Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Eliminating Niggles

Photo: minxlj

My house used to really get me down sometimes. It was full of little ‘problems’ that would niggle away at me, little things that needed fixing, but that nobody ever got around to doing. These things were a source of constant irritation; they never really allowing me to relax and just enjoy a feeling of contentment at being here.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still lots of things that need to be done but making a start has made all the difference. No doubt new niggles will surface and be added to the list as I move through it too.

Anyhow, rather than just letting myself become irritated every time the bathroom door squeaked, or the porch door wouldn’t shut, or a draught came in beneath the front door, I decided to do something about it. The first step was to make a plan.

I wrote a list of everything that made me feel grumpy. I’m not talking about major work – remember, this is about the things that niggle at you.

My list was pretty long and I knew I wouldn’t be able to fix them all myself. Sure, a drop of WD40 works wonders on squeaky doors, but fixing a warped door? No, I don’t think so. I can easily fit a draught excluder to the front door but I couldn’t fill in the plasterwork that’s missing around an electricity socket in the kitchen. I wouldn’t dare. I can’t fix the wall vent in the kitchen either but I can fit foil reflectors behind the radiators myself to save on energy.

The next step was clearly to split the list into jobs I could do myself and those I couldn’t. For my part I had four lists, as some of the things I couldn’t do myself would have to be done by a hired workman, others were the responsibility of the Housing Association. Then there's the list of things that friends could help me out with.

Once the lists were completed, I then re-jigged them in order of priority. Do I want to pay to have a new door put in first, or would it be better to have somebody come and re-paint the chipped and faded kitchen walls? I already had what I needed to stop the squeaking bathroom door so that's been moved above fitting the draught excluder, especially as it's a good few months before the cold air will be coming in again.

Once you have your plan and know exactly what needs to be done and by whom, it’s easier to actually get started on things and gradually make your way towards eliminating every last niggle from your home. Well, most of them anyway... hopefully :)

Sharon J


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Sara said...

I think it's cool that you took such a "commando" approach. You made a plan and got the job done. For some reason, this made me picture you with a Batman-style utility belt with Wd-40 and a nail gun. :) Niggles are definitely worth fixing, because those moments of frustration can zap your energy fast.

Sharon J said...

Alas, the WD-40 job was done about 6 months ago and the door's squeeking again. I just haven't been well enough to do the jobs on my part of the list but I'm getting stronger now and have at least painted one of the four chairs that are waiting :)

Where do I find a batman belt? Anybody?