Small Victories and building momentum

So, we had a couple months of crazy and didn’t keep up with our system well. BUT, right before that, we started cataloging all the things we have accomplished since we started this. And as we jump back in and attempt to make this part of our daily routine, it is encouraging to see the progress we were able to make in just a short amount of time.

Click here for a reminder of how we started this project.

Are you wondering how it is working for us? Has anything in the way we operate as a family really changed?

The short answer is that it truly is changing things around here.

We are more focused. We have a shared system for prioritizing projects and tasks. Both of us get to weigh in on what should take priority that day, or week. Personally, I feel a renewed sense of us working together as a team, rather than each of us just doing whatever we want to do separately.

And we want to be sure to celebrate our successes. Especially when laying out a big project like this, (a giant wall full of post-it “to-do”s with some pretty major things that need to get done, like ‘re-build the back deck’ and clearing off spaces that perpetually have piles), it is helpful to also include some small, easily attainable tasks. You know, like when those list-loving people write down something they have already done just so they can cross it off. It is satisfying to see progress. And to be able to see and experience how being disciplined can really pay off.

So here are some of our victories so far.

Ben and his dad finished a big portion of rebuilding our back deck.

There are still some pieces to be done to say that the project is totally complete, like rebuilding the railings and sealing the new boards. But the steps and decking have all been rebuilt, which really is something worth celebrating! It’s functional again-there were a few days where we didn’t have steps back there, so it was a bit precarious. And it feels good to walk on solid (not rotting) boards every time we go out the back door. (Which happens multiple times each day.)

This is an “in-progress” shot with the old wood. We now have new flooring and the old railings have been put back up. New railings are still to come.

We did a first round of sorting in the Office/Nursery.

We pulled everything out of the office that was on the floor. There were boxes of baby clothes, camera gear, broken kites, etc. Everything that was on the floor was pulled out to the Living Room where we sorted it, and we put back only what belongs in there. This has been on the ‘Not Ok’ part of the wall for awhile now, so getting started in this room was pretty satisfying.

Now, there are still 4 boxes of baby things on the floor of the Living Room. (Naptime ended before we finished sorting through everything and putting it back in the Office/Nursery.) And it has been over a week and these boxes still aren’t in their proper home (because I need to do some sorting through them first.) BUT one part of the big Office/Nursery project is complete. We can walk in that room without stepping over crazy piles and boxes of stuff stacked all over the room.


The books all fit on the bookshelf!

This was a bit of an afterthought once we got all the office floor things sorted and put back in their places. But when I look at that bookshelf (multiple times each day) I am proud of the hard work we put into deciding which books to keep and which ones to part with. And that we finally just did it. It’s been bothering me for months now that not all the books fit on the bookshelf. We even got rid of enough books that we had one whole shelf empty. We were able to put our DVD collection in that spot. And now we have one less box in a closet!

Finished the corner by the back door

Sometimes just finishing something because it will only take 15-20 minutes is helpful, even if it means bypassing the post-it system. I bought a card catalog at a yard sale this weekend and needed to rearrange some of the things in the kitchen corner to make it fit. But moving the recycling basket meant re-hanging the vacuum higher, which meant a trip to the basement for tools. We put it off until Sunday night, but it was getting frustrating with that corner not having things back in their place. So it made sense to just take care of it right then. Ben did have to abandon this mini-project to help out with bedtime routines, but once the kids were asleep he finished up quickly and we were able to re-set that corner in an evening.

This was a bit of an aside from our system of post-its and projects and priorities. But I really wanted this card catalog shelf. And I had birthday money to spend however I wanted. And by the second day of the sale, they were willing to make a pretty good deal, so it was a bit of a fun purchase. But moving it into the kitchen on Saturday morning meant we had to find a new place for the shelf that was already there. And then, re-homing the things that were residing in that original shelf, like batteries and light bulbs.

I suppose it is an example of being flexible also. Buying a card catalog was not on our radar. The right circumstances were there and it made sense, but adding a new piece of furniture meant rearranging what we already have. Our square footage is such that we have to be pretty intentional about the things we let take up space in our house. (But that’s for another post…) And a spontaneous purchase like this meant we had to live with an overcrowded corner of the kitchen or bump up rearranging that corner to the top of the priority list. And you can only reach around the recycling basket so many times to get to the peanut butter. Especially when the most-requested snack these days is peanut butter on a spoon.

So, we are celebrating a few small victories right now. Our system is working!

We know that a few of you have been trying out our system and have invested in your own set of post-its. How is it going for you? What are you finding helpful? What is discouraging? We are interested to know how others are using these ideas, and we want to celebrate your small (and large) victories with you!

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