August Progress & September Goals

Well, August is over. I’ve had a couple of other months this year during which I didn’t feel like I got very much accomplished, but August was a compete dud for me. As far as house projects go, August was, by far, the worst month so far this year.

Let’s see. In the whole month of August, I got one project completely finished. Only one. One single, solitary project.

entryway credenza makeover - gray and white painted dresser - 1a

I got my entryway credenza finished. You can click here to see the before and after.

I did also make some fluid acrylic artwork for the entryway wall.

entryway artwork - acrylic liquid pour artwork - triptych above credenza

But it’s not finished. I still need to frame them and hang them. It’s such a simple project, and yet these have been sitting there for a week-and-a-half and they’re still not finished.

You can click here to see more about this project, as well as six additional liquid acrylic paintings I did with these same paint colors.

So what the heck happened in August? I could blame it on my neck/shoulder/arm nerve issue, but that only had me out of commission for about a week to 10 days. I had plenty of time left to get things done.

The fact is that I had absolutely no motivation or desire to work on projects. I’d wake up in the morning with projects in mind for the day and the best of intentions, but around mid-morning, I’d find myself sitting in bed with my laptop and I’d lose another day binge watching something on Netflix.

I desperately wanted projects to get done around the house, but I couldn’t bring myself to do them. When it came to actually putting effort into working on projects, I felt so apathetic.

And this went on day after day after day.

Then last Sunday, I had a conversation with my brother about it. I said, “I just feel like I don’t care anymore.” But I knew that wasn’t exactly how I felt. I did care. I desperately want this house finished. I just couldn’t bring myself to actually put effort into it. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint how I felt. Lazy? Apathetic? Lethargic? Indifferent?

And then I thought, “Am I depressed? Is this what depression feels like? Do I need therapy to get out of this funk?

So Sunday night, I made up my mind to fight it — whatever it was that I was feeling. I determined that I was going to have one task the next day. I was going to install the new outdoor lights that I bought to flank my front door. I was actually quite excited about tackling that project.

I got started Monday afternoon right after lunch. I was still excited about tackling the project, and even more excited about the prospect of actually getting something finished.

And then about two hours later, my lights still weren’t installed, and I found myself once again sitting in bed, laptop in hand, watching Netflix.

But this time, I knew exactly where things went sideways. I needed to run a new wire through the wall and to the light on the left side of the door, and I was having trouble getting the wire where it needed to go, so I stopped to get my fish tape to make the job easier. I have two of them, and yet I couldn’t find either one of them. I searched and searched for probably 45 minutes, and couldn’t find either of them anywhere. So in complete frustration, I gave up, grabbed my laptop, sat in bed, and turned to Netflix.

And as I thought back through the last two month, I realized that this is the same frustrating scene that has played out each and every time I’ve tried to work on a project. I spend hours just looking for tools.

I’m not suffering from depression. I’m suffering from a severe lack of organization, and it all started when I hired some guys to clear out my garage right before the garage-to-studio conversion started. I intended to do that job myself, but I was still dealing with my nerve issue at the time, so I hired them to clear out the sunroom, and then box up stuff from the garage and organize it in the sunroom so that my garage was completely empty.

The problem is that they were working so fast, and I couldn’t supervise all of them at all times. I had instructed them to put all medium- to small-sized tools in one set of boxes, and all miscellaneous non-tool items (e.g., books, frames, decorative items, etc.) in another set of boxes. Large tools (e.g., miter saw, air compressor, etc.) were supposed to be lined up against the wall in the sunroom.

What I ended up with were boxes filled with a mishmash of things — vases, picture frames, screwdrivers, extension cords — all thrown in together. There was no organization to them at all. For some reason, it didn’t dawn on me that five men wouldn’t know the difference between “tool” and “vase.”

Not only were the boxes themselves completely disorganized, but for some reason, they didn’t all make it to the sunroom, and neither did my big tools.

So ever since then, working on a project has included spending half my time digging through boxes to find that one tool I need, and it ends in frustration every time. And somewhere along the way, I gave up on my house projects and decided that I’d rather spend my life watching Netflix. It wasn’t exactly a conscious decision, but that’s certainly how it was playing out on a day-to-day basis.

Needless to say, I’m relieved to finally understand the root cause of my apathy and complacency (and my Netflix addiction). I’ve spent the last few days trying to get things more organized around here. I’ve never been a super organized person. In the past, others probably would have had a hard time detecting any type of “organization” in my madness, but it was my own organized chaos, and somehow, I knew where to look for things.

But this time, I plan to do much better. I’m aiming to improve upon my organized chaos and strive for actual organization. I’ve installed six long 12-inch-deep shelves in the sunroom, and I treated myself to this beauty.

husky tool chest

It’s the Husky 52-inch tool chest from Home Depot. I’ve wanted one of these big tool chests for many years now, and I’m so excited to get all of my small tools organized in it. Heck, I even borrowed my mom’s label maker, so I’m serious about upgrading my organized chaos to actual organization. 😀

So that brings me to this month’s goals. There are a thousand projects around the house that I’d love to tackle. I still have about 25 things left to do on my list of 2017 house goals, and four months to get as many of those done as possible

But I’m in the mood to build, and I’m feeling motivated to get organized. And those two things go hand in hand. I think I’m ready to tackle my pantry and the hallway cabinets. To be honest, it scares me a little to commit that to writing, and to put it out there for all of you to see. I think I’m a bit intimidated by the pantry project, and after taking it easy for the last two months, the idea of tackling the pantry seems a bit daunting. But I do like a challenge, and I’m ready to have a usable pantry.

P.S. — Thanks so much to everyone who checked in on us during the last week. Waco is about 300 miles from the hardest hit parts of the Texas coast, and 200 miles from Houston, so we weren’t affected by Harvey. But so many of us have friends and family who were affected, and we’ve all seen the images online and on TV of the devastation, so please do continue your prayers and support for the victims. Please keep in mind that monetary donations are the best way to help, and it’s always best to give to organizations that have been thoroughly vetted to be sure that your donation will actually make it to the people who need it. This article from Consumer Reports gives great info about various reliable charities, as well as other ways to get involved.

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  1. I am sure you know by now that we all admire your talent and tenacity. That being said, you are too hard on yourself. You get more stuff done in a month than most do in a year! You can put whatever projects out there you feel you want accomplished and if you don’t get to them, even if it’s just because you aren’t feeling it, that’s ok. You certainly haven’t failed in our eyes. You do amazing work and plenty of it. I guess I am just trying to say… go easy on yourself. We aren’t going anywhere.

      1. Yes, but as your next comment attests to, lots still got done. Heck she can just post of future projects she would like to do. It doesn’t have to be about Kristi working non-stop. 😉

  2. Hi Kristi

    So glad to see you are back. There was a serious drought there and we really missed the post!!!

    Having said that I beg to differ on only one project done. The last I saw you got the garage converted (yes we know you paid someone to do the shell) but it is done!! You build and installed the portigo (oops did I call it the right thing?). So I think there were significant steps forwards.

    Please stop being so hard on yourself! Enjoy your long weekend. Speaking for all of us we look forward to your next post.

  3. When I read your posts I always think you must be my sister from another mother. Our likes, dislikes and styles are so similar….and then this post 🙂 I too have my netflix binge days! Looking forward to the next phase of the pantry. Maybe we are just ready for fall, a change of season and a refreshed energy.

  4. You got this! I understand the need/lack of organization. That is something I have been putting off but desperately need to do. I’m hoping this long weekend can be just that time to get to work. Now if only I can talk my husband into helping…

  5. Glad to hear that you are out of the storm’s path. I’m sure our monetary donations are the best thing to help those who need it.

    I do a lot of cardmaking and when I leave my craft room in total chaos, I never feel like working in there. It’s too hard to find what I want and the chaos just kills my mojo. I agree that if you take a few days to get organized so you know where to find your tools and supplies, you will be finishing and knocking stuff off your ‘to do’ list like crazy.

  6. Kristi, I know how you feel. We just completed a new kitchen and after all the construction I only want “certain things” put back into the kitchen and pantry. I am having a terrible time finding and organizing everything!! I am determined to tackle a big portion of it this weekend!! Hang in there, the feeling will pass and once you have things organized you will be off and running!!

  7. I feel your pain. My dear husband periodically decides to “organize” the garage or attic, and then I can’t find a damn thing. Sometimes I feel like I spend half my life looking for things. At first I thought senility was setting in, and then I realized, I am not senile at all! If only DH would stop “helping” so much I would be fine! So I put my foot down, and I mostly have things back where I want them. I do think “organization” is in the mind of the person doing the organizing, and when someone else tries to do it for you, it is a lost cause. Now if I could just find the Indian Inlay stencil….

  8. So happy to see you back. YOU are way too hard on yourself. ANYTHING good on Netflix you can recomend? Happy organizing 🙂

    1. Actually, this is a great question. I have Netflix too, and can’t find a thing to watch. I’ve been watching stuff on Amazon Prime Video (did a rewatch and catch-up of Game of Thrones), but for some reason, I can’t find anything worth viewing on Netflix. Kristi, would love some recommendations from you!

      I agree with Joyce and what everyone else is likely echoing in this thread — (1) you are way too hard on yourself, and (2) you get more done in a day than most people do in a year [ask me how I know?!]. I also tend to shut down my motivation when I am overwhelmed, but please do remember that these Netflix binges are feeding your soul, and allowing you some downtime. No one, not even Kristi, can go 100% 24/7; burn-out is a real thing. Remember: the downtime won’t last forever, you’ll get sick of it and bored, and you’ll be back to it as the Energizer bunny in no time!

      As for paying those men to move your tools and stuff for you, I’ve found in my experience that in general men (especially paid laborers) are very good at single task things, i.e., move A to location B. Any time you add more stuff to that list, e.g., move A to location B, and … be neat about it, don’t break anything, and put like with like, well all bets are off. This has been proven to me time and again without fail, so I’m not surprised that you can’t seem to find what you need! Congrats on that tool chest, it’s a beaut! My dad was a mechanic and had a big, bright red rolling tool chest (to match his bright red riding mower!) and he loved that thing.

  9. I have missed you ,BUT!, no one can go at full steam all the time. Your brain just said “I quit” Lol. I am happy for you that you can organize your tools now. I feel the same way when I cannot find something. My get up and go got up and went.! Be easy on yourself.

  10. After dealing with Harvey all week, I was so glad to see a post from you! It just felt normal to log in and see a post from you, and I needed that after this week! I’m so sorry you’ve been frustrated with organization. I’ve seen that tool box at Lowes and admired it as well. I can’t wait to see what you end up working on this month. And you have been working so hard this year, with major projects, maybe don’t be quite so hard on yourself for the month off (or hard at all!!) Maybe your needed that time off to get refreshed.

  11. There is nothing wrong with taking a break. Everyone needs to recharge, and if Netflix does it, go for it! You get more done in a week than I could in a month.

    Love the tool box. 🙂

  12. Good to see you back. Yes, getting organized is an awesome goal. I discovered it somewhere between child #4 and #8 😉

    Prayers continue for all you awesome Texans… even without getting hit it’s still going to effect all of you. My BIL is a swift water rescue/helicopter paramedic with LAFD, they got to Houston Tuesday morning and have been doing rescues and other work practically non-stop…. I don’t think the media is capable of reporting the magnitude of this disaster.

  13. Getting to the root cause of anything is wildly beneficial and reading through your process was cathartic. I strive for productivity over organization regularly, but they go hand in hand, like Salt and Pepper. Enjoy the weekend and that beautiful new Husky!

  14. I think you were just exhausted. Supervising a work crew is hard, planning your pantry/work space/decor changes…whew! Glad to see you’re making plans to start again. P.S. I only allow myself netflix after 7 p.m. so I can get things done. But if the garden calls midafternoon…well…

  15. We have certainly missed you Kristi, but pleased you are safe and not affected by Hurricane Harvey. It is horrible when you feel things are out of control and not organized. I just pulled everything out of my craft/art and everything else closest as it had grown into a nightmare and now I’ve re-organized and had a clearing out of it, it is so much easier to find/locate stuff and makes me feel good too. You will feel the same when you go through the boxes and organize your new tool chest and you will get your mojo back and be in full swing again. Mind you I think you always accomplish a lot in a month. Maybe after your neck/shoulder/arm, perhaps tackling the hallway will be a smaller and better building project for you rather than the pantry, as that is a big job. Good to have to back Kristi and following your September goals.

  16. Now you know how the rest of us are with projects ! You just don’t live your life in this space like I do. Lists of projects get done S l o w l y around here but they eventually get done. ‘0)
    I read this great book- ok, I listened to it on Audible- by Mel Robbins called the 5 Second Rule. It has nothing to do with dropping things on the floor – it has to do with counting back from 5 and then launching yourself into the thing you have committed to do. I highly recommend it.

  17. I have found that when I am stuck, I try to clean/organize a spot/tools/etc. Recently, I started on one corner of my livingroom, shelves that hold electronics, dust, everything else, so I spent two hours just on that one little corner, reorganizing, putting in books, decorations so it looks like it belongs and it seemed to jumpstart me on the whole room. Amazing what one little task can trigger. I agree that August was a huge completion for you, the studio. That was huge.

  18. Kristi, don’t be so hard on yourself. You made ablot of progress this month even if you didn’t finish everything you intended to. Plus, keep in mind that you have not taken a vacation.
    Boy, did you hit the nail on the head for me about organization. You described exactly how I’m feel about a certain spot in my house. I must deal with it. It will surely help my mood AND help me find the things I need to use.

  19. Really missed your posts lately, and so glad to hear you are not a storm victim. I think the tool chest was a great idea, and once you get your small tools located and packed in the chest you can reorganize the rest of your tools into a useful configuration for their current home in the sunroom. It must be extremely frustrating right now, and I totally get the ‘giving up’ and surfing/bingewatching solution to that frustration. Sometimes we all need the breather, though, so don’t beat yourself up! Readers (fans) like me actually like hearing that people like you do the same things we do, lol. I think it’s all grist for the mill and I suspect if you took a poll we would all confess to both these feelings and patterns of avoidance. You will break through this state of affairs and regain your energy soon.

  20. You know, I don’t think some people realize how heavily things like that can weigh on a person. I decided a couple of years ago I had gotten good enough at building that I could build cabinets for our garage to replace the open, sagging shelves. I spent two days moving everything into our spare room and sold the existing shelves. I bought the wood and then my husband said some negative things about my plan.

    Every time I tried to start building all I could do was think about those discouraging words and feel those yucky feelings. And those negative feelings increased as time went on and I constantly had to climb around the boxes in the spare room to dig stuff out. It was awful, and it took me more time than you to climb out of that.

    I had a friend suggest I was depressed but what I wanted was my husband’s support and my life organized again! I didn’t want to medicate myself to a state of not caring about that. We’ve come to a compromise and I’ve got my garage back and was able to get a few little projects done this summer. It’s been very freeing.

  21. My husband has two of these types of chests for his automotive tools. We were having this discussion just two days ago that he spends so much time looking for his tools and his response was that he knows where each of his automotive tools are — in his tool box. My response was, good for car work, but since he doesn’t have these for his woodworking tools, boat tools, electrical tools, plumbing tools, he can’t find any of those. 🙂 In short, these are great and can keep even the most unorganized people (dear, sweet, handy hubby) organized.

  22. Kristi, others have said it, so pay attention. You are far too hard on yourself. Many of us, in your situation, would consider ourselves lucky to do one project a month, and would see years more work ahead on a house. Yes, this is your job, but it tends to be a lot more than the 9-5 that is the ‘norm’. Burn-out is a definite risk for you, as is depression due to not finding things. Please, cut yourself a little slack…you need it.

  23. Easy girl! You got more done (even if some wasn’t done by you!) than you gave credit for. I feel your pain at the rooting thru boxes to find things. We moved in to our house last October, and the only tools I can find are what my husband has used. All of my things are still in boxes, waiting for our basement to be finished. Sounds like that may not happen until late winter/early spring. I had a great craft/sewing room at our old house, and now, if I want to paint or sew it takes me half the day going thru boxes to find my things. So I too watch a lot of TV! I have given up doing anything. And husband wonders why I sit around all day! All I seem to be able to do is clean house, and with just two of us, there’s not that much of that! If I could get him to finish just one room downstairs, I would be happy, and have something to do! So hang in and organize – it will be gratifying!

  24. Kristi,

    Glad you are back. I was really worried you were affected by the storm and kept looking every day for a post. Thank goodness all is okay with you.


  25. We moved 6 weeks ago, and I have a few projects lined up, but I also can’t find the tools I need, and end up watching Netflix as well😂. It’s frustrating to spend half of my projected “project time” on searching for what I need. I rather enjoy myself and have “me time.”

  26. Yeah I have that apathy bug too. I cant get going unless I sic my son on a project. When I see him working then I pitch in and help. But otherwise I can barely move my butt. And it always takes money to motivate my kid to do anything. Glad to hear you and Matt are ok. There are many animals in they eye of the storm in Texas that need help. It seems that in a disaster, the animals are often forgotten. Dogs, cats, stranded… The ASPCA and Humane Society are working hard, I gather, and also the Texas SPCA.

  27. Glad you’re back. Even when we take “unplanned” time off, that brain is working away in the background sorting things out and ready to step forward when we’re finally ready to swing into action. Organizing is a good way to get the ball rolling.

  28. Oh my goodness, what a month you’ve had. Appreciate your transparency. Life naturally ebbs n flows, seems it does end up balanced. Your recharging seems like a good thing.
    I empathize…. last summer my mate/step sons moved my upstairs to the basement for remodel while I was hot of the country,…. holy hannah batman! The mess hung over my head for months, just got it under control! Basic organization, know where my stuff is the equation for sanity, even if marginal! LOL I’m having complete cabinet envy!

  29. Major tool box envy, here! I need two of them! LOL! one for the actual tools, and One for my art supplies. It would really help a lot, to have that much organization in my life, And I don’t get jack done, either DIY, nor the Art work, till there is some sort of order to the madness! You’re going to love having that all organized. You have done way more than most of us can ever hope to accomplish, so go easy and you will get your grove back.

  30. Have you considered reordering your to do list and putting completing your studio next? To me, it makes so much more sense to do it up front and have an organized and convenient place to do your upholstery and sewing projects.

  31. Totally understand, its so frustrating to think you are about to get started on a project, only to spend the next few hours looking for tools or going to the store for something you thought/know you had somewhere!
    But on a side note, I went a couple months having similar lack of ability to push through these “small” setbacks to getting things done. I wanted them done and thought about it a lot and felt guilty but lacked the umph to push through. I also finally admitted that I was feeling more tired than I should have for the hours of sleep I was getting. I chalked it up to middle age/getting older. Finally went to doctor wondering if I could be slightly depressed. Turned out my thyroid levels were low. I have always been very healthy in the past. Anyway, low thyroid can be confused with depression symptoms so something to keep in mind.

  32. The tool chest was a brilliant idea! Perhaps next year when you set your goals you could include regularly scheduled organization/inspiration days to gather all the materials and tools for the upcoming week’s projects and to treat yourself to some time to refill the well of inspiration. I know I get my best ideas when I am in the shower, away from my job and my work at home! Maybe the Netflix binge was also your artistic muse whispering to you that it was time to be still and let the well refill!

  33. The funk from not finding the right tool isn’t fun…I used to spend so much time looking. Now if I’m not in the mood to complete things. I tell myself to round up and put away displaced tools in a room if not only just to remind me of what I got. I reccomend sticking the labels onto magnetic tape and using this on the box so you can simply re-arrange things as needed.

  34. Whenever you get there, I’d LOVE to see a post about how you organized your new cabinet. We got one last year but our tools are still in cardboard boxes on the floor around it because I can’t really decide what to put in each drawer! Sooooo annoying.