“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” Peter Marshall
When you have a large project to complete, how do you approach it? Does that approach always help you get the work done?
Being at home has forced me to pay more attention to the condition of the inside of my house. The kitchen is the most challenging room to clean and I have intended to wash certain areas for a long time, especially the outside of the refrigerator.
When I looked at the frig door I thought, “That is a mess. Where did all these stains come from? We didn’t throw food at it.” Many of the splotches on the outside were probably mold of some kind. Other places looked like large bugs had committed suicide there.
In addition, there were photos and yellow crispy quotes I had cut from the newspaper or typed to post there. The largest one reads: “Dakota Tribal Wisdom: When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.” Those words had once led me to make a painful but wise decision to end a relationship that was not meant to be, so I kept them there as a reminder to make wise decisions.
Using a Plan to Create Action
Last week, I finally decided I had to face this problem head on and come up with a specific plan to clean the entire kitchen. Every time I had planned to do it all in one day I found an excuse not to, so I decided to take it in steps, a half day at a time.
The first morning I started with the easiest task: cleaning the tile wall above the sink and counter and the spots on the nearby walls. That went so quickly that I expanded the work to include wiping off the separate cabinets. Afterwards, I felt very proud of myself.
Motivated by my success on the first day, the next day I decided to clean the inside of the refrigerator. It was rather difficult because the door only opened to a ninety-degree angle and it was impossible to remove one of the vegetable bins that had numerous scraps of greens under it. To reach that area and clean it, I had to dismantle two shelves which were heavy and awkward to remove. That activity wore me out, but I was delighted that the inside glistened brightly.
On the third day, I stuck with the plan although I dreaded facing the mess on the outside of the frig. I removed the magnets, pictures, and quotes from the door, sorted them, and threw some away. Using the Lysol bleach, I scrubbed some areas over and over again, starting at the top and working my way down. When I took a rest break, I reluctantly kept my cleaning gloves on.
As I was finishing, my husband walked into the room, surveyed my work, and said, “I’ve never seen this frig so white. It’s looks great, honey.” I laughed. “I know!” I said. Looking around the room, I smiled at the sunlight bouncing off all the clean white areas. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.
Enjoying the Success
This experience reminded me of all the things I hadn’t done in life because the task seemed overwhelming. What I had accomplished, I had taken step by step, one task, one day at a time. That had certainly been true when I was in school and during the years I learned to be a modern dancer. But it is so easy to forget the hard work that takes us to a place where the activity becomes easy and gives us joy.
So today I’m writing the rough draft of this blog post. The next day I’ll polish it, and the next day, I’ll post it.
We can use this sheltering in place time to catch up on things we have avoided and delayed, and when we have completed one of them, we must remember to compliment ourselves on what we have accomplished. Now, every time I pass that white refrigerator shining in the light, I smile.
© 2020 Georganne Spruce
AWAKENING TO THE GIFTS OF SOLITUDE
Good idea for all those things we put off. Step by step, little by little. Makes it possible instead of overwhelming!