When you have a long list of projects you want to tackle around the house, it’s hard to know where to start. And sometimes when you do start, you find that you’ve tackled the wrong projects first, making other projects more difficult than they needed to be.
When the project ideas start flooding my brain faster than I can execute them, I like to plan them all out with master lists. In the corporate world we use Microsoft Project to execute large projects and plans, because it lets you list all the tasks and link them in order of dependency. I.e. if you have to paint the walls before you hang art on them, the tasks are listed in that order.
This past fall I needed a more tactical approach.
Enter the Project Wall.
The back wall of our living room is really just the hall wall that leads to the bedrooms and bathroom. And it’s empty, even after 4 years.
I’ve been putting that blank wall to good use as my project planning board. I created a sticky note for each category, and then a sticky note for every project I wanted to do. I sorted the sticky notes the order they should be completed.
The overall project of creating the nursery is a great example of why I needed to lay everything out on a planning board, because the steps in the nursery created a waterfall effect of projects in other parts of the house.
Here are some examples of nursery projects, followed by the waterfall projects they caused in other rooms:
- Move office out –> Create office in another room / Rearrange living room to hold secretary desk / Rearrange basement to create full home office
- Move closet & dresser out –> Empty junk out of tiny master bedroom closet / Install closet system so all my clothes fit / reconfigure master to hold dresser, etc.
Then, once the nursery was empty, I wanted to do the projects in the most efficient order. For example, spackling and sanding holes came before vacuuming, then touching up paint, then steam cleaning carpet. No sense steam cleaning until the mess has been made.
As projects were completed, I moved their sticky notes down to the bottom. It was really motivating to watch the “completed project” side grow!
By laying out every project, I was able to prioritize and make sure that projects got done in the most necessary and most efficient order. As a bonus, when I had a little down time and wasn’t sure what to work on, I could check the wall and find a project that required only a little time.
But what about the big, empty wall?
During our trip to Italy two years ago, we bought a large painting from an awesome Venetian artist, with the goal of hanging it on the empty living room wall when it’s framed. Ryan and I recently realized that one project on the wall is “frame and hang Italy painting.”
Seeing as the sticky notes hang where the painting should be, I guess that will be the last sticky note project we tackle.