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My project closet: the unfinished & the abandoned

Posted on September 20, 2016 at 6:00 am

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By Debbie Rhodes

I can’t be the only person who shudders when thinking about their project closet—the one filled with those unfinished projects and new hobbies. (Let’s not even talk about my “healthy this and healthy that” closet with the newest and “best” diet items.)

My closet dilemma happens because my body tingles with glee when I see a new router, kiln, food dehydrator—the list just goes on and on. My mind whispers, “You can do that. You can make that. Look at what a fun challenge this will be.” Then I jump right in with gusto and buy all the materials I need. Then go to the library and check out every book I can find to make me an expert on my new project. I’ve checked out books and guides on wood lathes, how to build your own kiln, Raku pottery, oil painting, do-it-yourself home repair—this list goes on and on, too.

What exactly is in that closet now?

Well, let’s see… There is that hooked rug I started back in the 80s. I see a couple of macramé, hanging plant holders. I almost forgot about that model ship. There’s a quilt I was making for my son when he was a child (he’s now 27). I have a Miter saw and uncut trim for my front porch pillars that is really going to look great when I replace the old trim. There are many more unfinished and abandoned projects in there, but I don’t want to delve further into the embarrassing list.

Will I ever finish these projects? No. I know I won’t, but I just can’t give them up. (Maybe I better check out a book on hoarding.)

Despite the evidence so far, I do have some self-control. I once devoured a brochure selling roadster kit cars! I debated with myself which one I would build and drive (only in the summer months, of course). Then I asked myself if I could really build a car. This was followed by a flood of questions: Could I afford to purchase this kit? Could I finish it?  What happens if I can’t lift parts without tweaking an important body part (mine and the car’s)? After careful consideration, I showed real fortitude and passed on this challenge. After all, those car parts would definitely not fit in my closet.

Understand, I do finish some projects. No, really. I built a subterranean house—installed tile on the floors and in the bathrooms, hung kitchen cabinets, and laid rock in the front of the house. I did all of the electrical wiring (though my dad wired the panel). I even shot the grade for pouring the foundation.

I have even more evidence of my project success. I turned my hobby of making soy candles, soaps, and organic lotions into a business. You’ve might have even seen my booth at the Spokane County Interstate Fair in years past. And my home is filled with finished projects.

In fact, I’ve come around to think that my closet of shame is a good thing. Now, it’s what makes me pause before jumping into another new hobby or project. I have matured…really. I take the time to do research first, thoroughly checking out books and reading through online resources at the library. I make sure that I truly have the time, money, and stick-with-it fortitude before I give in to impulse.

However, I have to go now. I need to research how to make an outdoor bread and pizza oven. Which Mother Earth News magazine had that plan again?

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