Chipping Paint

My roommates and I are moving to a new place at the end of the month. The new place is nice, but we’re doing a few renovations on it because some stuff just hasn’t been worked on in a while and you can tell. There’s dust on the moldings, nails just randomly hanging everywhere, and layers and layers of paint. And I mean layers; so many that in some places, you can’t close the doors.

It just got me thinking about how it’s so much easier to keep doing the hack job. We just keep doing it, and the first time it isn’t so bad, because the doors close ok, but after a while, it causes problems. Now, my roommates and I are chipping away, over and over, and it just displays a kind of neglect these tenants had. I mean, we all sweep some stuff under the rug, but still.

Anyway, I’m just wondering, when is the right time to do something right? When does it become damaging, when can’t you close the doors in your own house anymore?

Not sure this post has a point. Or maybe it does. You tell me.





6 responses to “Chipping Paint”

  1. Jason Baer Avatar

    The point is that we’ve spent the last 20 years using technology to make our lives easier and to disconnect from each other in ways that are now beginning to totally fuck up the world.

    The financial crisis is simply the business equivalent of repainting your door.

    Companies trying to get us to buy stuff solely through louder and more omni-present ads, rather than actually improving the product? That’s simply the marketing equivalent of repainting your door.

    Ultimately, the majority of the developed, privileged world has been trained in the art of comfort, even if that comfort comes at the expense of the next guy in line who has to pick up the pieces.

    That’s the lesson, and even though I’ve been massively fortunate in the comfort area, I hope we’re in for a global backlash that takes us back to about 1955. When people worked hard, cared about each other, and didn’t care if they had a home espresso machine.

    Good luck with the renovation. Flickr gallery forthcoming?



  2. in on a mouse Avatar

    The right time is the first time. All the time. You may not always hit it out of the park, but at least you aren’t committing to wasting more of your time, which you may or may not have, in the future… which again, you may or may not have. So I guess it’s mostly about pride and humility.

  3. Whitney Avatar

    A bit of homeowner’s advice- heat paint strippers are awesome, but smell, but probably better health-wise than the chemical strippers- new chemical strippers work pretty well – slap on, let sit, everything comes off, easy peasy.

    Now to the bigger point-People are fundamentally lazy and what seems expedient over “correct” rules the day. Take financial markets- focusing on quarter to quarter results and forgetting long term trends, growth, the bigger picture leads to disaster. But the problem here is that people have short attention spans and constantly crave some sort of information that they are headed in the right direction- without that positive reinforcement along the way, people give up far too soon, far too short from the finish line.

    This is why so many people fail at weight loss, why Seth Godin’s The Dip is popular- our attention waivers before the last 10% of taking a project from good to great, and we settle for the more immediate good enough. I have a ton of stuff on motivational theory if you’re ever interested- let me know.

  4. Ann Handley Avatar

    This is so good it’s nearly poetic.

    When you can’t close the door easily in your own house… is it time to change the door, or is it time to widen the doorway, or something else entirely?

    I guess I would say that it’s time to do what you are doing — start the hard part. Not fun, but necessary.

    Great meeting you in AZ last week. Look forward to the next time.

  5. Mozai Avatar

    I see these messes in my job (the corporate world). I see processes and mechanisms (metaphorically, the layers of paint) that were put in place as temporary measures, but were extended to include all the new variations that cropped up since (more layers).

    I get told that putting on a new layer of paint shouldn’t take this long, and I should stop what I’m doing and “don’t fix what isn’t broken.” Usually the reason given is that we’re short on resources (manpower, time) and painting this thing only had an hour allocated to it so this is messing up The Plan.

    The problem here is not lazy; it’s scarcity, or perceived scarcity. There wasn’t enough time to do it correctly the first time, so a shoddy job was started. Someone who’s job it is to allocate time believes we don’t have enough time to strip the paint and put a base-coat on. (Enough layers are there that they believe it was “good-enough” the first time.) Someone who’s job it is to count dollars believes we can’t afford turpentine or putty or paint-melters.

    … although, in the case of your new place and actual paint, I’m willing to believe it’s genuine lazy.

  6. Donald Avatar

    Raymonde April is a Montréal artist who has presented photographs of the wall of her plateau apartment in different stages of paint being removed. She uses a knife to cut or chip off the paint. The project is called ‘Gravitas’ which explores the nature of reviewing our ancestors and our shared collective pasts.

    This on this idea coincides with the work that she is doing. see her pages on the gallery website.

    Take care Julien.


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