"You have to fake it until you make it."
How I did it: I'm an unapologetic slob, so I had to trick myself into getting started on such a major project. I made a checklist of about a dozen small units of work that would add up (really, subtract down) to a decluttered studio, the biggest room and biggest mess in my place. I made the list on a whim one afternoon while at work. The first task seemed easy enough, so that same night I went home and completed it. Just cleaned up one corner of the room, threw out what I didn't need and stored the rest. But that got the ball rolling and the checklist getting checked. Several months later I've completed all the major tasks I wanted to accomplish this year and learned some tricks to keeping the place relatively clean.
No place is ever "finished", of course. The house continues to fall apart, ravaged by entropy and a century of life. The gardeners I hired aren't the proactive types I'm looking for, so that search continues while the yard and garden degrade. I still have major remodels to complete, and never-ending maintenance cleaning to do, and the decor is far from "final" or "style-intentional".
But...only minimal clutter remains. Art is starting to fill the walls. The style of the furniture is no longer "cheapest possible in existence." I don't need to make self-deprecating jokes about health hazards to visitors. The studio is not just decluttered but also in regular use for friends' projects and for parties as well as for my own work, and the buzz of activity becomes its own reason to keep things tidy. Work on the place will definitely continue, but my resolution for 2008 (and 2007, and 2006...) was finally completed, and I couldn't be happier.
Lessons & tips: Breaking the project down into manageable chunks was crucial for me. After I checked off some small jobs, I had momentum that lasted for weeks and carried me through all the big tasks too.
Resources: Awesome online floor planning app, for free:
Nice (and free) online apps for deciding on paint colors:
Simple (and free) checklist application:
Antique store (in Seattle) where I always have good luck:
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