My favorite website, hands down, is Apartment Therapy. I read Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan's Eight-Step Home Cure years ago when it came out years ago, but it seemed like too massive an undertaking to clean out my entire home, even when broken down into small steps.
When I saw that they were having January Home Cure I decided to sign up for the daily emails and do whatever tasks were assigned, even if I didn't have time to do them perfectly. Here are some my highlights from the first half of the month:
Day 1: Make a List of Projects. Check.
Day 2: Set Up Your Outbox. Check, and then some...
I regularly donate stuff we don't need anymore, and thought we didn't have anything left to get rid of right now, but it's amazing what I found after combing through every room. FYI: Cleaning the laundry room is on my list of projects, but I don't know if I'll get to it this month. It's where all the transient stuff in our house goes when we start cleaning up and moving things around.
Day: 3 Weekend Chores- Buy Flowers, Vacuum/Mop Floors, Stock Up on Green Cleaners, Use Outbox
Buying flowers was the easiest and best part of this weekend. Vacuuming and mopping happen pretty frequently around here, so it wasn't anything special, except I got under more of the big furniture. I did mix up another big batch of my homemade all-purpose cleaner, though. I have a Norwex mop, and for whatever reason, it doesn't get the floors very clean. So I MacGyver'd my own version, using a Swiffer mop, a much-cheaper microfiber cloth (dampened), and my cleaning spray. It worked better than anything else, on both my linoleum and wood floors.
Day 4: Get a Fresh Perspective in 10 Minutes. This I did not do, as it required me to sit in a quiet house. Actually, it's a mental exercise about imagining spaces without clutter, and figuring out what needs to be moved around. I think I do this already, so I didn't make a big deal of it.
Day 5: Pick a Project to Complete This Month. I think my most nagging project is to clean out our entry closet where we throw all kinds of junk when we have people coming over. Whenever something's missing, we know it's in that closet, but we can never really get to it. Plus, that closet would be really useful for storing stuff if we could get it organized.
Day 6: Choose a Piece of Artwork and Frame it. Check.
I was all set to do this one, because we have had this bare wall above our bed for a long time, and just didn't know what to put there. Also, I had picked up that great moon print wrapping paper from the Target/Neiman Marcus collection, that I thought would look spectacular in a frame.
As you can see, we kind of have a moon/nighttime theme happening in our bedroom anyway, so it made sense.
Day 7: Get Your Get-Together Together. Uh... The idea behind this is that your house will look so awesome and organized at the end of the month that you can have a party, so it's time to invite people right now. I'm not going to bother with this one yet, because A) we just hosted a New Year's Day brunch, and B) almost everyone we know has kids and can't commit to stuff this far in advance. So while we might throw together some kind of get-together in early February, it would probably be really impromptu, with the invites sent by text message.
Day 8: Weekend Chores- Flowers, Clean Out the Kitchen, Make Yourself a Meal. Check.
First of all, this having fresh flowers in the house all the time is awesome. I love what it does to lift my mood. Since our entire kitchen was gutted and put back together last spring, there weren't a lot of areas to work on.
I've been busy replacing the Teflon-coated T-Fal cookware we got for our wedding, with nice stainless pots and pans. The T-Fal came in a big set, and while we used all the pieces, there were some that were definitely more essential than others. When I started buying new cookware, I only got the things we really needed: stock pot (with straining lid), smaller pot (with straining lid), large pan, and small pan. That's all! I replaced seven or eight pieces with only four, and so far we haven't missed the extras.
My cupboard of plastic containers got a major purge. Anything that was disposable, cracked, missing lids, etc. went to the trash.
I cleaned up my cluttered countertops and stashed everything in a bowl. Then I added some newly-framed pictures of the kids, which probably won't stay in that spot because it's impractical.
The Mister took on another little project this weekend, by installing a second lock on our patio door. Our old method was to lie a stick in the track so the door couldn't slide open. But the kids kept taking the stick and using it for weird things, and I kept taking it away from them, so it wasn't really helping with home security at all.
Day 9: Create a Landing Strip and Use It.
Our house is set up so that you walk in the front door and there's nowhere to set things down right away. At least that's the reason I'm giving for why we have piles of mail, mittens, shoes, and half-empty Target bags in at least three places in our house. Years ago, we hung up hooks and shoe storage boxes in the entry, then converted the front closet to more of an organizing/office supply area. But we let it get really messy. Like, Hoarders messy.
I decided to dive in and see what I could accomplish in one day. I found a ton of papers to shred or throw into the recycling bin, stuff to donate, some electronics to recycle, some electronics I might be able to sell on eBay, and tons of office and craft supplies. There were even toys in there.
I obviously didn't finish what I started, but I made a difference.
Because we use two entrances to our house, we need two landing strips. The one by the garage entrance still needs attention.
There's no "buffer" when you step from the dirty garage into the kitchen, so I'm still trying to put together a plan for this area. I'm dreading the day when backpacks and lunchboxes are going to be part of this mess!
Day 10: Work on Your Goal Project.
I was feeling really run-down so I didn't do much of anything. The house is a huge mess with the kids getting stuff out and no one putting it away. Right now I'd be happy if I could figure out where everything in the Outbox is going to go and finish organizing the front closet. Even if it's all I accomplish this month.
Day 11: Try a Media Fast.
I'm pretty sure I am coming down with something, or still getting over whatever awful thing I had last night. It's one of those days when TV and iPad are a big key to keeping everyone entertained and quiet at our house. I would love to try the Media Fast someday, when I feel healthier and it's a little warmer outside.