Why do the small projects seem so large? This could be any project or task, not just the house-related ones.
Most of the time the mental gymnastics I go through to avoid starting a small project are way worse than the reality of actually completing the small project.
Why is my brain that?
Am I the only one who does this?
I’ve seriously spent more time obsessing over, whining about, or flat-out ignoring the five small projects we tackled recently around our house.
Here they are in no particular order related to the time spent procrastinating before starting, the actual effort or time expended to complete, or the satisfaction gained from finally checking these small projects off the to-do list.
ADDED A SIDEWALK BORDER
This old house we live in is rich in landscaping stones. There are pavers, bricks, and other landscaping stones everywhere.
We’ve spent the last few years perfecting the game of musical pavers.
We just move them around to what we think are better places at the time. Either this game ends with all the pavers in permanent spots or we’re going to have a lot of pavers to sell or donate.
One of our recent small projects was to finish the sidewalk border that had been started by the previous owners. We already had the pavers. We just needed to move them to the sidewalk.
Completing this small project only took us:
One winter of wondering where to move the extra pavers from an old garbage can area.
Five minutes to move thirty pavers to this sidewalk.
One week to work up the energy to tackle this small project.
Forty-five minutes to actually set the pavers and finish the border around this sidewalk.
On the plus side, our front sidewalk looks huge now!
With the border added to the sidewalk, the sidewalk is now the same width as the front porch steps.
I didn’t realize what a difference this little change in width would make, but the sidewalk definitely looks more finished now.
Just imagine how great it will look when we wash all the dirt off from letting the pavers sit there for way too long. Ha!
PATCHED A HOLE IN THE FLOOR
The next small project on the to-do list was flooring-related.
We’ve lived in this house for almost three years. A few months after we moved in, Handy Husband stepped through the floor in our sunporch creating a hole.
We covered the hole with a book for 2 1/2 years. As one does.
Our logic was that we were going to replace the entire floor.
Well, guess what? That didn’t seem to be happening, so it made more sense to just fix the hole.
2 1/2 YEARS of hemming and hawing about what to do.
2 HOURS of actual work to fix the hole in the floor.
CLEANED UP A WINDOW FRAME
Someday we will have saved enough money to get new windows for this house, but until then I have to work with what we have.
For some inexplicable reason, the windows in our kitchen had copious amounts of what I later learned was caulk smeared all around the window frames.
For a long time, I just didn’t know what to do about this situation.
It was a lot of caulk.
I finally figured out how to soften the excess caulk and then scrape it all away until the window frames were finally clean.
I then painted the frames to match the window trim.
It took about 4 hours to clean up 2 windows, but what a world of difference all that scraping made.
GROUTED SOME KITCHEN TILE
The next small project did a bait and switch on me.
I thought I was going to be regrouting some kitchen backsplash tile – the line where the tile backsplash met the granite counter backsplash. Yes, we have both.
As it turns out, it had NEVER been grouted. It was just a mish-mash of built-up years of caulk.
Are you sensing a theme with this house?
Lots of caulk. All the time.
When in doubt, caulk.
You can never have too much caulk.
So I did what I’m getting good at. I scraped out all the old caulk between the tiles and granite.
Then I did what I call “precision grouting” to grout this one small line without making a mess of the entire wall.
The existing grout was not originally white. I changed its color from terracotta to white using Grout Renew.
That’s why I used the grout I had on hand that happened to be a grey color to grout the backsplash. The color didn’t matter because when it cured I made it match the rest of the grout with the same bottle of white Grout Renew.
I probably spent 4 – 5 hours of active time on this little line of grout.
Considering that I spend approximately 40 hours a day (yes, I’m prone to melodrama and exaggeration) looking at this line of grout, I’ll say that was time well spent for this to no longer be an eyesore.
Now the counters can resume their rightful place as the eyesore I love to hate.
PAINTED A CEILING
The list of surfaces in this house that I have yet to paint is dwindling. I think I’m left with a handful of ceilings and one closet that still need fresh paint.
Painting ceilings, ugh. I can’t even tell you I painted one without whining about it.
It’s just not my favorite thing to do.
But there comes a time when you can no longer stare at the scuff marks on the ceiling anymore. It makes you wonder why there are even marks on the ceiling in the first place. Nothing good comes from that line of wondering.
I spent not even an hour painting the ceiling of this landing at the top of our kitchen stairs. I even painted the stairwell ceiling because things were going so quickly.
Goodbye, weird smudges and marks. Hello to a brighter, cheerier space. You really don’t realize how bad your ceilings are until you decide to paint them.
Am I going to learn anything from this blog post and change my future behavior as it relates to tackling the small projects around here?
Of course not.
What would I have to write about then?
While I am destined to repeat my overthinking of small projects, I am also destined to be so happy when any small project around here is complete.
This old house is teaching me that attending to even the smallest details goes a long way toward making this house look and feel younger than its true age of almost 250 years.
Thanks for being here today! If you have a small project story, I’d love to hear about it. You can email me here or reach out via social media. In the meantime, here are some other posts you might enjoy.
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