Eating an elephant

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

eating an elephant

How do you clean up a barn that looks like this?

the mess in the barn

This is our barn in all its glory

Exactly the same, or so I’m telling myself.

This, if you ask me, is certainly one big huge hairy audacious goal.

I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the thought of somehow wading through this mess and making sense of it. Right now, I can’t see the end at all. All I see are boxes and boxes and boxes of crap.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours in the barn and got a large pile of stuff ready for a yard sale. Today, I’m ready to head out there again. I’m on a roll and, I’m fairly certain, I’ll be able to make a dent in this mess today.

A small dent, to be sure, but a dent.

As my friend Justin said, “The magic is in the doing.” I’m about to find that out. I’m doing. One box at a time.

Isn’t that exactly like how I’ve been saying you ride a bike from Alaska to Argentina?

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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16 Responses to Eating an elephant

  1. Jenn Miller May 2, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I feel your pain Amiga! Getting through our storage bin and moving/sorting it was the biggest pre-launch accomplishment of the spring! Keep going!

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    Nancy Reply:

    @Jenn Miller, It’s crazy. I have no idea why we have so much crap in the barn.

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  2. Ian and Wendy May 2, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Just move the barn a little closer and I’ll help you. Biking – you’re on your own. Cleaning/organizing/purging – I’m your gal! ;)

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    Nancy Reply:

    @Ian and Wendy, I would so love to have you here! I need someone to hold me hand on this one.

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  3. Bill W May 3, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    It’s so hard to clear some things out, but here’s our secret: offer it to the kids! We have adult children who are constantly telling us we can’t throw things out – so we give it to them. Took a matter of months to be back to organized. ;)

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Bill W, Love that! Unfortunately, our kids don’t seem to care if we throw it all away. Maybe when they’re older that’ll work.

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  4. Jeremy Branham May 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    I can relate to this a little. Just recently, I build a patio and landscaped my yard. I did it because I wanted a place of refuge, somewhere to relax and enjoy. However, I started witch rocks and dirt and now have a patio with lights, mulch, and flagstone steps. Like the barn, I just had to start one bite at a time!

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Jeremy Branham, I bet it’s a delightful place! It really is a matter of taking it one step at a time – that’s the only way you’ll ever get anything done.

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  5. Theresa May 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Just watch a couple of episodes of Hoarders. That will get you motivated! Works for me whenever I need to do an occasional purge.

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Theresa, I’ve never seen that show, but have heard about it. I think I need to check it out.

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  6. Tracey - Life Changing Year May 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Look on the bright side Nancy – at least some of those boxes have writing on them!!! Imagine if every single one was a mystery!!

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    Nancy Reply:

    @Tracey – Life Changing Year, The problem with the writing is that it may or may not be accurate. We labeled all the boxes when we put them in the barn, but since then we’ve messed things up somewhat. It’s crazy.

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  7. Kirsty May 7, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    Thanks for the comment on my blog Nancy. I can’t say how much it has made me feel better that I am not alone in facing huge mounds of stuff. I’m not posting a pic of my garage though – much worse and most of that was stuff we couldn’t fit in the house when we moved 5 and a half years ago. It should be so easy to go through and get rid, but I fear it is won’t be as easy to do as say!

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Kirsty, It’s crazy. I have no idea how we ended up with half of that crap. It’s scary.

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  8. Artur Sowinski May 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Sometimes i just wish a tornado would sweep through my belongings… :) It is true what frugal living and life-downsizing people say, that figuring out what you really need is the hardest part, getting a land and so on is actually easy when compared to emotional cleaning of run-away emotional hoarding :)

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Artur Sowinski, Oh yeah, the emotional part is the worst by far.

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