My parents like to joke that the room I grew up in is 2 inches smaller than it was when I was born. It’s true. I love to rearrange, redecorate, and repaint.
I just like a fresh space. I’ve written about it before, odds are, I’ll write about it again.
This weekend Nick and I finally took the plunge and tackled the last stages that stood between us and a refreshed office. I’ve been wanting to paint it since we moved in almost two and a half years ago, but it’s been an overwhelming task we haven’t been able to finish—not that we haven’t tried.
So, for one of my birthday presents Nick committed that this would be the season that we would get it done.
I don’t mind painting. But the reality is, most of the task isn’t painting. It’s preparing to paint.
For us, that meant filling three boxes full of books to donate, and two more to rehome in Nick’s office at the church. It meant going through papers from two and a half years of marriage—because anytime someone comes to our house I gather up all the loose papers strewn about downstairs and shove them into this particular room and shut the door.
As we carried out the last pile of books, the room sat empty and echo-y.
But then came the taping. And dusting. And vacuuming. And taking off the plug covers. And filling in holes, sanding, and dusting some more.
I guess now that I think about it, we’ve been preparing to paint for over two years now.
That’s a long time.
Part of the reason it’s taken so long is because I refused to just move the piles without dealing with them. (I’ve shuffled them around the house enough by this point.)
When the room is finally painted, I only want the essentials to return. And I want those essentials to be filed away neatly in their forever homes.
I don’t want to paint only to cover up the fresh start with a pile of mess.
I guess what I’m learning, and trying to say, is that through this painting process I’m learning the value of preparation. Even when it is long and slow.
I’m trusting that the victory of a freshly painted room is going to be so much sweeter if I can walk in there and actually sit down and work, my space and my mind free from clutter.
You don’t have to clean out papers and file and shred to paint a room. But you do have to tape. You do have to fill in all the holes with putty (and the folks who owned our house before us were particularly rough on the walls in this room). You do have to sand down the putty. You do have to dust.
If you don’t? You get dusty, bumpy, dirty walls. You also get stray paint on trim and the ceiling. I don’t want any of that that.
If you skip the prep everything just ends up a mess.
When I walk into our office right now (and I do keep walking in to admire all the hard work that has led to this point), I inhale deeply. I love the smell of painter’s tape. It reminds me of childhood and painting my bedroom yet again.
Taking a minute to just enjoy the fact that the preparation is done helps me slow down and embrace the process rather than race to the finish.
As of last night, we are done preparing. Tonight, I paint. And tomorrow? I finally get to sit down and work in the office; a moment I’ve been dreaming of and working toward for two and a half years.
It’s a plateau that I plan to enjoy.