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Seven simple steps turn project ideas into reality

The new year is upon us, and I’m sure we’re all thinking about what resolutions we’re going to make, and then probably not keep. There’s something about the word resolution that I have come to dislike. Instead I like steps. “This year, these are the steps I’m going to take to …”

To me, resolutions are a set up for failure, because it’s an all or nothing thing. We all have good intentions, but days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into the next year. Whereas, by taking projects a step at a time, step-by-step they will get done. So here are my seven steps to help you work through your decorating projects in 2011.

Step 1: Realize that nothing big gets completed in one day, but in many steps, sometimes hundreds.

Step 2: Remain flexible and expect that your plans can and most likely will change. Life happens. Take a deep breathe, take care of what must be done and then go back to what you were working on.

Step 3: Make a list of all the projects you’d like to work on this year. Make a file folder for each project – paint, kitchen, garage and so on. Place the folders in the order you want to get the projects done. Put the number one folder on your desk and file the rest of them away.

Step 4: Write down all of the things you need to do to get this project done. Don’t worry about the order at this time. Be detailed in your list. If you want to paint the kitchen, don’t just write paint kitchen. You need to pick the color, buy supplies and do the prep work: Wipe down the walls, tape, remove switch plates, remove artwork, move furnishings, etc. Or, if you’re not doing the work yourself, get quotes from painters, call references, check on their licensing, etc. Now put them in order.

Step 5: Next to each step, write down how much it will cost to complete that step. If you have the funds to complete step 1, then, as Larry the Cable Guy says, “Git-R-Done.”

But whether you have the funds or not, I suggest setting up a decorating fund account. For those of us who are old enough, remember the passbook Christmas Club we had as kids. We put in a couple of dollars a month and then we had our own money to buy gifts.

Now if you don’t have the money to start or complete the steps, here are a couple of ways to save the extra money without taking it from your house account. Instead of taking rewards miles on your credit cards, take the cash back. I get at least $100 a month and automatically transfer it to a separate account.

If you haven’t used grocery coupons, start. I bet you’ll save at least $25 a month. Sign up for all of the free rewards programs offered. If you use your Smith’s rewards card at Shell, you save 10 cents a gallon. Put what you’ve saved into your decorating fund.

If you’ve found something for less online, bank the savings. And of course bring your lunch and coffee to work. If not every day, how about two days a week. It’s amazing how quickly the money will add up.

Step 6: You have your list. You know what each step is going to cost. So simply take it step-by-step until the project is completed. Do not jump into any of your other project folders otherwise you may find yourself back at this time next year and have nothing completed. I know it’s hard, but there’s nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment.

Step 7: Go into your file and pull out project folder No. 2 and start over at step 1.

Happy new year and all the best for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011.

Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by e-mail to: gail@gmjinteriors.com. Or, mail to: 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her Web address is: www.GMJinteriors.com.

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