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Five at a Time: The New Project Rule

September 22, 2011 | 17 Comments | DIY Philosophy
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Hi, my name is Kit. And I’m addicted to starting projects.

I don’t know that it’s comfortable to always have a dozen (or two) unfinished projects laying around in my life. It often results in stubbed toes and the feeling that there’s always something I should be doing. But, if I’m completely honest, there is something comforting in it. It means that an idea I had won’t be forgotten, won’t get lost on a post-it note that ends up stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe, won’t keep getting shuffled farther and farther down the list for more important things like showers and sleeping. Once it’s started it’s a real tangible thing, and once it’s about 90% of the way done and I’ve successfully brought some part of my idea to life? Yeah… then we’re in the danger zone.

So I’ve been inspired by Allison @ House of Hepworths and Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House, who have both been pulling projects back from the brink of project-purgatory and checking things off their “unfinished” lists.

I’m not going to fool myself into believing I’ll never start another project until the one before it is complete, but I’m actually great at following rules that I make for myself. (Seriously, I once gave up french fries for a whole year…craziness.)

So the rule is: I will only ever have 5 unfinished projects at a time, and if I want to start a new one I either have to finish something else, or toss it. Five projects, I think, is enough not to feel like I’m stifling my creativity if I run into a bit of a block with something I’m working on. Cough-master bath vanity-cough.

And of course five minutes after I came up with that rule, I thought up a fabulous plan for a bed made from plumbing parts, which obviously I want to start tomorrow. But rules is rules.

First I have to get my current list of unfinished projects down to a manageable number. This is what it looks like right now:

  1. Finish labeling and filling my 24 new spice jars, and then pack them away until I have a kitchen to put them in. (Also, the label PDF in this post has been updated for any of you who noticed the “Coriander” label still had placeholder text.)
  2. Draw 4 more tiny planets and finish up this frame.
  3. Prime and paint the kitchen.
  4. Poly and re-hang the doors to the master bath.
  5. Finish Doors for master bath vanity.
  6. Finish tile around master bath tub and fireplace.
  7. Finish tile counter in mom’s bathroom.
  8. Finish chandelier makeover for friend’s closet.
  9. Hang door trim in bathrooms.
  10. Assemble the second PB inspired pinboard I cut all of the parts for.

And I have to knock six of these off the list before I even think about starting my awesome bed idea? Not to mention the 437 other project ideas I have floating around in my head? It’s going to be a busy weekend eternity.

What about you guys? Anything on your unfinished project list? (Please say yes so I don’t feel like the only crazy project-collecting person out here.)

Also if any of those unfinished projects have to do with paint, don’t forget to enter the Wagner Power Painter giveaway here, so you can check them quickly off your list.

 

Conversation I Had With State Farm
DIY Spice Jar Labels
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    Comments

  • Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House


    Thanks for the shout-out. I found that my blog was the key to getting my butt in gear. Once I’d posted my to-do list last Sunday, I actually woke up early and – here’s the kicker – got out of bed to do them (instead of watching SVU all day). I was shocked that because I “put it out there” I felt compelled to get it done. Looks like you’re off to a good start. Admitting you have a problem is the first step!

  • Shaina


    This is an awesome idea. I currently have about a dozen to-do’s on a list on our fridge. We haven’t even technically finished up our bathroom remodel that we started in oh, April!

  • Allison @ House of Hepworths


    Seeing my name in your blog post was a pleasant surprise this morning when I sat down to blog read! Thanks for the shout out. I’m glad that I was able to inspire you to get your own butt in gear. I’m still working on my list. It will take foreveh! Plus, I’m dying that I can’t start anything new. How come when I tell myself I can’t start new projects, the new ideas just start flowing?!

    xoxo

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  • statia


    So with you on this. I was actually going to write about it. My name is Statia, and I’m a project addict.

  • Joseph


    I have a HUGE unfinished project, a home theater. I got a bit more than a third of the way to the finish line. I last worked on it a couple of years ago. We have had several stacks of mahogany sitting in the house, still waiting for me to finish. I do have the feeling (make that PRAYER) that once this project is finished, it will be like a dam bursting, and the rest of what I need to do for the house remodeling will follow in a timely fashion. With me, it is not because of other projects, as it is just life itself rearing its ugly head to get in the way of the work I really want to do.

  • Tina


    Great idea! We only have trim painting touch-ups to do and our bathroom gut/remodel is done! Just can’t seem to open that paint can back up. And then the hallway painting/re-carpet is waiting to happen, then the spare bedroom painting/wood flooring and lastly the upstairs bathroom floors…all the stuff is bought and just waiting for us to finish the bathroom trim painting touch-up. I “must” open that can of paint this weekend. :P

  • Becky


    Oh my goodness, I feel like that’s all I have–unfinished projects:) I’m interested and excited when I start, but then I’m missing something I need or something happens and things just get left there. I like your rule of 5–I may steal that one for my own (and my husband’s) sanity! :)

  • Robin @ 3 acres & 3,000 sf


    You’re not the only one I can promise you that. I have 500 sf of projects to finish! The to do list is a mile long. But right now we’re focusing on trying to get our electrician over here so we can insulate the walls. It’s too cold to not have the heat on.

  • Stephanie


    Awesome self imposed rule. Is it fair to impose this rule on my husband since I’m tied to a breastfeeding 2 month old? ;) We have SO many “to dos” before moving into our new-old house, but things like planting flowers keep happening instead. Flowers don’t get us closer to not living with my parents!

  • Emily @ Merrypad


    What if… the new project is totally free and all of the other projects are waiting for cash money to make it into the checking account? Exception?

  • Catherine


    I would think I was in the wrong house if I could actually see the tope of my kitchen island. This week, it was covered with newspaper, glue gun, and antlers. Those are gone now (currently residing on the hall floor- soooo much better there), but they have been replaced by a giant wooden letter and spools of twine. Glue gun remains. I like what you said about them being ideas not forgotten about!!

  • HairyWeisenheimmer


    5??? Dude, my house is decorated in Ealy American Unfinished Project………

    • Riversana


      May I steal this description of my decor?! We started reno on our new house before we moved in, so we wouldn’t be living in an unfinished house like we both grew up in. *fail*. Our living room flooring of raw stained and paint-splattered plywood has really grown on me..

  • Lisa


    All my projects are unfinished!! I should try coming up with a list system to keep my sane.

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