10 Painting Tips from a Woman who always learns everything the hard way and should have never picked up a paint brush in the first place…

So I spent the weekend elbows-deep in the never ending, house finishing project. Funny how a task with the word “finish” in the title has become never-ending.

But we have a deadline, and deadlines have endings don’t they? Please, someone tell me this will end.

For those of you just joining us here at the ranch, (and there are a quite a few these days, thankyouverymuchforstoppingby!) Husband and I have been working on finishing a house that was delivered to us here in a little oak grove at the ranch last December.

We’re nearing the finish line, and if I wasn’t insane before, after fifty-five trips to the Menards 150 miles away to pick up things like doors, toilets, floors, lights, vents, electrical wires, cement, tile, nails, glue, the weird and delicious peanut-butter stuffed pretzels they have in the checkout aisle and the dreadful and marriage-testing trip for plumbing parts in torrential rains, lightning storms, forty-mile-an-hour winds, blinding blizzards and the most recent ice-covered roads


I am definitely, fully, insane now.

Horse frustration

And insane is not the best quality to have when your house is covered in sheet rock dust, there’s an air compressor hose dangling from the loft right next to the 12 foot cedar boards leaned up your wall cutting your living space in half and you decide that while husband is working on building you a giant closet to make up for the months of chaos his handyman ideals have created,  you are quickly going to paint the laundry room/entry way.


It shouldn’t take too long. It’s a small space. You’ll just need a little assistance in moving that washer and dryer full of clothes you forgot about out of the way…


Now, I could tell you how the painting project went and you could draw your own lessons and conclusions from the series of events that unfolded, but I think I will save you the analyzation and just cut to the chase. Because I figure I have enough home improvement under my belt to offer some tips to those of you who are confident and delusional enough to think that putting new knobs on your cabinets, tiling the bathroom, or painting a damn wall for crying out loud is, like, just going to take a day or two.

“We’ll get this done in no time!” we tell ourselves…

Yes, I could write a book on the many reasons not to wear short-shorts while attempting a tiling project, how to get out of helping to lay a hardwood floor by hammering your thumbprint off and what not to say to your husband as he’s dangling off a ladder twenty feet in the air.

It would be a best seller for sure, but I don’t have the time today. Because today I have to finish the damn painting project I was supposed to finish yesterday afternoon.

So in an attempt to stay focused, I give you:

10 Painting Tips from a Woman who always learns everything the hard way and should have never picked up a paint brush in the first place:


Tip #1: Finish your house before you move you, your husband, your two dogs and all your shit into it. And don’t add a cat to the mix.  But if you do, definitely don’t let that barn cat in too.

Tip #2: 7.5 minutes.

This is the time you will spend on your project before you convince yourself you need a Cheeto break.

Tip #3: You can try to fool yourself into thinking that painting a laundry room/entry way will be a quick and painless project, despite the thirty-seven angles, outlets, doorways, cabinets, utility sink with exposed plumbing, trim boards and mud splatters you have to work around. Approach the task with confidence, but assume it’s going to suck. This will save you the shock of postponing breakfast, lunch, dinner and the shower you meant to take before  meeting up with friends for a drink. Speaking of drinks…

Tip #4: Pour yourself one. And then put alcohol in it. Oh, and if you don’t particularly enjoy the taste of paint, use a cup with a lid.

Tip #5: Don’t wear your favorite Steve Earl t-shirt. No matter how carefully and quickly you think this project is going to go, you will get paint on that t-shirt you forgot you were wearing. You will grow tired and careless as you reach the end of your rope and you will let your guard down. You will lean into the wall while reaching for a final touch and you will get paint in places that will amuse your husband.

And your husband will express his amusement by pointing and laughing and shaking his head.

You too will shake your head while your entire body droops at the thought of throwing your favorite Steve Earl t-shirt into the pile with the other cute and innocent garments inadvertently turned into construction day clothes.

Tip #6: Make enough weird and agonizing noises (aka: grunting, moaning, saying “ohnoohnoohno” or “shit,” really loud, whining, weeping, or all around screeching) loud enough to catch the attention of your husband working with power tools on the second floor.

Follow those sounds with well-timed moments of silence and he will eventually find an excuse to come down stairs to see if you’re still alive…which brings me to what I think should be the next tip…

Tip #7: While he’s downstairs and you’re standing on the washing machine leaned over with your head dangerously close to getting stuck in that small gap between the cabinet and the wall, kindly ask him to re-dip your paintbrush and while he’s at it, refill your paint tray. If you’ve picked out the right painting pants and lean over at the right angle, your husband might suddenly become invested in the project, offering to pick up a paint brush to help go over the spots you’ve missed and, well, now you’ve got help.


Tip #8: Be prepared to hate the color you chose. You will never want to see it again for as long as you live but you will vow that you will just close your eyes when you attempt to do laundry or put on your boots to walk out the door because no matter how much you hate this color and the fact that it is now likely going to be in your hair and on the back part of your elbow you can’t see or reach for a few days, you sure as hell are not going to paint this damn room again. Ever.


And when your husband informs you that it will likely need another coat, take off that paint covered Steve Earl shirt before taking a running face plant to cry on the bed.

Tip #9: Sell your prized collection of Troll Dolls or Precious Moments collection, the pug or the cat or whatever it takes to be able to hire someone to paint whatever else needs to be painted for the rest of your life. But for the love of Lucchese, never, never, never sell your boot collection. If you remember anything, remember this.

Tip #10: Now, I’m not sure because I’ve never birthed anything, but I think painting and other home improvement projects might be like childbirth. Like, you might forget how painful it was while you happily thumb through Better Homes and Gardens and find that Martha Stewart has a really pretty shade of lavender that would look stunning in the sun room that you’ve been suggesting your husband build for you this summer.

I’ll tell you agin, if you really need a  sun room, sell your car so you can pay someone else to do it.

If you really like that lavender color, call me. I’ll read my tips out loud and with a stern and convincing tone that will help you with the whole clarity thing.

If you’ll excuse me, now that I’ve finished this, I’ve got to go and find about two or three other tasks to occupy my time while I procrastinate that second coat.

Happy Home Improving you crazies…

16 thoughts on “10 Painting Tips from a Woman who always learns everything the hard way and should have never picked up a paint brush in the first place…

  1. Surely you know the 80/20 rule of all projects? The first 80% of the project takes 80% of the time and 80% of the money. The last 20% of the project takes the other 80% of the time and 80% of the money!

    From a denizen of a FEMA trailer in Minot for 2 winters now!

  2. Whew, this post came in the nick of time. I was just thinking that I should get started on my laundry room re-org / paining project. With a newborn. Thanks to you, I have seen the error of my (almost) ways. And you’re pretty much right about #10: except that they give you drugs for childbirth, and drugs are kinda frowned upon when painting.

    Carry on, Martha!!

  3. Can relate! We lived in one bedroom while remodeling our home and adding a bedroom and large living area. Took 5 months–everyday up before the workmen came! Doing it yourself would be even harder! I admire your work and stick to it ness. Good luck. What I have seen is really neat.I love it.

  4. That’s some “FUNNY”-“TRUTHFUL” shit right there! Been there done that and planning on building from the ground up this summer. I’m still dead from last summer, putting the shop up, ( and I didn’t have to do much of that), w e l l peeling the plastic off of the hot metal siding in 100 degree heat, not something I want to experience again, trying to put rafters up, with no one that has ever done it before, and they were only trying to help out, they almost died and had heat stroke, beer and sun don’t mix, (I knew that but they were young, and just have to experience heatstroke just once in your lifetime, to not do it again) By God’s grace only… was it finished. Not to mention the mowing, planting, tree trimming, cooking and trying to bathe everynight, with a bucket of water, when you are dead. Painting is not my friend, it has crippled my shoulders, sheetrocking, the staining, the sanding, the getting hollared at, I’ll have none of that…. Every emotion you wrote about I’ve experienced. Just looking at pictures of your house gives me heart palpitations, I don’t know how we are going to do this again… it will be only by God’s grace…
    Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1
    And one more thing…. do it while you are young, so you can enjoy it when you are old…. when your old…everything hurts.

  5. I was up till 3 a.m. last night putting on the “final” coat of white paint after two or three layers of primer. I walls are semi gloss white and I think I may have retinal damage from the brightness. I’m now looking at tint colours and am going to have to do it all again. Take it from me, childbirth is a piece of cake ! lol

  6. This reminds me of when I painted the rooms in my house in New Salem. Tyler would call and say, “How much do you have in your hair?” (A LOT!) I would keep forgetting I had dormer windows and would turn around and smack my head into the wall.

    Add that to the fact of the little round orange circles all around my carpet. I had nice, nearly new blue carpet in my upstairs that was installed by the previous owner. Well, when I decided to paint (no more WHITE), I used old sheets as drop cloths. Please let me assure you that old sheets do NOT work as usable drop cloths as they let paint through. I would be painting and the roller would slide a bit on the paint roller handle. So I would take it, turn it over and smack it into the floor to make it get back on the handle better. Well, those little smacks turned into little round orange circles all around my carpet once I took up the old sheets.

    I hate painting. My mom did most of the painting in my old house (thank goodness!) and when I did help, I’d make it the approximate 9 minutes and then ask if I could go and make some treats!

    Just painted my bedroom, kitchen, and entryway in my current house. Luckily, mom and a friend offered to paint it for me. I thought they were crazy, but it was worth it! 🙂


  7. If, for some reason, you have decided a room just really needs to have black trim, hire someone. Black paint is a small nightmare. The amount of pigment in it tends to make it stickier than other colors. So you put paint down as you go one direction and pick it back up again as you go the other.

  8. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long)
    so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for newbie blog writers? I’d definitely
    appreciate it.

  9. Pingback: Listening. | Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

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