January Cure – Week Two and Three

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I’m spending this month participating in Apartment Therapy’s January project called the January Cure, a whole month full of assignments designed to help you get yourself and your home organized for the new year. Well, I’m trying to anyway but I’ve found out two important things along the way.

One is that I (for once) am living in the same house and many of the tasks we have been assigned are similar to ones assigned last year. Guess what, I don’t need to do them again! I’m not bragging, I mean some of the task like scrubbing down your kitchen cabinets needs to be done every year, let’s get real the kitchen can get real gross real quick. But things like purging and organizing the linen closet have pretty held up since last year. I may have a towel or two that have gotten ratty or some straightening of my blanket stacks to do but overall the linen closet is still looking good.

The second thing I have learned is that since we are moving soon I don’t really need to clean the linen closet, I need to purge and pack the linen closet.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my January Cure has sometimes gone off on a huge tangent. I’ve done some of the projects as instructed and other days I am tackling things I need to accomplish for the move instead.

The to-do list we wrote out in week one is getting a huge workout!

So let’s see what I’ve been up to.

Clear a Closet – This one was for sure a to-do. My son’s closet was a wreck and I am not about to pack a pile of junk only to move it to another house. We tackled this one together with a bit of negotiation. He told me what  COULD go and I told him a few more things that SHOULD go. In the end we finally got things looking good.

Here are a few before and after shots.  It helps that he’s a boy and doesn’t have a ton of clothes….

Review your to-do list and choose one (not-too-big) project you’d like to cross off this month.

This one was fun since you were given a 30 minute time limit to complete it. I chose to pull down my hallway gallery wall and box all the art for the move. I came back later and filled the holes and touched up the paint but boxing the art didn’t take long at all.

Take a media fast!

What? I know, it’s harder than it sounds, taking your main block of “home time” with no television, computer, or smart phone. I decided to work on an art project my husband commissioned. A project is always a good distraction from electronics for me and with this big chunk of me time, and it’s almost done!

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Take time today to go through your linens

Like I said this one mostly held since last year but that didn’t mean there were not a few things to straighten and toss.

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Clean your kitchen! Choose an “inside or out” track and get started.

I chose the outside since the inside will get a full cleaning once everything is packed.  A full wipe down was a must but the top the fridge needed a hazmat team.  Look up there guys, it get’s gross. But not mine, it is now sparkling! The inside…that’s another story.
As for items not on the AT list, I got quite a bit done there too.
  • I painted my bold colored mantel, door, and mudroom closet back to white. Not everyone is up for my bold color choices.
  • I took down four of my light fixtures and returned the original ones back to the house.
  • I took down the art in the master bedroom and my sewing room and started boxing it up.
  • I filled about 300 nail holes and touched up the paint.
  • Packed about ten boxes of items we won’t be needing anytime soon…ten down 500 to go!

Oh yeah, and as instructed, I bought fruit instead of flowers this week. Whew, I’m tired.

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January Cure 2017 – Week One

dsc02801 It’s a new year and that means time for Apartment Therapy’s January project called the January Cure, a whole month full of assignments designed to help you get yourself and your home organized for the new year. Think of it as a New Year’s resolution for your home. This is my third year participating in the January Cure and I have to say it really does help put your home in good order for the new year. Even if you don’t complete every task you’ll be glad you played/worked along. This year with a move on the way I’m hoping to clear out the clutter so I don’t have to move it with me.

Let’s have a look at how week one went.

Assignment # 1: Let’s Go! The Cure Begins with a Quick Confidence-Boosting Declutter– Choose a drawer, any drawer but only one drawer and get to work. Well, I know everyone has a junk drawer and the longer you have it the more junk it accumulates. We haven’t been in our house much over a year and ours is pretty junky. The worst part is that last summer I spilled a pack of chia seeds in this drawer and they look surprisingly like mouse droppings. Not something you want people to see in any drawer much less one in the kitchen.

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Thanks to assignment one, my junk drawer is now chia seed free.

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Assignment #2: Bring the Big Picture into Focus: Create a To-Do List for the Year – Holy cow this list is going to be long. So much to do, I may be working on this list all month.

Assignment #3: The Storage Black Hole in Every Home – Purge the Pantry! Okay, I don’t have a pantry and every year Apartment Therapy seems to like to rub it in my face. Instead, we have a bank of cabinets we use to store dry good and one next to the range that I use for spices and baking items. I guess the bonus of not having much room means we don’t have room to hoard unneeded items so this was more of a cleaning than a purging.

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I took the time to wipe down the shelves, consolidate and reorganize. The result wasn’t a full pantry but a least it looked better.

Assignment #4: Create an Outbox – The Outbox is not garbage, nor does it need to be an actual box; it is a halfway house where things sit while their fate is being decided.
OUTBOX RULES
1. Anything can go in the Outbox
2. The Outbox is allowed to get messy
3. Everything must stay in the Outbox for at least one week
4. After that time you have several choices

  • Take anything back out
  • Leave anything you are undecided about for one more week
  • Dispose of the rest by moving to the recycling bin or giveaway pile

I already had an outbox started in a laundry basket in the garage so I took the time to empty it out and make a trip to the donation bin for a fresh start.

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Assignment # 5: Flowers, Floors and Sticking Together No Matter What!  Did someone say flowers? Okay, so buying flowers was easy part. Actually, the floors were even easier because I didn’t do them myself. Cheating, I know but since I went back to work full-time I hired a housekeeper, so she took care of the floors and I took care of the sofa.  You know what happens under, on, and around the sofa? Lots of crumbs, dust, and dog hair. So I took this week to vacuum and mop under the sofa, vacuum under the cushion and wash all the cushion covers.

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I think the results more than earned me a the right to buy a few flowers.

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I always love that tulips are in season during the January Cure!

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January Cure – The Living Room

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Week three of the January Cure over at Apartment Therapy is now complete and I a proud to say I have stuck with it and really tried to accomplish all the tasks. Last year I barely got the projects off the ground but this year sharing my progress with you guys has been a big motivator for me. Not that I would be in big trouble if I failed, but because I am just competitive enough that I don’t want to fail if someone is watching. So thanks for all that perceived judgement, with that in the back of my mind week three was a busy one. That means taking big steps towards a cleaner more functional home. Here are some of the tasks that I worked on this week.

Monday was  The Media Fast, the idea is that for a few hours during your main block of “home time” to take a break from television, computer, tablet and smart phone. I will admit that I did not do this consciously but during one of my big cleaning days this week I got so involved I did not so much as check a text for hours, but since that was by accident I don’t think it really counts. I still plan to take an evening with the entire family to really unplug but I will not lie, I have not done it yet.

Tuesday was Bathroom Cabinet Clean Out. Let me start by saying we are in a rental and when we moved in the previous tenants left a ton of cleaning products in the house. Instead of clearing everything out I kept some of it around thinking I may need them, since the previous tenants knew the house better than I maybe these were MUST HAVE items. In my bathroom clean out this week I found a few items in abundance that are definitely NOT must haves, nor did I buy. First was the Anti Schimmel  which is close to the American product Tilex for removing mildew. I have been in the house a year and a half now and have seen very little mildew which I understand can be a problem in German homes since they are stone and very well sealed. The only spot that seems to attract mildew is the ceiling in the bathroom and I am not about to stand around and spray bleach over my head (okay so I tried it once, didn’t work out so well.)

The second item that I seem to have in abundance is Ant and Roach spray. Now I don’t know what kind of living conditions the previous tenants were used to but I have not seen a single roach or ant in this house. Not even one. Flies yes, gnats sure, maybe a bee that flew in by mistake but those German cockroaches we have in the States have defiantly migrated out of this part of Germany, or at least from my house. Maybe this would explain why all three cans are almost completely full.

I decided on saving one bottle of each product just in case I should have a sudden mildew, ant, and roach infestation but the rest will have to find a new home. I need that space for the important stuff like my flat-iron!

DSC06939Wednesday’s job was Create a Landing Strip and start using it, a place for things to land and be filtered as they come in the door. I really needed help moving this out of the kitchen. The kids are constantly dumping their backpacks in the middle of the kitchen floor which only adds to the chaos in this small space. I do have a landing strip elsewhere but I have to admit I have let it get a bit out of control and it does not function as well as it could. Too many coats, hats piled high, and nowhere to ditch the backpacks and bags after school.  I decided the easiest fix was to move the coat rack higher on the wall and add a lower shelf for my purse and the kids backpacks when they get home from school. I of course had to leave a little room for Stella, this is her favorite spot in the house. I also did a quick sort through the coats to leave only the ones we wear every day, coats that are worn only on occasion were put elsewhere, another basket for hats and scarves and we were looking pretty good.  Now lets see if we can stick to the using it part!landing stripThursday was time to Clear a Closet. Ha, Ha, jokes on them because guess what? I don’t have any closets! I do have a few wardrobes though so I guess I don’t get off on a technicality. Really though, if I don’t get the joy of a closet should I have to suffer the misery of closet cleaning? I guess it couldn’t hurt, besides it could use little work in there and since I don’t have a closet that means there is absolutely no room for things that are not getting used. After a two bags of donation items and a lot of organizing I have my two BRIMES wardrobes looking pretty good.

DSC06930Once I cleared out the excess a little organization was all I needed. I installed extra shelves for folded clothing and shoes. For jewelry I added cup hooks on the inside of the door across the top, no more tangled necklaces. Voila!

Before my clean out I could barely find a hanger when I was putting clothes away. I know I did a good job because now I suddenly have a ton of hangers left over.

DSC06937My final weekend project was to show the Living room a little love. While this was just a basic cleaning project it was a big deal getting everyone to stay out of the living room on a Sunday afternoon since this is where the main TV and gaming consoles are. I managed with several “I’m board” comments from other rooms of the house. I guess I forced them into a media fast too.DSC06948Since I was making everyone else miserable I took the job to heart, moving furniture, washing slip covers, and wiping down all that media. Those things get so gross with dust. By Sunday evening I was enjoying my media again in a clean fresh living room.

And of course to finish off the project I had to buy my weekly flowers. I know, I keep buying tulips but they are so pretty this time of year. DSC06961One more week to go, lets see if I can finish strong.

Anyone else still hanging in there?