox will allow me to get rid of the old comp AND will give me access to my old files again. The stuffed animals are for friends with kids; they are currently in a bin that takes up space in my living room. The toys will be loved by new owners, and I won’t have to walk around them anymore. The photos, which have been collected as I have cleaned the house, will be viewable again in a pretty album that I can share with my family.
If anything, the tiny projects are the most important ones. Sure, the big days of moving furniture and taking out trash are important; they set the stage and give you space to work in. But it’s the small projects that have the biggest effect on your organization. Pile enough of them together, and they–ahem–start to snowball.
Any progress at all is still progress.