A House in Progress

As I have shared in other posts, our house required a fair amount of work after we purchased it. No gutting and hard-core remodels were required, but sometimes the surface livable changes are harder to accomplish because they don’t demand immediate action. In graduate school the professor who I worked under was a big fan of creating Running To Do Lists for the entire year: nothing was ever removed, but only checked off, and no new lists were created, only tacked on to the existing list. This system allowed us to look back after a year and see exactly what projects we had worked on, and the sense of accomplishment from seeing such a long list was amazing.

I didn’t realize how much that stuck with me until I caught myself creating a RTD List (acronyms were also a byproduct of graduate school and now from working in business) for the house. During the times that I get down that we still haven’t finished it, looking back on this list helps me realize how much we have accomplished. Even if what ever we did was not on the list, I would add it and check it off that way we could keep track of all the changes and hard work that we put into the house. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to see the entire progression of a large project.

I like to break the list down to small things, that way if I have a few spare minutes I can work on something and be able to check it off. If there is anything I have learned it is to chip away slowly, instead of just listing one huge project which never seems to be finish. Here’s an example:

House Spring/Summer To Do:

  • Sand patches, re-mud holes, and touch up paint (there are only a couple of areas in the house where this is needed so its a small to do)
  • Touch up the entryway holes
  • Prime entryway walls
  • Paint entryway
  • Paint my office
  • Hang office cabinets


If I had just listed

  • Paint entryway
  • Paint/finish office

All the small projects nested inside those two bullets would be lost, leaving me feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything until the space was completely finished.

I have been reflecting on my list recently as September and October raced by in a blur and it is no longer summer. Some things were not finished, and will have to wait until next year, but a lot of things were accomplished. As winter sets in, I will be moving to doing more indoor projects and I’ll be sure to share those, but I’ll also go back and share the things I did over the summer that I never got around to blogging.


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