Chipping away at big projects

Something I’ve been working on lately that’s very much in the “done is better than perfect” mindset is chipping away at big projects rather than thinking in terms of completion.

Let’s take painting the master bathroom as an example. My natural instinct is to plan and prep—I am an outstanding planner, if I do say so myself—purchase all necessary materials, and then finish the cleaning, priming, painting, and decorating all at once, preferably in a weekend (or maybe two, given drying time).

I think that mindset came from two places: teaching and HGTV. When I was teaching, I didn’t really have the option to do weekend house projects because I did so much planning and grading on weekends. I usually had to save something like painting a room for summer, when I would rush to knock out as much as I could before school started again. And as much as I love the inspiration of HGTV, I think it emphasizes the big reveal so much that it’s difficult to remember that most house projects don’t come together as quickly as those shows make it seem.

But our house . . . y’all, I love our house, but it is beige. Beige. Beige everywhere.

So much beige.

The walls are one shade of beige. The trim is another shade of beige. The ceiling—you may already be anticipating this—is yet another shade of beige.

A few months ago, my husband watched me stare at the wall for a few minutes and asked what was up.

“The beige. It’s starting to close in on me.”

And it was. It was haunting me. Or do I mean taunting?

It was both haunting and taunting me.


Taking down the beige in one fell swoop isn’t an option, regardless of the fact that there’s a toddler wandering around, but even knocking it out one room at a time is tough. I decided just to start and not have an end date in mind.

Over the past three weekends, I’ve managed to clean with TSP, prime, and paint all of the trim. I’ve also chosen the wall color (no idea how this will show up on your screen, but the bottom green is far and away the winner).

I think next weekend I’ll be able to get one coat on the walls and then another coat the weekend after that. We’ll hang shelves and towel bars and such sometime in the days following.

The thought of it taking six weeks to paint a bathroom would’ve made me shudder a few years ago, but the fact that this was the only way it would happen has certainly put everything into perspective for me.

What big projects can you start chipping away at this week?

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