Blind by Blind


“Often he who does too much does too little.”
Italian Proverb

When we downsized to a 1,000-square-foot beach cottage, I never guessed cleaning plantation blinds would be a big job.

Since the house came with 18 windows, the blinds turned out to be one of my biggest projects at least twice a year.

I couldn’t decide the easiest cleanup – spray each blind with cleaning solution and let the dirt drip all over the window ledges and floor. Or soak the blinds in a tub and let the suds drip all over the bathroom floor. Or take them outside, hose them off and let the water drip all over me.

Every day I looked at the dirty blinds and wished they’d magically clean themselves. Every day I weighed out the options for cleaning. Every day I postponed the work.

Until I finally got outside help.

Not from a cleaning service, but from unknowing friends. Their messages changed my outlook from “No way I’ll ever have time to clean all these blinds” to “I can do the job if it only takes a few minutes a day.”

An editor sent the story of the daffodil principle to my inbox. It tells about a woman who planted 50,000 flowers, one bulb at a time.

A friend mentioned Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird. The title derived from Anne’s father telling her 10-year-old brother how to write a book report about birds, “Just take it bird by bird.”

At our book club, a member who was trying to manage an overwhelming task said, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

I set out to wipe down one blind a day.

I figured it’d take 10 minutes at the most. I planned to clean all 18 in three weeks. I finished the project in less than a week.

Do you have a looming job that can be divided and conquered?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Doing one thing at a time focuses our attention and breaks the job into doable portions. Step-by-step is an easier way to plant flowers, complete a book report, finish an elephant-sized chore, clean blinds. Really, it’s the easiest way to live all of life.


2 responses »

  1. Hi Kim!

    Such a cute article and one many will relate to. That’s the way I feel about rescuing pets, only one pet at a time. Realize we cannot save ’em all, but perhaps can make a difference in the lives of some.


    • Hi Carolyn. Until you typed that, I had forgotten about the story of the little boy who threw washed-up starfish back into the ocean. When someone told him he’d never save all of them, he said, “No, but I just saved that one,” and kept on. I surely admire the work you do with animals!

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