Don’t Look at the Big Picture! or How to Get that Big Cleaning Job Done

We’ve all been there. You see that big pile of paper that keeps growing next to your computer, or all that dust accumulating on the furniture, or the floors looking ever more dingy in your home, or some other big household job that just seems to be getting ever bigger and more nagging!

You take it all in and just thinking about doing that big household job makes you too tired to do it!

Well, there is a better way and it’s more likely to get that job done. The first thing to do is to stop looking at the big picture!

Actually, this is most of the plan. Once, on a trip to the Grand Canyon, I was listening to a ranger speak at Phantom ranch, about hiking back up to the rim. Phantom Ranch lies at the bottom of the canyon and visitors there must hike down to it. Of course, this means they must hike up back to the rim in order to leave. This is a 9-mile hike with a 4,000 foot elevation gain.

The ranger told us that the best way to approach the hike back up was not to look at the full height of the rim, but instead look at the layers of colored rock individually.

Once you pass one layer in elevation, look only at the next layer. And this was excellent advice! Topping a layer was a far easier goal to achieve at a time than thinking about the entire rim’s height. Before I knew it, I was topping that last layer of rock and found myself at the top of the rim! Sure, I still hiked the same distance, but psychologically, it was a lot easier to do it piecemeal in my mind, and this made the hike easier to do!

Household chores that are big can be tackled the same way! That big pile of papers to go through? Just do a little at a time. If the papers are in a big mess, straighten them out and put them into several neat stacks on day one. Day two, go through a stack. If you’re busy with other things as well, take a few minutes between other tasks and go through 10-15 papers. Before you know it, that pile will look significantly smaller, then it will be gone!

Dusting? Just dust one or two pieces of furniture a day, instead of tackling all of the furniture that day. Two pieces of furniture would be a snap.  And the floors? Just do one room a day!

Yes, you’ll be doing that same big job, but in pieces. And thinking of just one “piece” of these jobs makes them look much smaller and easier to do. And you won’t be so tired just thinking about them!

If you like this plan, or anything else on this site, please let others know!

Thanks for reading and good luck cleaning!  🙂

Don’t be a Hoarder! or Do You Really Need All That Stuff?

We’ve probably all know someone like this, or it may even be some of us! You know who they, or you, are. People who cannot seem to throw anything away, get rid of old unused items, or clear space.

There’s even a show on TV about them. I believe it’s called “Hoarders“.

I think we all have a tendency to hoard things. I have been guilty to some extent, but I am more careful now, and I’ve never come anywhere close to the extremes I’ve seen others go to. I do have a limit. I see a pile of paper growing, consisting of coupons and advertisements that I think I may be interested in, only to find I’m not using them. So, after the pile gets to a certain height, about 1-2 inches, I go through it and discard most, if not all, of it.

I’ve also become more careful about buying things, or rather, not buying things that I really don’t need. And when I do replace something, I either give the old item away or sell it at a local flea market.

But some people, including some I know or have known, go to much further extremes than a 2 inch high pile of papers. One person I knew kept his place very neat and organized, but kept every paper that he ever received from any source. As a result, his place was greatly crowded with tall stacks of paper and boxes, to the point where you could only get through his place single file!

Another person I know had tons of old magazines and articles and his place was a real mess. The stuff was piled on top of a table and he slept under it!

Another person I know had a garage full of items and absolutely no room for even a Smart car!

Then there are other people I have known who had apartments crowded with things they didn’t use and also were renting storage spaces for even more things that they didn’t use!

All of this hoarding makes their places cramped and much less enjoyable, and, for those who are renting storage spaces, it is costing them money. All for a vast majority of items that they no longer need. And if they move, all those extra items mean a lot of extra work to move them to the new home or apartment!

Plus, this can be a safety hazard. I have heard of people dying in their homes when piles of stuff fell and buried them. Really!

One of the hoarders I knew kept every receipt for every purchase they ever made!

Now, of course it is a good idea to keep a receipt for a major purchase for a time, at least until the warranty runs out, but keeping a receipt for a burger and fries you ate 10 years ago is just plain crazy!

Now, some hoarders do change. The people with the garage finally decided to clean it out, to everyone’s immense surprise. And, it was only the garage that they had filled with items. The house was always in good order and clutter free.

My advice, if you don’t have clutter, don’t start! Think about what you’re buying and keep the emotion at bay. Yes, this can be hard at times, and yes, I’ve let emotion make me buy things I didn’t need, but try to keep emotion at bay. It will save you time and money.

If you do have clutter, go through it, a little at a time. Try not to look at the whole “pile”, as it may look too daunting and make you give up. Just take a little at a time, and go through it, and really ask yourself if you really need that item, and does it really mean that much to you?.

Yes, it may be your favorite aunt’s hat. But, if you have a picture of her, isn’t that much more meaningful? And if the hat is not being used, and especially if it is in storage, why are you keeping it?

That little at a time may not seem like much, but if you work at it consistently, maybe once a day or once every other day, you’ll see a significant clutter reduction by the end of the week. And maybe you won’t need to rent that storage space! And the space you’ll free up will give you that bigger place you’ve been yearning for, without the rent increase!

If you like this post and what you see here, please let others know of this blog and site!

Good luck, and thanks for reading!  🙂