Oh, And Stay The Hell Out of IKEA

For the first few months after moving into our first house, Penelope and I did little besides work on it, and in retrospect I see that the place didn't really need much work. Thank goodness we're slow, broke and ineffectual, or we really would have screwed the place up.

There is an interesting division of strategies for home redecorating - one that neatly aligns with political sentiment in our country. One one side there are the liberals, who feel that you should change whatever you don't like about your house now, while you still care, because that ensures it'll get done and that you'll have maximum time to live with the fruits of your labor. On the other hand you've got the conservatives, who say it's better to take a cautious approach when you first get in there, and think twice before knocking down a wall that doesn't look quite right to you - down the road you may well change your mind and be glad you left it alone. Plus it teaches you something about acceptance and being grateful for what you've got.

I'm not sure which side I lean closer to. One thing I do know for sure, one pellet of knowledge I'm clutching tightly, is that you should always bear in mind how many other people would agree with a modification you're considering. If you realize no one in the world would want a mirrored floor in the laundry room except you, well, maybe you should spend your efforts elsewhere in the house.

Resistance is another warning sign: if you can't find plans or parts for your next big project, that's probably because no one has ever thought to do it before. And that should tell you something. (If this sounds like the Sacred Credo of the Lazy-Asses, well, I copied it right out of our hastily photocopied guidebook.)

One more thing - here's this handy, proven equation: if you have a truck, divide the square footage of your house by the length of the truck's bed to determine how many days it will take you to fill every nook and cranny with random crap. In our case:
2000 ft2 / 8 ft. bed = 250 days.

That sounds about right.

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