“Finish What You Started” Monday Weigh In

installing a new lighting fixtureIn general, I continue to be pretty disgusted with myself for the chaos I continue to bring into the house and, hence, into my life. I love to begin all sorts of new house projects… I love to find treasures at estate sales and Re-Stores to integrate into my decor… but honestly: My “to do” list of un-finished projects, including processing the stuff I’ve brought into the house, has reached the point of “not healthy.” Like: Any strength taken too far… becomes a weakness. That said, I am not going to wallow in the situation — I am going to buck up and Finish The Projects That I Have Started. Eat the elephant — one bite at a time. Want to play along?

outline of old light fixture needs to be painted beige to match the rest of the ceiling

Hence: I am starting a new feature, “Finish What You Started” Mondays. If you would like, you are most graciously invited to join me in my quest to regain control of the chaos, so that it stops controlling me. Every Monday I’ll do a story — and also post the photo uploader — and we can share examples of projects that we have completed in the past week. I will award GOLD STARS! We will keep each other energized.

installing a ceiling light

We’ve kibbitzed twice about our longest-running home fixit projects. Have you made progress? Or do you suffer, like me, from one step forward, two steps back syndrome?

Did you know that finishing projects that you have started is one of the first critical steps (along with cleaning and organizing the house) of feng shui? Without order: The “good energy” cannot circulate happily through the house. New, good things have trouble finding their way into your home — and your life. But, keep your house clean and orderly — and wonderful new things will find their way to you.

My favorite book on feng shui — Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui
— also suggests that chronic overweight is associated with clutter. Clean your house: Lose a few pounds! Keep it clean: Keep ’em off! Hence, this Monday Challenge is kind of like a Weight Watchers Weigh In. I need portion control, to be sure.

early american lighting fixture

My project list? Don’t make me laugh. This page is not long enough. As one example: Yes, this new-old Early American lighting fixture — which I found at the Springfield Re-Store last summer — is successfully hung in my office. Susan re-wired it for me. And DH installed it — he is great! But, since we hung the light in early July, part of the project is still un-done: There is a circle of white paint — the outline of the old fixture — that I still need to repaint to match the existing beige ceiling (Beige paint from the Sherwin William Suburban Modern Palette.) I need to finish this project!

In concert with the new lighting fixture and with my new Ergotron, I already have made great progress in redecorating my office, reflecting the fact that I now blog fulltime, and this needs to be my inspiration space. I need to finish this project!

My list is long long long. This is going to take a while.

What about you?
Do you have a long list of projects to finish?
Want to play “Finish What You Started” Mondays with me?


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  1. SusieQ says

    I almost hesitate to get in on this because it’s kind of against my nature to even TRY this but yes I will try.I have 3 houses that are in various stages of rehab.One is a victorian and the other one needing help is a 1951 ranch .I’m presently wallpapering the victorian with wallpaper I’ve had stored for 12 years so you can see the problems I face.I guess there are people in the world that see everything as cut and dried /black and white(or greige) but for us it’s just a constant adventure to find the right item and then incorporate it properly.On top of this it’s almost impossible to talk to anyone about this so I usually don’t.It would be nice to have people see we and other like minded folks are soooo in vogue because we are the ULTIMATE recyclers not just junk collectors Right?

  2. says

    Oh Pam, I’m so there!

    Heck, I remember making amazing progress on my Heywood-Wakefield era bedroom and thinking, “By Friday evening should be finished!”

    That Friday evening…I was involved in a head-on car accident.

    I ended up staying with a friend during recovery – less stairs to climb – and the bedroom is still not finished.

    I have a list of unfinished projects – 99% because of my own procrastination!
    I’m looking forward to posting finished projects with you!

  3. Dulcie says

    I suppose this means that I have to move hubby’s desk so I can finish painting the lone harvest gold corner of my otherwise lime green dining room.

  4. says

    I love this idea! I should be working on my house every weekend (forever and ever and ever), so I’ll try to send Monday updates. I just purchased a 1928 Craftsman Bungalow that needs some MAJOR love. For now I’ll keep the list to the projects that need to be done so I can finally move in!
    This weekend I got one more room ready to paint. Yeah me!
    Next on the list: finish sanding and washing the walls, fill nails holes and divits, spray texture where needed ( 4 rooms to go), prime and paint interior (all rooms to go). Egad. One day at a time.

  5. Megan D says

    Since we don’t own a house yet, my projects are really more just normal house work that needs to be done. I have two small children and a husband that works a lot, so everything falls on me most of the time. I have a ton of laundry to put away, need to clean out the kids’ closets and take out the clothes that no longer fit, figure out what to do with those clothes, pick out toys to donate or re-sell that are not needed, clean out the garage and start putting anything in there in large plastic boxes instead of cardboard so that when we do move, it will be much easier and neater in our new garage, clean out my closet, and sort through drawers that have random stuff in them. My projects are not as fun as some of yours, but they still need to be done. 🙂

  6. Michael says

    Where to start…

    1. We’ve lived with a gutted 2-piece washroom for 15 months. “Before Christmas” we keep saying. Yeah, right…
    2. I bought some cool vintage sunroom furniture 14 months ago that still needs reupholstering. Have the fabric, got the quotes…
    3. The original linoleum tile floors in our recroom still need to be profesionally waxed. Got that quote 16 months ago.
    4. Chimney needs some repointing… got those quotes 5 months ago. ‘Before the first snowfall!”
    5. I’ve got at least a half dozen Edna Looney Christmas craft kits that need to be assembled/completed before December.

    Geez, this is depressing. Thanks a lot, Pam! 😉

  7. chris says

    We have a 1934 house that still needs a lot of love and attention.

    We have found during our 14 years in the house that our project problems come from having more ambition and energy than money!

    (Sad commentary on our budget, considering that we really aren’t that ambitious OR energetic. We really just don’t have money.)

    Probably our best example is the very LONG dry creek that I dug 3 years ago. Yes, singlehandedly — me and my shovel! I was very fit that year. I had to dig through lots of hard, dry red clay — super difficult, but very rewarding.

    After I did all the grunt work, we realized, “oh yeah, we have to buy rocks now.” Whoops.

    Basically, we had a 200 foot long ditch full of weeds for a LONG time. My parents finally felt sorry for us and bought us a load of boulders and egg rock. That took us about 18 feet!

    That is but one of many examples. We have friends who are younger and more efficient — they start projects and finish them so quickly. It seems like everything takes us 5 years. Or longer.

    We have a nice jadeite light fixture waiting to be hung. 2 years.

    We pulled up the old carpet when we bought the house to reveal the nice original oak floors. Never put the quarter round back on the base boards. 14 years.

    My husband kept promising me a new kitchen in 5 years. Then 10. It’s almost 15. I figure we’ll get the kitchen done when we are ready to sell the house and move to the nursing home.

  8. says

    You know the Myers Briggs indicator? The last slot is basically “Those That Finish Projects” and “Those That Don’t” (or P for Perceiving or J for Judging, I think.) I’ve usually been one of Those That Finish Projects… until my kitchen project. It’s been in progress since May – that is a very long time for me!

    I’m trying to redo the kitchen with a 1940s inspiration, but I have had major decision block at each turn. I’ve finally got the floor, countertops, walls done, but the backsplash has me stumped. I’ve been researching, researching, and researching (that’s probably another strength turned into a fault when taken to an extreme). The only thing I’ve seen in all the pictures that would go is a really plain white, square tile. Hmmm, that seems so BLAH. But I need something practical to catch all that greasy stuff.

    OK, so I’ll play. How do we “weigh in”?

      • sTiLL LoVE iT hErE says

        I’m an ISFJ – so dang organized I can’t get anything done…constantly side tracked by organizing my organization. Instead of having a very organized house, it’s a constant battle trying to figure out which task to do first, how to do it, and do it neatly, I might add… It’s driving me nuts! My DH LOVES it though — No decisions made therefore, no projects to work on. It’s a dilemma!

        • sTiLL LoVE iT hErE says

          and another thing….someone mentioned the difficulty in picking a theme or style. That has GOT to be the most difficult thing to do. Do I sell everything from top to bottom and start completely over? This doesn’t seem to be a realistic solution — I wouldn’t know what to replace it with. I like all kinds of decor – the antique look is great, but then again I like clean and bright modern stuff. I love the retro look but my husband does not. I love browns with blue, then again I love the cottage chic look. I love the ocean and the beach motif, but that isn’t practical year round — it just wouldn’t work. I’m really frustrated about the indecisiveness and on top of that — all the repair work that needs to be done!

  9. nina462 says

    thanks for the primer on installing lights. I took a communtiy ed class taught by an old shop teacher – he taught us to install lights, repair drywall & fix toilets. Boy – sure wish they had more classes like that.
    My recent unfinished project is lights! I’ve managed to buy old lights/shades at garage sales all summer long and now have enough for the hallway & three bedrooms!
    thanks again Pam.

  10. Karen says

    Great idea: Autumn weather has me invigorated and a wee bit nervous with winter on us soon… I am renovating old run down abused little house that I am living in so NEED a finish what you started Monday boost. This week is little pantry area: it is lined badly in rough plywood. I primed it today. Next will be caulking holes and gaps, then painting, then cleaning plywood floor, doing the gaps on it and laying peel and stick flooring. Can I get a 4 by 5 room done in a week? Then the sooty kitchen with no real cabinets after that. Lots of undone things to do. I ‘so’ need a crew. Dear hubby does not do renovation work. I’m on my own. ooh.

    • Elaine says

      I feel so lucky! Hubby does not do work on the house. He would stare at the very idea. I found a handyman! The upside, this man will do anything I ask him, for a reasonable fee. He even tuckpointed the chimney and he added pullout shelves in my pantry and put doors on the backside of my peninsula counter in the kitchen. The downside, he now thinks I am his mother. Gotta watch that, I guess. But he has gotten my 1964 colonial in great shape. It is a whole new world.

      • Karen says

        well your handyman needs to travel to Iowa where he is needed. : ) I’d like a part time son for a little while, until things are done.

  11. Lauryn says

    There is no possible way to express how much better I feel about never seeming to finish my projects, knowing I’m not alone! Sitting in my breakfast nook, looking at the same paint samples that have been there for nearly a year … cabinets finally painted, but still looking at the paint samples AND a floor that had the hideous ceramic tile ripped up (back in January), leaving some kind of weird black gluey covering on the oak floors hiding beneath, waiting for the marmoleum to be installed if I could just find someone who could install my (I think) simple design.

    BUT … for this week, I have three goals. Do my taxes (yes, my 2010 taxes … how’s that for an unfinished project?). Paint the walls in the kitchen. Find someone to put in the linoleum so I can ORDER the linoleum. Oh, and one more: order Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper for the nook. So I can finally cover those paint samples. And move on to another room.

  12. Katie says

    I’m totally in, since we’re starting to make a bit of progress on the Ongoing Kitchen Remodel. Tomorrow, I need to get spacers for the tile, get the floor very, very clean and then tomorrow night or Wednesday, get the tile set. This isn’t a major tiling project, just patching about two square feet of tile. I wasn’t able to get an exact match to the tiles, eight inch, white, probably laid in the 1980’s or late 1970’s, but in a style that was in use when the house was built in the 1960s..
    We actually thought the tile might be original, but when we removed the pantry unit, found out that the original flooring was faux marble Asbestos Death Tile, which was later covered by a layer of avacado green vinyl.
    Unfortunately, this won’t be an exact match, but close enough, considering that at least part of it will be covered by a oven cabinet.

  13. Kate says

    I am definitely up for “Finish What You Started” Mondays . I find I often squander my time on fun little side tasks instead tackling/finalizing large scale projects that are holding up other progress, so I could use somewhere to be held accountable. Luckily my 1948 bungalow isn’t in need of any major structural work, but 18 months after moving in I’m still not fully unpacked and can’t commit to a decorating scheme long enough to act on it.
    My server is like an Ellis Island for wayward dishes that immigrate to my house from a variety of sources. They used to huddle there for a week or two until i found the perfect spot fpr them, but since the china cabinet and kitchen cupboards filled up, that temporary stop over had become pretty permanent. Inspired by your post, last night I broke down and made space in the hard-to-reach-cabinets-above-the-refrigerator for the milk glass snack sets and Limoges that have been stranded on the buffet since Easter. It felt pretty good, and it cleared a spot for my new-to-me vintage Magnavox radio–two birds, one stone! Now just another 11 pages of to-do list to go…

  14. says

    I’m in! I have so many reselling, craft, and home projects going, I’m constantly overwhelmed and the apartment is always on the brink of disaster. It would be lovely to have some support. Between Retro Renovation and the ReSellers Challenge at Apron Thrift Girl I should have support in spades!

  15. Tamara says

    Yes, we (ahem.. I) have a loooong list of projects to finish, the rettro renovation in the apartment has JUST started, first it was all about planning (took everysingle idea from this website) it’s gonna be a mix between the 50s and the 60s style but mostly 50s! now we are treating the walls and taking out all the modern furniture we had which I hate!!! you know selling everything, giving some to charity and keeping very little! I’m so excited, of course I’ll play finish what you started mondays with you guys!

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