January Cure 2019: Week 4

Back on track! After stumbling through the middle 50% of the January Cure, Week 4 felt much more successful. Was it due to a sudden burst of creative energy, a renewed sense of purpose arising from Justin’s approval of my efforts, or a continued, stubborn refusal to follow the brief? We’ll probably never know.

Assignment #14: Get Rid of Paper Clutter

I don’t have any paper clutter, ha! But seriously, after doing the January Cure four years ago, and then going through the process of buying a house, I think I’ve zeroed in on what paper to keep and what to throw away. I have two sturdy containers with hanging file folders for long-term storage, which I’ve reorganized a couple of times to be easier to search. I usually end up going through them once or twice a year and shredding anything we no longer need.

We don’t get a lot of mail, but what we do get it pretty easy to sift into keep/recycle/shred piles. On most days I handle recycling and shredding immediately, but if I don’t, things never stack up for more than a few days before I deal with them. The keep pile is further sorted into file and action piles, and those are dealt with every few days to once a week. Mail requiring action currently lives in a basket in the living room. I’m thinking of swapping the basket for a cute desktop letter sorter, but the change would be entirely for aesthetics—the current arrangement works just fine.

I used to have about a hundred pounds of academic papers and early career portfolio items stored in one of our closets. That’s not an exaggeration: the paper weighed as much or more than I did. But I finally went through all of it last year and drastically reduced what I was saving.

I kept important records like transcripts, sentimental records like report cards with handwritten comments, and coursework like marked-up college research papers and creative writing assignments, but shed many, many folders of notes and exercises. I also kept any portfolio pieces that I didn’t have digital originals for, or ones where the product is something other than a plain paper document. Everything fits inside a single 18 gallon storage bin. In time, I’ll probably be able to let go of that stuff, too. For now, it takes up considerably less space than it did.

Assignment #15: Get Your Sofa Into Shape

It had been too long since I’d thoroughly vacuumed our couch and flipped the cushions. They feel much fresher now, although I think I’ll be adding “professional upholstery cleaning” to my list of things to accomplish in 2019.

Assignment #16: Do a 3-Minute Surface Sweep

This is one of those good habits that I wish I had but find it weirdly difficult to cultivate. The surface sweep is definitely a tactic of mine, but I tend to do it every few days or once a week, and it tends to be in the morning. Morning cleanups are always frantic and guilt-ridden, and usually a tactic to stall going to work. We already take time to lock up and turn off electronics before bed—it shouldn’t be that much harder to put a handful of things away too. Right?

Assignment #17: Take a Catch-Up Day

I spent my family day helping with a family situation that needed attention. Everything is okay, but no house-related stuff happened. I’m giving myself a pass on it.

Assignment #18: Clean the Floors & Treat Yourself to Flowers

could have done this, but instead I took a tour of the Triangle’s thrift stores (the ones open on Sundays, anyway) to look for a vanity stool I could makeover for the new entryway setup. I didn’t find anything that fit the bill, but I’m not giving up just yet.

I also spent some time shopping for a secret, unselfish sewing project. I can’t share yet, but I’m looking forward to writing about it when it’s done. Which should be right after I catch up on the backlog of 2018 posts I need/want to write. Oy. January, how have you been so long and yet so short?

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