three steps to creating a home bucket list

I've spent a lot of our time living in this house being tired. First, working full-time with an every-day-is-different, odd hours work schedule. Then I was pregnant with the same work schedule. Then there was a (sweet) newborn but the same work schedule. Then pregnancy, infant, work schedule. Then just pregnancy, infant, but discombobulated home schedule due to odd-hour renovations. Then newborn and toddler--the most awake I've felt since getting married! Then, first-trimester pregnancy, infant, toddler. Now, second trimester, infant, toddler, but the energy is coming back. Dang, do I appreciate the second trimester!

And knowing that this energy could be zapped any day, I am eager to get my house in order. How long have I been wanting to get this house in order?!. Better yet, how long have you been wanting your house more orderly? I'm desperate enough that I've tried a few projects alone and had to learn some hard lessons. But more on that epic fail tomorrow.

Today, I've got my home bucket list for y'all and three steps to establishing your own. This list is time-sensitive in that it isn't our grand bucket list, which would include the WFB Trifecta, as it is fondly called in our area: kitchen, master bedroom suite, and family room additions.

Why create a list? Not everyone is a list-maker (I adore lists like other people adore dessert). But for this event, we all need a list. We need visual order and tasks that can then be eliminated/accomplished.

Let's get list-making!

time-sensitive version

1. Start with the areas that drive us nuts. I learned this from Project Organize Your Entire Life (30% read) that it is best, for me, to work on the places in my home that irritate me and paralyze me from doing good work elsewhere. These areas are not necessarily the most visible to others, but they limit my peace of mind and general efficiency, thereby making everything else more difficult. The biggest area for me is our basement. It keeps me from creating play spaces for our kids that max their creativity and interest, it keeps me from moving disorganization upstairs into rightful storage downstairs, and it just plain stresses me out every day I see it on my way to do laundry.

The Big Deal about this first step is that it is the de-cluttering step. Not a decorating, renovation step which comes later. Proper decorating and renovating can best happen when we see a clean slate before us. POYEL does a great job of explaining this in terms of storage purchases; you know you want more bins, totes, etc., but until you know what actually is left in the space, you won't be able to make the most prudent purchases. I fell for this. We have 18 clear plastic bins, which I know I want to continue using them, but I wouldn't say they've helped me organize too much just yet.

Also, I say start and not identify because I'm finding action words work the best. This first step trumps the following two, but it all works out because of that great word, START.

DO: Sit down and determine your top three "danger zones," those areas that drive you nuts and keep you from other good activity. Then, work your way through your home, room by room, and write down everything you want to accomplish. When you have your list, reorder it in terms of "danger zone" priority on a separate sheet, even separate items within the same space. Remember, you can have three areas listed in one space, followed by two in another, and then two more in the first space. Prioritize in order of your sanity, not in order of physical space.

Then, throw the first list away.

2. Note which actions require additional funds and manpower. For example, I really want our staircase and upstairs hallway done. Hawk encouraged me to get frames up along the stairs (even though 75% are empty), and I finished a chalkboard wall the kids are already glued to. The chalkpaint cost $9 at Home Depot so it didn't require much budget planning, but one of the other actions I want to complete in the space does, and I need a second set of hands. So the upper hallway is still near the top of my list but because it requires more preparation, it may get shuffled around a bit.

DO: Mark those actions which you already know will require more $$ and manpower, and possibly add a planning/budgeting/scheduling task to your list. For our hallway, I know who is willing to help but I need to work around his and his wife's work schedules. This has also allowed me to determine if I can purchase the ingredients this month or the next.

3. Consider what can be done during lag-times. This step helps to keep us from paralysis or inertia. I completed a small laundry decluttering quickly but haven't had the time to tackle the next area in the same way. I made a short list of things I could do quickly, or things that were somewhat standing in my way, so that I could remain active and keep my motivation and momentum.

So during the lag-time between basement decluttering areas, I managed to bring in our kitchen nook table, update our Home Binder, paint three areas with chalkpaint, and destroy the "epic fail" project you'll read about tomorrow. When my kids' naps finally returned to a brief overlap these past two days (thank you, Lord) I was able to start on the next basement area. Slowly but surely. 

DO: After creating your first list, either create a shorter, second list from the first or just star those items on the grand bucket that you can complete between bigger projects. These can be done when a smaller chunk of time arises and you want to get something accomplished; fillers between big actions.

Here is the beginning of my list, just to give you an idea:
  • Create & install laundry risers by recycling old cabinets. (Need to purchase additional lumber.)
  • Re-sort all kids and adult clothes in storage. 
  • Build & install large shelving into laundry area.
  • Create drying area in laundry area.
  • Paint upper hallway ceiling with opera starbursts (will require $$ for stamp purchase and manpower).
  • Assemble & install vintage map puzzle as hallway art.
  • Organize laundry baskets for best use.
  • Declutter shelving under the basement stairs.
  • Build second large shelving area behind media wall.
  • Build third square shelving area behind play cubbie.
  • Paint opera starbursts in play cubbie.
  • Paint chalkboards in upper hallway, basement door, hanging board.
  • Move low shelving unit into Blue Room.
  • Research opera starburst stamp.
  • Research fabric for MBR curtains (will require $$ to purchase).

What do you think? Feel like getting started? I can't recommend the following enough: Project Organize Your Entire Life for getting to a clean slate, and Home Comforts for making a house truly a home. If you catch either, do come back and let us know your experience!

So do tell: what is one of your "danger zones"?



  1. What is Opera Starbursts?

  2. A stamp design. You can find it here: http://www.englishstamp.com/stock_opera_star_stamp-70_12.aspx?cp=


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