Projects – How I get them DONE – My Top Tips!

Feb 09 2020
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How I get the small and even the giant sized home projects completed from beginning to end. One of my most asked questions here at Grandma’s House DIY is not how I know how to do the things I do (google is my very good friend) but how I motivate myself and get moving. House projects can be paralyzing and intimidating and leave all of us totally stuck. In the end you either get on it or it won’t get done. Its that simple and that really helps me. But that’s not the key to my motivation.

Living in any remodel or renovation is basically a nightmare but that’s the reality for most of us. I had already learned that lesson in a different house when I was younger so I did the majority of the renovation here while I was living with my mom meaning: I could do all of the gutting at once, all of the electric at once etc.

Not having to keep any portion of the home habitable while I worked was fantastic!

Unfortunately for me that was not the end of my remodeling. A wood stove basically destroyed all of my walls and ceilings and being rushed through the renovation meant there were many things I wanted to redo anyway. (And, let’s face it, until you live in a place you can’t really know how things are going to work for you.)

How I get the small and even the giant sized home completed from beginning to end. One of my most asked question how I motivate myself get moving.

So, here I am, with work to do in just about every room of my house. But its far more common work and projects than a renovation. Its painting, its updating, its things most of us will do to every room of our homes AT LEAST once or twice.

(And no one would believe me if I tried to say I didn’t enjoy it at least a little lol)


Never ever ever ever let any amount of motivation or excitement go to waste! Just tackle it, do what you can while you want to!

Which moves me to tip #2 which is in direct contradiction to tip #1:


It doesn’t make any sense to finish one room only to destroy it fixing the room on the other side of it. I hate to waste motivation but doing projects in a sensical order will save money and time in the long run.

So, how to accomplish both:

In the fall of 2019 something AMAZING happened in my life. My best friend and her husband stopped by and helped me remove my wood stove from the middle of my kitchen. (Long story summed up: I replaced my wood stove with a pellet stove which I put somewhere else which opened up a huge spot in the middle of my kitchen. Major YAY.)

How I get the small and even the giant sized home projects completed from beginning to end. One of my most asked question how I motivate myself get moving.

I danced, I rejoiced, I celebrated and it was literally EVERYTHING I could do to stop myself from starting work on my kitchen then and there.

Did all my excitement and motivation go to waste? Absolutely not!

In my head I line up projects like dominoes. WAY down that line was the kitchen domino that I was so excited about tackling. At the beginning of that line was my workshop.

I gave myself a serious pep talk, “You CANNOT start any kind of serious work on this house until you know where your tools are!!!!!!”

With the workshop complete then it was, “Nope, not yet, get your laundry room done and out of the way first!”

(Check out my Laundry Room here)

Then, with that done, I was finally able to have a look at my main floor (which included my kitchen) everything needed to be cleaned, fixed and repainted after major smoke damage from the wood stove. But if I was gonna do that I needed to get anything majorly filthy out of the way first.

My beams that held up my main floor.

I hated them.

I sanded them down (made a TREMENDOUS MESS) and covered everything in my home with saw dust and dirt. With nasty projects like that done THEN I could tackle cleaning and painting.

I wanted to do my kitchen next but that wasn’t the smart thing to do. I would need to put all of my furniture from my entry in my kitchen and why would I do that after I cleaned and refinished the kitchen floors?!

So then I moved on to redoing my entryway which made sense anyway after my laundry room redo because my laundry room is in my entryway! (Check out my brand new entryway, dining room and office here!)

Ok, FINALLY, many many many months after moving my wood stove out of my kitchen I was able to start work on it. Work I had dreamed about for what felt like forever!

How I get the small and even the giant sized home completed from beginning to end. One of my most asked question how I motivate myself get moving.

But I had not lost a single ounce of excitement or motivation.

In fact, those months gave me time to hone my plan, really think things through and actually saved me a bit of money. At first I was going to buy over $200 worth of inserts and organizers for my cabinets but I figured out either how to live without them or build what I wanted instead.

If I had just barreled on ahead I may have purchased them without thinking it more through.

I am what’s known as a “finisher” some people like to start projects – I like to finish them. Sometimes to the detriment of the project. I don’t always do as good of work as I should do because I am SO excited to finish. (Knowing this about myself though has helped me get better.)

I repeat one phrase to myself constantly, “Eye on the prize!”

Having my kitchen out there, dangling away just out of my reach, helped me get through all of the projects before it. The motivation to work on my kitchen literally powered me through everything in my way!

(Check out the whole kitchen remodel here!)

The dominoes in my head also works as a way of breaking everything down for me into manageable pieces. I may have my mind on the domino at the end (that’s my prize) but I focus on the one in front of me. Each project is generally very doable on its own but, if its still intimating, then it can usually be broken down even more into more manageable pieces.

If I feel myself get nervous I head back to the drawing board and say, “What’s next? Why am I anxious about this?” Generally its because I haven’t planned out what I’m about to do enough for my own peace of mind.


So, when I get there, when I start working on the project I can be confident, “You have done all the prep work you can possibly do and all of the research you can possibly do! You can’t get any more ready than this!”

Even I have to FORCE myself to dive in sometimes though! Some projects require my coming home on a Friday night after work, having a couple of drinks, putting my work boots on, turning on the radio and just jumping in.

Every single project we do helps us accomplish the next project along the way. I have finally reached the point in my DIY life where I have screwed up SO much and fixed SO much, that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that everything is fixable.

That knowledge, learned the hard way, has given me a lot of confidence moving ahead

How I get the small and even the giant sized home projects completed from beginning to end. One of my most asked question how I motivate myself get moving.


  1. Susan
    February 10, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    How weird…I was just thinking about a renovation project that I need tp pull the trigger on when your post popped up.
    Dive in my girl….a lot of wisdom in that approach.
    Thanks Tarah.

  2. February 12, 2020 at 12:56 am

    It all makes perfect sense to me! I think I’ve approached projects the same way. Great way to list it all out, here.
    Liberty from

  3. Juls
    February 16, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Thank u for that motivational vibe im feeling. Too many things i always put off to do- im gonna try ur approach! Thanks Tarah

    • February 17, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks for coming by Juls!

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