January Cure 2019: Week 1

When I started this blog in 2015, I kicked things off by sharing my progress with Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. Four years later, I’m ready to tackle it again. I’ve actually signed up for the January Cure every year, but this is the first time I’ve felt like I’ll be able to do more than read the tasks each day—I feel like I can see it through to the end. Which is a good thing, because every room in my house has mysteriously succumbed to a great creeping mess over the last month, a fact that completely baffles me because we weren’t even here for 25% of that time. Is it possible my house has contracted an acute case of entropy? (Science was never my strong suit.) Anyway, I’m planning to recap my progress each week to keep myself accountable. January Cure 2019, here we go!

Assignment #1: Declutter a Drawer

A drawer overflowing with plastic cutlery, drinking straws, lighters, adhesives, and other household ephemera

I knew our junk drawer had gotten out of hand when a friend (who was looking for super glue) commented on how it was “looking a little full.” Under any other circumstances, I would have felt horribly judged, and my hospitality would have frozen over until said “friend” left, never to be invited back. But this particular friend is one I trust to serve up truth with love, so I had to concede he had a point.

As I was finding new/better homes for some of the clutter, it was so tempting to turn “declutter a drawer” into “reorganize a closet” or “dump everything out of its bin and put it into a different, clearly superior bin.” But that was not the brief, and there will be other opportunities to reckon with my closets (next week, in fact!) so I stayed the course and knocked this out in about 20 minutes. Most of that time was spent trying to find a box to put light bulbs in. Every time I think I no longer need to hold back random cardboard shipping boxes from the recycling and I send them to the curb, BAM! I have a pile of stuff that needs to be wrangled. One day, everything will be corralled into a lovely collection of baskets, bowls, and tins. Today is not that day. Tomorrow is looking…iffy.

But hey! One drawer down:

A drawer with a single layer of kitchen-appropriate items like scissors, tape, straws, and bag clips

Assignment #2: Make a List of Projects

A series of household cleaning, organizing, DIY, and shopping to-do lists organized by room

This one was a total cheat, I’ll admit. Some time after we purchased and moved into our house, and during one of my ultimately failed previous Cures, I signed up for Trello and transferred my paper house to-do list to digital form, accessible anywhere. I haven’t checked into Trello regularly in some time, but my old list was still there.

I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to check off a handful of things we’ve completed over the past couple of years. (The fact that I’d believed, when I made this list, that 80–90% of the things on it would be done by this point in time is neither here nor there.)

My big project for January is a bit of a gamble: I’d like to polyurethane the windows and trim in the guest room and get the walls and ceiling painted. We managed to stain the windows during our annual, semi-predictable abnormally warm days (I say “semi-predictable” because we seem to have them every January, but when they strike is random), but I can’t count on the weather to cooperate with my need to have my windows completely out of their frames for an entire day—it IS winter, after all.

If that project doesn’t pan out, the next logical choice would be to get everything off the floor of our office. Right now, it’s a dumping ground for anything that has been temporarily displaced by other activities or that doesn’t have a permanent home. Making space for (or, let’s be honest, getting rid of) those things is the first step toward adding a dedicated sewing space to the office. As much as I need the exercise I get from setting up and tearing down a makeshift sewing space in the dining room every time we have friends over to play D&D, I’d prefer to have my hobbies peacefully co-habitate rather than lead competing half-lives.

Assignment #3: Clean the Bedroom & Treat Yourself to Flowers

A wooden dresser, surmounted by a TV and jewelry chest, and littered with paper, clothes, and small boxes

My dresser has been in this state for at least a month, but probably more. Trust me when I say that the rest of the room was just as messy. Most of the clutter was paper I didn’t need to hang onto anymore, and things that belonged in drawers but were, inexplicably, sitting on them instead. All easily dealt with.

I don’t know about other Curers, but this early phase of the process feels a lot less like putting things away and a lot more like redistributing the mess other parts of the house.

Nevertheless, it’s a relief to have clean sheets on the bed, a dust-bunny-free closet, and no more piles of stuff staring me in the face when I open the door. It may not be glamorous or even interesting, but it’s neat:

A wooden dresser, surmounted by a TV, jewelry chest, and small bowl of keychains, with an otherwise clean surface

I also bought flowers, a small bouquet of mixed yellow blooms, but I forgot to photograph them. They’re brightening up the living room and only clashing a teensy bit with the Christmas decorations that still need to be put away.

And that’s Week 1 done and dusted!

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