April 3, 2015

New Home, New Stress, and No Organization

Ugh, and yet again, I have been a terrible blogger and haven’t posted this week outside of my Links I Love. This week has just been insanely busy! In addition to working on two clients plus a major proposal for a third client, I also had my big move from my apartment to the house on Wednesday. I still have a few things left at my old apartment (probably two or three carloads worth?) but for the most part, I’m moved over. Woo hoo! So much space that I don’t yet know what to do with all of it 🙂

Here are a few pics of the den, where I put my old living room furniture. It actually looks pretty good with the furniture, I think! I was worried about the layout but this seems pretty livable.

New Downstairs Den
The front entrance faces the side of this big couch, but I think I’m okay with that, at least for now. And I still need to wall mount my TV….

As much I think this looks nice, though, I’m also planning to eventually move all my current living room furniture down to the basement and then I’ll get new furniture for the first floor den. On the plus side, my contractor is actually able to start two weeks early on the basement, so the work there is kicking off Monday, and I should have my new furnace and hot water heater installed and working by Tuesday!

My Basement with Old Furnace and Water Heater
The current furnace and hot water are literally right smack dab in the middle of the basement, so this is the view you get right now when you walk in the sliding glass doors from outside. I think it’s pretty obvious why I’m trying to get that fixed right away!

I think there are going to be a lot of not-sexy tasks like replacing the furnace/water heater in my future, and now I’m starting to see just how overwhelming the process of homeownership can be. Adam is trying to reassure me that it’s the worst at the beginning, when you’re just moving and settling in, but I can definitely see that I have my work cut out for me.

Makeshift Desk in Kitchen
Makeshift desk in the kitchen, until I can get my upstairs office set up. This area will eventually have the half wall raised to counter height, and topped with green granite to match the rest of the kitchen and make a cute eat-in counter.

Most importantly, I need to get organized about how I’m dealing with everything. My to-do list lately has been so overflowing that it’s unrealistic… which means it’s also become unhelpful, because I’m approaching even the “today” list  not as a “things I need to do today” but “things I maybe should probably try to do today, if I feel like it and/or have time.” Hello, missed deadlines! In case it’s not obvious, my overflowing to-do list and lack of organization has been a big part of why I haven’t been blogging much lately. I think I’ve had “write Montgomery Marathon race report” on my “today” to-do list for the last three weeks! Total failure.

On the house front, I’ve been starting to pull together a task list of things to do around the house. (And it’s a long one!) In this week’s Small Change Project newsletter, Katie Lee proposes the idea of a five minute task list. (Click here to read a PDF of that Five Minute Tasks email.) I thought it was a really neat idea, and forwarded it on to a few people. It helped me realize that part of the reason the house is stressing me out so much is because I’m not putting the little tasks on there. Sure, I have “schedule house painters” on there, but I don’t have the little “put away all the Tupperware” or “hang up the guest bathroom shower curtains” tasks written down, and as a result, I’m really losing track of a lot of stuff.

It’s time for me to get organized, whether that’s with a new house-only spreadsheet being added to my Excel to-do list, or just another tag for “House” that fits right into my regular today, this week, and this month sheets. Most importantly, I need to start being realistic about what I can actually accomplish in a day, plus stick to my to-do list rather than jumping to do things that aren’t on there. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and the lack of transparency in my tasks is driving me crazy because everything keeps whirling around my brain and then I can’t concentrate on what I’m actually doing.

This weekend, I’m heading down to Arizona for Easter with Adam and his son, and I’m hoping that getting away from the never ending list of errands in Colorado will allow me to pause, destress, and regroup. I have been really unhappy the last few weeks at how I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I’m not being very productive, I’m not being very effective, and I’m so stressed out that I’m actually currently listening to my “sleepytime” playlist (mostly Enya/Adiemus/new age songs) at 3pm… not because I’m trying to nap but because I’m just trying to calm myself down. I think it’s definitely time for me to change things up, and this trip should be just the catalyst I need to make that happen.

Hope that you are all looking forward to a great holiday weekend with lots of candy 🙂


10 thoughts on “New Home, New Stress, and No Organization”

    1. I don’t know about that… right now there are just so many empty rooms! I am trying to avoid having four living rooms/TV rooms, which is currently what it seems like is going to happen.

  1. Yes! It’s always the worst at the beginning. We bought our home in June and then moved into it in August… and we just now feel 95% settled in. We still have a few projects we want to complete over the next year, and we’ve got a bedroom with lingering boxes and stuff we need to sort through to decide what to keep or toss… We also have hardly anything hanging on the walls. But all the big stuff? That’s definitely what the first 6-9 months are for. Hang in there… once you get all the big stuff out of the way, it’s nowhere near as overwhelming!

  2. “everything keeps whirling around my brain and then I can’t concentrate on what I’m actually doing” <= This is where slowly over time developing the philosophy shared in the *little* book 'the art of doing nothing and achieving everything' is a very powerful virtue to make into a habit.

    I was re-reading a CS Lewis book for the nth time and came across a passage that I thought spoke well about what you are being asked to do:

    "It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter, life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

    The beauty of developing the habit [and it is a habit that takes a lifetime] that is outlined in ‘art of doing nothing…’ is the paradox that when you don’t try/force to do something, it then instantly takes care of itself. Why is it that tying our running shoes in the house before a weekend run is effortless, but having to tie our laces in a race we fumble around an extra 30 seconds? You are feeling over-tasked and over-whelmed not that you can’t handle all the tasks being thrown at you right now, but that you CAN handle the tasks. So take a breath, shove everything out and take 10, whenever you need to. Habits don’t change overnight, but perhaps waking up on Monday morning and practicing this 10 would be a start!

    1. Great advice – thank you so much, Danny! I definitely agree that trying to take some time to stop and smell the roses could be beneficial. As we’ve discussed before, though, I think the trick for me to allow myself to do that comes from at least noting all the other things done so that I feel like I have things under control BEFORE I can let go and do the relaxing things. It’s kind of a chicken/egg paradox!

  3. I’m going to hope Adam is right and that everything comes at the beginning when you’re trying to move in! Haha – All of the little things that we need to do can seem overwhelming but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel 🙂 One thing I didn’t even think of, but that our realtor suggested, was to have our locks rekeyed. You never know who has keys to a house you purchased!

  4. I think Adam is right that the most stressful parts of homeownership are at the beginning. Most of the challenges my husband and I have faced happened within the first 6-12 months of living in our home, the last being a problem with our water heater too. These things are so hard to plan for, but I’m sure the hurdles will be over soon!

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