Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Curtains Nemesis Conquered

by Annette

When Luisa and I were preparing to teach a workshop about our Accountability (AC) method at the recently Storymaker's annual conference, I mentioned something to her that she said I totally needed to mention in class.

Of course, I forgot to until about two hours after it was over. So I'm mentioning it here on our blog. I think it highlights just how effective the method is.

In particular, how effective the journaling method is for me (see Chapter 7 of Done and Done, pages 33 to 38).

Some back story:

We moved into this house just over ten years ago. At the time, we had blinds on most of the windows in the house, but I didn't want them in the master bath. That room is on a corner of the house, and the windows are in the corner, on both sides, with the tub taking up the corner itself.

I had a feeling that opening and closing the blinds every day, which would require leaning over the big corner tub, would be a royal pain, so I opted to sew sheers and curtains that were both decorative and practical: they'd preserve some privacy while allowing enough light in during the day. In other words, no constant reaching to open and close blinds and risking a fall into the tub (because yes, I'm short).

Those curtains and sheers stayed there. And stayed there. And stayed there. Being in a relatively untouched spot (especially from little kids), they didn't get particularly dirty. But as the years wore on, they grew very, very dusty. And I knew I needed to wash them.

That required getting up onto the edges of the tub and dealing with all of the hardware, and planning it so they could be washed, dried, and rehung during a time when we didn't need them up.

And that meant the job never got done.

To make matters even more obnoxious, when they never did quite fit right on the hardware; I needed to sew a bigger sleeve for the bars to go through. So they'd hung upside down for a decade. No one but me knew how they were supposed to look, but they always bugged me.

That's where my journal system comes in. I finally wrote the chore down as a to-do list item: "Wash bathroom curtains."

They didn't magically get done, of course. For that matter, I'm pretty sure they stayed up there, getting dirtier and dustier, for another month or two.

Eventually, however, as I reviewed my journal and list of things I needed to get done, that line kept bugging me. I needed to be able to cross off that item so I could mark off the whole page already.

So I put the curtains on my to-do list e-mail that I sent to Luisa the next day. To be honest, I think it stayed on my list for a few days (that's the nature of Resistance, especially if you've put something off for a long time already. Inertia is a beast).

But the time finally came when I simply couldn't stand to not wash the curtains. The chore was in my journal. And it was on my to-do list. My AC partner was counting on me to get it done and report back.

SO I DID IT. I washed them, dried them, and sewed them up. The entire process didn't take me long, of course, something I already knew would be the case, even though I'd put the job off again and again.

When I hung them back up, they looked great: not only were they clean again, but they looked just as I'd imagined them when I first sewed them more than ten years ago.

And it felt so good!

Intellectually, I'd known for years that I'd be so glad when I fixed and washed the curtains, but I never made time for it. Not until I had my AC partner and my journal method, both of which helped me get it done.

Do you have a chore that's been hanging over your head? Take a shot at the journaling method. Between that and your AC (you have one, right?), you may be stunned at how much satisfaction you gain from doing a simple job that's been niggling at the back of your mind for far too long.

Whatever your "curtain" chore is, write it down. Send it over as part of your list.

Get it done! Let us know how it worked for you!

Leave a comment below if you have an experience you'd like to share about the AC method, and we may invite you to be a guest poster. (Be sure to include your e-mail address so we can reach you.)

And as always, if you have any questions for me or Luisa about the method, leave a comment! We love to hear from our readers!


  1. Okay, so I don't have an AC partner. But maybe that's because I'm a little outside the box and hold myself accountable for things like washing curtains. That said, thank you for sharing this. I do have a few things on my list that I need to do. and this was inspiring.

  2. I'm so glad you posted this! Brava!