project creeping


before we moved into our new house, we roughed out what we called our plan of attack — a list of things we wanted to do right away (before our furniture arrived, hah!) and what we wanted to accomplish before the end of 2017. that list extended beyond 2017 and what i published on the blog, as — awesome as it would be to be able to fix up an old house inside of six months — it’s going to take a few years to tackle everything.

two and a half months in, we’ve crossed everything off that first list — you know, the one that was made up of stuff we meant to accomplish before our furniture even arrived. go us! and the second list — the one made up of everything we hoped to accomplish before the end of this calendar year — is coming along okay. it would be coming along a lot better if i could just focus. but i keep getting distracted by what i call low-hanging fruit, the little projects that take a day or two, that i’m capable of doing by myself and that don’t intrude on the functionality of the house (that is, starting them and not finishing them right away doesn’t leave us without a working sink, etc.).

the house is just full of these while-i’m-at-it projects, which, in the end, is a good thing because it means the house is full of lots of easy ways for me to make improvements and add value, but, in the meantime, means i keep jumping around from room to room, starting on a hundred different things and finishing none of them.


here’s an example:

i need to touch up the ceilings in the living and dining rooms because our carpenters were here again recently building a large built-in bookcase for us (looks amazing, btw) and so, in getting out a fresh roller sleeve and tray liner, it seemed like it would be efficient to paint the small square of ceiling in the hallway. (meaning i could then install the smoke alarm, which seems like a good idea.)

the small square of ceiling in the hallway is original plaster and i felt it could do with a bit of sanding before it was painted. since the sander was out, i thought i might as well sand frankie’s bedroom door, the trim around her door and the closet door next to it.

speaking of the closet door, our carpenters will be back next week to finish off their work, which means they haven’t done a dump-run yet and there’s a pile of off-cuts and old wood in my basement. so it seemed efficient to pull the old shelf brackets out of the closet in order to add them to that pile. and now the closet is ready for painting and i’m doodling closet sketches, even though that closet appears nowhere on our 2017 list.

and because i was sanding the ceiling and doors and pulling old brackets out of the closet, i didn’t actually touch up the ceilings in the living and dining rooms at all. so, three hours later, that’s still on my to-do list and, somehow, painting the inside of the closet, painting frankie’s bedroom door, painting the trim around those doors and painting the small square of ceiling in the hallway have now been added to my project list.

anyone have any tips for managing project creep and staying on track? how do you approach making a to-do list for a house that needs work in every nook and cranny?

what do you think?

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