Friday, May 25, 2012

The Big List

I am afraid of the Big List.

You know. That one where you go from room to room in your house, and make a check list of EVERY thing that needs to be done, from plumbing upgrades to paint to curtains.

I get kind of light-headed just thinking about it. I'll admit there's even a tot of strong stuff in the glass of lemonade I'm drinking while I write this post, it makes me so neurotic.

Ever since I took hold of the keys to this place I've felt a little inadequate to the job of getting it fixed up. My budget certainly does. Hundreds of items "to-do" crowd my mind, and they cycle around in my cerebral cortex like a big old cloud of drywall dust, dollar signs, and crazy.

So, given that even the un-named, un-listed bunch of stuff that confronts me every day in every room was more than I could bear to think about, the idea of writing it all down seemed like an invitation to a nervous tic and possibly violent outbursts. Why do it?

Over on the blog DIY Diva, writer/builder/ass-kicker Kit has made what she calls a "Master List" of everything she needs to do to her recently purchased, beautiful, and sadly neglected 19th Century brick farmhouse. She writes about it here. She's a home-improvement blogger more than a home design blogger, but I've followed her for about a year because she has both gumption and a sense of humor. In the next blog post after the master list she writes, "I know that all of you think I took one look at that bigass list I wrote, fell out of my chair, and have been lying on the kitchen floor contemplating the purpose of linoleum and how the hell I'm going to get all that work done ever since."

Well, uh, yes. Exactly why I haven't attempted a bigass list of my own.

But I'm beginning to reconsider. And that's not just the spiked lemonade talking.

Kit was smart enough to list the things she's already gotten done. Good strategy. It gives you a sense of accomplishment to see that there's already things crossed off that big scary list. Ta-DAH!

Secondly, I'm beginning to realize that I look at the Big List, in its giant, scary, un-made state, as ONE THING. All or nothing. Paint it all or die trying. Replant the garden in one month or hang up your hoe.

I am a lunatic for thinking this way. Not to mention the fact it's defeating me before I even get started. It doesn't exactly get me cheek to jowl with the linoleum like Kit's scenario of despair; but it does tend to make me sigh, shrug, and go wander off to daydream over magazines instead.

But if it's the Big List, written down, it's break-down-able. Itemized. If instead of that big pile of undone stuff that's jamming up the sanity between my ears, it becomes "I have time to do #47 in one Saturday," maybe I'll be better off.

At least I'm going to try it.

I'm setting a goal of creating a structured list to publish on my blog Sunday to organize the week I have free before starting my new job. It won't be "the" Big List, but it will give me a small start on a new way of thinking about how to get things done. Wish me luck!


  1. Sounds like a plan! Good luck! :)

  2. Oh yes, THE List. Makes me a little ill just to think about it. We had ours on the big dry erase board at our back door but I got so tired of seeing it the minute that I walked into the house every time so I erased it completely. Good luck with yours! I know you'll have good luck with it.

    1. That's good advice too. Don't let it attack you the minute you get home!