No really. Here it is. RIGHT HERE.
WHO KNEW THIS WOULD BE THE BLOG POST TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE?!?!
Well, here we are. This is the secret. Well, it’s not really a secret, but it is truly one thing that you can do to fix your house in one easy step.
The word we have here…the EASY step: TRIAGE.
What does triage mean? Well, it’s usually used to talk about people in emergency situations, but in this case, it means sorting in the order of priority.
When we purchased our house in Illinois, I walked in and freaked out. No, I mean, I actually ended up at a neurologist because my face went numb for no reason…my body could not handle the stress.
We’d moved twice in two years with toddler twins and I had never been the owner of a full-sized home. There was so much. SO much. Not only did I feel like at some point, some grown-up was going to knock on the door and demand their home back, but I just didn’t know what to do with myself. When I left my childhood home, it was either to live with a roommate in an NYC apartment or with my husband in a 500-square-foot two-bedroom apartment in Hoboken where we brought home two newborn babies at once. Whee! That was exciting.
So, back to the house.
Walking in. Face numb. Pure panic. I called my dad, who had been a master electrician and a contractor, and said, “Holy crap. There’s so much. How are we going to do it all?” He told me to take a deep breath and pause.
He said something that I now repeat like a mantra as I walk around my house and notice issues: “From the moment a house is built, it begins to break down. It begins its process toward entropy. What you have to do is to prioritize projects that are the most important first.”
Well, shit. How do I make THOSE decisions? Well, if you plan to make a home yours for the long-term, you have time to prioritize. Here are the metrics I use when I’m looking around at things I’ve got to do:
Priority #1: If there is water running into any space
Any time that happens, solving that problem should be number one on your priority list. Water is an enemy of things that houses are made of — drywall, wood, wires, insulation, etc. When you have water in your home where it shouldn’t be, it can break down building materials, make electrical unsafe, create mold, and cause a lot of other problems.
Priority #2: If there is something that is making your home unsound.
We had a deck that our houseguests were STEPPING THROUGH in our backyard, and we prioritized pulling it out. It was a hazard that could hurt us or people visiting, and it had to go right away. If you have electrical outlets sparking, floors bowing, or structural integrity issues, those kids of repairs have to be the priority.
Priority #1: If there is something that would make your home easier to live in
From making a bathroom functional with a double sink or a soaking tub to making a wall less of an eyesore with a new color of paint, these are the nice to have things that can be a lower priority.
For me, thinking about this stuff in an order is the hardest. This is the stuff that sticks out when you walk into a new space. I hate the paneling, I don’t love that countertop, the bathroom needs an update, the floors OMG, etc. I always want to do all of it at all at once.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have to deal with the first two types of things on the list right away, you can be wide open to the third part of the list. Of course, all of the things on the list will have different timelines and budgets, and right now in 2022, you’ll have to think about logistics and availability of supplies and things you need to do the jobs.
Don’t be scared to start things you feel you might be able to handle on your own. Take our Homeowner Helper class for the basics and then take one of our DIY Decor classes so you can get to the fun creative stuff.