how to create a home projects list AND complete it

Ah, the dreaded LIST.  Whether you are renting or you own your home, you no doubt have a long list of projects that you keep meaning to do.  It could be something simple like “get new curtains for living room” or more complex such as “renovate bathroom”, but for whatever reason the list never seems to get shorter.

Maybe you have other priorities that keep you busy, or not enough time to check tasks off The List, or perhaps there just isn’t enough money for the projects you want to do.  Whatever the reason, today I want to share some tips and tricks for creating a realistic list and actually completing all the tasks on it.  Sound good?  I’m also going to share some items from my own List with the plans for completing them.

home projects

step one

Make your List!  Go through your house (and yard if desired) and write down projects that would improve the look or function of the space.  Don’t worry about how you will do each task just yet; if you want an improvement, write it down.

step two

After writing down all the tasks, it’s time to determine the feasibility of task.  Do you need to send the kids away for the weekend?  Will you enlist help from friends and family to help with a project?  Is this going to cost a lot of money?  I like to write down each task as a heading, and underneath I write what is needed for each.  For example, I’d write Paint the Hallway and under that I’d write choose colour; get extra brushes and trays; ask dad for help.  Under the Redo Basement Bath heading I wrote replace flooring; paint walls; install new vanity and toilet; replace door.  

Writing out what is involved helps determine how much time it will take for each project so that you can divide and conquer.  If possible, figure out a cost estimate for each project (a trip to the home improvement store will help with that).

step three

Now that you know how much work is involved, you can begin to create a timeline.  Are there projects that are do-able over the course of weekend, and others that require more time?  Divide the tasks based on long term and short term completion.

Some examples on our short term list are: replace weather stripping at front door; paint the hallway; tile by the back door.  Each of those can be started and finished in one weekend.  Projects that will take more time are: strip and seal siding; paint extra bedrooms; redo basement; replace sliding doors.  Creating a timeline helps set realistic goals so that you can actually begin ticking items off.

Step four

Now that you have a list of projects, what is involved, how much it cost and how long it will take, you can begin ordering them based on importance. When you are trying to decide how to order the tasks it may be helpful to ask yourself some questions: “How much does the current state of the (room, area, space) bother me now?” “Can I live with it for another month/6 months/ year?” “Does it require us to save money for it or can we afford this project now?” “Do we have the time/energy/resources/ to dedicate to the project?”.

step five

Once you have decided which tasks to do first, you can start assigning dates to them.  Some tasks may be weather dependant (if you want to open the windows while painting, you likely want it to be a nice day out) so take that into account.  Don’t try to schedule everything in one month though!  Sometimes things take a bit more time than expected, or something interrupts your plans, so it’s best to give yourself extra time between projects.  Trust me, you do not want to have several projects on the go, because they will take soooo much longer!  My suggestion is to schedule two weekend projects per month, and not more; this gives you ample time should you need extra.

Projects that will take longer than a weekend should be scheduled for as much time as possible.  If you are unsure how long it should take, you can always ask for advice at a home improvement store.  They can advise you based on the amount of work involved in removing and replacing flooring, for example.

Completing your List is possible!  It takes planning, dedication, stamina, and patience, but it is so worth it.  There is no other feeling like being proud of your home and the work you’ve put into it.  Even if they are small tasks,  it is great to look back and say “I did that!”.

In case you are curious, here is my list of projects for 2016:

  • strip and seal siding
  • build chicken coop
  • expand front deck
  • finish patio
  • fix driveway drainage
  • re-stain back deck
  • install new clothesline (DONE)
  • redo basement bathroom
  • paint hallway
  • clean and organize garage and sheds
  • put up basement trip
  • create pantry space in basement
  • tile by the back door
  • remove wallpaper and paint extra bedrooms

Yes, it may seem like a lot of work, but it can be done!

What is on your List for 2016?

About Christina

20-something; rural dwelling; wife to David; homeowner; pretty good cook; wearer of skirts; friend to all cats.

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