Half-removed wallpaper in the bathroom. A bedroom wall longing for a second coat of paint. Framed artwork stacked on the floor. All the symptoms are there — you’re a chronic unfinisher.
“A lot of homeowners’ eyes are bigger than their stomachs,” says Patrick Hurst of Hurst Design-Build Remodeling in Middleburg Heights. “They think they can conquer their whole house, then realize it’s a whole lot of work and call it quits.”
Approaching holidays provide a helpful kick in the seat for the chronic unfinisher; just remember to set reasonable goals, says certified professional organizer Christy Talese of Wooster-based Organize Me for Good.
“We long for the closure of wrapping things up before the end of the year, but we end up with stressed, overworked bodies that can’t relax when the holidays roll around,” says Talese.
Here are Hurst’s and Talese’s tips for completing unfinished projects before the holidays:
- Make a List ... of “to-dos,” stopping at 10 or so. Then write a “Projects for the New Year” list and move some of your to-dos to that list. “Ask yourself with each, ‘Will this project make or break our family’s holiday joy?’ ” says Talese. “The answer is usually ‘No.’ ”
- Make a Plan ... of exactly what needs to be done, “and understand your limitations,” says Hurst. “Just because it looked easy on HGTV doesn’t mean it is.”
- Make a Call ... to a professional if your goals outstrip your abilities, but don’t delay. “Often, people call too late,” says Hurst, “and everyone’s trying to get things done for the holidays.”
- Make a Start ... on a larger-scale project by breaking it into phases, and share your progress with holiday guests. “Tell people, ‘This is going to be my January project,’ ” says Talese. “It’s a motivator ... telling someone else commits you.”
Holiday Curb Appeal
It’s a race against temperatures to get your yard in holiday shape before snow starts to swirl. But even if you haven’t touched a rake or pulled a single weed since summer, there’s still time to take care of many yard maintenance and improvement projects, says Jonas Pattie of Novelty-based landscape design firm The Pattie Group.
“Most landscape companies work right up until Dec. 15,” says Pattie, installing new beds, trees and shrubs, decks, patios and water features. Better yet, “many of them will offer a discount because they’re trying to finish out their year strong,” he says.
Pattie offers this handy to-do list that’ll have your yard looking great for the holidays and beyond:
- Plant new lawns, perennials or ground covers no later than Oct. 15. Now is the time to either divide or cut back existing perennials, but wait until spring to cut back ornamental grasses to take advantage of their winter color and fullness, advises Pattie.
- Winterize your sprinkler system ASAP. Same goes for shutting down and draining outdoor water features, unless you install a heater to keep them running year round.
- In late October or early November, make the final cut of your lawn “nice and short,” says Pattie. Give trees and shrubs a fall fertilization for best spring greening.
- Dreaming of new landscape work next spring? Pattie recommends calling a professional now to get the design process rolling — “that’s how you get to be first on the schedule in spring,” he says.