Monday, February 16, 2009

Home Economics: How to Set Priorities for Home Projects

My list of home projects resembles I-95 during rush hour. It's a mental traffic jam of ideas, thought-provoking detours and missed signals. Coping with that standstill traffic is a challenge as

I try to improve my home without overspending.
Professional space organizer Lori Abou of Vision & Espacios has a formula for setting priorities and tackling projects around the home.

• Take inventory of the kitchen. Many home projects are launched from there because that room often serves as the heart of family activities. Consider how your kitchen is used and then prioritize renovation, improvement or reorganization based on daily family patterns. For instance, if baking is important, allocate space to accommodate that activity.

• Identify your renovation personality. When it comes to home projects, some people function better by organizing their personal space before moving to common areas. If you fit that profile, begin with your home office or bedroom before tackling larger projects in other areas of the home, Abou recommends.

• Ignore price tags. When my children were younger, a sturdy plastic table with a built-in bench was the cheapest, but most valuable piece of furniture in my home. But too often, we allocate living space based on the financial value of an item, rather than the practical value. Under that flawed system, an expensive, but rarely used cheese fondue set is allocated prime cabinet space, but our everyday coffee mugs are stored haphazardly. Adjust priorities and valuations, Abou said.

• Start small; keep it steady. Go for an easy victory by reorganizing or renovating a space such as the household junk drawer. ''We can accomplish a lot by starting small,'' Abou said, adding that a daily commitment to home projects and basic maintenance cuts through roadblocks.


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