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Avoidance of Spring Cleaning

Written by Claudia Vermillion, Care Connections Specialist

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

Last weekend I finally completed the dreaded task of cleaning out the garage. After months, okay maybe even a year or two of ignoring the mounting bicycles, skateboards, scooters, grills, charcoal, sports equipment, empty mystery boxes, etc., something unexpected and perhaps a bit cosmic happened, I got it done. After months, okay, years of empty promises to myself and broken plans, I got it done. And surprisingly it wasn’t that bad.

There were two other surprises here. The first is how after waiting for the perfect time and conditions, I just rolled up my sleeves and did it without a lot of planning or forethought like times before. I did not envision my happiness at being able to open the car door without hitting a bike pedal like times before. Heck, I didn’t even check the weather that day. Somehow, I just did it.

The second surprise was that it really wasn’t that bad. It didn’t take more than two hours tops. Why did I wait so long to do this? Why did I look at this task with such dread and avoid it at all costs? To give myself some credit, part of my avoidance was based on prior history. I can clearly remember spending what seemed like an entire day tackling this monster task. My recollection tells me I watched the sun sail clear across the sky leaving only tricky shadows while I still worked till dark, and in one case had to continue the next day. So why was this time different?

To come up with a reasonable answer I had to think back to the circumstances surrounding the last two times I thoroughly cleaned the garage. The first time was shortly after we moved into the house and so in addition to cleaning, we had to essentially set up the garage in a way that made sense and best utilized the space. Of course that took time. The second time was after we installed a patio during the summer and the garage became a construction zone of tarps, leftover bricks and tools we haven’t used since. That wasn’t fun.

So even though I enjoyed the final result of a clean garage, it was my past experience that kept me from getting it done sooner. My logic was faulty and my time could have been better spent. Instead of taking a few moments to analyze how this time might be different, I wasted a lot of time making plans I would not keep, watching weather reports waiting for the perfect day, etc.

I also didn’t give myself enough credit for those prior jobs. As it turns out, hidden below the clutter of scooters, bicycle parts, rafts and topsoil bags was an already established system just waiting to be rediscovered and dusted off. My previous efforts had provided the foundation of the system designating where the big items go, where the tool section is, where the pool section is, where the gardening section is, etc. After rolling up my sleeves and digging in, I quickly realized that it was relatively easy for everything to find its place, and heck even a couple of new sections were established.

Next time:

I will not waste too much time planning for the perfect time.

I will spend some time to strategically approach the job.

I will give myself credit for the prior work done and for the foundation already in place.

I will roll up my sleeves and get ‘r’ done.

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