Tackling the To Do List

I have an ever-present To Do List for my home.  I keep it in a notebook and have my projects listed room by room. There is nothing better than crossing off each item when it is finished!

However, one big challenge when you have a slew of projects on your to do list is keeping focused.  If you are anything like me, even if you are working on one project, your mind is constantly thinking ahead to the next one or two or ten.  So how do you stay on track and not end up with a bunch of half-finished projects? Here is my advice.

* Make a prioritized To Do List:  I tend to be a little more OCD than most with my lists, and I prefer to do projects room by room.  In other words, my top priority right now is ripping out my shower doors.  So, while I'm at it, I will do all of the projects in my bathroom, so I can cross the entire room off of my list and I don't run into a situation where half is done and half remains.

* Give yourself a "reward" for sticking out a project. This can be many things: save the project you're most excited about until the very end (such as picking out a paint color or making something with fabric); buy something new for the space (new towels for the bathroom, new sheets for the bedroom, etc.). Knowing that you're getting a sweet little treat at the end of your efforts might help inspire you to keep crackin' on your project. In my case, when I have finished my bathroom projects (shower doors, painting, etc.) my reward will be brand new towels to replace the 8-year old fraying and whisper-thin numbers we have right now. Cannot.wait.

* Star a couple of quick & easy projects:  Sometimes you won't have time to do a major project like painting the room or rearranging furniture or organizing a ton of stuff.  So rather than do nothing, if you find yourself with a few extra minutes, tackle something small like organizing a drawer, lining a cabinet with shelf paper, updating an armoire with wrapping paper, or whatever other small projects you might have.

{courtesy of MarthaStewart.com}

* Plan ahead:  before you begin a project, really research and think about what it is you are doing.  In my case, I have spent a ton of time on google and blogs learning how to tear out shower doors.  I also searched the Internet and my favorite magazines for color ideas.  And I have a game plan: first rip out the shower doors, then deal with repairing and cleaning what was under those shower doors, then hang the new shower curtain and rod, then touch up the trim paint, then (finally) repaint the walls.   Here is what I hope my bathroom will look like!

{courtesy of katyelliott.com}

* Always have the next project or two in the back of your mind:  Let yourself think about the other projects on your list, but do not start them until your first one is finished.  Still, it's not wise to put on blinders.  It's a good idea to be on the lookout for ideas and items for the other projects on your list.  For instance, while I won't let myself start my closet/craftroom yet, I am always checking Craigslist for cheap (or free) pegboard that I can use for the walls.  I'm also constantly searching Craigslist for cheap kitchen cabinets for my kitchen.  If I see a great deal, I can pursue it, but I don't let myself actually work on the room.

So there's a quick sneak peek into my to-do list behavior. What about you? How do you tackle your home projects?  I'd love to hear!

See you swoon,


  1. That bathroom is gorge. Can't wait to see how it goes for you. Also can't wait to rip out my shower doors.

  2. Rachel, isn't it a beautiful bathroom? It reminds me a lot of mine size-wise. Of course, after a month's search, I cannot find a curtain that looks like that one. Bah! I am excited and a teeny bit nervous about Operation Brass Shower Doors Out this Friday ...

  3. Good luck with the shower doors! Can't wait to see the "after" pics :)

  4. Heather, me either! And now that I have my new digital camera that actually takes decent pictures, I hope the "afters" are even better!