Thursday, December 08, 2022

The order of things

If there was one project, one topic, that I’ve talked about more than any other since moving into this house, it would have to be my attempts to bring order to the chaos throughout this building. I’ve talked about the challenges, the attempted solutions, and even the reasons this situation exists at all, and combined it reinforces the fact that this situation has been a Very Big Deal. It’s perfectly logical, then, that I talk about it a lot, but I really ought to talk about achievements more often, because there have been plenty. Today, I will.

Over the past couple months, I’ve talked about various projects, and there’s almost always a flow-on or related project, most of which I don’t talk about. For example, at the end of last month I mentioned clearing off my dining table. I said that “my dining table has been buried for weeks”, and then went on:
So, I told myself I had to completely clear the table so I could have my “special” dinner sitting at the table like a (somewhat) civilised adult. It took me a couple hours because I dealt with the stuff on the table, and didn’t merely move it somewhere “for now”. I now have my table back, which is a good start, if a small one.
There was more to the story, as there often is. I actually started clearing off the table because I was sick of seeing it buried under stuff for my projects. When I said “I told myself I had to completely clear the table so I could have my ‘special’ dinner”, that was actually tongue in cheek, and said with a bit of a wink. I often mock myself, after all. While I really did say that to myself, I’d have had my “special” dinner regardless. On the other hand, faux motivation can still be motivation.

The truth—and my real motivation—was that I was sick of all the clutter in the living area, and the table was merely the most obvious part of the mess, and that’s the real reason I started with it. After I did the finishing touches (for now…) on the laundry shelving project, I turned my attention to the stuff that had been stored in the living area for months, ever since I began trying to organise my office, beginning at the end of March. That project (“The Project From Hell”) failed, for a lot of reasons, and most of the stuff I took out of my office went back in there—except for one pile of boxes I left in the living area.

As it happens, the pile of boxes was sitting in the spot where I put the Christmas tree, and that served as specific—if merely additional—motivation. It worked: All that stuff has now been put away to wherever its home now is. In fact, apart from some things I need to assemble for outside projects (which I’ll bring back into the house when I work on them—their projects are weather dependent), everything that was stored in the living space is now in its final home, and no longer cluttering up my—well, life, really.

What all of this means is that I actually accomplished a project that was non-dramatic, but nevertheless transformative. However—full transparency and all—I only have most of my living space back: I still have to finish the kitchen. A few weeks ago, I started organising my pantry, but stopped. The result is that there’s pantry stuff still sitting on the kitchen benches. In fact, some of the clutter on the dining table was pantry stuff, too. Now that I have the rest of the living area sorted, I have only the kitchen to focus on, and having focus is a powerful enabler for any project.

This relatively little project was done around other projects (like lawn mowing, for example), and was definitely a “what I can, when I can” sort of thing for that and other reasons. I now truly understand the wisdom of “slow and steady wins the race,” and doing projects that way makes me far more likely to actually finish them. So far, anyway. I still have the bedrooms and the garage to complete, but I now have a successful template to use for those area. Fingers crossed.

I really ought to talk about achievements more often, because there have been plenty. Clearing the living area may sound small, but for me and my comfort and my journey, it was a huge achievement. On to the next one.

This project evolved organically, and without any planning, so it never occured to me to take before and after photos. That's probably for the best.

No comments: