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How to Get Home Projects Done
{When You are Really Busy!}

by | Apr 7, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

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How to Get Home Projects Done <br>{When You are Really Busy!}

I get a lot of questions from people about how I get everything done in life. I know I juggle a lot, but I am working hard at life balance. Sometimes I stink at it. Like Monday when we took our son to school after spring break only to find out that school didn’t start back until Wednesday. Because I have a lot to do in life, some minor details fall through the cracks.

But, with that MOM FAIL aside,  I am learning it is OK to let go of the small stuff and not worry so much about every fine detail in life. I have to remember what my REAL priorities are. Some things can wait and yes, some things are bound to not go perfectly when we juggle a lot of things at once.

I’m not advocating spending your life trying to juggle a lot of things, but we all have times when we have a lot on our plate. So does that mean we have to give up everything we love doing or want to do in order to keep all the plates spinning?

I do not get nearly as many home projects done as some people seem to. I have to pace myself since projects are not my primary focus in life. But one way I do manage to make progress on things I want to do is I let myself START a project, even though I know I am too busy to FINISH it any time soon.

Sometimes I start things that my husband will finish (like the fine detailed edges of this stair railing!). I do my part, and he will do his when he has a window of time. That is the only way we can get things done!

How to Get Home Projects Done <br>{When You are Really Busy!}

the unfinished black stair railing

I think starting a project and being in process is better than never getting around to anything I love to do! I have to allow myself to be in the “during” stage of a project longer than some people might. I only have short windows of time each week to do something home related, and sometimes I can’t even work on them every week.

The only way I can really get things done is to do a little at a time and not stress out if things are “undone.” I still invite guests over for dinner, they just have to be careful to not trip on our paint cans or ladders. And I just hope they won’t wonder about our half painted rooms.

How to Get Home Projects Done <br>{When You are Really Busy!}
some freshly painted walls are better than all swine painted walls.

Have you ever heard of the time management principle of putting the rocks in the jar first (the big things) and then filling in with sand (little things) around the rocks?

That is basically how I have to do life right now. I do all of my obligations and family related things first, and then in the cracks I can work on painting walls or other home projects. I have to let go of PERFECTION. It is a slow process but it is the only way I’ll ever see my “afters!” And really, once I get started, I seem to make more and more time to actually finish a project. It is getting started that is the hardest part.

I wish I had the luxury of a whole week off to paint my house or work on projects. Right now it is one step at a time or nothing at all!

Do you go crazy if you have undone projects around the house?
How many “in process” things do you have going on in your home?
Do you consider yourself busy in life, or are you at a stage when you feel you have the luxury of time?


  1. Becky K.

    I join you in this stage of life.
    I wouldn’t miss the time with family for anything. My house will still be here when they have grown up and moved on. So, I do what I can, as I can.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Becky K.
    .-= Becky K.´s last blog ..Outdoor Wednesday – Longwood Gardens =-.

  2. cynthia

    when i clicked on this post and saw the title, i thought you had written this especially for me!
    i seem to stay at this stage in life…and it drives me insane! i have a handFULL of projects going on at the moment but at the same time, i know that i will find the time at some point.
    when i went back to work, it really cut into this ‘kind of time’ but life goes on…right?

    right now i have a chest of drawers to finish stripping and i’m also beginning to pack for a move…ACK! so maybe i’ll just start fresh soon

    sorry for the long post!

  3. Stacy

    I don’t think there is ever a time when I don’t have some sort of project going on – usually two or three. I tell myself that it all doesn’t have to be done at once. Do a little every day and eventually it will be finished.

  4. Spring

    This is a hard one for me, and exactly where I am at now. Our house is just shy of 100 yrs old, and was not updated or redone before we purchased it. We bought this project house, to afford my staying home with our young kids. The stairwell still needs to be done (poorly sheetrocked by previous owners), EVERY hardwood floor needs to be refinished, (the varnish is gone), the second bathroom needs walls and trim, and now we are working on bringing two boys from Haiti into our family! I am thinking, some of these things will NEVER be done while I am still living here! Someone I work at being ok with. I still have piano and voice students come to my house. We still have people over. And we chip away at a couple things each year.
    Thanks for the reminder it’s ok to be “in process” and keep the bigger priorities first!
    .-= Spring´s last blog .. =-.

  5. Jenny

    I had the luxury of a couple of days off work to be home and focused on my many projects and it was heavenly! It just left me thinking about how much I could get done with a week of uninterrupted project time. But, I always have projects going, and for me the key is to try to limit the number of them I have going at one time – otherwise my mind starts spinning and I don’t know where to start. Lately, I have been trying to tie up loose ends on my existing projects before starting new ones. But it’s hard since my head is always swimming with new ideas!

  6. Emily

    Melissa, I did the same thing on Monday! HA!

    For us, the projects are just part of who we are and what we do. They weave their way in and we work around them and with them. It’s not for everyone, but when it’s something you love that’s just how it is.

    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Simplifying Life, One Goodbye at a Time =-.

  7. Gigi

    Thank you for this reminder. I’m going through this now. Except I’m at a point where “this” can’t be done until “that” is done – and I have to rely on others to get “that” done so I can get started on “this!” It’s very frustrating because I’d like to at least get started….but you are right it all takes time and I need to just roll with it.
    .-= Gigi´s last blog ..I’m so far behind, I’m still at the starting line…. =-.

  8. Tracey

    Does this include craft projects in which I have bought all the supplies and not yet started? :)

    We currently have one project in process, and it is in our backyard so we have the luxury of closing the blinds and pretending it’s not there.

  9. Emily

    Also, it helps that a lot of our projects take months and months because they are something we do in the background of our life because we just can’t do it all at once without everything else falling apart around us.

    Sorry, apparently I’m chatty this morning :)
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Simplifying Life, One Goodbye at a Time =-.

  10. yvonne b

    Multiple projects up in the air, paint cans on the floor, and kids on the go … that is so my life, too! I wish I could just leave sample boards with completed sketches tacked up in each room of our house so that visitors can see that we really do have a PLAN! We will get there eventually, but we have learned to live with our very long “to do” list.
    .-= yvonne b´s last blog ..Guest Designer: Nicole Yee =-.

  11. Michelle "Chaos Caretaker"

    This is a very timely post. I decided recently after seeing one too many coveted red doors, that I would paint not only our front door, but ALL of the exterior doors on my house red. I sanded and vacuumed one night after work, taped off another night, primed a third and attempted the multiple layers of red on Easter Sunday. Alas, dew hit the doors before they cured properly so I have a bit more sanding and painting to do, but that is life. One project, one family, one step at a time.
    .-= Michelle “Chaos Caretaker”´s last blog ..All Tied Up With Ribbons (Part 2 Ribbon Storage) =-.

  12. Janine Adams

    I love this message! I find perfectionism to be so paralyzing for my clients (not for me, thankfully, because I’m a “good enough” person). “Don’t be afraid to start if you don’t know when you’ll finish” is a liberating concept that allows action to take place. Bravo!

  13. Michelle

    I am OK with the “during” of several projects, about 3 at a time, it’s my husband that is the one that goes bananas over the “less than perfect” condition of the house!! :)
    .-= Michelle @ Sweet Something´s last blog ..Springtime Mantle =-.

  14. Rachel

    LOVE this post! It’s like your inside my head. I feel absolutely the same way. Family obligations have to come first, but I have so many projects I want to complete. I am definitely going to adopt your positive attitude on STARTING the project and just be okay with being in the undone phase for a while.

    Thanks again!

  15. Kristi

    Ding ding ding.. talk about ringing true! I think I’m overwhelmed with the number of projects I want to do that sometimes I don’t know where to start. I just got to keep reminding myself that the little steps can add up if I just take the first one! Thanks for the great post!!
    .-= Kristi´s last blog ..Easy Wall Art from a Disney Souvenir =-.

  16. Julia

    It’s so true–the hardest part of a project is getting started. Just getting that momentum going and making the decision to do it in the first place is my biggest hurdle.

    I’m amazed by the bloggers who seem to have accomplished another big, beautiful project to show us every day. If I get one project done a month, I’m feeling good! :-)
    .-= Julia @ Hooked on Houses´s last blog ..Goodbye, Patio Table. Hello, Screened Porch? =-.

  17. Lisa

    I keep reminding myself how blessed I am to have the house that requires the contact projects, and even am blessed for all the things that interrupt these projects – my kids and their activities, a husband that has to travel for work but is thankfully employed, a busy life that dictates the home projects wait…and wait…and wait.
    Like Becky K. said, the house (and projects) will still be here when the kids are grown and gone so I try to feel satisfaction with what we can accomplish instead of getting frustrated with what we can’t!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Family Photo =-.

  18. lauren

    i actually blogged about this same subject yesterday. it really drives me crazy having a project not completed. i want to be better at being more relaxed but it’s as if the project sits there and talks to me. and not very nicely, either. :)
    .-= lauren´s last blog ..closure =-.

  19. Elizabeth

    So very true and exactly where we are too. Most of our home is freshly painted, but not all. And yes, three different paint cans and supplies are neatly stacked here in the family room to continue with some kitchen projects. If I were to put them away, I know my desire to finish would diminish. It they remain, I can quickly pop open the white and add that second coat to the trim, or half the trim as time permits. And are we ever truly finished?

  20. Sandy

    Some advice on this from a been there Mom…. just don’t go through life feeling Guilty about not getting things done on a schedule. Your kids are priority #1 for now, and the house is 2nd. Don’t wish your time with them away either, they grow too quickly. I have free time now that I’m an empty nester, but I always remember that when the kids were little was the best time of my life!
    You’re right… it’s all about balance… enjoy each stage of your life and what it has to offer!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..sewing a basket liner =-.

  21. teresa

    I do a little here and a little there….then when my HD gets called out to be at a fire or is away on business… I work long and hard to get it done. {saving the hard/heavy stuff for him to do} we also like to have a project to work on together….. Kind of what has worked for us for the last 32 years. {plus it doesn’t hurt that I tend to be an early riser…..I get tons done at 4am =)
    Thanks for sharing how you do it….I’ve been amazed at how you get everything done ….now I know.
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Happy Anniversary to Us- =-.

  22. Calamity Anne

    I’ve got plenty of projects that are started…and I am sure that they will all get done eventually. I also have lots of projects that are waiting to be started…but that’s half the fun of it all…always having something to do (if I want to)! By the way, I’ll bet your son loved having a couple of extra days off for break…so if it was a faux pas on your part, it was still a good one!
    .-= Calamity Anne´s last blog ..Murphy’s Hot Hamburger =-.

  23. Kathy

    My projects get started one night after work {usually Tuesday} and I may not get back to it until late Friday afternoon or Saturday. Or sometimes I start on a Saturday and can’t get back to it until the following Saturday. The armoire I just painted black recently in our guest bedroom ~ it’s still waiting for glass knobs. I’m not in any hurry though; the armoire is only holding my business stuff so no one else is affected. That’s just the way it is. The only thing I don’t want to do is leave a mess if I start something that will affect everyone in the house until I clean it up or get done. So I usually won’t start something if I know that might happen.

  24. Roxanne Vanslette

    This post felt like it was written just for me. I have so many unfinished projects around my house and I keep coming up with more ideas that I want to start. It drives my husband crazy, but it is the only way I can get anything done with a toddler around the house.
    Oh! I also love the MS Tobacco Leaf paint and want to put it in my dining room-but I need to finish painting all my doors black, and finish painting the kitchen white and ….
    .-= Roxanne Vanslette´s last blog ..#63 and #64 =-.

  25. Catherine

    I find that I actually have less time now than I did when my kids were young and living at home. I’m not sure how this happened or why. Maybe I was better at time management then because I had to be. I have other responsibilities that life simply hands you as you grow older, like taking care of aparent. Family always comes first in my life as I’m sure it does in everyone’s.

  26. Marija

    I like your attitude! I can truthfully say starting a project is the hardest for me because I always feel as though it needs to be completed immediately. Your advice is good…

    .-= Marija´s last blog ..Featuring… =-.

  27. Vee

    My tolerance for undone projects is quite high; therefore, a lot needs doing. But, at some point, I have had enough and go beserk. Thank you for showing the black door. I so want to do this and everybody tells me that I can’t. I’m bookmarking this to show them how great it can be.
    .-= Vee´s last blog ..Bookends =-.

  28. Alison

    Hi Melissa, great post! I’m SO on the same page with you about having time for household projects! There are tons of things that I want to do but have so little free time to do them. And when I do have the time, there’s typically something else that’s – gasp – more important that needs my attention. To answer your questions:
    1) yes having undone/unfinished projects around the house makes me nuts. I’m totally anal retentive about that sort of thing.
    2) I probably have 2 projects going at any given time, and at least a half dozen more rollling around in my head!
    3) Luxury of time? What’s that??!! :-)
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Checking In =-.

  29. Adrienne

    Dear Melissa –
    As I read this post I felt as if you were sitting across the table from me, sharing your heart friend-to-friend and advising me how to deal with all the things that are going on in my life right now. This was just what I needed – and I needed it today! I have ‘millions’ of unfinished projects hanging over my head and I have been so troubled that I can’t ever just set aside time to do ONE from start to finish the way I used to do it. That was probably before I had kids who are now grown with kids of their own and it was certainly before I had a little 87-year-old mother whose needs increase. I cherish the time I spend with each of my dear ones but I stress under the weight of the unfinished projects. I’ve been certain they flash like neon signs when someone comes to visit and I recently decided to stop looking at all of them as a package deal! I started at the front door and decided I will methodically work on one at a time in the living room, go on to the painting in the dining room, continue in the kitchen and on and on until I finish the current projects that are waiting in the wings. I truly thought this week would have enough time to paint the old-fashioned window casing of the big front window in the living room. Not going to happen! Not this week! You have brought such peace to my heart as I read your words – I felt that I was alone in this struggle (although I really knew I wasn’t!) and you put it all into perspective for me. Who cares if the ladder is neatly propped in the living room and the smell of fresh primer is the essence of the moment? Thank you so much for lifting my spirits and giving me someplace to start.
    .-= Adrienne´s last blog ..Off To School We Go! =-.

  30. Shelley in SC

    This is a great post! So helpful in keeping things in perspective . . . especially about being willing to give up “perfection” when having company over. Great reminder. Thank you!
    .-= Shelley in SC´s last blog ..A Sweet Easter =-.

  31. Abbie

    I LOVE the rocks in the jar as a visual activity for teenagers! I often do it at camp/retreat/whatever and have them go find “big” rocks, pebbles, sand and water. Then we put them in the jar in that order talking about priorities and what you have to add first to get your “big” priorities in!

    Back to house projects – I usually have some in process and work as I can (don’t trip over the half painted porch swing on your way in) (and just don’t even look at how many sewing projects I have all over that corner). But I when I paint a room I pretty much do that in all of my non-sleeping, non-direct kid care time so it doesn’t take too long. But my kids are all 5 and under so I have to block off whatever room I’m doing.
    .-= Abbie´s last blog ..Why =-.

  32. ClassiclyAmber

    YES! I feel like I always have 120940195509 projects going at one time, but for now – I like it, even if I am overwhelmed at times. It doesn’t stay like this literally all year long, so I’m okay with it. And I agree with you, Melissa, you just have to take care of the most important things in life first, and then get to your projects as you can – and don’t sweat it too bad. I will say this, though: I have always been the type of person who can’t STAND to have unfinished projects around me. I am s-l-o-w-l-y learning how to handle that better and to be okay with half-finished stuff around me. It’s better than never getting anything done at all!
    .-= ClassiclyAmber´s last blog ..The “I Never Win Anything” GIVEAWAY – with Lisa Leonard Jewelry! =-.

  33. Marla

    Ah….the projects….started….worked on….still sitting OUT!!!
    (Oops, those are the NON-house projects.)

    An old dog, a 4 yo DS who likes to ‘help’, a DH who works out of town, two houses (one remodel, one prep to sell), and homeschooling, makes for seemingly never-ending house projects.

    How to cope… do a little here, do a little there.

    Yee-haw!……….I am eating the elephant!!!!!!!:>

  34. Christi {Jealous Hands}

    That’s how I do things, too. i wish I was a person who could start something & finish it in the same “sitting”, but that’s just now how things work around here!

    Will you share? Where did you get (or did you make) the toile prints in the last picture? LOVE!

  35. Marcee

    You know, I wasn’t OK with having an undone house (or apartment in my case) until I started reading this blog. I waited for something ridiculous like 8 months or so to have anyone over…granted, we had just moved, my husband had just started grad school and we had a our first child and I was having health issues. Anyway, I missed out on a lot of plain old good times with people by being so self conscious.

    I used to get overwhelmed by all the great ideas and plans I had for our house. I move a lot slower these days than I used to. But since reading this blog, and the Nester, I’ve kind of embraced the whole idea of creating a home is a process instead of a product (duh) and now it’s a joy to have all these ideas ready and waiting for a few spare moments here and there to implement.

    Any way, I wanted to say thanks for sharing your honesty about your priorities and project completeness and the process of your house. It can be beautiful and not “done.”

  36. Megan

    I have many, many unfinished or unstarted projects at my house. But, I’m in a very busy season of my life. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 6 month old, and have other things to do, too. ;) In fact, I’m about to call my fantastic MIL to see if she can watch the older two while I finish painting the living room. Which was started a year and a half ago. I can deal with half-finished projects, they usually get done at some point, but I guess 18 months or so is my limit. :)
    .-= Megan @ Meanwhile, back at the ranch´s last blog ..Quick Tip =-.

  37. Kim Fahrni

    This was a great post! I also have lots of half finished projects. It used to really upset me. But you gave me “permission” to be proud of the progress I have made and not be embarrassed by what isn’t done, so thank you :0) Also, thanks for the NEW ideas…hehe

  38. Laurie

    Oh man… this is so timely. And not only is your own experience a helpful boost, the comments are SOOOOOOOOO helpful! I have so much on my plate right now at work and at home, and I nearly had a breakdown this last weekend when I had only a couple of project-like things I wanted to get done and was bogged down instead with the laundry, the housework, the running around of kids, and never got to them. The small bits I do, like cleaning a bathroom, seem to disappear in the squalor of the rest of the house, and it’s so depressing. Then I get angry that I seem to be the only one who notices or cares… AAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!

    So, thank you for making me feel like I’m one of many, rather than a solitary madwoman. :)

  39. Claudia

    This is a great post.

    I have to admit that when my kids were your age, running our own company, managing 3 kids homework, being on the board of our baseball league, president of PTA and working with a calling in our church and of course managing our home and meals — was the busiest yet BEST memories of my life. I was crazy busy … yet as you know you have to be ultra organized to at least have it flow in a forward movement.

    Life happens and kids grow up — but seriously it will be one of the best times of your life. If you can pause every now and then and enjoy it… you will have great memories.

    (cant you picture it down the road– “mom — remember when I was a kid and you took me to school when it WASNT in session yet?” … you made a memory. Good job!

    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..A little remodel =-.

  40. April

    I SO needed to read this post today. I’m a twenty-something still living with my parents (and loving it!), I’m in school, and I own my own business. My parents just bought a new house, which is painted, inside and out, in many colors of Swine, needs the carpets replaced, the hardwood floors refinished, the kitchen remodeled, and of course needs complete repainting. I have been feeling totally overwhelmed by the process of choosing colors and getting the painting done, the kitchen designed and remodeled, etc., etc,. etc., before we move in, in addition to getting research papers done, exams studied-for, and keeping up with my business. Thank you for your perspective today! It has helped me (a recovering perfectionist) so much!
    .-= April´s last blog ..How to Get Home Projects Done {When You are Really Busy!} =-.

  41. Victoria

    What a great post! It really hits home. I do have so many projects going on…but truthfully, I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t. Being a mom and wife is my first priority, but if I didn’t get to create…I wouldn’t feel complete. It is just who I am…I don’t think I will ever get to a point when I feel I just have luxury time…I am always adding something! lol Yes, I agree we have to let perfection go. I have gotten much better the older I get and realize, usually I am the only one who notices all the tiny details or what’s missing. Thank you for sharing this! Oh…I love your front door and want to have one like that for my home. :)


  42. Sandy

    Oh yes, and I’m so glad that I’m not as hard on myself as I used to be! Growing up, I guess :) Great post. Gives us a lot to think about!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Home is … Creating Easter Memories! =-.

  43. Janet

    It’s like I was reading my own diary when I read your post today! We had company last week to whom I gave a house tour; I found myself saying every room was “a work in progress…” Our friends and family have just gotten used to the fact that there WILL be some project going on at our house that necessitates supplies, debris, and other assorted messes in our house at all times – they have just learned to expect it and step over it! They still love us anyway, and they always look forward to seeing the “after”/finished project. It just wouldn’t be us if the house was perfect, decorated and clean!

  44. Glenda

    I do bet with a mix of days. I like several days a week that are crazy busy and a couple days a week that are very quiet. This works great for me.
    .-= Glenda´s last blog ..Gg is for go on a mission trip (part two) =-.

  45. Angie

    Oh my goodness, I have SO many unfinished projects it’s not even funny!! We moved into our home a little over 2 years ago- I still have wires sticking out where the door bell should be, nothing hung in my hallway and i’ve decided that I hate ALL the colors we started with so i’m repainting. Along with that I decided to change some rooms around and see how I like it, so far, not liking it! HA! but have decided to live with it just a bit longer to make sure. Also having my first sale ever this month, I’ve got about 10 peices of furniture left to transform as well as price everything in the next 2 weeks. Yep I’ve got some “unfinished” projects! ;)
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..It’s Time for a Giveaway!!! =-.

  46. Jeannine B.

    This is exactly how we have to go about projects at our house! I have always carried around guilt about starting a project, but not being able to finish it right away! Thank you for showing me that others have to do it this way too – and that it is really “OK”! Currently I have started a painting project in my daughters room. It may be a while before we are done – but she will have a fabulous space that is exactly what she wants when we are finished!

  47. Elaine's Semi-Homemade Life

    Good topic!! I’m in what I call an “insanity” phase of life. ;) Demanding career, 2 kiddos… my house is on the market, so I don’t have the luxury of leaving anything out! That’s really caused a project stand-still for me… that I hope to come out of (a little) after I take a much needed vacation.
    Great advice! You continue to amaze and inspire those of us who can relate to what you’re dealing with! :)
    .-= Elaine’s Semi-Homemade Life´s last blog ..April 6 =-.

  48. Tamara

    I’m a SAHM of two very active little boys ages 2 and 4. I am also a check-lister meaning when I set out for a goal or a project I wanted done asap so it can be checked of the list and I can get on to the next thing. Since having kids I’ve had to learn to be okay with the”during” process. It can be really frustrating at times but I am getting better everyday at letting things sit as they are until the next opportunity to work on it comes. I find that my best work opportunities come from 7pm-11pm when the kids are asleep for the night! Thanks for the post and still crossing my fingers to win the Homegoods giftcard! :-)

  49. mary

    I know exactly what you’re saying! At this point(48yrs, 4 kids, 1 husband, full-time (paying) job and 250 yr old home) I am able to “not mind” the unfinished projects as much as I did when I was younger & “just a Mom”. Now I realize the most important thing of all is actually spending time with the family & not worrying about the mud that that the dogs are bringing in or the dust on the windowsills! Enjoy the moments together-they go by ever so fast!

  50. Tiffany

    I usually don’t start projects that I don’t think I’ll finish quickly. I hate seeing half done projects done all around my house. That being said, I also never get around to starting a lot of projects and those that aren’t started – never get finished! I love the big rock concept, I am going to try that out.
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..what are the green things you do? =-.

  51. Dawn-Hydrangea Home

    Great post Melissa. We currently (always) have a few projects going on at once. Something always breaks, etc…that takes priority. What are we going to do about it? I can’t stress anymore. It used to bother me a lot more. But the house and all of the work will always be there. The kids won’t!!!
    .-= Dawn-Hydrangea Home´s last blog ..Happy Easter! =-.

  52. Cara

    This is DEFINITELY something I struggle with all the time. There are so many things I want to tackle around the house. My project list is a mile long. But at the same time, I’m getting frustrated with not getting anything done. My focus right now (one of the big rocks, as you mentioned) is my spirited little 2 1/2 year old, who is potty training and has some health issues that are really draining me. Yesterday, I was all pumped up to work on painting our master bedroom (only one wall finished) while he was at Mother’s Day Out, and instead I just rested and read a book. And felt guilty about it. It definitely doesn’t help when I’m reading all of these blogs full of fabulous home projects! Thank you so much for your post today. It’s definitely time to stop beating ourselves up over our unfinished home projects. :)

  53. Melissa Miller

    Yes I hear you on this one! We have many outdoor projects in the works and it seems it is reverending during this pretty time of year. Whew! I wish we all had more time. That sounds like a good plan.

    ~Blessings, ~Melissa :)

    PS Love your stair railing as is. It’s unique and full of character just like your entire home.

    • Melissa

      Aw, thank you! :-)

  54. Melanie

    I always wonder how some of the girls on some blogs get everything done! They always have something going and I never seem to find enough hours in the day to get it all together. I usually finish up my projects because I don’t like things not completed but I don’t start a bunch of stuff at once. I don’t do good with messes and too many things on my plate. Life goes by fast enough and I don’t want so much happening that I don’t enjoy it.
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..A girl, a camera, a class, & Karen Russell. =-.

  55. Stacey

    I’ll admit that it drives me NUTS to have projects 1/2 done. And it drives me nuts even more because I have a project list in my head right now that seems neverending. But, I realize that I can only do so much (how do some of these girls get a zillion projects done a week??) and right now my family must be my main priority. I still have people over even though one room or another is usually in a state of disarray! LOL!! Hey, I figure I”m not the only one & usually my friends all have some home project they’re working on too so they understand. Thanks for this post!


    I’ve been cleaning my basement for the past 8 months, NOT! It’s like the 10 pounds I need to lose. Life is short so do the important stuff and have a little fun.
    .-= THE STYLISH HOUSE´s last blog ..Vote For Enchanted Makeovers! =-.

  57. Gina

    What a great reminder it is that it’s okay to be in a process. I tend to be a grumpy project person-I get started and then feel stressed about getting it done right away, even though I know I don’t have much time to focus on projects. I love the idea to just get started-knowing it will be done eventually. Thanks for sharing this-it’s a great encouragement!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Being Content with Home =-.

  58. cindy

    I have to say even with the luxury of time that I have right now (no kids, no job) I am still having a hard time focusing on one project and actually completing it. I need to get better organized so I can cross things off my list.
    I am easily distracted. focus focus is the key!
    .-= cindy´s last blog ..Western Road Trip Part 2: Grand Canyon =-.

  59. seriouslyahomemaker

    I love you for this post. You inspire me AGAIN! I typically don’t comment on a blog post where there are already TONS of comments there, because I suspect the blog author won’t actually see reading my feedback… but it had to be said… this post and your REALNESS and advice have been in the back of my mind for the last 2 days since I first read this post. It has stuck with me and I am totally adopting your philosophy of “starting a project now even though I know I don’t have time to finish it now.”

    In fact, I may just paint the lower half of my VERY VERY tall family room wall today, even though the ladder we bought this past weekend needs to be exchanged for a taller one and therefore the top half of that wall won’t be painted for a while…

    I’m gonna do what I can and LOVE IT!

    And BTW, we have people over almost every Sunday Night for “milk and cookies” and I never let my half-done projects stop me from this tradition. I think for a lot of people, it comes as a relief when they see us enjoying our home, our kids, and our neighbors even if we are in a state of imperfection. It almost gives them permission to do the same (as if they needed it??)

    Anyway, thanks for this post… and so many others.

    (BTW I am begging Tiffany Romero to pull you in for Bloggy Bootcamp Philadelphia in Sept. She asked “what do you want to learn” and I pretty much said- “I need to learn Melissa Michaels.” …Think about it???

    .-= seriouslyahomemaker´s last blog .."The Other Moms are So Dumb!" =-.

    • Melissa

      I had to laugh, just last night we had people over and for dessert we really had cookies and milk. I didn’t even plan it, I just had cookies in the oven and didn’t feel like making coffee so I grabbed the carton of milk and set it on the table!

      You are so right, if we can just be REAL we give everyone a break in life and give them permission to be real too!

      Thanks for your encouragement, your comment meant a lot! :-)

  60. danika herrick

    I love this post. I am currently in project frenzy land, and I find myself here every spring. I have two young kids and a business, and that is usually the focus of my energy, but come spring my energy levels doubles and I think I am superwoman. I write To DO lists a mile long and go full force. My business usually suffers during this time because I am so hyper focused on getting the next thing done. (I’ll call them back after I get this next coat of paint on. 2 coats later…)
    I also start a bunch of projects at once… I feel more productive this way, even though I know it isn’t. It just feels so good to cross things off my list, its almost addictive and I find myself adding more things to it. Wow, putting this in writing makes me think I might have a problem! I’ll call it Seasonal-Overambitious-Multitasking-Project-itis

  61. The Scooper

    You said it perfectly. This is SO how I’m having to live right now. But I will confess that sometimes I choose the frivolous instead of the important. I spent an hour this morning rearranging things on my walls and doing a bit of re-design instead of cleaning the kitchen…or cleaning anything for that matter…or keeping my 2-year-old out of his Easter basket.
    .-= The Scooper´s last blog ..Acceptance, Laundry, & Robots =-.

  62. Lesley

    I don’t mind having a few projects in progress in my house. That’s the way we live. And we have a very small house, so when we’re doing a project, it affects everything.

    But I DO mind having 10 projects going on, which is the way it usually is. That’s overwhelming! We need to get focused.
    .-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Red spices up new HGTV Green Home =-.

  63. Vanessa Yu

    Oh gosh, where to start on the list of my projects. I have three half painted rooms, a back splash that is screaming, “fix me please!” and a patio that needs some serious help. However, like you and all other moms, my little ones come first, and then I find a little time to squeeze in “me” time, like reading the Bible, books, giving myself a pedicure, etc. Then if there is any time left, then I work on the house. It’s hard enough just picking up and cleaning the house. It never ends.

    So what do you suggest to a gal who loves to have nice things and who is on a very tight budget on where to shop for home goods? I wish I had “time” to peruse the aisles at Ross, Marshalls’ and even Goodwill, but with two under the ages of 3, it’s challenging. Any advice?

    Still love your blog!
    .-= Vanessa Yu´s last blog ..An Alphabet Favorite List =-.

    • Melissa

      Hi Vanessa!

      That is one of the reasons I started my online shop! I am too busy most of the time to spend all day shopping around town for stuff. Plus I live in a fairly small area so my options for shopping nearby are limited. My shop should be updated tomorrow with a few new things and I’m going to try to keep it full of basic and affordable items for our homes, as well as some fun gifts and extras.

      Thanks for stopping by, you must have your hands full with those two little ones!!

  64. Lottie

    For me, things are a little different. My husband is always starting big projects around the house…and starting….and starting. He never finishes them and that is hard for me to live in and work a 40 hr. job.
    I would rather start and finish. Now that means I don’t get very much done. It seems the big rocks are all I put in the jar! I enjoy your blog!
    .-= Lottie´s last blog ..Purple Thoughts – Outdoor Wednesday =-.

  65. Erica Cooper

    I don’t think I’ve met too many women who have all of their “projects” done. It just comes with the territory… I do think it also reminds us that God is in control and some of what we want done isn’t really that important. It puts it in perspective.

    I do have to admit that unfinished projects drive me crazy… I will put off a project that can’t be at least 3/4 finished in one time. I will do all of the major parts of the project and am okay with working on some of the smaller details that are easier to finish on a night or weekend. Painting for one is a project that I feel compelled to finish all at once, I get stressed out with moving everything around and all of the time spent cleaning up. I am too obsessed to not do it all at once… I admire your ability to just plug away at it. :)
    I also think as “creative” types, we love to make, create, and dream up projects… which allows less time for “doing”. No matter what season we are in, we will always have more projects than time allows.
    I do like to involve my whole family when it comes to doing a project. As my kids have grown (they’re teenagers now), they have learned how to do almost everything as we’ve remodeled and updated our home. It makes project time “family time” and it also teaches them valuable skills.
    Here’s to the day when we can have all of our projects done…. :)
    .-= Erica Cooper´s last blog ..The Inspired Room Inspiration… =-.

  66. Sarah Sarniak

    Oh balancing. It can be sooo hard. It’s one of my biggest challenges. I like how you said it’s better to start something and be working on it than never starting it. This is so true. Sometimes too, starting it is half the battle. Once you get started, sometimes momentum builds and it gets easier to keep going.
    .-= Sarah Sarniak´s last blog ..Friday Finds: Blogs I Love =-.

  67. Kate

    It seems we’re all so busy these days, trying to juggle a million different things at a time. I find I need to make a lot of lists and just do my best to try to prioritize. If something has to be remain a Work In Progress, so be it. You’ve just go to do what you can do… and try to stay sane :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Wally Lamb Speaking on Mark Twain =-.

  68. elizabeth

    thank you for this post! i really needed to know there is some one else like me out there!!!!! i know many that don’t do it the way we do and i start feeling like i was doing it all wrong. thank you :D


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