Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.

Over the weekend, I got snarling mad at the dining room. The wallpaper just wasn’t coming off and I couldn’t muster the energy to attack the wall anymore. (UPDATE: for those that have asked, I’ve tried a pro steamer, fabric softener, vinegar, stain remover, you name it. I’ve tried just about everything for this wallpaper. This is just one of those things that differs from house to house and project to project. Nothing is really working, but I’m almost done anyway, and then the part I know I can do well begins – skim coating. So, thank you for all of your suggestions – and if you’re at your wits end with your own removal tasks, I found this solution worked well in the past but isn’t working for me in this particular room).

So, I did what I usually do; my way of coping with a project that isn’t working is to start another one simultaneously. I pick one at random that I think I can do within about an hour. Sometimes this works to my advantage and I finish the easy project, which renews my energy and I attack the frustrating project again. Sometimes… it just leaves me with another unfinished project.

In this case, I walked into my garage and dragged my Christmas tree out (Yes, after deciding not to put up any Christmas decor, my frustration with the dining room made me cave. What better pick-me-up is there than twinkly lights?). With the small space I created from digging out the box, my mind started wandering to the cabinet I have been procrastinating on putting together. And I desperately need more space in that garage.

It’s not much, but that small project gave me a real boost. It took about twenty minutes to snap together, but having just a tiny bit more space in my one-car garage meant room for one more thing:  my new workbench.

I still need to attach a top for it, but she’s looking much more sturdy than a folding table!

And then it was back into the house to finally put up the tree. I still need to fluff it (hehe, there goes my 12-year-old’s sense of humor again), but I’m still happy even if I can’t muster the energy to hang any ornaments.

And speaking of ornaments, I found one little guy who survived in storage. I thought I’d packed them all, but apparently this one chose to stick around. I sense a new tradition on my tree (and watch that end next year when it shatters).

Did you have a productive weekend too?


Psst:  Want more? I love to post sneak peeks on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find me on Hometalk and Twitter at uglyducklingDIY.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy: I love comments, especially if they make me laugh. Feel free to let your words of wisdom and humor fly (there's no swear jar on this blog), but if you're overly spammy, rude, or just plain boring, you're just going to have to accept that your comment may not see the light of day. P.S. If you leave an affiliate or monetized link when making a comment on this site, such links might get overwritten by a plugin I have installed that uses my own internal tracking. See terms and disclosure page for more info! Thanks in advance. You rock.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. “my way of coping with a project that isn't working is to start another one simultaneously.”


    I do this to myself all the time. For me, it is definitely likely to lead to just more unfinished projects, with the quick-completion/rejuvenation deal happening very rarely.

    It's taken a while, but I've learned that this is all part of a larger issue with perfectionism. I would have never believed it growing up (certainly wouldnt have described myself that way), but now I think I get it. You get stuck because you want to do the thing perfectly.

    My old boss had this great saying for me: don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. In other words, do let trying to do something perfectly undermine your chance to do something good or good enough.

    1. Sounds like your old boss had some good advice, and working for someone who doesn't demand perfection is good!

    2. We've made it a bigger deal that we are selling the house. That it isn't our perfect home and wow. What a difference. I don't make such extravagant [and expensive] plans. I look at what needs to be done vs what I want to get done.

      Although I would still love to do it all, that would mean living here for a LONG time. So I'm happy with my new outlook. I think too, I'm a bit of a design snob, and we're a rarity. So many people look at a room and think, “nice.” Where I see all of the “design errors.”

      Sometimes, you just have to let go. Hey, maybe half torn wallpaper will be the new look. At least you weren't on the couch!

  2. After a year, my dining room wallpaper still looks like that. I think they used super glue to put it up. IF I can get one little piece going the sheetrock starts pulling with it. I've tried everything, even buying a steamer. I'm so frustrated and thinking about putting up a wood wall and just painting over the other 3 walls that still have paper on them. Good luck!

    1. ha! I love this idea. Plank wall sounds great. And just think of the future homeowners in the 2040's…. they'll be so pissed to find that wallpaper underneath ;)

  3. Have you thought about just (heh, JUST) skim coating the wallpaper wall? In the end, it might be easier and less crazy making.

    1. Ha, yes. It's not as easy as you might think. For one, the paper is ever so slightly textured, which still means skim coating the whole shebang to get a smooth surface (otherwise, that texture will show up in the paint job). And if there are air bubbles anywhere (which is not easily detected with the distraction of the wallpaper pattern), they will show up when I paint over it. So I'd basically go through a very similar length of time only to have my eye start twitching at a possible air bubble. Also, I have seen painted-over wallpaper jobs, and the corners are usually the most telling (crisp corners mean no paper). I am choosing the option that I think will cause me less irritation in the end.

  4. Yeah, a pink ornament survived! Yesterday, I shattered my cute little Eiffel tower ornament, I was so bummed!

    And kudos on the work bench – did you just whip that up? Really great! And I love your attitude – when I get frustrated with a project, I tackle another one to give myself a boost.

    1. Oh no, I hate when my favorite ornaments shatter. I've got a few old ones from my great grandmother and try to be very careful about where I put them.

      As for the workbench, I'm using plans I found on ana-white.com with a little bit of tweaking here and there. When I finish the bench and attach the top, I'll share the link to the plans again.

  5. Wall paper steamer rental is the BEST THING EVER! I had 4 rooms of wallpaper in my current home. Wouldn't of stripped wallpaper any other way!

  6. A fellow garage organizer! It’s amazing how even a little project can make you feel so much better.