Today I did something I should have done twenty years ago. It took me just five minutes and has made my life easier. Why did I tackle what I thought was going to be a tough job? I was inspired by my cup list.

The idea of a cup list comes from a YouTube video by struthless. You make a list of “ignorable stuff that always gets bumped to the bottom of your to-do list.” These are small problems that are annoying but far from urgent so we learn to live with them. Fixing these things not only makes your life easier, but also gives you energy and inspiration to tackle other tasks.

The bit about the cup list starts at 7:52, but the whole video is good.

My cup list includes things like:

  • Set up my new nature journal
  • Hang wind chime
  • Order new glasses
  • Put up hook in studio
  • Make a cord holder for iron
My homemade ironing cord wrap.

I can’t believe how much energy and joy I’m getting from doing the simple things on my cup list. Adding an apron hook to my studio wall took five minutes and makes me smile every time I look at it.

The longest part of this project was remembering where I’d put the hook…

The surprising part is the snowball effect. Things I didn’t think to put on my list are getting done, too.

Years ago, a friend gave me a tiny quilting ruler that she had stuck little sandpaper dots on to keep it from slipping on the fabric. The plastic rulers used with rotary cutters for quilting slip all the time, resulting in a wavy cut. The sandpaper dots kept this from happening. I was impressed by how well the ruler worked, so I decided to add friction dots to my favorite 6″ x 12″ ruler.

The ruler my friend gave me, complete with sandpaper dots.

I didn’t actually have any sandpaper dots, and I didn’t see any reason to buy them. Instead I used some clear rubber dots I already had, thinking this was going to solve my cutting problems. Instead, it made things worse. My dots were at least one-eighth of an inch thick, meaning the ruler was only holding the fabric down in the six places where I’d put the dots. Every cut was a mess.

Within minutes, I was picking at the dots to remove them, but they wouldn’t budge. I debated getting a blade to pry them off, but they felt firmly attached. I was convinced a blade would damage the ruler. (Did I mention it’s my favorite?) Instead, I flipped the ruler over and forced myself to read the now backwards numbers. I’ve been doing that for the last twenty years.

Fast forward to a weeked of working through my cup list. I was putting all my quilting rulers away and I flipped over my 6″ x 12″ so those fat little feet wouldn’t catch on the other rulers. Then I paused. This should be on my cup list. It was an annoying thing I was just livving with. For the first time in ages, I thought about trying to get those dumb dots off. I didn’t even care if I scratched the ruler. It would be worth it to be able to use it right side up.

I got out a carving handle and the leaf-shaped blade that came with it and sliced the dots right off without a scratch. They left a sticky residue, but a little rubbing with a hard eraser, and my ruler was good as new.

My favorite quilting ruler, sans dots.

I’d lived with this problem for so long, I hadn’t even thought about fixing it. I just regretted the dots every time I pulled the ruler out. But now they are gone. It’s crazy how happy this makes me.

Working through your cup list is supposed to help you to tackle bigger projects and make challenging life changes by demonstrating that making an effort can pay off. I haven’t gotten that far. My cup list isn’t finished yet. But I did get my favorite quilting ruler back in working order, and that’s good enough for me.

What is on your cup list?

2 thoughts on “Happiness is Working On Your Cup List”

  1. Kit, this is such a great idea! I’ve heard of a bucket list, of course, and I never even bothered to try to have one – just too overwhelming – but I do make a short “To Do List” quite often. I love the idea of a cup list – just enough of a challenge so there is more hope and incentive for getting those things done.
    Also, you’ve inspired me to get back to my quilting, which I had left lying there for most of the summer.

    1. I don’t have a bucket list either, but there are loads of things lying around half finished, and making time for them is really paying off. Excited to learn you are also a quilter. What are you working on?

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