Inch by inch

No, this isn’t an advertisement for a weight loss program.  Or is it?

“Little by little, inch by inch.”

Those words have been pulsating through my brain lately, and I’ve found myself humming them often, too.

The song’s chorus goes, “Little by little, inch by inch.  By the yard it’s hard; by the inch, what a cinch.  Don’t stare up the stairs, just step up the steps.  Little by little, inch by inch. ”


This has has proven to be a good motivator for me as we plod through trying to organize and sort through our belongings after our return home.   The magnitude of our “stuff” overwhelmed me as I looked around and saw stuff that we’ve lived for five months without, and most of it, never missed!  It was kind of eye-opening, as well as sobering.   We Americans like to collect stuff!  Ugh!  I resolved to begin a major whole-house sort-through before I stopped seeing all of the stuff and became comfortable with it again.

My my plans were a little ambitious, and the work is not going as quickly as I’d like it to go, but progress is being made, thankfully.   It’s hard to go through everything while living in it at the same time.  And I don’t get huge blocks of time everyday.   Some days nothing gets done, because life is more than sorting.   But we are working toward a goal.  As a newly favorite inspirational motivator says often, “Progress, not perfection”. Sounds like little by little, inch by inch, doesn’t it?

So far, we’ve sorted through the boys’ closets and clothes, cleaning out old stuff from their rooms that have collected.  Kids are barraged with lots of material stuff just like adults are, and they don’t know what to do with it either!  It’s almost paralyzing to have too much stuff, because if you have to move things to get to what’s stored behind, you are either going to skip it, or make a big mess trying to get to it.  Not a good option in either case.  Our kids need help sorting.  But we did all determine that papers that have collected and then sat for  more than a year aren’t going to get done (like coloring pages and paper puzzles from vbs) and don’t need to be kept. Too many clothes is a burden too, since they have to find a way to cram them into their drawers.  And you actually can’t find anything to wear with too many clothes, because, well, they’re all crammed in there!    I’m learning…I don’t have to keep everything passed along to my kids, even though it might be useful.  If it’s useful, but we have enough, it’s not useful to me.  So, I can without guilt pass it along, so someone else can use it!  But, many, many times, I have done that.  I’ve kept too much stuff, because, well, it was “free”.  Free, but certainly not freeing. Freeing is having enough, and a place to put it. Still working on that.

So, as our family slowly sorts, we are learning something about priorities. Not everything can be the most cherished possessions. We have to make choices.  No need to keep all of our college papers if no one’s even looking at them.  Probably, the wedding cards can go, after fourteen years!   And, we can learn to live a little freer if we actually find a place for what we have.

Yet it is literally inch by inch.   If you come to my house today, you’ll see bins lining the hallway, which have been sorted, but have to be delivered “somewhere else”.

With life rushing by at full steam, some days we even lose a few inches in progress.  But, then we have to pick back up the next opportunity and keep chugging along towards the goal.   Remember–progress, not perfection!

Little by little, we will get there!



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