One Bite at a Time

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There’s an adage about eating an elephant “one bite at a time.” It’s a less poetic form of “Rome wasn’t built in day” but I like the graphic imagery of someone digging into an elephant with a knife and fork. (Sorry, elephant fans!) (No elephants were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

I know all students can sympathize with feeling overwhelmed by a task in front of you – these opening weeks of school are full of syllabus lists, new fat textbooks demanding to be read, a calendar full of scary due dates.

For me, the elephant to be consumed is a housewide cleaning, reorganization, and minor renovation project. We’ve been here for more than a decade now, and our house needs some TLC: fresh paint on the walls, new paint on the rooms we ignored when we moved in, small general repairs, replacing worn out items with better ones, improving the kitchen, maybe even a new dishwasher (one can dream, yes?)

There are few things in life I hate more than housecleaning, you know?  I do like having a clean house. I appreciate a tidy house, though I rarely achieve it.  It’s nice to walk into the kitchen and see sunlight reflect off sparkling-clean linoleum. But I’ve never gotten to the point that I relish the clean, tidy house enough to trade away reading or social time to get it. 🙂

So I find myself staring at the elephant.

It’s going to be an uphill climb but I’m arming myself with a few tools.

A must-have: a good task organization program. I’ve used several (some I love for their simplicity, others provide the complexity I need to manage large projects with multiple users at work) but for this I’m falling back to my trusty ToodleDo.  You can sort tasks into folders, assign priority, and schedule due-dates or milestones.  It’s simple, effective, and armed with an excellent iOS app.

I had big dreams of kicking off the Renewal this weekend, but then I realized we’ve been going non-stop since the end of July and I just need a break and some time to myself, especially after wrapping up a crazier-than-usual week at work.

Sometimes the best first step is a good rest.

After a basic housecleaning (to make everything presentable to the general public), I plan to tackle the garage: Throw out what we don’t need, reorganize what’s valuable, paint the walls and ceiling, and stain the floor concrete.  If the floor turns out ok, I’d like to strip out the carpet I hate and go with concrete floors throughout the house. (If I hit the lottery, I’ll upgrade that dream to tile or wood. But realism is useful when considering home improvements.)

I promise I’ll take photos. 🙂

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