I’m tired. We’re living in a state of chaos and it’s hard to spot the light at the end of the tunnel through all of these cardboard boxes. There’s a reason why home renovation shows focus on the before and the after and brush past the during. Oh, the soul crushing, monotonous, and never ending during. Doors don’t have knobs, clothes don’t have a dresser, and the bathroom door still doesn’t close. My life is one big walking present participle- painting, cleaning, organizing, deciding, building, and stressing. Nothing is resolved, nothing is finished, and it’s wearing on me.
It feels insane to complain about this sort of thing because it is all of course an unparalleled luxury. We’re talking about someone with a safe home and stability trying to make it NICER and PRETTIER. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the renovation is taking it’s toll on me. As a semi-reformed perfectionist I struggle with having things be chaotic and unfinished. I am better at making plans then enacting them. I’m doing my best to manage this but the brain-swallowing process of home renovation has had notable side effects. Mainly a twitching eye that’s been going 4 months strong and bacne that is IMPRESSIVE.
That’s all to say, I have nothing good to show you. Nothing satisfying. Just progress. Messy messy progress. You want a nicely composed wide shot to indicate that my life doesn’t look like a disaster? TOO BAD. Luckily there’s tons of false testimony on Instagram to satisfy our need to “like” things.
Oh the ever forgiving corner shot and infamous one pretty thing on another pretty thing. Reality is messy and wide and far less gratifying to look at on the toilet.
Where did it all go wrong? I blame the dresser. A seemingly innocuous East Lake piece that I thought I should “refinish” because that was definitely a project I needed to take on at this time.
Staying up all night with a ticker tape stream of the latest to do list has given me time to think about the mistakes I’ve made and how this process could have gone slightly easier and less- well, like this.
TIINA’S TIPS FOR COPING WITH HOME RENOVATION
STRESS WITHOUT LOSING YOUR (re: MY) MIND:
-Don’t get rid of everything you own before you move.
Yes of COURSE you want a new kitchen table! Who doesn’t?! You’re telling yourself that if you keep the old one that you’ll just get used to it and never commit to a new one. This is a lie. DO NOT LISTEN TO YOURSELF. You need a table. Keep your old perfectly fine table. Get rid of your old table when you have a new table. Not when you’ve found one you like online or when you’ve put one in your shopping cart. Get rid of it when it’s in the apartment. A table relay race if you will. Allow the old table to pass off the baton to new table personally. It’s courteous thing to do. Trust me.
-One. More. Project.
When you tell yourself you’ll take on “just one more project”- ask yourself, will this be the project that breaks me? Can I handle another project or maybe do I need to just take a chill pill and sit on my damned hands? How exactly would you feel if you theoretically spilled paint remover on your newly refinished hard wood floors in the midst of this new project? Just consider that. You know what- I have a great idea for your next project to tackle. The Great British Baking Show. There are three seasons on Netflix.
-Remember other people don’t care as much as you do.
Take your partner out for walks, movies, and all sorts of stimulating experiences that are not home renovation related. I don’t have the specific data on percentages of homeowners murdered each year for talking ad nauseam about which shade of white tile will work best in the kitchen but I can assure you- our partners can smother us in our sleep. Don’t give them more reason. You just bought new pillows.
Do not place the litter box next to the toilet. Somethings need to be sacred, and communing with your cats in this nature will cause inevitable jealousy at the ease of their bowel movements. They haven’t been eating our for six weeks straight. Also bonus points if this whole process doesn’t reek havoc on your digestive system. You, superhuman, you.
-Ask for help.
If someone is ACTUALLY interested in the aforementioned insanity of discussing various shades of white tile for the love of god, LISTEN TO THEM. That’s an important qualifier- you do not get to ask for help if you will just reject their opinion. Don’t be an asshole. If some is being gracious with their time thank them and don’t be a know-it-all.
Remember Instagram and Pinterest? How many happy hours have you had alone just with those fellas? Hm, sounds a little bit like a problem. Yes you will continue to use these platforms but remember IT’S NOT REAL. It’s all LIES LIES LIES. People have problems and untidy homes. If you forget this watch Hoarders or Grey Gardens- real life is having empty cat food tins on the floors for days (not YEARS you MONSTER). This is fine. You are fine. WE ARE ALL FINE.
-Recognize your victories.
I can be extreme and unrelenting. I get lost in my single mindedness and often forget to celebrate minor successes because I’m too busy concentrating on the next to do item before the confetti has even hit the floor. This is a devastating pattern. Fixating on what is going wrong rather than what is going right is a recipe for misery. Don’t be in such a rush that you miss all that you’ve done right. Pause, reflect, and move forward with gratitude. You owe it to yourself.
Life is messy. Life is progress. And life can be difficult to tolerate at times. Of course you feel like you’ve ruined your whole life and nothing matters. The dresser isn’t finished, the cardboard isn’t broken down, and you still can’t close the bathroom door. None of this is true. This is anxiety and perfectionism talking and they simply have NO SPACE AVAILABLE in the process of home renovation. You will make mistakes. You will make a mess. And you will clean it up. Have patience with yourself- it’s all progress.