Thursday, January 22, 2015

One Goal

Photo courtesy of
 papaija2008 at Free Digital

Alright, so it’s a good goal, but don’t be obsessed with de-cluttering your house.” I read that somewhere. Don’t be obsessed; don’t have a one-track mind; you should have a more balanced approach. This sounds like sane advice. It also sounds like another form of Resistance. If I follow this advice, I get to pat myself on the back and say that I’m being balanced and rational while allowing this very important goal to sink into oblivion. I’ve been here before. A balanced approach doesn’t work; it just lets this important goal become buried among other important goals. But I’ve learned over the decades that “if everything is important, then nothing is important.” De-cluttering my house is important to me. This year I plan to keep my de-cluttering/Tidying-up goal at the forefront. Following the path laid out by Leo Babauta in his excellent book, The Power of Less:

This year I will make de-cluttering my house my One Goal.

Good. That decision is made. It simplifies things. It gives me focus. As David Delp ( says, “the reason we make goals is not because having achieved them will make us happier. We make goals so we can focus.”

Of course, there’s focus, and then there’s focus.

After the initial kitchen/dining room clear out, I've been tweaking things in these rooms this month (January). It has seemed to make sense to concentrate on one area/room/category of stuff for a whole month. That gives me time to build habits to keep the new order. It gives me time to live with my first pass at the project long enough to think of what I've missed, and to invent new solutions to parts of the project that were not quite working (the “make a Home” for everything part). For example, under the kitchen sink, aside from the cleaning products that do have a good Home, there are clean towels/wash cloths just piled in a plastic dish pan. They have a Home; I know where they are; I like them in that cupboard, but… It’s time to invent a different type of shelving or container to separate the types of cloths so I can easily grab the one I want.

After looking for open front plastic bins to buy (didn't find anything that was the right size), I repurposed some wooden crates (that Clementines come in). They’re not adequate (too small). DH found a solution (a set of plastic drawers) that is OK for now, but still not quite what I want. However, since it is OK, I will move on to the next thing and just keep an eye out for what I do want.

So, back to the focus: there’s focus on de-cluttering my house, and then there’s focus on tweaking the details of each area. I’m beginning to wonder whether this is too much focus on details. I want to set things up so they work well for us, but if I get lost in the details I may de-rail the de-cluttering project as a whole. I tend to do that kind of thing. So, I will practice the “end-of-task” habit that helps me complete things to finish off the kitchen project so I can move on to the next thing.

The end-of-task for the kitchen/dining room clear out is to clean the last few things: microwave, oven, refrigerator, floors. I don’t clean ovens, so that will be delegated to DH; the ‘fridge just needs a wipe down; floors, just a quick vacuum and mop up. And the microwave: cleaning the microwave turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. Nuking a bowl full of water and white vinegar seems to work to make whatever food residue is there soften and just wash right off. Easy. Except that DH and I started talking about replacing our decades-old built-in microwave. He thinks of this as a DIY project, but I’m a bit unsure. I want whatever we do to look good, professional, and, besides, I don’t want to derail the whole house de-cluttering project. That is my One Goal, and I need to do something to further that goal every day.  

It’s time to learn how to make this whole project happen, time to learn how to focus on a year-long project. Time to give my goal heart (next post)…

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them. Jack Canfield


  1. I think you're making wonderful progress. For me, doing it in bites is what gets it done. If I have tasks to do -- I make a list and work on one until it is finished - not even looking at the whole list. I'm very much a one-at-time person. I had to be a multi-tasker while working. During these slower years of my life I tend to work on one thing -- knowing that the next 'thing' will be there when I'm ready to move on.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Sorry Penny, your comment was duplicated, so I removed the second one.