Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fix-It February: What Got Done

Remember the show, Everybody Loves Raymond? If you were a fan then you'll remember that broken piece of tile on the kitchen counter. I always liked that a set designer did that. Television represented this reality more recently with Modern Family's broken step. That's real life for most families. Yes, you see it everyday. Yes, you know it needs fixing. But so does dinner, and someone's hair, or broken arm.

Most of us have those projects that nag at us every day. At the beginning of the year I came up with a plan to deal with that stuff around our house. First, January was the great clean-out of 2017. Read about it here. Every drawer, closet, and shelf was emptied. Most of the drawers just stayed empty. Car loads of things went to thrift store drop offs. Bags of things went in the trash. Piles of things got sorted and reorganized.

After all that I was ready for February, the month of repairing and fixing things that were broken. I looked around the house and made a list.
  • Water spots on the bedroom ceiling needed to be primed and painted.
  • The broken soap dish in the tub/shower needed to be replaced.
  • The front of a kitchen drawer needed to be reattached. 
  • A lamp needed to be rewired.
  • My wedding rings needed to be repaired and resized.
  • A damaged family quilt needed to be remade into Euro pillow shams for the guest cottage.
  • A repaired stair step needed staining and the riser painted.
  • I needed to touch up the chipped finish on end table.
  • I wanted to finish an unfinished wall in the honey shed.  
  • I needed a couple of fillings replaced. (nobody said they have to be home repairs)
  • On top of all this I really wanted to clean out and organize our tool shed which was a mess.

How do you go about accomplishing an intimidating list like this? 

First, make a list of what you want to get done.

If it looks like mine you might want to sit down and cry before proceding.

Second, make a list of the things you'll need to get each job done. Do you need primer or a lamp repair kit? Keep the list in your vehicle so you don't have to look for it the day you have time to go to the hardware store.

Third, designate a time to get your projects done. I wanted to do these things before spring when I am busy in the garden and beeyard. I decided February would be the perfect month to knock this stuff out. I did not know that spring would arrive a month early and I'd end up dealing with bees on top of all this!

Fourth, set a deadline. I'm a dreadful procrastinator and a deadline helps me stay on track.  My goal was to have all these things done by the end of the month.

Fifth, write on your calendar the days you have time to get one or two simple things done. For the tool shed reorganiztion I allotted 3 days. Kilzing the water stains on the kitchen ceiling I did in five minutes after painting the riser to the repaired step. I mean, I already had the paintbrush in my hand. 
Some things take much longer than you anticipate, but many things only take a few minutes once we get around to them. 

Sixth, do the things!

Here's a tip: Take a before picture. Especially of a big intimidating project. If you get halfway through and feel overwhelmed you can grab your phone and see where you started. When you are finished and your project is awesome you can give yourself a little credit on social media. It's an extra incentive to keep going when you are tired and wondering why you started this in the first place.

If you do this for all your projects you eventually end up with a little portfolio of the stuff you've done. It's nice to be able to look back at it on days when you don't feel so good about yourself. So often we don't five ourselves credit for all the little things we do. Keep track of them, you are accomplishing more than you think.

If you don't know where to start pick the one small thing that bothers you the most. Something annoying but doable in an afternoon. Something that is inexpensive or even free to fix if you just took the time.

There is momentum in action. Accomplishing one small thing leads to the next and the next.

What's your favorite way to tackle annoying little household chores?

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