The January Cure – an update

In my last post I detailed the list of things I hoped to accomplish this year in my home. The making of the list was prompted by the Apartment Therapy January Cure. and I though I’d give you a wee update.

Last weeks tasks started off pretty well. After I made my list, and started my outbox I made good use of the rush of energy that comes with the start of any project, but by the end of the weekend my enthusiasm for this month-long project had dramatically decreased.

First up – my front hall closet. Honestly my closet wasn’t too horrific, so it only took about 30 minutes to get this task complete.

My front Hall closet - before

My front Hall closet – before

I’m a BIG believer in using all the same hangers (preferably wood ones – Ikea sells packages for a good price, and so does Homesense) – this by default will make your closets look neater, so I was a bit dismayed to find some other types of hangers when I opened the door and really took a look.

Use hangers that are all the same - it make a big difference

Use hangers that are all the same – it make a big difference

The wire hangers were the first items to get added to my outbox, and were quickly followed by a couple of jackets I no longer wear, an old purse, and a pair of winter boots (I had bought a new pair just before Christmas). While cleaning out the old purse I discovered this which I’d forgotten I had:January cure - Starbucks

Woohoo! Cleaning is making me money!

My front hall closet - organized

My front hall closet – organized

Next I moved a few steps over to get started on my linen closet. I opened the door, and then was completely and utterly overwhelmed. Take a look – see overwhelming (I can’t believe I’m sharing my disaster with the world).Linen closet before I decided to take the easy route and started on my actual linens. I pulled everything out and discovered I had an awful lot of sheets for a home with only 1 bed. I also discovered I had a whole selection of never opened new sheets and pillowcases at the bottom of the big pile. I ended up adding about half my old sheets to my outbox, so that section of my linen closet is looking a lot better. When I looked at the rest of my closet I lost my organizing mojo, so it will have to wait for another day.

Slightly more organised

Slightly more organized

The tasks for the weekend were three fold – I was to mop my floors, buy green cleaning products, and buy myself flowers. If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I don’t have any difficulty buying myself flowers so that task was easily completed. I was less successful with the other two. I only managed to mop three rooms – my living room, the kitchen and the bathroom – my bedroom and dining room currently have random piles of stuff everywhere that I need to find homes for, and I was too lazy to move them to mop. January Cure - first flowersThe last task for the weekend was to buy new ‘green’ cleaning products. I already have cleaning products, and while they may not be ‘green’ I can’t see the point in buying new stuff until I need some – wouldn’t throwing out what I already have be just as bad for the environment as using it? Other than buying some toilet cleaner (because I needed it) I’m putting this task in the ‘not completed’ column. I will commit to buying green products from now on, so this task will eventually migrate over to the completed column.

I case I’ve given you the impression I didn’t accomplish much, by the end of the weekend my outbox had become 4 boxes, one table, a computer monitor and a bag of clothes, and instead of leaving it all to languish in boxes in my living room (which is a classic Michelle thing to do) I actually hauled it all out of my house and donated it – Yay me! January cure - out boxesI also drove out to Oshawa and picked up this Kijiji bookcase which will help me with the ‘get more storage’ item on the list of tasks for my living room, and I’ve decided it will be the project I commit to completing this month (Picking the project was the task for day 5). I really want to paint it (it’s currently black and rather institutional looking), but spray-paint is out since it’s winter, so I’ll have to come up with something else. Hopefully something amazing will come to me soon since it’s already the 11th of January.

The sellers photo

The sellers photo

Are you guys doing the January cure? Are you having any success?

These aren’t resolutions. Really.

After my not so stellar attempt at resolutions in 2012 I vowed I wasn’t going to make that same mistake again. Nope – I wasn’t going to make any sort of resolution or list or mental note or anything related to things I wanted to get done in 2013. And then I got an email on January 2nd.

Apparently sometime in December Apartment Therapy posted that they would be running what they’re calling the January Cure, and I signed up. With statements like: ‘If you are ready to whip your home into shape, get it clean, organized and under control, we’re here to help – let’s do it together! … we’ll send you emails from January 2 through February 1, giving you all the info you need to know to follow along, stay motivated and complete your assignments. By the end of January, you’ll be sitting pretty in a clean, fresh, organized home’ can you really blame me? I mean who doesn’t want to live in a clean and organised home? I certainly do.

Anyways, I signed up and then kinda forgot about it, that is until I got my first email about it on January 2nd. The task? Make a list of the things in each of the rooms in your home that you want to change. Drat. My not-making-any-resolutions-or-lists-in-2013 vow lasted about 30hrs into the New Year. Oh well. I’m a glutton for punishment so I made my list of things I wanted to change in each of the rooms in my home, and unsurprisingly discovered that quite a number of them are the same as what was on my list from last year. What’s a little different this time is I was supposed to keep the number of to-do items per room to 3-5 which forces you to prioritise what’s most important – the changes that will make the most impact. Here’s my list:

Foyer

  • Organise front hall closet
  • Organise linen closet
  • Change overhead light
  • Add a rug

Bedroom

  • Organise closet
  • Add window coverings
  • Get two matching bedside tables
  • Paint the walls

Bathroom

  • Organise medicine cabinet and under the sink
  • Replace the shower curtain rings

Living room

  • Organise the bookshelf and media cabinet
  • Add more lighting
  • Get some more storage
  • Add window coverings
  • Paint the walls

Kitchen

  • Organise my cabinets – make better use of limited space
  • Paint the ceiling
  • Update the lighting
  • Remove the weird (ugly) wall organiser

Dining Room

  • Repair walls and paint
  • Get more storage
  • Add window coverings
  • Change the overhead light

Its funny that when you only list 3-5 things per room the list seems rather manageable even though some of the things will be big jobs (I’m looking at you dining room walls). You probably noticed that the first thing for almost all the rooms is to organise. I’ve got so much stuff that isn’t organised in any particular way (Er, I guess that  means it’s disorganised) that I can’t find anything (my tape measure for example).

If you’d like to join Apartment Therapy’s January Cure you can click here, and in case you want to know what you’re getting yourself in for, here’s a schedule of everything you’ll be asked to do.

PS – Yesterday’s task was to create an ‘outbox’. Mine’s done, and I’m hoping it will soon be overflowing.

Apartment Therapy's January Cure - Day 2 - complete

Apartment Therapy’s January Cure – Day 2 – complete

I’m Honoured

In the past two weeks my little blog has been featured on two blogs that I read daily. When I spotted both in my feed reader I nearly jumped up and squealed, but that didn’t seem too appropriate while at work, so I kept my giddiness at bay – at least for a little while (you may have spotted some electronic joy if you follow me on twitter or Instagram).

First up my refinished dresser was featured on Lindsay’s Better After blog:

In the interest of full disclosure I did submit this project to Lindsay in the hopes she might share it, but it was still beyond exciting to see it featured as I had no idea if it would be. I love her site – she shares all sorts of projects from around the web, and her introductions are rather amusing.

Last Monday my console refinishing project was featured over on Apartment Therapy. This one was a complete and utter surprise – I have no idea how the people there saw it, but when I saw this in my reader there may have been an ‘Holy SH@#’ whispered by yours truly.

It’s always nice when others appreciate what your work, so I’d like to thank both Lindsay and Apartment Therapy for sharing two of my most loved projects with a wider audience. It’s very much appreciated.

On Blogging, Life, and Vandalism

When I created this blog about a year and half ago I did it mainly to keep my parents (but really my mom) up to date with my attempts at decorating my first place. I admittedly thought it would be quite neat if I could get a few other people to come by and comment every so often, but that wasn’t my goal. As time has gone by I’ve fallen into a trap, one I’m sure other bloggers have experienced – the numbers trap. Over time, I’ve had a few posts appear on some major blogs (my Dollarstore bookends were listed on Babble, and my Craigslist dresser was featured on Apartment Therapy) and those generated quite a bit of traffic to my little spot in cyberspace. For those of you non-bloggers traffic is measured in various ways, but it boils down to numbers, and those numbers can get addictive. When your numbers are going up it’s a great feeling, but conversely when your numbers go down your emotions can too.

I didn’t write a post at all last week which can be attributed to a few things, including writers block, plummeting traffic numbers leaving me feeling like this blog is pointless, and a few other things, one of which I’ll get into below. I think since I started my blog, last week was one of the few weeks I’ve missed posting even a little something. It’s an odd feeling – strangely I feel like somehow I‘ve failed. I’m not quite sure who I’ve failed, but the emotion is there, and it’s interfering mightily with my desire to blog at all.

I’ve never shared on my blog that I’m a member of the Board of Directors at my Co-ownership. Normally it’s not a big responsibility – we meet about every two months to go over the finances and deal with any issues that may arise. That said, we’ve decided that it’s time that the building have its windows replaced – ours were installed in the 80’s and don’t fit the Spanish Colonial style of the building. I’m the board’s representative on the window committee, and as such have been attending meetings with vendors to try to determine what type and style of window is best. My brain is literally overflowing with information on wood-clad vs. vinyl vs. fiberglass, casements vs. double-hung, simulated divided lights with interior or exterior grills, and cottage vs. regular split windows.

Last week I had one regular board meeting and then met twice with the committee to listen to potential vendors. That’s a lot of hours in one week to dedicate to a building, but I have always believed that the efforts of those of us who serve on such boards don’t go unnoticed. And then this happened:

I took these pictures with my cell phone so the quality isn’t great, but it’s what it looks like – someone in the building took a marker and drew two huge marks on the walls in our front stairway. What makes it worse – the board had just weeks before had all the interior common walls repainted at a cost of several thousand dollars. I know it shouldn’t, but this vandalism feels like a slap in the face. Our building is small – just 23 units. We know pretty much everyone (there are a few renters), so the fact that someone would deliberately do something like this wounds me. I and the other members of the board take the time out of our lives where we could be doing all the things we enjoy to help ensure all of our homes are well looked after. The vandal may as well have written ‘SCREW YOU’ in big black ugly letters (it actually feels like another word, but I try to keep this space PG).

Sigh. Alright. Enough venting. Sorry about that.

In other news I bought myself some lovely sunflowers yesterday.

Do sunflowers make you happy?

I’m not sure what it is about sunflowers, but they make me happy. I’ll be sure to look at them tomorrow after I get back from the emergency board meeting that was called in response to the lovely new art of our walls, and then maybe, if I feel up to it, I might draft a blog post about something that make me happy. Wish me luck.