Recently we bought a house in New Jersey. The home that we purchased was of 1920’s vintage, which is a nice way of saying that it was old and in need of a facelift. This was particularly the case on the first two floors.
While age and generous use were certainly factors in the home’s worn condition, a more pressing matter was the foul smell that emanated from the hardwood flooring on the main floor. The home had been the residence of dogs and cats (as well as their owners) for many years, which resulted in a residual smell that could only be extracted by completely replacing the hardwood. It also needed a paint job.
Naturally, once we had committed to replacing the hardwoods and painting, it only made sense to update the moulding as well. Certainly it would enhance the fresh appearance of the floors and walls if they were to be surrounded by new trim. And once the trim was going to be replaced, we HAD to also replace the doors, for the same reason. (The windows will go at some point too, but there’s only so much we can handle right now.)
I have learned quite a few lessons from this project already. Below are a few worth sharing.
Make a total assessment – Before we started, we had to create a budget. It needed to be somewhat flexible and generous, due to the uncertainties associated with doing work in an older home. It forced us to really sit down and prioritize and make some difficult decisions. But without such as effort we would have been misguided and perhaps regretful down the road.
Of course, life is much the same way. We have so many options and so many needs. Some of them relate to daily living. Others connect with our long term goals, financial, spiritual, etc. Every now and again we need to sit down and make a budget, for our time, energy and resources. What do we want to achieve? How can we get there? What resources will it require? If I attend to X, how will that impact my desire to achieve Y? What is my contingency plan if things go sideways on me? These and many other questions need to be asked if we are going to plan effectively for a successful, rewarding future.
So much is interrelated – As noted above, it’s hard and in many ways unwise to just redo part of a room. Once you have committed to upgrading a central component of a room, such as doors or flooring, it often pays to make additional enhancements.
This concept readily applies to our lives as well. Let’s say that a person wants to live a life of reduced stress and tension. Sounds like a great, worthwhile goal. How can he achieve his desired outcome? Sure, he can work on his tolerance level, not letting things get to him so easily. He can alter his mindset, reminding himself that most things are not life threatening or even life altering. But he also needs to consider adjusting such areas as personal lifestyle, financial goals, the way that he interacts with others, and the like. We often seek to make transformative change, but forget what needs to occur for it to be effective and fully integrated.
Find good people – Each project that we are involved in requires different skill sets and levels of expertise. Finding the right people who are skilled in their work, reasonable in their pricing and easy to work with can make all of the difference. It creates a level of trust that things will get done properly, in a timely fashion, and within budget. We interviewed a few people for each task until we found the right one for our needs.
It goes without saying that having good people “on the bus” is extremely important. This is true at work, but also in other areas of life. Surround yourself with good people, individuals who can help get the job done, but also people who can offer guidance, inspiration and support.
Now on to the next project.