Feb 23, 2017

Do the Best You Can With What You Have

During the span of our marriage, we have owned three homes.  The condo, the split level, and (currently) the rambler on an acre.  Each one has needed some updates and a little/or a lot of tlc.  We have loved the whole process of fixing up each of these homes.  Unfortunately, with each home, we have never had the budget to just go out and buy every little thing we wanted, to update the house, all at once.  Every little bit has required a lot of saving and patience.

There have been multiple times, more than I can count, when patience while saving, was very very difficult.  We live in a world full of wants and instant gratification.  Many times, I wanted to be instantly gratified by driving in my car to Home Depot or Lowes, buying what I wanted for my home, fixing everything up, and BOOM!  My house would look perfect right now!  But that's not real life.  Or at least that's not my life.  My husband and I choose not to have unnecessary consumer debt.  We pay for everything for our house with cash.

About five years ago or so, while we were in the messy midst of fixing up our split level, I was feeling especially down about the lack of progress I felt we were making.  These distinct words entered my mind:  "Do the best you can with what you have."  I know that thought was from God and that He was trying to bring me comfort and good prudent advice.

This thought, "Do the best you can with what you have" has entered my mind countless times ever since.  I've taken this advice even recently, as my husband and I have been giving our laundry room/mud room a bit of a refresh. 

We've had big plans for this work horse of a room.  A few weeks ago we started to get to work.  I painted the back door, leading to the garage, black.  This was left over paint from another project.  I painted the walls Dolphin Fin by Behr, also with leftover paint from the rest of the house.  When we redid the flooring in the rest of the house, we had bought enough flooring to do this room as well.  So again, we already had it.  We just had to install it.

So all of those things got done.  Paint (check).  Flooring (check).  ...(This is a water resistant laminate that holds up well in spaces like a laundry rooms, btw.)

Our next plan of action was to install some built in base cabinets with a long wooden laundry folding countertop on the opposite wall of the washer/dryer.  We also wanted to install some pretty board and baton on the long wall next to the door with black hooks for hanging coats, or hats, or my husbands work overalls.  Then to top it off, we'd update the lighting in this room.  We had already done our research on these updates and priced everything out.  All we had to do was purchase these items after the flooring got installed. 

But then..., something that happens to us all from time to time, our bank account got hit hard with some big expenses.  Like really big expenses.  We're talking like my vehicle needed a new engine and a few other expensive things AND our taxes this spring are going to cost us twice as much as we thought they would.  (I babysit part time and boy does the government like to suck money from you if you are self employed.  Ouch!)  Anyway, those things will get paid, but now we have to wait a while before any laundry room updates can happen.  At first I was sad and a bit frustrated about this.  But it's ok!  For now, I'm going to DO THE BEST I CAN WITH WHAT I HAVE!

I decided that I could still have a laundry folding table in here.  It may not be cute, but it's definitely functional.  We have a long table that we bring out a few times a year for things like Thanksgiving dinner.  Why not make use of it now?  It works great!

Here's another (sorry, blurry) picture of this whole laundry folding table wall.

I may have to wait a few months to get those built in base cabinets I wanted in here, to store things like extra shampoo and cleaning supplies.  That's ok.  I shopped the house for some baskets.  In the mean time, they work great for some storage under the folding table.  Again, not the prettiest, but I'm doing the best I can with what I already have.

This is the wall we have plans to install some board and baton molding on, along with some pretty black hooks for hanging things. 

These white hooks attached to white plywood were here when we bought the house.  They may not be my first choice, but they are still practical for hanging things in the mean time.

I've also been doing the best I can with what I have when it comes to things like decor for this space.  I have my eye on a cute clock from Target and a vintage looking laundry sign from Amazon.  These things will have to wait too.  In the mean time, I'm using this white clock I already have.  The bottom of it has a huge chip, but it tells time just fine. 

In the end, we should count our blessings.  I know I'm not the only one who doesn't have everything I want right when I want it.  But there is a lot I do have that I'm very grateful for.  In the mean time, the Lord is teaching me patience, frugality and learning to be happy with what I already have right now.


Cindy McFarland said...

Love this post! As a mommy of 4 (2 in college), this has been my mantra for YEARS! Some days it's easier to roll with it, but other days seem to require prayer :-). I love how you showed the folding table in your laundry room and how you embraced the "work in progress" approach to your home remodel. Thanks for the encouraging/lighthearted words and for refilling my cup today <3

Craig and Kim Nelson said...

Oh my word. What sound advice. You are wise beyond your years. Most people take a lifetime to learn to put off their wants for when they can pay cash for it. You nailed it here! Way to be smart!

Linnae said...

Robin, I loved this post! One of my favorite sayings lately has been "Gratitude turns what you have into enough." Same idea. :)

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