Happy Labor Day, everybody! (for those of you not in the U.S., Labor Day is an American holiday for which practically everybody gets off work; ironic much?)

In honor of the day that should be about getting stuff done but isn’t, I wanted to introduce to you something that I’m really excited about.

project elephant

What is Project Elephant, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. But first, a little background. Last weekend, as I was hacking away at the clay in our front flower beds, digging a hole for a new shrub that will go a long way towards reviving the plant graveyard that has been gracing the front of our house for, oh, a good 2 years now, I thought, between grunts: “Why has it taken me so long to do this? This feels good! And now, I won’t have to cringe in shame as I endure the 20 seconds between when my guests get out of their cars and when they enter my front door.”

Clearly, I’m not a green thumb (although, I’m sure if I actually remembered to water my plants, my thumb—and the flowers—would be considerably less black). But that’s not the only thing that has me asking, “What is taking me so long?”

I have closets that need organizing, rooms that need finishing, things that need hanging, grout that needs scrubbing, holes that need patching. And on and on and on the list goes.

And I do check a thing or two off that list on a regular basis. But life—oh, LIFE—gets in the way. And I get overwhelmed by 5 small humans to take care of, dinner to get on the table, exercise classes to teach, a husband to love on, friends to spend time with, birthday parties to plan, and…AAAAAaah! Suddenly, decluttering a closet feels about as doable as hiking Mt. Everest. Backwards. While wearing stilettos.

But back to those ugly flowerbeds. As I scratched at the dirt, I was thinking about the blog and planning out some projects in my head. I was mulling over Move-it Monday, which has had me thematically stumped (should it be about exercise? should I stick with updates from the weekend? room reveals? change it completely?) for a while now. And I was praying: “Lord, help me to use my blog to glorify you and bless my family. Please don’t let it be a distraction or a burden. Grant me inspiration and direction.”

I finished planting my shrubs and headed upstairs to take a shower, and almost as soon as I turned on the water, this popped into my head:

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

A: One bite at a time.

And I knew it was an answer to my prayer from earlier. I also knew what to do about Move-it Monday. There are projects that have taunted me for weeks…months…heck, years, in some cases. But the everyday living always takes precedence because I tend to think of those projects in terms of completion. I won’t call it a success unless that entire laundry room is redone, by golly. When, really, I could just organize that one corner today, and it would be a victory. And I have 20 minutes to do that, even if I don’t have the 12 hours it would take to do the whole thing.

Which is where Project Elephant comes in. Because something tells me I’m not the only one living in the land of Never-Ending To-do Lists.

Maybe you don’t have 5 kids and a blog. But maybe you do have a full-time job. Or a packed class schedule. Or a new baby. Or an ailing relative to take care of. Or health problems yourself. Or…whatever.

So, here I am, inviting you to tackle one doable project a week with me. Hang a shelf. Paint one wall. Scrub one floor. Put 5 pictures in their frames. And then stand on your sparkling floor, 5 weeks later, and marvel at the awesome picture display on your newly painted wall. 5 weeks may seem like a lot for one wall, but it’s a whole heckuva lot better than 5 months. Or never.

From here until…well, we’ll just play it by ear…for Move-it Monday, I will show you one completed project. One bite out of the elephant, if you will.

It can be anything: an art project, a research project, a DIY project, a writing project. Doesn’t matter as long as I check it off the list instead of dreading it for one more week.

And I’m inviting you to join in! If you’re a blogger, I’ll provide a linky, so you can show off your accomplishments. If you’re not a blogger, but you want in, you can brag about it on Instagram or FB, leave the link in the comments, and I’ll stop by and check out your progress and cheer you on!

If you want to grab a button, I’d be thrilled (the more the merrier!)

Here it is:

five days five ways | because every day is different


So, meet me here, next Monday morning, 7 AM sharp (or whenever you feel like showing up) for the start of Project Elephant.

Code word: CHOMP.


  1. Pingback: project elephant
  2. I’ve been a follower for awhile but not an active reader. But your To-Do-List elephant post got to me! It sounded just like me and I’m trying to get things done…one baby elephant step at a time. It’s a long story but I did start today and hadn’t even read your post yet so we are obviously on the same page! I’m going to put your button on my blog…but not tonight….I’m exhausted! My project is outdoors also….I started on Sunday and chalk painted my front door and swept the front porch and started going through Fall decorations. Today I struggled with the power washer as I want to do my walks and eventually my driveway. Living in the South….cement turns black with mold after a few years and it was time. I managed to get half my sidewalk and front porch done and tomorrow I’ll be back at it. I do make myself make sure I have the basics done….clean up the house, laundry, meal prepped etc. so when I come in exhausted I can still eat and have clean clothes and not a devastated house…..it’s helped me a lot but it does cut into my time to work on my “elephants”. In the long run though it makes it not so overwhelming or have to stop early to make a meal etc.
    Thanks for having this weekly update. You can go to my blog and see my door (it was apple green before). I forgot to take before pictures today but I still have the other half of the sidewalk that isn’t done so I can take pictures of that and you will see how bad it was. This is so great because so many of the people I blog with never talk about cleaning or organizing. I figured they must have household help! LOL! I’m so glad someone else has the never-ending to-do list! I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to! You Go Girl!

  3. You said what has been running in my head for weeks. Yes, I need to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I’m on board. Big time.

    Actually… I cleaned out my hoarders closet last weekend. Chomp chomp.

  4. last night I decided this very thing and my wall of pictures that has been driving me crazy was tackled and although it took me a good hour to come up with a suitable, better yet awesome arrangement I felt so much better when it was done. I barely slept last night because I was so excited. I thought all night what I could tackle next! I’m in!

  5. I’m so with Rebecca of Read the Signs. I’m 76, moved just over a year ago, and still have 2 boxes to unpack, have yet to clear off my dining room table, hang all my pictures and I don’t even want to mention the craft/computer/laundry room. I’m in! See ya Monday.


  6. Inspiring! Much like Julie, I had grand plans for this weekend. I’m going to do Pinterest projects I’ve been meaning to do for like, ever! I’m going to organize my closet and donate all of the clothes I don’t wear! I’m going to organize my linen closet so it looks like all those fancy ones I see on blogs!

    I don’t have kids. I have a boyfriend, a dog and three cats.

    This weekend, I shamefully got sucked into a vortex of non-stop Netflix marathons…and making snacks. I did a little laundry and went on a day trip, but…the wasted potential of the weekend has me cringing today. 🙁

  7. I so need this! I had such big plans this weekend. Finish the towel bar for the boys’ bathroom was the big one. Even small crap like finally bringing my yard sale pewter tray up my the master bath from the garage, where it’s been mocking my husband daily for 6 weeks. Did I do either one? Nope. I did start to finish the back for the towel bar. Got the piece all nice and sanded smooth, then realized I grabbed the wrong dang piece! That just put the kibosh on anything else.

    So yes, I need this too. Between 3 boys, The Man, the dog, all that working at work and volunteering at the school. Yeah. All I want to do is get horizontal and zone out on a book. Maybe once in a while.

  8. oh Read the Signs has probably told the sad story for so many many of us. when the hormones make a shift and health issues creep into our lives it is no longer that easy to keep juggling all those aspects of our lives that easily.

  9. I think you read my mind! I’m a teacher and school starts tomorrow. Needless to say I did not get several things on my list done this summer and I was feeling like all hope of projects is lost with school starting. Love this idea. I can definitely break a project down into smaller to-do items.

  10. In 1882, amid multiple labor union strikes, there was a march through NYC demanding a working man’s holiday (along with other rights). Eventually 23 states joined the movement and in 1894, congress signed the working man’s holiday into law. The U.S. department of labor called this labor day. 🙂 And that’s why, though the name seems ironic today, it’s a day to relax!

  11. If you only knew how very much you sound like me – or, how very much I sound like you. I am however older, 61, and closed a big store that I owned in 2010. My health was a little down,nothing I couldn’t get over, but my husband handled the final “get everything sold” sale. In the end there was “stuff” that he wondered where I wanted him to put “it”. I had accumulated personal items in my store for over 10 years – things for decorating that I would never sell, furniture, tools, craft supplies of EVERY kind, personal pictures, bookkeeping and more bookkeeping records, even some of my clothes and shoes; a lot of anything and everything — I did practically live there. You know you can never OWN a store, it OWNS you. I told him he didn’t have to organize it, just bring it home in boxes and set them in the house…… OMG – I had no idea!!! I actually had friends ask if we were moving upon seeing the stacks and stacks of boxes in every room. I was very depressed. My beautiful store was dismantled – I really loved the way it looked – a true expression of me – everywhere. My husband and I had remodeled the house he grew up in and it was a perfect picture of the two of us – so pretty and we did it with our own four hands. Now, my house was invaded and the harmony ruined. I would start to put some things away and stop everytime, because it was “impossible”. It was impossible to do it all at once, and perfectyly by the way. I found my need for perfection bred procrastination. My need for everything to have a place and be in its place was an organizing nightmare. My computers were left dead by a virus, and I had 3 years of taxes to do by hand — so MUCH paper work. This is 2013 and I still sit here looking at the elephant that just won’t go away. I have arranged, rearranged, organized, reorganized, packed up and unpacked. Cleaned out spaces, filled up spaces, and it is like trying to get toothpaste back into a tube. This house is over 60 years old, and closet space was not so important when my husband’s father built this home. So, to cut this long, long story short, I like knowing someone else can not finish in one day. I like your elephant. I am going to keep checking back with you. Rebecca

  12. Such a great idea! A few months ago, I even had a slot in my planner for the ONE different/project-y thing I would get done for the day. Needless to say, that slot has been empty since summer began!

I love hearing from you guys!