Keep On Keeping On

posted by Andrea | 11/17/2012

Over that last 2 years, I have received countless emails from blog readers, facebook followers, and even “real-life” friends asking me question after question about how to simplify their_______

  • Life
  • Home
  • Business
  • Closet
  • Budget
  • Meal planning
  • Grocery shopping
  • Cleaning routine
  • Holiday traditions
  • Daily/weekly schedule
  • etc. etc.

Some of the emails are light-hearted and fun — just looking for a few quick tips or to bounce some ideas around.

But so many of these emails are heart-wrenching pleas from women who are so overwhelmed and truthfully don’t know what to do or where to start. They pour out their frustrations in the emails, and I can tell they are desperately looking for guidance, instruction, and just the tiniest shred of hope.

Many of these women do not have the luxury of family or friends who can help; some are single moms just trying to make it through one more day; others are just so overwhelmed with life and they don’t know what to do.

There is a lot of pain in these emails and it makes me sad — especially since there often isn’t anything I can do besides offer some encouraging words and links to resources that may be able to help them.

Many of the emails ask for financial advice (which I legally can not give), psychological advice (which I’m definitely not qualified to give), and personal advice (which is really hard to give someone you don’t know via email).

However, I know they just need someone to hear them out… so I always respond — and when I respond, I always encourage them just to “keep on keeping on”. 

Don’t give up!

As I’ve mentioned before, simple organized living is not easy — it takes work. And although IT {whatever “it” is} may seem impossible right now, you can do it — and it will be worth it in the end. 

If you’re currently knee-deep in clutter and credit card bills, it’s not going to be easy… but by starting small, you’ll gradually start to eliminate all that stress from your home and life.

Here are a few ultra simple ideas to think about as you begin your journey towards simple, organized living.

  • Can you eliminate STUFF to make your living environment less cluttered?
  • Can you eliminate OBLIGATIONS to make your time and schedule less cluttered?
  • Can you eliminate BILLS to make your finances less cluttered? (by paying them off or canceling the service)

If you can relate to these emails, let me also encourage you to “keep on keeping on.” Keep moving forward, keep pushing ahead, keep taking small steps to improve… even when {and especially when} you don’t feel like it, you’re tired, you have 101 other things to do, etc.

Do ONE tiny thing — unload the dishwasher, make your bed, open the mail, organize your wallet, or decide what to make for dinner tonight.

Then do ONE more thing.

No, your life won’t be dramatically different after completing one small task, but after a few months of doing one thing every day, you will notice a difference.

Aim for progress, not perfection, and just get started… today! 

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22 comments

  1. Mónica Murillo

    11/17/2012

    Dear Andrea, I´m keeping on! Your words are always on time! My everyday seems a litlle bit brighter, thank you!

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  2. Anne

    11/17/2012

    Wow! What perfect weekend inspiration: thank you, Andrea!

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  3. Evie

    11/17/2012

    Sometimes I think it’s the “self talk” that we carry on inside our heads that makes things seem so impossible. I mean, inside my head I sometimes mutter and fuss and feel sorry for myself and give reasons why not to do something (that I know has to be done anyway); then in that negative mood I force myself to get up and get going on whatever it is, and before long I find that I’m “in the groove,” problem solving, working at the task I so dreaded, and ultimately getting it done! Then I’m in a great mood, proud of myself for my accomplishment, and thinking (still inside my head LOL) that it was so simple, I needn’t have suffered so over doing THAT! When I went through that as a kid, my father (who must have recognized it from his own experience) always said this to me: “The only way TO it is THROUGH it.” I’ve remembered his expression, tone of voice, and words all these many years, and at 67 I still use his saying as the way to get myself up off the chair and get started. I know that once I start, I’ll feel so much better……and once I finish, I’ll feel so happy at my accomplishment. Whether it’s a little dreaded job or a big one, this works for me and I’m passing it all on in hopes it will help somebody else. Think of your goal as not the completed task so much as the wonderful sense of accomplishment! I DID IT! I still say that to myself! I DID IT, AND I’M HAPPY ABOUT THAT! Aim for one I DID IT a day, then one an hour maybe, and then a whole slew of them end to end! Talk about a mood lifter! Yeah!

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  4. Evie

    11/17/2012

    One other little thought: Don’t forget to thank yourself when you’ve done one little dreaded thing that had to be done! “THANK YOU, ME!” I actually say that. I love it! Hahah, OK, I’m weird, but it’s nice to hear it…

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    JoAnn C. Reply:

    I do this all the time, guess that makes me weird too! ; )

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  5. JoAnn C.

    11/17/2012

    Right on sister! Right on!

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  6. Julie

    11/17/2012

    Great advice! Gussy Sews had a good one in the last week or two that I keep thinking of since we just moved last weekend. She said do one thing and then do the next. I’ve been trying to think of that when I get overwhelmed with all the unpacking. Don’t look too far ahead, just one thing at a time. :)

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  7. Jamie

    11/17/2012

    Such practical advice, but something that’s so easy to forget “in the moment” of being utterly overwhelmed! Thank you!

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  8. Steph

    11/17/2012

    Needed this today. Thank you.

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  9. Deni

    11/18/2012

    Andrea, you are such an inspiration to so many and we thank you for caring! I have implemented so many of your tips in my life and it has helped so much. Every day, I jot down my “top 5 list” for the day and check them off when completed. It shows me what I’ve accomplished and motivates me to do them all. So, making list of my most important things to do and even my “dreaded” tasks seems much easier to face. Thanks again ; )

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  10. Jenny

    11/18/2012

    Thank you for your encouraging words and your inspiring blog, Andrea. This post was just what I needed to help me start some projects around my house!

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  11. Suzanne

    11/18/2012

    Ditto. I sooo needed this today, feeling overwhelmed from some huge work tasks, haven’t been able to keep up at home and feeling “threatened” by the upcoming holidays and not being as ready as I typically am. GREAT TIMING!

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  12. Molly

    11/18/2012

    Something I discovered recently along this vein is a concept explained at ufyh.tumblr.com (beware, profanity riddled. Not linked on purpose. It’s easy to search and find) of doing 20 minutes of work, ten minutes of break, over and over until a task is complete. 20/10s. It’s amazing to me how much I can get in 20 minutes of hard work when I know a break is coming. Otherwise I dilly dally around, getting distracted and not completing anything. Once everything is clean and organized, I find it only takes 1 20/10 at the end of the day to put it all back in order. I’ve used this concept in the past month to clean out and organize drawers, cabinets, closets, etc. and getting one of those competed feels soooo good. Before, it was all to overwhelming. Another skill the writer of ufyh advocates is getting your morning straightened out the night before. Do the dishes left in the sink, make sure coffee is ready to go, pack a lunch, set out clothes, etc. It takes less than 5 minutes, but assures the morning will run smoothly, even if something unexpected happens. These simple skills have made a tremendous difference in my cleaning and organizing habits, therefore simplifying my life :) there’s a reason I have both of these blogs bookmarked together!

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    Danielle Reply:

    I love this tumblr. There is a lot of profanity so careful is that is not for you, but it is amazing at showing how much you can really accomplish in just 5 minutes. What I like best is they they really acknowledge many of the issues that can complicate cleaning and organizing, like chronic fatigue and depression, and really encourage doing whatever you can, even if you can;t complete an entire 20/10.

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  13. Liz

    11/19/2012

    Years ago, when I had a 60+ hrs stressful job, graduate school and an infant, we were knee-deep in remodeling our 100 year old victorian. (Talk about overwhelming!!!!!)

    Every night, without fail, I’d set a timer for 15 minutes and work on the house. Stripping paint, staining, tearing out carpet, even taking down sheet rock (or putting it up). Just 15 minutes. That’s all. No additional stress about getting such and such done tonight or by the weekend or whatever holiday.

    Just 15 minutes.

    I still do it today…..almost 15 years later…different house, teenage child, different job.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Liz, sounds like you’re life was pretty stressful at times. I can totally relate to just spending 15 minutes working on something with our house. Sometimes it was frustrating because I hardly got anything accomplished, but those 15 minutes added up to a brand new kitchen (after 5 months!)

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    Kathryn Reply:

    Liz, this is such a great idea. I have done this and it is amazing how much one can get done in 15 minutes. It is also empowering–because bit by bit the job gets done and I can feel good about the effort instead of berating myself for not getting the job done. Thanks.

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  14. Jessica

    11/19/2012

    I think this may be my favorite post ever. :) It’s really such simple advice, but it’s exactly what I needed to hear.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jessica!

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  15. Kathryn

    11/28/2012

    Thanks so much, Andrea, for these inspiring words! So often, for me, the worst part of any task is the self-talk that I do before even starting. Probably because I am a perfectionist. I will remember these phrases and Just Do It Already!

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  16. Debbie

    11/30/2012

    Thank you!! I needed this so much today. Another question: What does one do when they feel like their efforts are not good enough for others (sometimes immediate family members and sometimes extended family)? It’s not that people are criticizing me; they really aren’t. But sometimes they start to “help” me or do things for me, and I really feel that the motivation behind it is so that my house will be more pleasing to them (instead of more pleasing to me). I think they just assume that I would like it better that way because they do. I’ve tried communicating my feelings on the subject but I don’t feel understood. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind the help (or at least some of it) if I felt the motivation was more in my interest and less in their own. Or, if I felt that they understood my own goals for my home and simply wanted to help me achieve them. But I just don’t feel that at all. I feel like they want to “fix” everything that they see is wrong with my home for me (because I’m not doing it). Do you have any experience with and advice for this kind of thing?

    Also, I’ve said it before, but I have to say it again: I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! I don’t read too many blogs regularly, but yours really helps me soooo much. I’ve been “pinning” my favorite articles, so that I can re-read them whenever I need to. Thank you for your efforts.

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  17. Sandra

    04/30/2014

    Thank you for this! This is the most inspiring post yet!

    [Reply]

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