Projects in progress ~ are they holding you back?

I received a lovely inspiring email the other day from a reader that had an “aha” moment while clearing some clutter in her basement.  I love to read these types of success stories.  I hope you find it as motivating as I do.

I just had to tell you about my experience today while doing some cleaning out in my basement today. I was trying to clear out an area in my basement to make room for a repair man to come today. It turns out he canceled at the last minute, but I had cleared the area he had intended to do some plumbing work in. It was so nice to see that clear area of floor that it inspired me to keep going.

That cleared out space is now going to be a little exercise area for me. I have a small tv down there that no one is using right now and an old dvd/vcr that just plays dvd’s. I don’t need cable hooked up since I am just going to use it for exercise DVD’s. I actually exercised there today and I had a nice area to spread out and move.

I then went through some old Rubbermaid containers- they weren’t clear so I didn’t know what was in them. I found some old craft projects. Most of them are 1/2 complete (cross stitch quilts, baby bibs- which I don’t need anymore), cross stitch pictures for wedding presents- 1/2 finished except for the names and a few other stitches I don’t know how to do. I also had a quilted wallhanging that I had started during a quilt class I took 11 years ago. I had taken the class during the 8 weeks leading up to my wedding- what was I thinking. I fell behind in the class and didn’t get it finished during the class. I tried a few times to finish it before I had kids, but I needed help and didn’t have the instructor to help me. After 11 years it’s still not done and it bothered me that I didn’t finish it. I have moved onto scrapbooking and photography as my new hobbies., I have come to the conclusion that I can’t be good at everything and I can only have so many hobbies because of time constraints. It felt so good to box up all those 1/2 finished projects. I am going to donate them to the quilting/sewing group at church. It was such a “freeing” feeling to let go of those things and say to myself “it’s okay that I didn’t finish these projects, sewing just isn’t my thing.” I am good at other things.

I just had to share that with you. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Clutter truly does weigh us down emotionally.

Lessons to be learned here:

Just starting is half the battle but once you do start use the motivation and elation you feel in your accomplishment to keep going.  It is possible and you can do it.

Think about whether or not the space you have given your clutter permission to take over could be put to better use.  Are you really willing to give up square footage of usable space in your home for stuff you “might” just use or need one day?

What about the life you are living right now?

Projects in progress can hold us back whether we are aware of it or not.  Do you have projects that don’t interest you anymore, that have been cluttering up your space for years, yet you feel some sort of obligation to complete?  Follow this reader’s example and let them go and feel the weight lift from your shoulders as a result. Go ahead, what are you waiting for?

Really stop and think about the power you are putting in the hands of your clutter.  What kind of hold does it have on you and why are you allowing it to happen?

Make today the day you regain control.  You can do it!

image courtesy of coco+kelley

Filed under: Clutter Control, Motivation-Encouragement


18 Responses to Projects in progress ~ are they holding you back?

  1. 1
    AmyBean says

    Oooh… this is me. I want to get into sewing, but with two nosy preschoolers and limited space I can never really find the time to focus on learning what I’m doing. I keep fabric around because I want to use it for things when I am finally able to sew. But that will likely be years from now. I can always get more fabric, but I need that closet for other things NOW.

    Ok, when the kids wake up, I’m tackling that closet!

  2. 2
    Sarah says

    Great post! We all need this reminder. I have lots of those half-finished projects lying around as well. I’ve been slowly but steadily working on cleaning out our spare room where all the junk piles.

  3. 4
    Andrea S. says

    I totally understand. We just cleaned out a storage unit I’ve had for the last 4 years. Most of the time I never went out there so I was just paying them to hold stuff that I wasn’t using. I gave away a lot to Big Brother Big Sisters, other stuff I gave to my parents, I kept very few (mostly books) and the rest I trashed.

    It is a great feeling!

    Andrea S.

  4. 5
    Crystal & Co says

    Are you a fly in the wall at my house? Unfinished projects galore!

  5. 6
    Amy says

    Thanks so much for this post! It is so true – those unfinished projects do weigh one down!

    I do believe I have some things to toss when I get home tonight!

  6. 7
    se7en says

    Oh That’s brilliant!!! I have a dresser in our front hall where I keep all our pending projects and then I realized it was so full that we didn’t actually know what was in it and the projects you want to finish you do – so these were um… well not totally wanted!!! I gifted them on… ceramics waiting to be painted, half stitched goodies, sweaters to knit that were long outgrown… ditched, donated, gifted… gone!!! And now there is room for the projects we want to do, seriously if a project lurks around for months then you don’t really want to do it. Pass it on it is such a relief to have your free time back for the things you want to do.

  7. 8
    Laura @ PARING DOWN says

    Perfect post.

    As I’ve been paring down, I’ve also looked for things I meant to do and never got around to doing or finishing.

    I’m letting them go, too. I’ve obviously got more important things to do with my time than those old dusty time and space wasters.


  8. 9
    Sandy says

    I tell myself that every day! LOL But it’s hard!

  9. 10
    Stacy says

    truly beautiful thoughts!!! LUV IT!!!

  10. 11
    Allison says

    this weekend I ruthlessly went through several boxes from my crawlspace, with the same sort of inspiration your above reader had! I was looking for old baby clothes to lend a friend who just had a little boy but only has girl stuff. I went through the clothing I was holding on to, and sorted it into Keep and Give Away. I went looking for the other boxes and came across Girl Guide stuff. I went through FOUR large boxes and whittled it down to one I’m giving back to the Unit I left and one keepsake binder for me. WOW.

    I also went through all my old clothing being stored, all our old backpacks and bags, winter items, and it’s all ready to go out of the house or have gone already! Sometimes you just need that inspiring AHA! to kick you in the behind and get it done. Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. 12
    amybee says

    I hear you. A few months ago I donated a lot of knitting supplies to an organization that knits blankets for homeless people. Glad that my complete lack of talent in knitting can go to someone else’s benefit.

  12. 13
    Elisabeth says

    I have lots of unfinished projects…but not too many! I get a great joy out of finishing them and making myself not start new ones until I finish the ones I’m working on. Since I’m staying home more with my delightful nine-month-old I’m slowly one week at time finishing one thing at a time. What a delight to see uncluttered surfaces.

  13. 14
    Stephanie @ Geezees says

    What a great post!
    I have lots of unfinished projects, but fortunately i have a hubby that loves doing them. :)

  14. 15
    Bonnie Hall says

    I just came upon your blog today, and wow! I am the queen of unfinished projects, but no more (happily, thanks to you)! I’m starting tomorrow to clear the basement to make room for a Teen Hangout spot for my daughter. And you know what, when I look at the giant pile of boxes down there now, I realize that THAT is where so much of my money went…with no real return on investment…I rarely finish my scrapbooking, quilting, dollhouse projects, and yet, I complain because I can’t find any money in my budget these days for more crafting stuff. Makes me wonder what this constant cycle of not finishing projects only to want to go buy more stuff for projects really means psychologically speaking.

    Oh, well. Thanks for motivating me.

  15. 16
    screwdestiny says

    I don’t have unfinished projects. Them sitting around the house bugs me. Now, this is prooobably because I’m not good at anything, so therefore I never really start any projects. But seriously, even if I think I do want to start something, I ask myself, Am I going to finish that within the next few weeks? And if the answer is no, I don’t do it. Now my boyfriend, on the other hand, loves to do this. “Oh, I’m gonna fix that giant TV that’s a huge eyesore in our basement.” “Oh, I’m going to organize all my cards that have been cluttering the coffee table for the last two weeks.” Bugs the crap out of me.

    • 16.1
      Lindsay says

      I was reading these comments about unfinished projects and was sad to hear you say you don’t think you’re good at anything. Well, you’re wrong!!! Just because you don’t want to crochet/sew/paint/decopauge/weave/tat/knit doesn’t mean that you are not good at anything!!!!

      What that means is that you have talents in other areas. Are you good at hiking, gardening, skiing, singing, laughing, cooking, people-watching, roller-blading, listening, helping, cleaning, kayaking, swimming or any other number of things? I bet you are. A hobby is something you do for fun – emphasis on fun. It doesn’t have to clutter your life or linger on the fridge or hang in the bathroom or rest on the bed. It just needs to be something you enjoy.

      I hope that you will look around you and find some things that you enjoy and can do well (maybe not the best, but that’s okay) and you can say “Hey! I’m good at that!”

  16. 17
    Vanessa says

    I love craft projects but have don’t seem to finish all of them. I have several of these half done craft boxes that I need to get rid of. I know this about myself. So…. One of my new year’s resolutions was to not start a craft project without finishing the last one and cleaning up after it. It’s been hard but feels good to finally finish my projects and not have so much hanging around. :-)


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.