This Is Me Crying ‘UNCLE’!

A little over 18 months ago, I shared on this blog about how I was turning my plain hallway closet into a very efficient, highly organized utility closet.  I showed you how, just the weekend before, I had done a bit of demolition to this standard, inefficient closet with one hanging bar and one shelf, and had prepared to install cabinets in the closet to turn it into a “clutility room”.  (Yes, that’s closet + utility room.)

In the process, I also decided to rip down the dreadful drop ceiling that was in the hallway, creating a very cavernous effect.  The demolition looked something like this…

And after all of the mess was cleaned up, and the cabinets were placed into the closet (simply placed in, not officially installed), the closet looked like this…

That was a little over 18 months ago, in March 2010.

Want to see what it looks like today?

utility closet

Yep, it’s pretty much the same, except I’ve added an unfinished floor to the unfinished hallway with an unfinished utility closet.

What hasn’t changed?

  • The unfinished closet that needs drywall,
  • The unfinished cabinets that are just sitting there almost completely unutilized,
  • The drab khaki color on the far wall, the ceiling that needs repair where the drop down ceiling was removed,
  • The drop down ceiling that still remains at the far end of the hallway because I learned that it was actually serving a purpose after all (hiding air ducts),
  • The disgusting doors on the bedroom, office, and bathroom that I still have because I’m holding out hope that I’ll find some fabulous doors with tons of character at ReStore that I can use instead of having to settle for the ubiquitous panel door from Home Depot,
  • And I’m sure, about a hundred other little things that I could point out, but you get the point.

But do you know what has changed the most after these 18+ months?

My independence.

When Matt and I moved into this condo, he was able to help me with projects.  Over time, because of his health, his ability to help me declined, and today, all that he can offer is encouragement (which he’s great at, by the way!).

It wasn’t really a big deal to me that he could no longer help me.  Truth be told, we’re not one of those couples who works on projects beautifully together.  We’re not a Kevin & Layla, or a John & Sherry.  Matt and I have a fantastic relationship full of fun and laughter…right up until he tries to help me with a project and give me his “two cents” on how he would do it differently.  Then we’re like oil and water.  So the fact that he can no longer help me with projects just might be the reason we’re so happily married after nine years!

The fact is, I’m just a fiercely independent person.  So much so that my mom tells me that one of the first phrases I learned to say when I was little was a little girl was, “Me do it meself!

I’ve lived with that independence all of my life, never wanting to ask for help, always believing that I can handle everything on my own without the help of others, and taking tremendous pride in the fact that I can accomplish so much on my own.

But you know what?  I’m tired.  I’m exhausted from carrying the weight of all of these tasks on my own shoulders.  I’m tired of living in a condo that’s still “under construction” after five years.  I’ve finally reached my breaking point.  I’ve finally cried ‘UNCLE!’, and I’ve asked for help.

He’ll be here at 10:00 this morning.  Progress will be made.  Projects will be finished.

And that sound you hear?  That me, breathing a huge sigh of relief.




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  1. I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from. Sometimes it's just better to throw money and the problem in exchange for sanity! Good luck.

  2. Sometimes our little projects turn into years, we built our house ourselves out of pocket, moved in with no kitchen no flooring alot of no's LOL and after living in it for 13 years we are finally finishing up those little things so we can sell this one and move on, but even the little things turn into "I don't want to's" and my husband & I work well together until we actually start on house projects like so many I think. So congrats to you on deciding to get some help…it is hard to come to the conclusion that we might need some extra help but now you will get it done and it won't be staring you in the face saying "fix me" LOL now maybe you can relax for just a moment before on to the next project.

  3. We don't love your ideas because you complete them by yourself.  We love your ideas because they are your ideas.  You get whatever help you need to save your sanity.  More importantly, you deserve to live in a lovely home-not just create them for others.  Also, by getting help that will free you up to do even more stuff!!

  4. Good for you!  Knowing when to say "when" is very important!!!  You'll enjoy the finished result just the same.

  5. Good for you!! You still get to have the fun of organizing the shelves and why not put some great color or even wallpaper on the back wall of the closet so it's a prettier closet than most. We don't have a built in utility closet at my house so I use an old antique armoire and I smile every time I get out the broom.

  6. I know what it is like to try and get things done that seem to drag on and on.  Good luck with your helper today!

  7. At least you have enough clarity to know when to throw in the towel and hire someone.  When hubby and I moved into our new house, I looked at our enormous master bedroom with vaulted ceilings, and told my husband to hire a painter or it would never get done.  He pshawed my idea, saying that he could do all of the painting himself.  Two and a half years later….IT. IS. STILL. NOT. DONE.   I have begged, pleaded, cajoled, and even worse, threatened to do it myself while he's at work (which would no doubt send him straight over the OCD edge he lives on when it comes to painting), but to no avail.  Kudos to you, Kristi, for knowing when to say when.

  8. LOL!  I thought "clutility room" meant "clutter + utility room" before I read your definition.  😉

    So glad you're getting help.  What a blessing!

  9. Actually, I'm jealous.  I'm still waiting for my master bathroom to be finished and it's been 4 1/2 years since it was gutted.  There's not much left to do, so hopefully this winter. (crossing fingers)  Good for you and make sure we see the finished product.  :0)

  10. I think most of us live with 'in-progress' rooms or whole houses. It's the journey, not the destination that's the rewarding part – I love seeing your projects!

  11. Good for you! I think the down side of DIY is sometimes not asking for help when it is needed. I also think the Y part of DIY is way over stressed. Just having the idea is great, who says you have to sweat all the details alone. 🙂

  12. You know Kristi, I think that for all of us DIYer's asking for help is the most difficult. It goes against our m.o.! I truly believe DIY is a double-edged sword – its great when appropriate but it can keep us from making sound decisions that non-diyer's would make – like hiring someone! I'm glad you finally did! I so want to hire a painter for the whole interior. There is so much to do and hub & I have realized we'er not 25 anymore! And just to empathize with you – I started our bathroom a year ago Sept and I still have a cabinet door to paint. I've been grabbing my toiletries out of a bif plastic tub for the past year – and you know, it feels normal! LOL! Can't wait to see the finished closet & hall. 

  13. Woo hoo….  Good for you on taking the plunge and getting some help. Take it from another VERY indpendent woman…..crying uncle sometimes just makes us human…..