Fixing Little Things

Have you ever noticed that things happen in groups? Appliances mess up the same month. Laundry rarely piles up without dishes needing to be cleaned as well. The car needs washing the same week you absolutely must cut the grass, etc, etc.

It’s not something you’re doing wrong. It’s that you’re focusing on the big things and not the small. When it comes to home, property, and household maintenance, it’s the little things that in important. Don’t get me wrong, large tasks like painting the house, replacing roof shingles, installing windows, or redecoration for the holiday season are important. It’s that those tasks– the large ones we can’t put off, are not the foundation of property care. Again, I’m not saying that if you keep up with the little things nothing will ever break or need repairing but you will be reduce your level of stress.

The little things, like sweeping the front porch, cleaning the lint filter in the dryer, remembering to put drying agent in the dishwasher each month, changing the air filters and replacing light bulbs are the things that pile up and need your attention. These are the things that cause stress. Have a squeaky attic door, or a shelf that isn’t the needed height? Is there an old bathroom faucet or a hubcap missing from your left front tire? Yes, I’ll admit, the fact that the air conditioning system needs replacing is stressful but that is something you are relying on other people’s time to fix. When I talk about reducing stress, I mean the tasks you can control–the little things.

When I’m stressed, overwhelmed, upset, etc, I remember the words of my mother: “focus on making it through the next fifteen minutes.” It works! I promise! If you can focus on 1-2 tasks that will take fifteen minutes, you’ll feel better. Then, you do it again. You focus on the next fifteen minutes, and the next, and the next, until things improve. Sometimes, you’ll be living in fifteen minute increments for under an hour, and other times you’ll use it for days. However long you use the method, it will still work.

That’s the trick. It’s the little things. Complete a little task in a little amount of time, and repeat. You’ll find the front porch swept, the light bulbs replaced, the sheets changed, the door no longer squeaking, and… you’ll feel better. Just focus on the next fifteen minutes and remember, it’s the little things.