Here in East Tennessee, the month of March means two things to me. The time change and time for spring gardening activities to began. Just to let you know, I am springing forward while lagging behind! That is THE challenge when you are a seasonal gardener and working on home improvements simultaneously. Do any of you FEEL MY FRUSTRATION! When we moved into our house in August of 2010, we immediately started establishing the vegetable garden, digging my landscaping , removing ivy from trees and repairing porches. Even though the landscaping projects are far from finished, we are at the point of being able to maintain and tweak what we have done so far. It is important to maintain these spaces so that they don’t fall back into disarray while you work on other areas. HELP I NEED A STAFF!
My plans to revamp the dingy, dirty, dark office during the winter months got waylaid. I wanted to have the office completed so that I could jump on the spring gardening season full force. Great plan right? But the forces that plot against me had a different plan. Back in the fall, I developed an on going sinus infection that would not respond to antibiotics and ended up with sinus surgery. One week after that, I tripped over my sewing machine cord and fractured my elbow.
Oh and did I mention that somewhere in there I got laid off suddenly and decided that I wanted to start crafting again. Tired yet? I ended up in recovery mode and didn’t get started on the office until sometime in February. So here I am in the midst of a painting nightmare in the office (stay tuned for the details on old house challenges) and tons to do outside. I am sure I am not the only one who faces this type of frustration. So, I wanted to share a few tips on how I am springing forward while lagging behind:
1. BE REALISTIC! I cannot stress this enough ( I am one to talk. I am not realistic or patient and I have HIGH expectations of myself). Chances are you don’t have a staff or children/spouses that are as enthusiastic about gardening and DIY activities as you are. So take it easy! My chiropractor gave me some really good advice once. He said, “You do NOT have to approach everything you do like you are fighting a fire. Pace yourself and take your time and avoid injury!” Good advice huh? Hey, I am enthusiastic! What can I say?
2. Decide what your priorities are and work around that. Growing vegetables is very important to me and something that I enjoy. It is a priority for me therefore I will plant and maintain the garden while working the other projects in as time allows.
3. Before starting a room redo or other project, give your house a good cleaning and organizational sweep.
4.Make a list of activities that have to happen each day to keep your family moving forward. Make sure you have time each day to complete the basic tasks on the list. (hopefully some helpful family members will pitch in as well) My list is something like this:
- Paper/Mail Management
- Planning/List Making
If any of the above activities pile up at my house, things tend to fall apart and rather quickly. Not that they are always done to perfection either. There is a basket to toss (un-mated) socks in and the laundry isn’t always folded but, this list has to be a priority for me or everything will come to a halt.
5. Plan the project and work the plan. Break down the project into manageable tasks and focus on that task until it is done. Sometimes you can work on 2 items simultaneously. For example, while stripping and repairing the closet door, I also work on the interior of the closet while waiting for the stripper to work or coats of stuff dries. Switching back and forth with painting and gardening also gives you break and gets you outside for a bit.
6. Look for ways to decrease the amount of work you have to do. Use paper plates during the project. Buy a few precooked dinners at the grocery store. We love picking up a super food salad and rotisserie chicken from Kroger for dinner.
One BIG garden time saver is to completely cover the garden with leaves or straw during the winter. When spring comes all you have to do is drag a pick ax down the row and plant the seeds for your cool weather crops. No tilling or digging. I literally planted 2 rows of lettuce, 1 row of radishes and 1 row of Kale in less than 30 minutes with a broken elbow!
4. Prevent having a nervous breakdown and becoming a hoarder! Avoid starting another project until the one you are working on is done! Instead of starting a new project, write down what you would like to accomplish. This is why I always clean, de-clutter and organize the entire house before and after a big room project. Everything from the office is now piled into the dining room. I JUST ABOUT CAN’T STAND IT! Stay tuned for more details on the office project which has several old house challenges and the spring gardening. Until next time I will be painting, gardening, painting and gardening…..
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