A renovation project is really a ton of different projects under one roof. As we have said before, every home is a fixer-upper. And some need a lot more TLC than others. Our Bucktown beauty had seen better days, and while we wanted to make it better, there were some days when we didn’t really know where to begin. It felt at times overwhelming. We had to move, we had to get home insurance, we had to start paying a mortgage, we had to start being a landlord. That would’ve been a lot to take on even if the house had been in near perfect condition. However, it wasn’t. Far from it, in fact. And on top of that, we were first-timers. We had never done anything like this before. While growing up, the closest my family ever got to home improvement was watching Tim “The Toolman” Taylor’s hi jinx. So yeah, like Tim, I often wound up saying to myself, “AAAROOH?” But we knew we had to start somewhere with something, so we did the following:

  1. Made a list of the problems / projects (it was a long, long list)
  2. Placed a priority on them (High, Medium, Low)
  3. Approximated the cost of each project
  4. Ranked the difficulty of each project (1 meaning anyone could do it, 10 meaning we needed a professional)

From there, we created a logical plan of attack. Checking one thing off the list felt a lot more achievable than the blanket statement of “fix this old house.” Unfortunately, sometimes the process of checking off one project informs you about an entirely new can of worms. But we added things to our list as we checked others off of it. And in time, we became a couple of regular Al Borlands – okay, so maybe we were Heidis at best.

Some of the problems on our projects list included:

  • Tree trimming (had a huge branch hanging over the roof)
  • House address (we didn’t have one displayed)
  • Old pipes
  • Bizarre laundry setup
  • Faulty windows (some missing panes altogether)
  • Bathroom that looked like a war zone
  • Dysfunctional heating system

Yeah, it was a lot of stuff. Even though we had a plan, I still had times I wanted to run and hide behind a fence like Wilson. But little bits of progress quickly added up to visible achievement. Seeing the fruits of your labor and making a positive difference is extremely rewarding. Sometimes it just takes a good plan of attack to get there.

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