Focusing On The Main Things

Y’all, I can’t believe that we’re already in the month of November. Not only that, but Thanksgiving is this week! This year has absolutely flown by for me! And now that we’re at that time of year for more gatherings, family time, and down time (I like to take the last week of the year to rest and get ready for the new year), I’ve had to face the reality that there’s no way I’ll be able to finish my studio by the end of the year.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop working on it. I’m going to keep plugging away and see just how much I can get done. But as one who generally sets very unrealistic goals and rarely meets those goals, even I can look around my studio and know that setting a goal of finishing the studio by the end of the year is laughable. But I have looked at what’s left to do, and narrowed down four things that I really want to focus on, and hopefully finish, before the end of the year.

The main thing I’d like to focus on in my studio is cleaning up and getting things put away. If you’ve been around here for long, you know that I’m a very messy worker, and when a project is still “in progress”, I have a very high tolerance for disorder. I’ve never been one to clean up at the end of the day and start with a clean work area the next day. I generally just wait until the project is nearing completion before cleaning up and organizing. I know that drives some people absolutely batty to see my disorganized work areas, but I’ve been that way all my life, and there’s about a 0.5% chance that I’ll change my ways. 😀

But with that said, there’s always been something a bit special about the beginning of a new year to me. It’s a fresh start, and an opportunity to start with a clean slate. So I’d really rather not drag my current studio mess into the new year. Starting with a clean slate in the studio in the new year is going to be a time-consuming task of getting all of this mess cleaned up, organized, and put away. I took this picture this morning…

And while this picture was taken a while back (before I got the paint swatch cabinet finished), my work tables look pretty much the same right now.

So my main goal between now and the end of the year is cleaning, organizing, and putting things away. The fun part is that I’ll finally start organizing my things in the cabinets. I have this entire bank of cabinets on the front wall of the studio that has been finished for a few weeks now, and yet most of the cabinets and drawers are still completely empty.

And now I also have my large paint swatch cabinet that is completely empty and just waiting to be filled up and organized.

So lack of storage space isn’t an issue anymore. Now the only problem is finding the time and the motivation to actually go through everything and put things away without getting overwhelmed and walking away after 30 minutes. Because I’ve tried focusing on organizing and putting things away two times before, and that’s exactly what happened. After about 30 minutes, I decided that I’d rather focus on a fun project and leave the sorting and organizing for a later time when I’m in a better mindset for it, but if I keep allowing myself to do that, that time will never come. There will never be a time when I’ll want to choose sorting, organizing and cleaning over a fun building, painting, or home improvement project.

After that, my second priority before the end of the year is to finish painting the walls and ceiling in the studio. I’ve been painting sections of walls and ceiling on an “as needed” basis depending on what project I wanted to work on. Before I installed the cabinets on the mural wall, I painted just enough of the walls and ceiling for that project. I did the same thing on the office section of the studio before I installed those cabinets. And again, I did that before building the paint swatch cabinet.

So right now, the walls and ceiling look like a random patchwork of paint colors.

I put off finishing it because of my dread of having to climb up and down the tall ladder to do the cutting in on the walls around the ceiling, but now that I have my scaffolding, I’m not dreading it anymore. Now it’s just a matter of having enough space to move the scaffolding around the room, which is why the cleaning, organizing, and putting things away needs to come first.

My third goal before the end of the year is to finish the doors in the back entry. I’ve been wrestling with a decision regarding what to do with those doors, and at the end of last week, I finally decided that I want the two side doors to be wood, and the exterior French doors to be painted white. This was my vision.

But now I feel like I’ve exhausted my options for real walnut doors. Purchasing doors that are already walnut is out of the question. They’re way too expensive, and there’s no way I can justify that cost for my studio. I could maybe see splurging on something special like that for our new addition (although I have no need or want for walnut doors in any of those areas), but not for a room that’s pretty much just all mine. I can stick with inexpensive DIY versions of things for my own use.

And that pretty much rules out walnut veneer as well. Not only is walnut veneer expensive, but the idea of having to remove two pocket doors that are already instaled and trimmed out just seems like busy work to me.

So in the end, I decided to try the Retique It Liquid Wood primer (affiliate link) for the two side doors — the bathroom door and the storage closet door. It’ll be a fun DIY project using a new-to-me product, and it’ll be a challenge to see if I can get it to look like real wood. And I like challenges!

And my final goal for the end of the year is to get the walls in the studio bathroom repaired, primed, and wallpapered, and then install the trim to finish up the wainscoting. I’ve already removed all of the yellow tile, the chair rail, and part of the mirror trim, and that left some damaged areas on the wall that will now need to be skim coated with drywall mud and sanded smooth before I can prime the walls and put up the new wallpaper.

Once I get that done, there won’t be much left to finish in the bathroom except for some decorative things like installing a new window shade, figuring out what to hang over the toilet (shelves again, or maybe some artwork?), finding a new mirror, etc. But if I have to wait until the beginning of the year to finish those things, I’ll be fine with that just as long as I can get the wallpaper up and finish the wall trim before my end-of-year break.

So those are the four main things I want to finish before the end of the year.

  1. Cleaning up, putting things away, and organizing things in the new cabinets;
  2. Painting the rest of the walls and ceiling in the main area of the studio;
  3. Painting/staining the doors in the back entry;
  4. Repairing, priming, and wallpapering the walls in the bathroom, and then finishing the trim on the wainscoting.

If I can get those finished, I think I’ll be in a very good position to get the room completely finished very early next year.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. Can you get someone to help you organize and put things away? If so then the work would be halved, and you would have someone to spur you on when you felt like giving up. These types of jobs are so much easier when you have someone helping you… my daughter and I often work on these types of jobs together. Maybe you could get some help from family members!! Good luck… you are nearly there, and it would be wonderful to finish off the year with your studio cleared.

      1. That was my thought too—sometimes just having someone around to help you focus or at least get started is all it takes!

  1. It’s good to have plans, even if they don’t all get accomplished! As to cleaning up your studio and saying “after 30 minutes I just walk away,” that’s not a bad thing. Purposefully set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes, do what you can, and stop for a while. Efforts all add up over time!

  2. I’m impressed by your clarity of what you can achieve and what you do not want to tackle anymore until the year’s end and hope it means there is less pressure on you over the next weeks. In my mind, the organising would be a huge source for joy, even if you are again reorganising after a while when more cabinets are available. But it must be fantastic to shut the doors on all the stuff – and store things like paper in your wonderful drawers! Hope you can see the joy in that, too, at some point!

  3. Well, as usual, you have a lot more goals than I do. I’m just hoping to get the house decorated, host the annual Christmas dinner for friends, and get all the gifts for the 31 immediate family members. And you are so right, this year absolutely flew by. It seems I just took down the decorations from last Christmas. Prayers for a blessed and happy Thanksgiving for you and your dear family and a blessed Christmas as well.

  4. I seem to remember every time you organize and put things away from view you feel so good. So concentrate on that first.

  5. That sounds like a great plan. No sense getting stressed over any of it, as the Holidays are so busy without big projects. I’m about to put things away too…concentrate on what I need to do to relax and enjoy our company and decorate, etc. NOT be trying to squeeze every ounce of energy out to get a big thing done…next year will be fine! I know once you start on the organizing you will enjoy your cabinets so much…you truly have a lot of storage for whatever you decide now…how wonderful! It will be like enjoying the fruits of all your labor…and once you see the piles go down you will truly see why you did all that work! Put some music on, and get a big garbage bag for the stuff you don’t need, and start deciding where things will go. Great to do while waiting for repairs to dry, coats to dry, etc. I hope you and Matt have a wonderful Thanksgiving around the table with your family. ENJOY!

  6. For the organizing – there is no reason you have to do it all at once! If 30 minutes is your max, set a timer for 30 minutes each day and do what you can in that time frame. Then again tomorrow. That will make it more manageable rather than a BIG tedious job that you do not want to do. Works for me!

  7. May I suggest setting a time limit on organizing. Like, 30 minutes per day. Set the timer and if you go over fine. But, you know that you only have to do 30 minutes. It can be very helpful for things we don’t really enjoy. It will get done. Just not all at once.Then you may do something you enjoy without feeling that nag of “I should be organizing…”
    Sheila F.

  8. Hi Kristy,
    Your Studio maybe a mess, but the bones are beautiful. My suggestion is sort all the things in your studio on the floor before deciding where they will live. Sort like with like items. This will allow you to see how much room each item requires. Hopefully this will save you from the dreaded do-over. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your festivities and family. Remember you’re my Super Woman. Your Done List is always enviable and longer than mine.

    1. This is exactly what I was going to suggest. Like items together, and if you haven’t used anything in a long time, get rid of it:)

  9. Definitely sounds like a reasonable work list. Some folks rely on a friend or relative just being with them in order to stay on task with a big cleaning job. Can Matt sit in the room and offer moral support?

  10. Have you considered using a Formica or other brand, sheet that looks like Walnut? They are very thin and shouldn’t cause a problem with the door closing. If, perchance it does, repositioning the trim would solve that problem.

  11. Have you thought about how you want everything organized? If so, do the easiest thing first. If I was doing this, I would put away all of my paint cans. It would be so nice to see all those cans, especially the small ones, stacked in the cabinets.

    You are such a hard worker, Kristi! I’m always amazed at what you accomplish!

  12. You have a great plan. I am a quilter. This post sounds like some of my “As I go to sleep.” conversations with myself! I can really identify. I feel like it is my “coach” voice giving me pointers on how to win in the 4th Quarter of the football game.
    Happy Thanksgiving. Love your work and your posts.

  13. Find a good podcast! I have really enjoyed New Zealand podcaster Ryan Wolf. His podcast is called Guilt and all his seasons are great. I love to do busy work listening to stories and now I want to visit New Zealand, actually, I feel like I have. He has another one called Journey in which he takes his listeners along when he climbed Mt. Everest, it was excellent

  14. Oh good! I was hoping you’d try the faux finish–I was looking forward to seeing your take on it. (I also hope that, if you like how it turns out, you’ll do the same finish on the paint swatch cabinet frame–the dark color is seeming more “unmoored,” if you know what I mean, as other black accents are axed…).

    I also hope you’ll share any tricks or insights in how you stay motivated to sort and organize. I have a similar situation to face and could use some help.

    Best of luck!!!

  15. I have ADHD and the cleaning and organizing overwhelms me, and doesn’t provide the dopamine hit that (I think) I need. The suggestions about setting a timer are good, but for me, I have to set it for 5 minutes – not 30. I set it for 5 minutes and if I want to keep going after 5 I do (and almost always do). My brain tells me that 30 minutes is WAY too long, and so I just can’t do the 30 minute timer. Also, if I truly want to be done at the 5 minute mark, I stop, with no guilt! I know you don’t need my advice, but I can relate to this so, so much.

  16. Would it be possible to hire an organizer to help you? My sister has a business in Colorado doing organization and cleanouts for people she stays quite busy, anyway something for you to think about. I pray for you and Matt daily for good health and strength, Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. Look at gel stain using a chip brush to do a wood-look door. I’ve done our garage door and my daughter’s front door (inside portion) and they look great.

  18. When I have something I don’t want to do I say to myself, Deb you can do this for
    1 hour today. That puts a time limit on the chore and I get the job started but most of the time I get the job done. You may have to say “I can do this for 1 hour today” for a week. LOL

  19. Great goals. They are written down. So you should be ready to start soon. Once you get started, the work will go fast. It’s the getting started that is the hard part. You can do it.
    Have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your family. Then work like Santa’s elves.

    Thanks for showing us your projects.

    1. Hmmm…That’s an interesting idea. I wouldn’t want to use any of the wallpapers I’ve already used, but maybe an interesting wallpaper that has a textured look would look good.

  20. I do have to admit I really liked the mock up when the 2 doors were just a darker green of the wall color. I think with the white French doors that would be beautiful!

  21. Amazing as usual! i know you … now you’ve put it out there on the blog, your studio is going to be tidied up in no time ;).
    one thing which helps me with the overwhelm … instead of dedicating chunks of time, i promise myself that every time i walk into / past the problem room / area, i pick up and put TWO things away.
    It’s INCREDIBLE how quickly this starts to have an effect. invariably it’s more than 2 as i’ll often pick up a few things which are going the same place together to be put away … but within a few days of doing this every time i walk past – the spaces magically begins to transform and it’s so motivating.

  22. Kristi, everything is looking so beautiful! I look forward to seeing it all complete. What do you think about painting the doors and the trim in the same green, but in a semi-gloss. They might “disappear” at that point. Good luck!