Small Projects: The Key To Happiness

I’ve had a few large projects looming over my head for some time now.

To start, I’ve been working on a “closet room” in our house, a storage room for my clothes, shoes, accessories – every girls dream, right? Yes, when it’s finished. In the meantime, it’s been a flowing, constantly changing, mess of chaos, that every time I feel I get two steps forward on, I’m somehow pushed three steps back. For starters, I needed certain furniture in the room to accommodate – my ::ahem:: large collection of closet-related items. I’ll be quite honest, I’ve got a lot going on. I hold on to everything, I’m not good about getting rid of things (unless it’s stained or it doesn’t fit, it’s still in my collection).

Once I got the furniture in the room handled, I had to sort through what I had to see what I could manage to get rid of. Two trips to a good will store, and I still haven’t gotten rid of it all. I have some things put away nicely, while others are still waiting to find their permanent homes. I have things scattered about, much like the humorous-and-oh-so-accurate “museum” graphic above – and sometimes, it’s overwhelming at best.

In addition to the massive closet room project, I’ve also been working on our home office, as well as the somewhat standard “projects” of Christmas decorating. Christmas baking, and Christmas un-decorating. All in all, it can take up a lot of time! It’s hard to tackle in a single day, or even a few, and frankly, it can be exhausting.

This weekend, the idea of tackling the “closet room” just felt overwhelming. I was feeling somewhat defeated, having not made much progress in there over the last month. Then, it hit me – I wanted to tackle something small.

Now, this doesn’t mean I wanted to let myself off the hook and not doing anything with my day – it was just the opposite. I wanted to start a project, and actually, in the very same day, complete it.

I’ve been consuming my free time with many long-term projects, ones that I would start one day – and finish it perhaps a week, or even month, later. It was becoming harder and harder to see the light at the end of the project tunnel.

The idea for a small project actually hit me while I was doing one of the more mundane projects we tackle every day – the dishes. I began eyeballing our kitchen pantry, loathing how I was going to have to shove the groceries that I was planning on buying later in the afternoon into our already overly filled pantry. It was usually a mix of balance and timing that would allow me to add anything more into the mix, but it was getting to be more of a hassle.

What a perfect “small project”.

I began ripping everything out of the pantry. I immediately threw away anything expired, open for a prolonged period of time, or otherwise unusable. I sorted everything into corresponding piles, cleaned out the pantry shelves, and eventually, put everything back into its new place.

It’s crazy to say, but this small project, that only took me the better of an hour to complete, made me feel hugely satisfied. I felt like I had really accomplished something – and that my time was spent worthwhile.

I was so exited that when I went to the grocery store later on in the day I picked up a set of three push-lights for the pantry as well, so we could actually see what we had on our shelves (novel concept, I tell you)! I ended up affixing the lights to the top of each shelf, but I snapped this photo to my Instagram beforehand because I ran out of patience.

I know some will think I’m silly for dedicating an entire blog post to the fact that I organized my pantry. However, I do really believe my message is valid. I learned, at least for myself personally (who tends to get deep into projects at least a few times per year) that sometimes it’s good to take a step away from the long-term projects, and to focus on something small scale and easily achieved. It’s good for the soul, the mind, and the energy levels needed to continue onto bigger and scarier projects.

What’s the best “small project” you’ve completed recently? How did you feel when you were done? Please, share your comments below!