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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Kitchen Facelift

We're giving our kitchen a facelift. It's not a full blown remodel, although it feels like it. 

We replaced the countertops and backsplash, and the floor. 

We painted the ceiling, the walls and the cabinets, and we replaced the fixtures. 

We also changed the lighting.

Then, we we moved into the room adjacent to the kitchen and then the adjacent bathroom. 

It feels like a full remodel, sans dining room and family room...for now. 

Thing are out of place. There are boxes and barrels and paint supplies and clutter...everywhere. People are coming and going and there is construction noise all day, every day. 

There are decisions to make and sometimes, nightly trips to Lowe's as one project moves to another. 

It's productive and ultimately, it's adding value (and loveliness) to our day to day lives, but it has its challenges.

Before all of this began, we planned on adding a few ceiling fans in other rooms of the house, and adding a couple of outlets, but this turned into a complete rewire, updating the 1910 nob and tube wiring and bringing the house to code. It's safe now, and it brought peace of mind, but as you can imagine, it feels like we're hemorrhaging money. 

Like others who have updated their homes in one way or another, we have found that there are a few obvious realities.

Truth #1. We have too much stuff. 

My Fix: Reduce, recycle, donate. 
As we emptied drawers and cabinets, a glaring truth stared me in the face. Why on earth do we have so much stuff? When households merge, the stuff doubles. Keep the best and donate the rest. Recycle what you can't donate. This includes duplicates of most things...extra pots and pans, skillets, single use kitchen appliances, and gadgets that a kitchen knife can handle. 

Truth #2We have a paper clutter issue.

My Fix: Sort, Opt Out, Shred
Sort paper into piles of unread magazines, newspapers for the animal shelter, junk mail and bills. Encourage my husband to opt out of paper notifications and set up auto payment with a credit card with points and miles wherever we can. Shred old notices and clear the clutter. 

Truth #3: Chaos Creates Anxiety

My Fix: Self Care is Critical
This downstairs facelift, although exciting and fun, is also overwhelming for me. My husband may be overwhelmed with the to-do list, but I am overwhelmed by the sensory disruption and the decisions to be made. I do better with more order and less choice, like pick A or B or, the blender goes here. 

With the house in a state of chaos, my retreat is upstairs, where things are as they were. My quiet time to recharge is necessary. And that's okay. If he wants to paint, I can prep the tape and then get out of the way. We make a good team. 

I also can focus on what I do best. For example, given the paper clutter issue we have, I have taken over the remodeling paperwork. Receipts, color swatches, contracts, and other papers have now been organized into a readily available "house folder." #teacherorganization Now, I know that even when I can't quickly access one thing, I can, at least, find the receipt for X when we have to go back to Lowe's again to return or exchange it. Yin and yang.

Another small win: With the stove currently in the dining room as we await the plumber (it's propane), I decided to try my never-used Instant Pot that I bought six months ago. I began with the water test, moved on to cook a dozen eggs, and then that evening, tried a seafood cioppino, all with great results. It's a new relationship, but I'm smitten. 

So what now?
Luckily, our current project will be wrapping up soon. And it looks great!

What's next? 

As with any long term project, it's time to revisit our long term goals. Where are we on timing? What action steps come next? What do we need to do to keep moving forward?

It's a big, exciting, occasionally overwhelming, ongoing critical conversation. Through it all, I've learned that we balance each other well. We understand and appreciate each other's strengths and challenges and we share a common vision for our future. 

It's exciting and occasionally overwhelming, but nonetheless, it's indeed, still lovely. 

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