Small Stuff, Big Stuff

This week I’m participating in Seth Godin’s #YourTurnChallenge. My goal is to blog everyday this week (Mon-Sun) here on my site as well as on the challenge’s official Tumblr blog. Here’s my Day 1 submission.

This morning, my wife and I hauled all of our furniture out of the house and into the garage. The total amount of furniture isn’t much: there’s maybe 12-15 big pieces we had to move, and working together made that part a breeze.

What sucked was all the little crap accumulated on top of the big stuff.

Pictures. Pens. Pencils. Bill to be paid. Bills paid in full. Jewelry. Watches. iTunes gift cards. Phone chargers. Remote controls. Letters. Notes from school. Notes from the kids. Old Post-It notes. Earbuds. Water bottles. Kleenex boxes. Pillows. Throws. Stuffed animals. Books. Books. Books. More books.

Just a mountain of tiny things that piled up on the big things simply because we often lack the mental energy to put things in their proper place.

It’s amazing at how much the little stuff–the effluvia–paralyzed us when we started to move the big things.

“Where does this go?”

“What about this?”

“Should we keep this?”

“Where did this come from?”

We were frazzled before we’d even picked up the first thing. Not putting stuff in its place, be it a drawer or box or the trash can, paralyzed our hoped for progress. The more we tried to figure out the small things, the longer the big things sat there, unmoved.

Finally, my wife went for a jog. I stared at the piles in despair.

Then, I moved some small stuff to the floor, picked up the big thing they’d been covering, and I moved the big thing to the garage. I came back to my bedroom, moved the next pile of small stuff and moved the big thing underneath. And I repeated that pattern until I’d moved all of the big things I could move on my own.

Once I got the big stuff moved, I found places to put the small stuff (the trash can was my go-to spot). When my wife returned, all that remained was the big stuff we needed to move together. After only a couple of hours, everything was moved. The job was done.

Small stuff can be moved. It’s small for a reason. If you want to get the big stuff moving, just set the small stuff to the side and dig in.

It’s surprising how easy–and how forgettable–that lesson really is.

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