The slow spread of “stuff”

June 26, 2012

It’s been a busy few days, after a mostly quiet start to our summer.  We’re starting to settle back into normal after a week of Vacation Bible School (meaning very late nights and sleeping-abnormally-late mornings for my kiddos).  As I sat on the sofa recently I looked around and got the distinct impression that things had gotten a little out of control.

I sit and write about “pursuing enough,” and around me “enough” appears to be stealthily multiplying at night.  The dining room table can’t be seen for the piles of legos and lego buckets.  The library books have escaped their basket and appear to be on every single flat surface downstairs.  My son’s steady stream of artwork and papers have crept from the kitchen counter to a small side table in the kitchen to the kitchen table to the dining room….My daughter’s goody bags from VBS have yet to be dealt with, migrating from her place at the table to the kitchen counter and back again.  The worst part, for me, is that I ruined my beautifully clean laundry room closet with one bag of random junk culled from a drawer in my son’s room (I’ll deal with this later).  That one bag will sprout tentacles and my closet will be unusable in a week; I know it.

I’ve spent my downtime this summer reading books like “Simple Country Wisdom” (charming) and “Simplicity Parenting” (amazing), and yet I currently seem to be back to drowning in the swamp of “stuff.”

Here’s the difference, though:  I now know what to do about it.

I think, before, I would spend a lot of time procrastinating about what to do and how to do it because “it’s going to take forever.”  Actually, it takes about fifteen minutes; or ten minutes, or five minutes–however long I want to devote to the problem.  I set a timer and just do it–because even five minutes of uncluttering is an improvement.  Five minutes gets all the library books rounded up and back where they belong.  Five minutes gets all the papers gathered in a single stack (although admittedly it will take another ten to go through them).  The dining table will be reclaimed eventually, ten minutes at a time.  Some things the kids will help with, and some I’ll take care of myself….but it will get done.  I just have to get up and do it.

On that note…..I guess it’s time to get to work.

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4 Responses to “The slow spread of “stuff””

  1. Janelle Says:

    You’re right. Small bites eventually make a meal. We are doing the little jobs this morning … and by lunch I know I will feel better, with laundry on the go and a reasonably tidy home to spend the afternoon in. (Those books look like good reads, too.)

    • jenfletcher Says:

      Doesn’t it just FEEL better to have the house “reasonably tidy?” It makes things so much calmer…for me, anyway.

      The books are wonderful….I’m thinking about doing some posts about “Simplicity Parenting;” it was an eye-opening book. I guess I’m a receptive audience, but it’s helped me to feel like I’m on the right track with what I’m trying to do.


  2. Wow… I literally JUST read an article on this (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/how-i-learned-to-stop-procrastinating-two-minutes-at-a-time/article4364880/) Two minutes, so says this person. I’ve timed stuff, and you’re right, it takes significantly less time than you think. As they say, if you’d started right away, you’d probably be done by now 🙂

    • jenfletcher Says:

      I have to laugh at the “two minutes” because years ago I was constantly procrastinating about emptying the dishwasher, and I finally timed myself as I did it. Two minutes. 🙂 Once you realize how little time it takes, it’s a LOT easier to do it.

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