Leave a Breadcrumb Trail

Remember Hansel and Gretel? Part of planning to succeed is marking a path, leaving yourself reminders. Set yourself up to do what you have determined is best. Or, set yourself up for success.

Put reminders in your path. If you need to bring a present to the shower, put it by the front door. Tripping over something can be such an effective reminder.

Keep a basket on the stairway of items to go upstairs — and make a habit to check it each time your hands are empty on the way up.

Put the discussion questions for the book club meeting in your planner in the week of the meeting. You won’t need them until then, but you’ll have them when you do need them.

Set alarms. Many have found this a top benefit of the smartphone. You can remind yourself to stop doing something because your time is up. You can remind yourself to start doing something so you can be ready in time. Set an alarm to remind you to change the laundry or start making dinner.

Race the stopwatch or egg timer with routine cleaning tasks. Give yourself 20 minutes to power nap. Play with it and do what works best for you — but make the most of the tool.

Schedule time on a regular basis to accomplish the steps in your plan. If you know you will need a lot of time, over a good chunk of time, go ahead and schedule it. You will run into the calendar entry, hopefully, and remember to chip away at the project.

If you block time on your schedule on a monthly and weekly basis, you make sure you stumble over what you need to do. Some of us need that extra help! Often distractions consume our days, but if your calendar simply reminds you that you need to spend an hour paying bills today in spite of those distractions, you have a helping hand.

Time for a Color Change

So this is my dining room:

A little dated, right? The white border is not to my taste, and the pink wallpaper above the chair rail is pure ’80s. Well, the time has come to change that. So how do I go about that project?

  • Pick a new paint color. If you don’t have an artist’s flair and love dabbling with shades, I recommend going with a palette that appeals to you. Paint displays at the store will have idea pamphlets that give you a bunch of tints that coordinate well. You can browse for the one you like best, then keep that for times when you need to choose a color. Whatever is on the palette will work, so it’s a safe choice. I have used an even more limited palette in our house — being more neutral than colorful myself. Do what works for you.
    I went with the medium green below the chair rail and the lightest tan above it.
  • Prepare your wall. Take off all the outlet covers and curtain rods, and take down anything hanging on the walls. Spackle where needed to cover nail holes or gouges. If you use painter’s tape, line your edges now to get ready for a clean line when you paint. Set out your drop clothes, if those are needed.
  • Gather your materials. If you refresh your paint regularly, you probably already have brushes, pans/liners, paint keys, and such in storage. If so, you’ll just need to buy the paint. If not, have a good, angled trim brush, a roller with a cover, a roller tray, a cup for trim paint, and a wet rag available, along with your paint.
    If you’re new to this, you can watch a few how-to videos online or ask a friend for tips.
  • Paint the wall. Use your angled brush to outline the edges of the section you are painting. You only need about the width of the brush on the edge, since the roller will cover the rest. Paint around the outlets or any small interruptions in the wall also. Then you roll. Start at one point and continue on around the room until everything is evenly covered.
  • Put on a second coat or touch-up. Once the paint is completely dry, check your coverage. Sometimes you need to repeat the previous step entirely for a second coat. Sometimes you just need a chip brush to blend in a few spots. Either way, make sure you lightly blend the second coat so you don’t have paint ridges on the wall.
  • Put the room back together. Once the paint is complete and dry, you can put all the outlet covers back on and replace the furniture.

It can be done. You can do it too. And when you have done it, enjoy your brand-new look!