Here are five ways to get that feeling of accomplishment around the house.
On spring weekends, it's important to get a feeling of accomplishment around the house.
Please note that the feeling can be more important than the accomplishment. When the emphasis is on accomplishment, it often involves expensive tools and labor stretching far into the night. If you have just a little time, I say go for the feeling.
Here are five ways to get the feeling while still leaving plenty of time for less strenuous activities:
Paint something. Something small, preferably. Because painting, while a transformative experience, must be preceded by surface preparation, which is drudgery.
In fact all the fun that a can of paint promises can be dispelled immediately by reading the label, which begins by telling you it's a dangerous poison and then moves into several paragraphs of instructions on how you must not attempt a single brush stroke unless you first clean, scrape, sand, vacuum, deburr, disinfect and genetically alter every square inch of the surface in a process that will take at least a month.
So, the less surface the better: a mailbox, a cabinet door, even a toenail.
Mulch something. Flowers are nice, shrubs are attractive, but nothing beats a carpet of mulch that makes weeds, dirt, rocks and insects disappear. It's basically a way to smother nature.
Nature will come roaring back in a couple of weeks, no question, but in the meantime you feel as if you are in control of the environment.
Prune something. I don't like to prune trees because they're slow-growing, so the results of a bad job tend to be long-lasting. Too much pressure.
Shrubs, on the other hand, can quickly hide a bad hack job beneath a new mass of foliage. So I like to prune shrubs, especially forsythia, which is basically a weed with good public relations. You can whack forsythia down to ground level and it'll be back in two weeks, none the worse for wear.
Discard something. Leisure equipment is a good candidate.
For some reason, Americans habitually accumulate objects that they intend to use in their spare time but never do: exercise machines, bicycles, TVs, exotic kitchen devices.
But it turns out that a good form of therapy is to get rid of them. Maybe that was their purpose all along - to make you feel good when they're no longer cluttering up the basement. And they tend to be big, so carrying them is good exercise. You may actually burn more calories wrestling an exercise bike into the car than you ever did riding it.
Plan something. But begin with the knowledge that you don't actually have to do what you plan. This will free you up to think big: two-story addition with master suite, trip to the fjords in Norway, backyard chicken farm.
Googling makes this possible in an hour. Save all the research so you feel like you accomplished something. Remember, it's all about the feeling.
-Joe Blundo's column So to Speak appears in the Life section of The Columbus Dispatch. Visit his blog at Dispatch.com