One Step at a Time

This year ran with the mantra One Step at a Time. We tackled tons of little tasks and made small changes that helped us reach our big goals for the year. Taking it one step at a time kept us from getting overwhelmed, and we’ve done a ton as a result. We thought we’d write a little post to let you know if we’ve kept up with our “One Step” stuff, and to let you in on ways the mantra has made a difference beyond the blog posts.


Step 1 | Laundry Our first step was all about laundry and IT HAS BEEN SUPER SUCCESSFUL. We used to have all of our laundry in a big pile (except for Jonas’s, which is sperate because of the whole cloth diaper thing) and I’d avoid sorting it and doing it (laundry is one of the few chores that is all mine). There would be clean laundry wrinkled and unfolded in baskets and the whole thing was a mess. Now we have separate baskets for colors, whites, towels, and delicates and each family member is responsible for sorting their laundry as soon as it comes off. Laundry has to be folded as soon as it comes out of the dryer: no clean laundry allowed in laundry baskets (again, except for Jonas’s; his laundry is never all put away). I put away the laundry that belongs in the laundry room / master bedroom closet as I go, and everything else gets stacked in there and put away once a weekish or so. That does mean that sometimes I end up having to wash things twice because I take too long to switch over the laundry, but this system turned a chore I hated and was always behind on to something I enjoy.

Step 2 | Our New Office Jake and I had our office stuff spread all over the house, and creating a formal office at the beginning of the year made such a difference on our productivity level. Having it in the front room of our house meant that it was always messy, but it worked for us. Working felt like hanging out together, which is amazing. We ended up moving the office again at the end of the year (see Step 14), but the joint office thing was a life-changing idea.

Step 3 | Cut Backs We stopped using Mint.com, but we carried on making cut backs throughout the year. We’ve spent so much less on groceries by going to Trader Joe’s instead of our local grocery store, we’ve eaten out less, and we’ve spent A LOT less on frivolous stuff we don’t need. Hooray!

Step 4 | Getting Organized The closet featured in this post is currently a major disaster (I’m planning on re-organizing it this week). It’s mostly because I’m in the middle of moving all of my craft stuff out of there and I’m trying to figure out how to fit in the new Christmas stuff in there. We’re trying to think up a great new Lego space too; Jonas learned how to climb our old Lego table really fast, so we have to find a place where he can’t destroy / choke on works in progress.

Step 5 | Play Clothes Wardrobe The altered play clothes wardrobe worked like a charm and is still going strong.

Step 6 | Tackling Toys Rotating toys that are accessible and only getting out one multi-piece toy at a time is working really well. If there are toys all over the floor (happens) it’s because we’re being lazy, not because the system isn’t working.

Step 7 | Lockers Still organized well. In fact, they’re even more organized because I put little shelf organizer things in there.

Step 8 | Cleaning Our Our Closet Still doing good donating clothes that we don’t wear or are too small. Still putting away clean clothes on the outside of our closet, so we know that the stuff in the middle of the closet is the stuff we don’t wear. Still making sure we donate things every time we get new things so our closet doesn’t get stuffed. Works well!

Step 9 | Goodbye Soda Pop This one was a fail. It lasted a few months, then as soon as things got stressful I started drinking it again. I’m drinking it right now, in fact. I still drink a lot less, but I need to work on cutting it out completely again.

Step 10 | Once a Day This step was a goal to do an “every once and awhile” cleaning task ONCE A DAY. Sometimes it’s just me doing this, sometimes it’s the whole family. We’re still keeping up with this most days. Stuff that hardly ever got cleaned gets cleaned more often, it’s easier to get the kids to help, and it feels manageable.

Step 11 | Digital Photos = Organized Separating our thousands and thousands of digital photos by year into multiple iPhoto libraries was one of the best time saving things ever.

Step 12 | Purging We still have a long way to go purging-wise. But the selling / donating that we did in 2012 made a big dent. Planning on doing another round in January: this time, I’m going to be brutal with the craft supplies.

Step 13 | Room Shuffle Even though the orignal reason for the room shuffle is no more (Jake’s brother stayed with us for about a week), Eliza’s new room is working out great.

Step 14 | Moved the Office, Again And more room moving. It’s a big theme for us, the room moving. It’s too soon to tell how well the office-in-the-bedroom thing is going to work out, but it’s good so far!


So those are the things we posted about. But the mantra “One Step at a Time” was so much more than those 14 thing for us this year. It was something to repeat to ourselves when we were faced with something overwhelming. It was something I focused on when I got anxious. And it was a state of mind that helped us develop our long-term planning skills. This year we moved more, ate healthier, tried new things, were much wiser with our money, and got SO MUCH DONE, all without sacrificing our family time, which is our top priority. This mantra will follow us into next year and has become a part of who we are, but we are so excited to start fresh with a new mantra tomorrow! Come back tomorrow to hear all about it!


Want more mantra inspiration? Here are some great resources:

  • My Document Life Workshop Challenge today was to Create a Visual Reminder of your mantra, goals, or resolution.
  • If yearly goal setting isn’t working for you, try the self-paced workshop I Choose by Elise Blaha Cripe. Elise makes goal setting fun and does it in a low-stress format. I’m using this course to help me plan more effectively next year!
  • If you are a memory keeper, the scrapbooking book Life Artist by Ali Edwards is filled with wonderful mantras designed to get you in a creative storytelling and art making mindset.
  • Speaking of Ali, her year-long workshop One Little Word is very mantra focused. It’s all about choosing one word to uplift and enrich your life. I’ll be taking it. My word is FINISH.
  • Which means I’m going to be pouring over Amy’s Finishing Manifesto.
  • I’m not the only one obsessed with these workshops. Amy is taking them too.
  • Kam from Campfire Chic reflected on her One Little Word for 2012: Focus.
  • It’s far outside of my normal genre, but the book Eat, Pray, Love is a wonderful example of using a mantra for life changing purposes.
  • One of the most important things to remember when moving forward with your mantra is to keep going even if you feel as if you’ve failed. I love this post on overcoming failure from Elise Larson of A Beautiful Mess.

Has a personal mantra ever helped you/