It’s overwhelming to finish

Last weekend there was a craft and hobby retreat at my church. It’s a yearly event for crafters to have dedicated time to work on their projects. It starts Friday, goes into the evening, everyone can leave their things then start back up Saturday morning with breakfast and again goes into the evening. It’s a really nice way to accomplish a lot.

I officially finished scrapbooking my last family photo album. I’ve been making one every year for the past 23 years. Plus baby albums and school books for each of my two daughters. In our new house, I have a wall of photo albums, which is really nice, because in my old house they were scattered on different shelves throughout the living room.

One of the shelves I had the albums on in the old house was a coffee table with space underneath. I bought it expressly for that purpose, not installing in the middle shelves just so I could store albums there. However, it was low, and in front of the couch so people would put their toes on the albums, or set drinks on the unused ledge space.

Now that I have one dedicated location for the volumes, I also used part of my time at the retreat to label the spines with their respective years using fabric pens and stencils. I didn’t want to add labels before because I didn’t want them to get rubbed off. I also made sure I placed them above cat claw level, because they are fabric and I didn’t want the cats to think it was nice of me to set up a whole wall of scratching post.

On Sunday, I made sure to put the finishing touches on both projects: I put the spines on the books and added the last photo pages into the album. It was so nice to get some things finished, especially in our new home, where I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels getting the last bits settled.

While I was gone over the weekend, my husband put in the new kitchen sink, added a garbage disposal and new faucet. As I’m writing this on MLK Day, all he has to do is finish the plumbing. It looks amazing and if nothing else good has come out of the whole weekend (I know it has I just need to keep writing), there’s many less boxes of hardware sitting around the house.

The thing is, we gather pieces of projects before we put them into play. Sometimes it can take awhile to either find everything needed or get the time to install. The boxes tend to become part of the furniture. One day, you notice you’ve been setting your cup on that handy, large box, “Oh yeah, there’s that sink that needs to be installed.”

Finishing those nagging tasks in the house made me look around and notice there are still many unpacked boxes that have become part of the décor. “Look a box of videos we meant to sort through.” We don’t even have anything that can play a video. “Hey, what are these bins and boxes in our bedroom we’re setting our clothes on?” Perhaps it’s time to disperse what’s in those.

Then there’s the utility pantry that’s already a mess with those items we didn’t know what to do with so we stashed them there for later and it’s now become normal to wrangle around everything. And my office, I have all the entities in place to load it up, waiting for me to make decisions that will decide the course of the rest of my life.

It’s all so overwhelming, I think I’ll just sit back and admire my labeled photo albums.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom living nearby in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website, or follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Life section.