How to Prioritize Home Projects

By Alison Hodgson

I recently received a desperate email from a friend. For a variety of reasons, school and work related, she and her husband and two little boys had been bumping around the globe for years. They had just moved back to the States and bought their first home. As excited as she was to be close to family and settled down, she was also exhausted from the move. In her email she wrote, "I am feeling crazy because I need to furnish a house and pick paints and it is all so overwhelming for me. I've been a nomad my entire adult life. Do you have advice?"

Most of us don't know what it's like to change continents with a family. But a big home project can feel like too much for anyone starting out or going through a big life change. Adding to the pressure, in this age of instant everything, it's easy to think that you ought to have a perfectly appointed home within seconds of moving in. I think we've all seen the before-and-after articles in which a designer gives a house a makeover in less time than it takes most of us to buy a can of paint. If you are in my friend's shoes, looking around your place worrying and wondering, this is what I recommend.

Eclectic Kitchen by Wichita Media & BloggersKeep Smiling Home

Assess conditions. Before you try to do a thing, take a deep breath, look around and then decide what needs to be done. "Everything!" may be the immediate answer, but really think about it. Are there any repairs that need to be made? Is it "just" cosmetics, such as new paint? Whatever it is, can you do the work yourself or do you need to hire it out? What are your skills? (It's OK if you don't seem to have any.)

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