It has been a year since I wrote a column on how, during each month in 2012, I would tackle one project around the house – in addition to the usual chores and upkeep. I figured it was a good way to focus on getting things done, one at a time, without feeling overwhelmed by a long list.
One month it would be closets. Another, framing and hanging photographs.
So, looking back a year later, how did it all work? Was my new month-by-month system a success?
Excuse me while I laugh myself silly.
In truth, it did work. Just not perfectly. Mind you, these were not projects that required crews of workers, heavy equipment and big budgets.
Rather, these were smaller, often do-it-yourself updates and improvements. Over the last 12 months, we have cleaned out and added shelves and cubbies to a couple of closets (last January). Assembled nifty new storage cabinets in the garage (July or was it August?). Updated the family room with new pillows and throws (October). And had the rugs professionally cleaned (November). Not bad.
The trickiest tasks were the ones that were easy to start but even easier to stop midway. These included stripping wallpaper in a bedroom, for example, a project I foolishly began in very hot weather last summer.
Looking back, I realize that most of my planned projects were not completed in one month but rather spilled over from one month to the next.
I was reminded that work and family obligations can bring things to a screeching halt. And that projects – any projects – have a way of getting 95 percent done and then stopping. That final 5 percent – replacing switch plates or hanging artwork – always seems to be delayed.
I've learned there is a right time to do things (cleaning closets in January or before the school year begins) and a wrong time (starting any home project during a holiday week!).
I've also learned that it's always more fun to do things together. Who knew that a 13-year-old would have so many opinions on kitchen faucet finishes? Or the perfect shade of white paint?
Last January in this column, I was dreaming of a month devoted to windows – laundering sheers, fixing broken strings, repainting sills, adding a new treatment or two. I was hoping for another month set aside for organizing photographs and framing and hanging some new prints. Another month for simply fixing broken, chipped or cracked things around the house.
These and other projects did not get done, but that is OK. A lot of them did. Now it's a brand new year, and I'm gearing up for it. I just don't want to have to strip any more wallpaper for a very long time.