Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beware: my home projects list

Today I'm sharing my biggest to do list: my home projects list. Now, you don't have to read through it. The reason I'm posting it is that at the end of the year, I can see what I accomplished and what's still left. I have no plans of getting all of these done, some I know might take years to get to. But you know I like lists.

My goals this year don't even include any house projects, but I know I'll go crazy if I don't get to do any of them and many will simply have to get done. So I thought maybe I can do two things per month, even if they're tiny ones such as hanging some art or fixing something.

I tend to focus on what needs to get done and not what has been done. And I waste time by not getting started because I know I won't be able to finish a task. I'm trying to be better about this and just get something done, even if it's just a small part of a bigger project. Or a small part of a tiny project.

It just feels soooooo good to cross something off a list instead of thinking "oh, right, I was going to XYZ" every time you walk by.

This summer it'll be three years that we have been living in the house. I know we got a lot done, especially given that we both work and have small kids. Still, what remains to be done sometimes seems overwhelming. I'm adding this list as a page to my navigation bar at the right so I can check back there and cross things off as they get done. I'm hoping that will help me focus on what we got done.

So here it goes, in no particular order:

Home office:
  • Find a space for remaining craft supplies, mainly those recycling bin things I keep saving (toilet paper creatures, anyone?)
  • Re-organize sewing supplies
  • Find a new (better) place for fabric stash. Currently it's a box which means I keep digging for things and can't see what I have. It's not much, but I don't want it to grow just because I forgot about that old shirt I saved and could have used for a project
  • Get some cork, paint white and use as photography background. Saw this idea here. The wall behind my desk is painted a dark green. While I love the color, it doesn't always make for a good backdrop, especially when you add dark winter months and lack of photography and styling skills
  • Get some more cork to make pinboard. My mother in law gave me this pinboard thing where you have two rows of twine and use clothespins to hang things. Not practical. I want to add some cork to the back to I have a decent pinboard. Or remove it alltogether if it gets to cluttered, because I also want to:
  • Hang art above desk! I have a number of things I want to hang, I just can't seem to find the time to just go get a hammer and some nails and decide on a layout! One of those things where it takes you longer to move it around your to do lists than actually finish the task. Sigh.
  • Organize kid's art and craft projects from preschool. They don't come home with a lot of it but I do need to find a system before school starts.
  • Get a new lampshade. This one is tricky because it's an old lamp from my grandmother. I really don't like the glass lampshade that comes with it in that room, but it seems like they made lampshades differently back then, so none of your standard (Ikea...) models will fit. 

Closet, Abstellkammer, catch-all:
  • purge. Again. I do this about two to three times a year and the frequency should tell me that there is still way too much stuff in there and the organization method doesn't work at all. Sigh.
  • Move remaining craft material to office
  • Clean out files. I have a feeling I can toss about 90% of what's there. I should add organize photos to this, but just typing that makes me feel exhausted.
  • Find a different (ak.a. nicer) way to store cleaning supplies. They're currently sitting on an open shelf. I'm not going for that "cute container with scrapbook-paper and nice, matching labels" look here (come on, it's a closet!), but it's still bugging me
  • Put together, set up and label those new storage boxes (that have been sitting there for months)

Master Bath: I don't think I'll do any of this in 2012, but for the sake of completeness...
  • Add some large scale art on the wall behind the door. Preferably a canvas print of a photo I took of the beaches on vacation in the Netherlands. 
  • Paint the walls! One of the few rooms not painted that sandy color the rest of the house has. I wasn't sure it would go with the color of the tiles. So I'm thinking, a soft, taupy gray. Not necessarily this year though.
  • Hack one of those Ikea coatracks I have elsewhere in the house to fit over the door and replace those flimsy (and ugly) hooks that are currently there
  • Purge the cabinet under the sink
  • Replace the unit under the sink with a drawer unit - much easier access and much easier to clean (we have one in the kids bath). Oh well, one of these days.

  • Get a desk for big brother. He starts school this year, so he really needs one. And some drawers, a lamp, maybe a pinboard, some art, shelves... 
  • Move play store to little brothers room. This will mean some rearranging there, also
  • Add some art to the walls. I'm thinking yarn-wrapped monograms and such. We'll see.
  • Finally go to that basement and find the rail thing that is supposed to go on top of big brother's closet. Install it or cross it off the list forever.
  • Get a new side table or storage system for next to big brother's bed. He's starting with small Legos so I might be getting a Trofast storage unit there. I hate them, but they work for this type of thing.
  • Purge! The next opportunity to sell kids clothing and toys is in March and I really want to make some space for the school stuff and get rid of things that are worn or no longer fit/are used
  • Find a place for small Legos. Shoeboxes in an attic space don't count, I suppose.
  • Install the two white, vintage phones I got months ago so they can talk from one room to the other. They're not real phones but they can be connected to each other.

Kids bath:
  • Finish things. There are still baseboards and stuff missing. Not pretty.
  • Replace the vanity with a simple mirror. We have this hanging unit from Ikea but I never really liked it, it's just too big for the room and we don't need the storage. I'd get rid of it immediately, but you know, we just bought it like a year ago or so... 
  • Find a lamp for over the mirror. See, that's what happens when I don't buy the Ikea good-enough-for-now solution. It never gets done. Sigh.
  • Reframe prints. I copied pages of a favorite book for art but framed them in red frames that while I'm sure are nice elsewhere in the house, just don't go with the room here. 
  • Get new towels. Like matching ones.

  • Paint bed. There's a corner we had to fix after moving and it never got painted over again. It's these little things I really need to be better at taking care of before starting something new. Maybe this list will help?
  • Add some more art. 
  • Do something about the sides of the armoires. We got these big Ikea wardrobes/armoires/closets whatever you call them. You know, the Pax. I loooooove it because the 1m Pax unit plus some drawers will fit all my clothing. If it gets crowded I know I need to purge. Eventually I want to add nice drawers instead of the mesh baskets we have. But for this list, I really want to do something about the sides. They're bright white, and the doors we have are off white. They way they're placed results in the bright sides looking strange, so I need to paint them or cover them (vintage fabric?) or something. One day. You know, when inspiration strikes.
  • Refinish tops of nightstands and dresser. They're solid wood but haven't been taken care of much. Our cats used to jump on the dresser so it's full of scratch marks and needs to be oiled.

Hallway: now this is tiny. And I mean TINY. I did some reorganizing last year, so what's left is minor stuff that I just need to cross off the list
  • Hang art. Preferably something uplifting and calming as this is where we try to get the kids out the door in time each morning...
  • Add new hooks for keys
  • Finally fix that handle on the Ikea box that came off sometime last year.
  • Maybe get a new rug. Not sure I'll get the old one clean after all that yellow sand from paving. Yuck.

Downstairs bath:
  • Do something with that bland white shade. Like a Scandinavian modern print, of course all DIY. Looks good - in my head at least.
  • Paint. Like the upstairs bath, this could use some color. Not sure gray qualifies as a color, but I just don't like white walls (GASP! I know, you're not even allowed to think about anything else but white walls these days. But they just look blah to me, especially in that North-facing room)

  • PURGE. I'm fairly good about kitchen gadgets, but I'm hopeless when it comes to china. I have way too many (often vintage) plates and bowls and such that I never use. I really have to stop telling myself that I might use them for blog photos. Or keep a small, accessible stash for that and donate the rest. 
  • More purging. This spills over into the living room, where there is a mess of a cabinet hiding all sort of glassware and vases. Ultimately, I'd like to keep only one set of wineglasses - not one in the kitchen and one "for good" in the living room. 
  • Refinish and oil countertops.
  • Fix the lazy susan in the corner kitchen cabinet that has been broken ever since we moved.
  • Find a better way to store cookies and candy for the kids. It's a cabinet they can't reach, but the cabinet gets messy way too quickly. So I need to purge and find a better way to organize the rest.
  • Do a pantry challenge and clear some of the build-up groceries from the holidays.

Living room:

  • Purge that Ikea unit, especially the one with the glassware and vases. Ugh.
  • Purge cat toys. Those lazy furballs don't play with half of the crap in there. A couple of nice felt mice should suffice.
  • Purge tablecloths. And possibly find a new place to store them. I hardly ever use tablecloths anyway, especially the large ones have just been sitting there. I like out table the way it is and just use a runner. That's also much easier with kids and cats if you ask me...
  • Get a cover for the large chair. One of the few things that doesn't have a slipcover - and it shows. At least it's the same fabric as the couch, and when I had to throw an old couch slipcover out last year (I have my wonderful feline friends to thank for that), I tore off as much of the fabric as I could save. Plan is to make something from that for the chair. 
  • Get a new sofa to replace the chair and current sofa. Yeah I know, contradictory, but this is a long-term, someday thing. The large sofa and chair don't fit perfectly in the space and a corner sofa would be nicer. Someday. Or maybe not, maybe we'll find a different setup when the kids get bigger and we don't need the play area behind the sofa anymore.
  • Purge magazines. 
  • Organize those recipe printouts!
  • Purge the inspiration folder I set up when we build the house. I'm sure tastes have changed so things can go.

Upstairs landing:
  • Make a gallery wall.
  • Frame some vintage style posters for the wall between the kids' rooms
  • Add a shallow shelf for the kids' shared library. Not sure any of this is a 2012 project though...

Oh don't even get me started. It's a project from hell and I have no idea when that is ever going to get done. Nice for 2012 would be some decluttering progress and some more tiles... some paint maybe... I guess I would need to focus on this for a few months and get it over with, but that would mean I'd get nothing else done. Hey, it's a basement... This year I am NOT including this in my goals. While it would be nice to have a decluttered and nice basement, my happiness doesn't depend on it. I can close the door, after all.

Outside of the house:
  • Increase curb appeal. Now that the driveway is finally paved, we need to add something to conceal the garbage cans that have no other place to go and genereally pretty up the front of the house a bit. Add a bench for taking off muddy shoes, get a new mailbox (that generic mailbox is another one of those not-perfect-but-good-for-now things that I shouldn't have gotten in the first place!) and add some plants. Not all of this is for 2012 though.
  • Find some decent storage for the bikes and gokarts. Who knew all the kids' wheels would take up so much space?
  • Add a roof to the back patio. Not likely a 2012 project. We keep wanting to do this but somehow there are always other things that need our time and money. One day.
  • Get the garden in shape! Especially one flower bed that contains a grass that blooms in June. I mean come on, June? I wanted something for Fall that would cover up the perennials no longer pretty by the end of the summer. Now this stuff just blooms and then looks wasted the rest of the Summer/Fall. That needs to be redone. 
  • Renovate kid's playhouse. It's only been up for two years, but it does need some repainting on the white parts. 
  • Finally finish the inside of the playhouse's second story. This year little brother will no doubt want to go up there, too, so I really need to get something done. Right now it's empty and we have plans for adding an "office" complete with old keyboards, phones and such. We'll see.
  • Sew curtains for the playhouse! This one has been on my list forever and again, that's ridiculous. I have fabric and the window's arent big, so I just need to sit down and figure out how to do it.
  • Clean and refill sandbox and re-cover surrounding area with new mulch. 
  • Various repainting projects around the outside of the house. 
  • Make plant signs for the herb garden. I have five different kinds of sage. I think. Need I say more
  • Remove Cortaderia selloana. It's just not working. Plant miscanthus instead.
  • Grow tomatoes. My mom always does, but I haven't managed to the last few years.
  • Clean up and purge shed. AGAIN. And repeatedly, I'm sure.
  • Add backs to the shelves in the shed to hide some of the mess make them more stable


Congratulations if you scrolled this far down! It's one long, long list. Longer than I thought, actually. But it's good to see it all written out. Maybe by the end of the year some things will be crossed off. I want to cross something off right now.

I'll keep you posted on our progress. Even if it's 2013.

What's on your list?


  1. You making me dizzy. You should plan time for tea, darling

    I think I know your secret: the kids know how to paint!

    1. Well, I'm not going to do these this year, at least not all of them.

      Oh, and I'm sure the kids are better at painting than I am!

  2. You are ambitious!
    Good for you.
    I want to make a list like that, but right now I feel too tired--even for list making.
    I can't wait to see what you tackle first.
    Love from,

  3. Wow! I thought I had a big list haha!


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