I have stated numerous times that my most hated reno-related question is, “so when will you be done?” Seriously, don’t ask. But I have never said my favorite question, which is, “what are you working on now?” This gives me the chance to talk about my renovation as if we’re actually making progress, unlike the ‘when will you be done’ annoyance which just makes it sound like we’re going to live in this chaos forever (because honestly that’s how it feels).
The other thing I like about that question is my response is always much more fun than the truth. And for the 30 seconds it takes me to answer I get to live in a renovation fantasy. For example, “Oh we’re refinishing our floors!” is much more glamorous than, “we’re crawling our floors with tack cloths removing every speck of dust before we stain them.” (Anyone who has ever refinished floors knows that you spend at least one entire evening doing only that.)
If I were to answer the question “what are you working on now” with exactly what we were doing that day, it would be amazingly boring. Having lived through this for over a year now, I can almost guarantee that my response would be one of three things. We are either 1) moving things 2) looking for things or 3) cleaning things.
Thus, the rule of thirds.
Where all three of these tasks kind of suck, moving things is by far the worst. Since we live and renovate in the same space, all of our stuff is always in the way. We spend the first hour or two (at least!) of every project just moving things out of the way. Everything is constantly shifted around to make room for a workspace or a project area and no furniture is ever in it’s final resting place. Projects like finishing floors, hanging drywall and painting are especially bad, as pretty much nothing can be in the room while you’re doing them.
Looking for Things
A terrible side effect of forever moving things around is that nothing has a home. This means questions like, “where are the drywall screws?” or, “have you seen any pliers?” or, “do we have some trash bags?” become frustrating half-hour-long research projects. Even, “hand me a pen” and, “grab the dust pan” are difficult assignments. (Especially pens, I swear our house eats them.) Wandering around for half of an evening just looking for stuff is not my favorite renovation activity, but I spend a whole lot of time doing it.
And if we’re not moving all our stuff or looking for everything that we’ve now moved, then we’re definitely cleaning. Renovation is dirty, I knew this going in, but nothing could prepare me for just how dirty. And cleaning isn’t just reserved for the end of a project, oh no. Most of the time we have to clean before we can even start. When our house is done (in 2017?!) I am hiring a cleaning service and it will be the most wonderful money I ever spent. I literally dream about it.
The Rule of Thirds is our reality, but I never talk about it. They aren’t glamorous activities and they don’t count as making progress, but we’re doing them constantly. So now you know the truth.
If there is any takeaway from this post it’s two things. First, don’t renovate a house unless you want to spend a lot of time wasting a lot of time. And Second, next time you ask, “what are you guys working on?” just know that I’m probably lying to you. 😉