In Uncategorized, What's Holding You Back?


Are you postponing something?

We ALL have things we just never get around to doing.  Going back to last week’s blog, those are the things we probably need to “work, not rest.”



After my parents died, my sisters and I had to sort through the “stuff” most people accumulate throughout their lives: picture albums, loose photos, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia dating back to our grandparents and beyond. These yellowing clippings, grade school photos, and albums of Christmas with the Crook family wound up in a dozen or more cardboard boxes in my basement.

There they have sat for close to three years!  The boxes were definitely not going away.  And then water got into the basement, and the cardboxes took on a slightly moldy odor.

Even then, I kept putting off the task, believing that all three sisters should be involved in “fixing the problem”.  But every time I was with my sisters, going through those boxes just was not our priority.  And frankly, the only person it bothered was… ME!

Finally, on Labor Day weekend, I decided it was time to reclaim my basement.

Saturday morning, I went to Target, bought storage boxes, put on some old clothes and a little music, and got started.  At first it was hard not to go back over the pictures and the memories, but we have done that several times in the last three years.

This time my task was clear.  Sort, sort, sort and toss judiciously.  As I worked, the categories became clearer.  Some things will go to one sister, some to another, some to various cousins, and the rest?  Well, those could be put in a much smaller storage box (just one!) that I’m happy to keep.

I’m not done yet but I’m way ahead of where I was.

Here’s what I learned about those things we keep putting off, and how to start tackling them:

  • Own the problem – I was the one most bothered by the stuff  (after all it was MY basement).
  • Take responsibility – I could have waited another three years for this to be my sisters’ priority.
  • Be clear why it’s important – I have a remodel plan for the basement, and the moisture will damage the photos.
  • Create a plan– Sort and toss, don’t review the memories, especially if you’ve already reviewed them.  Procrastination is tricky, it can sneak in anywhere.
  • Set a date – Labor Day Weekend.
  • Assemble your tools – Boxes, proper clothes, music and a big glass of iced tea.
  • Start – You’d be amazed at how many people can’t do this – I started!  I didn’t finish but I made huge headway.
  • Take a break, but know exactly when you are going to start again – I have to get more boxes from Target and then I’ll keep going.
  • FINISH – Don’t let pieces of the project linger.  They will rob you of energy.
  • CELEBRATE – When you’re done, take yourself out for dinner, have a glass of wine, or just relax.  Cheer yourself on, so that plunging in and getting it done is associated with reward. 

Now I have to run, I have to get more boxes…

I want to hear from you about putting it off…

In the comment section below:

Tell me about a long postponed project you are trying to get through.

What tricks do YOU have that help you move through procrastination?  Let me know!


Until next Tuesday.  YIPPEE!


Showing 5 comments
  • Gretchen

    Elizabeth – You got me on this one! I have been in the process of relocating from Virginia to Texas and the issue of letting go of the past is so relevant! Why did I hang on to TWO BOXES of old Gourmet Magazines, certain that I would cull my favorite recipes when I usually just pop online to find what new recipes? Do my kids really want EVERY SINGLE art project from elementary school? Thanks for a great laugh and a reminder that I am not alone with my boxes! gretchen

    • elizabeth

      Your comment made me laugh. Yes, yes, how many magazines are we really going to save. We ALL have our stuff. Thanks for telling us about yours.


  • Kathy Gruhn

    You inspired me. Cleaned my attic

    • elizabeth

      Thanks Kathy. We all have “stuff”. Sometimes it’s physical sometimes it’s in our heads!

  • Lynn Walker

    One more suggestion — when all else fails, get someone to sit with you with you while you do the sorting. This is what finally got me started clearing out the files of my deceased husband.

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