When we were buying this house three years ago, everyone remarked how exciting it would be that we’d be in for Christmas. The deadline of Santa Claus’ big day loomed and everyone in the chain felt the pressure to complete before the end of December. We all had our eyes on the prize. We wanted our trees in our new living rooms. Would it have mattered if we completed in January? No probably not at all and I can’t help but think we all put a ridiculous amount of pressure on ourselves to complete. Don’t get me wrong deadlines are good. We need something to strive for but the stress can be overwhelming. The same thing happened a year later when we hosted Christmas; was it really necessary to have every room cleared and the kitchen painted? Nope. And now this year another big date soars in the distance as I get closer to my due date.
Gone are the cocktails that used to be scribed on my kitchen blackboard and instead there is line after line of jobs that we decided need to be done before November. We’ve both come to the realisation that it’s an impossible task and although we wanted to get some work done while we have a double income coming in, I’m told life doesn’t stop when you have a baby and that DIY will resume again.
Rewriting The List
As satisfying as it is to tick jobs off the list, and we’ve done a lot of them, seeing a load of uncompleted tasks makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t find a list of twenty tasks motivating, just overwhelming. We are about to prioritise and rejig based on a few factors and create a much more streamlined list.
Prioritising What’s Essential or Urgent
One job on the list is to replace the rotting wood and mice proof the shed. How glamorously boring is that? It’s not a visible task either so once it’s done who would even know? However it’s going to save money in the long run if we don’t need to buy a new one, and if my outdoor cushions don’t get eaten by rodents. Anything maintenance related has made it’s way to the new list while replacing things that are in full working order but don’t look the bomb, such as bathroom taps have slipped.
Prioritising What’s Important
I got so many helpful comments on my nursery practicalities post and there were some recommendations not to decorate the room before he arrives. For a time I wondered if I was crackers planning a nursery that wouldn’t be used for months but this has definitely been my most favourite home decor project EVER. Perhaps it has been a bit daft to concentrate on a room that will rarely be used this year when we have umpteen other rooms to paint but it’s kept me sane when I’ve had a bad day; when the nausea has got too much I’ve gone and sat quietly in the nursery. It’s not essential but it is important to me so I would like to finish off a few jobs in there.
Estimate The Effort Vs Return
This is one I struggle with but use this principle in work life. Do we do the biggie whammy of a task (the downstairs bedroom which so far hasn’t been touched?) which we’ll see most reward from but at the expense of the smaller tasks? I think I’m going to have to say if we haven’t started it by the beginning of October then it’s just going to have to wait until next year.
Call In the Troops
How many times do people offer to help but you decline the offer? I do this all the time but no longer. I’ve lapped up the requests from friends and family to help out and we’re going to spend a weekend in October blitzing any leftover tasks. Dare I say it, I’m quite looking forward to it.
Remind Myself It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
A few of my friends are moving house at the moment and delving into the pages of RightMove has reminded me what real houses look like. I love instagram, it’s given me so much inspiration but it’s easy to get drawn into a trap thinking that most houses are perfectly curated homes. They aren’t. Most houses look like RightMove; with strip lights in the kitchen, dodgy paint jobs and gardens filled with weeds or they are somewhere in between. And you know what? They’re all someone’s little castle. I post a lot less on instagram these days because I don’t think my spaces are as well designed as those within other squares, and again that’s fine because it’s my home and it works for me.
How do you prioritise a long to do DIY list? Or any list for that matter? Have you had any times when decor or renovation deadlines have driven you to despair?