Have you heard Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Melinda Mae?” If not, here’s a quick refresher:
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Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,
Who ate a monstrous whale?
She thought she could,
She said she would,
So she started in right at the tail.
And everyone said, “You’re much too small,”
But that didn’t bother Melinda at all.
She took little bites and she chewed very slow,
Just like a good girl should…
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…And in eighty-nine years she ate that whale
Because she said she would!
I always had an affinity for this poem. First is obvious – we’re both named Melinda. And when I was a child, I too was quite small but could pack away the food.
Not to mention how stubborn I was. If you said I couldn’t do something, it was happening.
Much like adult Melinda.
Secondary, my mother’s name is May. Sure, it’s spelled differently but I just *knew* Mr. Silverstein wrote this for me.
So why am I taking this stroll down poetry lane? I was reminded of this poem the other day. I’ve been stressing the importance of taking small, consistent steps to one of my email clients and she responded with, “You know how you eat the elephant don’t you?” In that moment, even though I hadn’t thought about it in decades, this poem leapt to the front of my brain.
If you’re facing a massive amount of clutter (or any other daunting task), it’s OK. Just as with Melinda Mae eating a whale, when you take small, consistent steps towards getting rid of your clutter, it will happen. You will be able to make the clutter go away. You will be able to clear space and create a welcoming home that you want to spend time in. Start at the “tail” and systematically work your way through it.
And unlike Melinda Mae, it won’t take you 89 years to accomplish.
I would’ve never guessed way back then that this poem would be the perfect reference for my profession now. When facing a giant heap o’ clutter, take it one bite at a time. No matter whether others think you can do it or not, I, and Melinda Mae, know you can.
One bite at a time.