Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Old To Dos



Recently I did something that made me so happy – I took care of two really, really old things that were on my to-do list. These things were so small that it’s almost embarrassing to tell you what they were, but doing them made me so happy that I will. The first thing was taking the dogs’ beds to the laundromat and washing them. I wash the covers at home regularly, but I can’t put the whole bed into my washer, and they needed it. The other thing was taking two scented candles (same scent) that had burned down so far that neither would light any more, melting the wax, and pouring them together to make another, usable candle. I did this because I loved the scent of these candles so much, and it’s not available any more.

What does this have to do with clutter? Mental clutter! Aspirational clutter! I had these two ideas in my mind for months and taking care of them would randomly pop up and bother me. Including driving to the laundromat, washing and drying the dogs beds took and hour and 15 minutes. There’s a school with a great playground extremely close laundromat, and the girls and dogs went there and frolicked while the beds washed then dried. Melting the candles took virtually no time, because I was working in the kitchen anyway, and I already had the wick. (I’d purchased a package of wicks ages ago as aspirational clutter for the day I finally combined these candles; something else that weighed on my mind when I would open the cabinet where the wicks were stored and think, “Will I ever get around to doing that?”

Neither of these was a big project, neither took much time, but the happiness and satisfaction that I got from getting them off my to do list was amazing. Do you have any small, lingering to dos that will eliminate some mental  (or some other) clutter?

Today’s Mini Mission

Assess your cutlery drawer. Did you have more than enough knifes, folks, spoons etc to cope with a houseful of people. If so let some go. I had set aside a four person set of cutlery prior to Christmas to see if I really needed to keep them. We did run out of forks a couple of times but I could have easily washed some by hand so I think this spare set can go in a box for my daughter to take when she moves into her own place.

Eco Tip for the Day

Encourage family, friends and anyone who will listen to refuse, reuse, recycle and reduce.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Hi Cindy, isn’t it amazing how much procrastination pain we will put ourselves through when it takes so little effort sometimes to avoid it altogether. Especially when the task being avoided is inevitable anyway. Can’t say I am not guilty of this myself. One would think I had mastered the art of avoiding procrastination but alas there are still some things that I stupidly avoid only adding extra angst to my life. That pile of ironing in my laundry right now for one. Perhaps one of my monthly Habit Changing Missions should be no procrastination this month. I suppose one of the things that makes it so easy to do this is because there is always something else on the to-do list that one can attend to while avoiding less pleasant tasks.
    Great post today, thank you. I actually feel like getting up and doing the ironing right now. I think I will.

  2. Cindy, it is so funny that you wrote about this today. I have had several old to dos and am finally getting around to them. One was so simple that the idea of putting it off was ludicrous. Yet, I had put it off for a year or more. With my talking about wanting to eliminate most scrapbooking supplies and scrapbooking itself and maybe going to books printed off the web instead I realized that I needed to finish some layouts that I had put aside. All I had to do was finish the journaling. The other to dos are almost as simple. Things like hanging a picture that has been leaning against the end of the desk for ages, putting some books I want to read on a task list instead of on odd pieces of paper laying on my desk, getting some chairs listed for sale on the bulletin board in our clubhouse. None of them will take but a few minutes but they all are waiting because everything else has seemed more important. Well, now I am getting them all done. Don’t you just love that feeling of accomplishment.

  3. Thanks for the reminder Cindy ! Remembering do some things is my problem, I can write a list, then forget it exists , or I remember to do things when it is not an appropriate time to do them.
    I have started utilising the reminder alarm on my phone and appointment calendar on the iPad. The to do items are assigned a time and day and I get a reminder. It might seem silly to have reminder at 2pm on tuesday to do the ironing. But the constant prompts help. It is also good to be able to look at the reminder when it appears and know the job is done. I am going to set one to remind me to order my new reading glasses, something I keep forgetting to do!

  4. Thanks for sharing! It seems like you feel the same way someone does about finishing unfinished projects. They just hang their in the back of your mind and in some cases take up space. I had some buckets that needed to be washed, and I finally did it while trying to clean up the house and declutter this month. It felt great and they are now out of the way. For some it may be filing papers, for others it may be unfinished projects. Whatever it is, it feels great to do it and you realize how little time it took to accomplish it and regret the time you spent thinking about it.

  5. Good post today. It relates to a situation that I found myself in this past weekend. I find that my clutter causes me mental clutter at times. I knew that I had a specific bulb for a candle warmer and I could not for the life of me figure out where the bulb was. I was cleaning out the garage and going through some bags and there it was, along with an item that my other half had been looking for. Luckily, I did not give in and buy another bulb because I knew that I had that bulb and I am glad that I found it. Finding that bulb had been on my to do list, and I lucked out finding it while doing another decluttering task. I will sit things out in the open, so I am reminded of things that I need to do/work on. I find that when I have to look at them everyday, it helps me get them done sooner, and lists help too. Now, don’t laugh, but I have two half painted rooms that have been needing attention, so I think that is priority number one this week.

  6. Old To Do’s – I like it! Occasionally I have found myself all up to date. This is very rare. And in those times I have thought to myself I should keep a list of things which I have said “Next time I have nothing to do, I must remember to do such-and-such”. But of course, when I find myself all up to date I can never remember what it was. I might start a list.

  7. I am so glad to read that I am not the only person who will put myself through months (or years!) of irritation before finally taking a few minutes to take care of the thing that is irritating me. And don’t we always feel silly afterwards for waiting so long?

    For the last four years our kitchen aprons have been hanging from a springy thing that protects the kitchen door from banging against the wall when it’s opened. The springy thing was not made to hang things from and the aprons have fallen to the floor more times than I can count, annoying me every time. Two days ago I finally got a screwdriver and attached a hook to the wall so I can hang the aprons properly. We have had the hook all along, and the screws, and the screwdriver. The job took me less than five minutes. Why did I wait so long?!

  8. Hi Cindy! I am glad you shared this with us. From time to time I have some real small stuff either work related or home related that I keep putting of. I have realized that it is more tiring and annoying to put the task off than to do it as quickly as possible. For some reason I put off the most simple and ridiculous tasks, because I don’t feel they are important. But I still think I should had dome it. I guess I procrastinate more than I think I do 😀 .

  9. Hi Cindy
    I did two things over Christmas break which made me happy. I set up a wrapping station (well actually I just put the sticky tape with the wrapping because that’s when I’ll need it most) and I set up a postal station (enevelopes, stamps, labels) in a wooden stationery stand that I’ve had for ages and would never just throw out as it cost me a lot (yes I know I should learn to let go but I did still like it too, just never used it!).
    So those 2 little jobs also gave me great satisfaction and really took no time at all.

  10. Yay for you, Cindy, for doing up those old to dos. A couple of days ago, I finally mended a blouse that has been sitting on my dresser waiting–it took me less than 10 minutes including choosing the correct color of thread, doing the mending and then putting everything away. How many minutes did I waste thinking about needing to mend the blouse??

  11. Oh, aspirational clutter of the mind, I am at your mercy. I’m an idea person, which means I’m always brainstorming and writing down these aaaaamazing ideas. Sometimes I actually follow through. But I think I’ve had way too many ideas in my life to realistically do even a tiny percentage of them. Not spending time on Pinterest helps – that site is like the main enabler of mental clutter!

    • Hi Christa the BabbyMama, oh I can so relate to this issue. Better that I explore creative ideas though than allow my mind to start contemplating problems that don’t really exist. I can be a bit of and over worrier if left along with nothing to do for too long. Hence why finding time to declutter isn’t a problem for me I am better off kept busy.

      However like you I do have fun seeing ideas on Pinterest and wanting to implement them. I have become much more realistic about how many hours I have in my day though and can just walk away or at least press x if I get too carried away.

      Oh, and by the way, welcome to 365 Less Thing

  12. Oh that mental clutter! Why can I not just do the things on my lists! I can write the lists, organise them according to Getting Things Done, colour code them on Colornotes, even schedule them on the phone or the calendar but Oh My Goodness! That final step of doing is just so difficult!

  13. Excellent post!!! I had 11 days off at Christmas (I’ve never had that much time off at the holidays) and I spent a large majority of my free time during that time finishing up lingering to do list items. I can’t tell you how good it felt. Each task took less than 5 minutes (well except the task I had of sewing on patches on my daughter’s girl scout uniform – that took over an hour but needed to be done desperately:) I’ve set a goal of trying to accomplish ONE lingering to do list item per week.

  14. I have years worth of aspirational clutter I have collected. I am loving completing the many little things off the list as well as simply deleting many off the list.

    I love the expression ‘aspirational clutter’

  15. Procrastination is a big thing for me as well.

    For nearly two years now we have a to do list as a family. Also regular household chores are on it. And some fun things we want to do more often as well.
    It is quite sophisticated and lists every task with the the date it entered the list and we sum up the days all items are lingering aroud. It’s in Exel and is updated and printed out every day. (I know, not saving paper here. But it works so well for us and every other system we tried didn’t.)
    The longest lingering item on the list was something aroud 100 days.
    There are still a lot of things that don’t make it on the list, but if something is on there it will be done one day.

    Some thoughts why this works for us so well:
    – It is ONE list for all of us which makes it a team sport.
    – There is no blame if things don’t get done. Although you don’t want to be the one whose chore is there on top for years…
    – If someones job makes it to the top we deliberately give him or her time to do it.
    – We all have a weakness for playing with numbers and statistics. So updating the list is fun for us.
    – A job is marked “done” when you do ANYTHING about it and think about the next step(s). If it is not completed it enters the list as new.



  1. […] loved this comment in response to Cindy’s post this week. Wendy F has a great way to combat to-do forgetfulness […]