Let's Make a List!

  •   Posted on: 2020-10-12
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Originally published June 22, 2012

I love lists.  I love starting a list in neat, ink-driven handwriting, watching the entries accumulate, feeling my heart rate quicken with the pressure of tackling this list, checking the items off with satisfaction.

My life is littered with lists: to-do lists, grocery lists, packing lists, shopping lists (different from grocery lists, thank you very much, Freddy’s), knitting queues, pro/con lists.  But I don’t just love lists, I need lists.  Every so often I stop and have to say out loud, how do I pull all this off?  I run 3 businesses, write two blogs, send out 4 newsletters a week to a cumulative 5,000+ customers, bike for transportation, work out three times a week, have social engagements almost every night, and am in a relationship with someone I don’t live with.  Seriously, how do I make that happen?

Let me tell you, friend.  Only with lists.  The thing about a list is, once something makes it onto a list, it will.  Get.  Done.  It might take months, get postponed 47 times, or get herded over to another list that only gets tackled on Tuesdays, but nothing has ever just fallen off a list before.

Which is why, faced with the insurmountable task of moving out of a 1500 square foot apartment that I’ve lived in for nearly 4 years, and into a new house (yes, I’m saying it out loud now.  I’m buying a house!), I knew the only way to streamline this process without an unbearable amount of stress would be to make a serious, serious list.

Apparently, I discovered while fishing through some old files on my home computer, I’ve done this before.  For my mass exodus out of Montreal back in 2006, it seems I catalogued every single possession I owned, and determined from the comfortable sanctuary of my desk chair where it would go.  Like literally, which box it would go in.

(Did I really need my nutritional yeast in such close reach?  That seems absurd.)

I’m not going to get that crazy this time, because I am going to have the luxury of some friends to help, a span of a few weeks within which to execute this plan, and free use of a huge truck (one of the many perks of dating a contractor whose clients adore him), but I realized that if I could somehow quantify exactly how much work this whole moving thing was going to take, I’d feel a lot calmer.

So yes, I went through my entire house on Tuesday night and took an inventory of every single room, weighing which parts of my life I can afford to pack up as early as now (like the living room bookshelf and office desk drawers) and which parts are really going to have to be last-minute rush packing jobs (um…the kitchen).

That column of stuff in the “pack now” column?  Looks like a list waiting to be crossed off to me!  So yes, even though my house is still weeks away from closing, I’m spending my evenings packing up random parts of my house in manageable chunks.  Because seriously, any project is manageable when it’s broken down into manageable chunks, right?

Why do you think the Norma blanket (in the most recent issue of Knitty) has so many different charts?  Does this project (which I’m totally going to make for the next friend of mine who gives birth…we’ll talk about that soon) seem crazy intricate and overwhelming?  Yes, totally.  But working through the first 10 rounds of the first chart really doesn’t.

I can totally do that.  Then I’ll uncover the next 10 rows and knit those, too.  And once I finish that whole section?  I’ll just keep the rest of it covered up, and keep movin’ on.

P.S. Yes, I’ve always been like this.

Salvaged “get ‘er done” list from my sophomore year of high school, circa 1998.


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