If you’re like me–and I’m just like everyone else–your house exterior needs to be painted but you would rather drive a spike through your brain than do this.
I speak with authority on the topic of house-painting procrastination. Just ask my neighbors. But I eventually got the thing done. So I’ve developed sure-fire methods for finally painting the outside of your house.
Public Shaming: Graffiti Your Walls
This definitely falls into the “Weird Trick” category, but it works. It’s the painting version of writing “Wash Me!” on a dirty car with your fingertip.
With your newly-bought paint, dip a brush in and lightly make some marks on the side of your house–marks that you will be slightly embarrassed to keep on the side of your house.
If you don’t have the nerve for this, ask a willing family member. Ask a son or daughter (they love doing this and have no compunctions at all).
Of course, stay away from incendiary text. Don’t write your wi-fi password or credit card number up there. “Paint me!” is good enough or even nonsensical stray marks will work.
Buy Paint Even Though You Do Not Intend to Paint
Having a set of materials marshaled and waiting in your living room, basement, kitchen, or porch is a great motivator. You simply want to get those things out of the way. And the best way to get rid of paint is to disperse it on the outside of your house.
Also, keep in mind that mixed paint does have a time limit. After only a few days, it needs a good stirring. After a couple of months, you’ll get better results if you take it back to the store for re-mixing. Who wants to do that?
Lower Your Standards
Intent on scraping off every last square centimeter of paint? You may never get your house painted.
A poorly painted house is still better than an unpainted house. A house showing bare patches is like a time bomb waiting to go off. Degradation is exponentially faster on bare surfaces vs. painted surfaces.
Just get that house painted, even if it means bending in awful ways, such as:
- A quick pressure wash of the house rather than the full-on hand washing you think you should do.
- Painting over the occasional spider web or egg pod.
- Doing one coat, instead of two or three.
Narrow Your Focus
The task is not: “Wash down the house.” That’s too big of a bite.
Instead, the task is, “Take the pressure washer out of the garage.” Once that’s done, you can have lunch or watch TV, then get back to the next micro-task that comprises “Washing the house.” Or maybe days pass…it’s all up to you.
Don’t literally break up the house with an axe or chainsaw. What I mean is that you choose a small area and stick to it.
In another project guide, I counsel: “Each side of the house is a project unto itself.”
Forget that. That’s for normal people with ambition. For scofflaws like you and me–true painting recidivists–we need the side of the house broken down into two sections…maybe even three or four. If you can look at your small section and think, “Eh, not too scary,” then you’ve picked a good size.
Brush, Don’t Spray
Naturally, it seems like power-spraying your house is faster than brushing. Yes, it is faster–but only as long as you actually do it.
Brushing house exterior paint is one way to bust through your procrastination. Here’s why: spraying requires an incredible amount of prep work; brushing, very little.
By brushing, you can dip into the job quickly and exit just as quickly. It’s a simple matter to turn off the computer monitor, put on an old coat, crack open the paint can, and brush for 20 minutes or so. Wash off the brush, take off the coat, wash hands. Done for now.
By lowering the bar of entry, that’s 20 minutes of painting you wouldn’t have done otherwise.