Progress Starts Small Sometimes

I’m pretty sure “helpless” is not a word anyone who knows me would choose to describe me. I’m pretty handy with tools, though I couldn’t qualify as a contractor by any stretch of the imagination. But facing down home repairs and minor projects around the house after the death of my husband has been a stress-inducing experience.

Kraig was so stinkin’ handy. My late-husband was the kind of guy who liked to learn. That explained how he knew how to do so many diverse things. If he didn’t know, he looked it up or found someone willing to let him tag along and watch. He read manuals and watched TLC and HGTV for fun when other guys watched sports. He could fix electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and sheet rock. I miss that.

But as I’ve set myself on the adventure of a new house, I need to be able to respond to minor repairs and even big projects. I need to remember I am not helpless. I am the same woman who helped build sets in our theatre in college. I can use a saw safely. I can use a drill and a hammer. I can paint. And when I can’t, I need to be able to ask someone for help or to be pointed in the direction of an honest person to hire.

Part of excavating my home has been making places for storage. There’s a lot of room. That’s one of the things I loved about this house. But having space and being able to organize the boxes are two separate things.

So started small.

First, I needed to locate tools amidst the overwhelmingly insane collection of boxes in my new garage. Seriously it made me want to cry. So when I found a $25 shelf at the Habitat for Humanity store in town, I bought it. Bonus, it was 10% off. Sweet! It was a crudely built garden shelf, suitable for a potting shed. Based on the spider eggs it held, I’d guess that was its last use.

I carted it home proudly and cleaned off all the critters. Then I excavated a spot near the door into the house along the back wall of my garage. Now I could begin organizing. Every time I found a tool or screws or anything that used to reside on my husband’s tool bench, it went onto the shelf.

Sometimes small successes are all you need to gain momentum. Before I knew it, I was hanging things on the wall because I had found a drill. I was measuring things because I had a place for the measuring tape to live.

Sometimes finding balance amongst the boxes involves taking one step forward and then another. Then you can enjoy the fact that the ones after that get easier. Sure I still have overwhelming days. But after this tool shelf success, I went on to have another.

Before & After Storage Room

Before & After Storage Room

I purchased plastic storage shelves for my downstairs sub-basement to stack totes on and store things I don’t need daily. It cost me $90 for two shelves and took two trips to the store since one of them was the wrong size for a few of the bins and I had to exchange it. But after an afternoon of setting them up and moving things around, I could see floor. I could find what I was missing. I could smile knowing I made progress!

Tune in tomorrow for more progress—emotionally and turning my house into a home.


2 thoughts on “Progress Starts Small Sometimes

  1. Jennifer, I’m enjoying reading about your journey with boxes. I have been there many times – I think we are on address #20 in 30 years. Something like that.

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