DIY diva
DIY diva

The 5 Project Rule: DIY Life Edition

December 28, 2011 | 8 Comments | DIY Life Philosophy, Featured
DIY diva

For those of you who don’t know, I have a small problem with compulsively starting DIY projects. As far as vices go, it’s right up there with my love of handcrafted wheat beers and buying every power tool I see. So, not as bad as say, doing meth, but also not conducive being organized and getting things done.

In order to combat this, I created the 5 Project Rule, which basically means I can only have five projects “in the works” at any given time, and before I start a new one I’ve got to be able to check one off that list. Five might be too many for other people, but it allows me to have multiple types of projects going on and, let’s be honest, indulges my ADD. It has actually been a great motivational tool for me, and I think I might be able to modify it for some of my lifestyle projects as well.

For my power tool projects I don’t include long terms goals on the 5 Projects List like “move out of the garage” or “build a house”. One would hope some of my five projects would support those long term goals, but the truth is I don’t like to over-compartmentalize things that way… if I feel the need to go on a furniture-building binge and the whole “framing in a house” thing needs to wait, so be it.

I haven’t defined my long-term lifestyle goals yet, but I know they’re out there floating around in the ether somewhere. For now I’m just going to try and get a handle on the short-term life-related projects I take on. Like this:

  1. Set up a workspace/paperwork area – I was planning to use my “narnia” spare bedroom for this, but the space contains only one non-functioning power outlet that no amount of wire-jiggling and flipping breaker switches could bring back to life. Which means I’ve set up shop on the living room floor, where the cat has proceeded to shred at least two utility bills in the last week.
  2. Create an “I don’t have time to exercise” exercise plan – In the last few months I’ve been carving out time to exercise (in ways other than hauling 2×4′s around, no less) but there hasn’t been any rhyme or reason to the what, when, or how. Sometimes I do 5 minute morning workouts a-la the 4-Hour Body, sometimes I do 15 minute bodyrockers workouts before bed, sometimes I do an hour and a half of hot yoga. Love it all, just need to have some structure and goals for the whole thing.
  3. Figure out how to store new recipes – Six months ago I started doing six small 150-200 calorie meals per day, and I’ve actually come up with some great new recipes, which are currently stored in the notes section of my iphone. There’s got to be a better way.
  4. Take control of the inboxes – I feel like there’s always part of my brain that is buried under the oppressive weight of my email– personal email, work email, website email– and I use different email systems for all of them.
  5. Purge, part 2 – When I moved from Memorial to the new rental house I did a good job of purging some of the crap I’d been hauling around with me from house to house for years, but I still ended up with a spare bedroom full of boxes. I have a feeling I can do even better, so another round of goodwill donations is on the horizon.

So that’s the list… the first five of my DIY lifestyle projects, which I intend to tackle the same way I tackle power tool projects – by diving in headfirst. (And also making good use of Google.) If you’ve got any tips, advice, or things that have worked for you relating to any of these lifestyle projects, I’d love to hear it.

DIY diva


  • Lily

    Found your website and from just reading a few things on it for 20 minutes, made me feel a lot better. Been feeling a bit overwhelmed in my remodeling of my home of 32 years, as of lately! I have been building odds and ends and remodeling since age of 16 and I just turned 60. On arriving at that number on my last birthday, I was given a new 10′ compound sliding saw!
    A year ago, I built a beautiful kitchen table for my boyfriend in 6 days! The design for it took 3 weeks. I wish everything could go that smooth. Thank you so very much for all your stuff on your website, it is very much appreciated. Best Regards, Lily Holsworth

    • Heidi

      Really glad to have found your site. I have the same ADD tendencies. Just bought my first house and will turn 50 this Nov. Endless work. Am building a stone wall like the one u did-almost done. Also, the stone patio and walkways and I laid a curvy brick border out around the whole property like the one your grandmother showed u. It was an overgrown jungle with over 70 thriving buckthorns in various stages and all my honeysuckle hedges were 20 feet tall and infested with carpenter ants. All the tress were replaced with 11 Japanese maples, 70 bushes/shrubs and about 500 perennials. And I did about 90 percent myself. Including 68 trash barrels of free mulch. Now I’m gutting the kitchen. Any ideas for removing a concrete tile embedded floor?

      • Sonal

        No, I’m not particularly sotrpy love it when she’s pulling down the first guys pants and the other guy is rubbing his dick thru his pants waiting for her to turn round.. she could have made him watch longer!

  • Stacy

    I can so relate to everything you have written here. The email thing was a huge problem for me, but I love my iphone! hopefully that will help synch all your email together, even if you are using different email servers. has been a great website to pin all my recipes, project to dos, organizing tips, etc. i know this isn’t much, but I am still finding my way… I feel like I am never balanced, and I just don’t have that ‘type a’ gene to figure out how to make that happen. Thanks for writing and for all your tips :D My husband will greatly appreciate my now trying to limit my projects to 5.

  • David Barkley

    Thanks for sharing your tips for not getting overwhelmed by D.I.Y. 5 projects does sound like a lot at first, but when you start thinking about all the small projects you have on the go, instead of just the big ones, that number is exceeded very easily!

  • Ashley

    I am not alone in this world. I am a DIYer with ADD, and that means unfinished projects all over the place!Of course that doesn’t mean it stops with my DIY project.

    One of my issues is regular mail. To combat that, I have begun to go through the mail over the recycling. I recycle the junk and immediately put away the things I need to keep. No more clutter!

  • Antonio

    In tens, please (ten pound notes) WOW just wow, now this is was sex is about, the pasison, the sensuality. The chemistry they had it was fucking awesome I can never watch this video completely without cumming. Just fucking awesome.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from One Word Bandwagon: Balance - DIY Life
    Wednesday, 11 January, 2012

    [...] is a complicated and messy thing, and part of the reason why I try to simplify with things like my 5 Project Lists is to keep all of those complications from preventing me from making progress. In that sense I [...]

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DIY diva
DIY diva