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Contributors: Kim Palmer, Lynn Underwood, Connie Nelson, Kim Ode and Nicole Hvidsten.

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Refurbish, renew ... and relax

Posted by: Nicole Hvidsten under Home Improvement Updated: January 16, 2013 - 11:02 AM

Talk about a busy time of year.

With three kids and a full-time job, our calendar is filled to the brim. There are nights we don't eat supper until 9 p.m., and I feel like I spend more time in my car than I do in my house. It's the perfect time for a home improvement project.

Sound crazy? I thought so at first. How could I possibly fit one more thing into our schedule? But as I got into things -- which are going slowly, by the way -- I found both the process and the work to be therapeutic. Especially the things you can control. The things you can't control? Well, there's that.

Control: Love looking at paint swatches and rolling that first coat of a new color on a wall. Can't control: The wear and tear on the walls, and the amount of spackle it takes to repair it and elbow grease it takes to wash off the mess of three kids. What is the best way to remove black Sharpie, anyway?

Control: So many flooring options, so fun to explore them. While I'm sure some little girl is thrilled that carnation pink carpet exists, I pity the parent who has to either break her heart or live with carnation pink carpet.  Can't control: Waiting, and then waiting some more, for the measuring people to come, and then the deep breath before you get your price quote.

Control: Many hands make light work. The benefit of three kids? More help. It would have taken twice as long to paint the bathroom if my oldest hadn't helped. Can't control: No one wants to do the prep work (although middle daughter does enjoy spackling). But when it comes to washing walls and cleaning up before and after, that's when there's "homework" to do.

Control: Assorted charities benefit from projects such as ours. We have a rule: Everything has to come out of your room, but not everything goes back in. Can't control: The pull you feel while going through things. Do you hang on to all the Fisher-Price pieces and the Thomas the Tank engines? Will my future grandchildren even care?

Control: Rethinking the space. I'd love to have "work areas" for my daughters, where they would do their homework, dock laptops, charge cell phones, print papers, etc. Can't control: Anything about that. No matter what space you give them, homework will always be done on the living room floor, or sprawled out across the kitchen table. Wherever it's most inconvenient.

Control: The "unveiling." That moment when it's all done, the furniture is in place, and everything is clean and smells new. It's priceless. Can't control: Everything that follows.

Do you like or loathe home improvement projects? Do you find the work and process therepeautic or do they put you in therapy? Tell us!

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