Here’s my confession: I am not a dirty person, but I can be messy. I’m really really bad at picking up after myself. It should be so easy. The scissors come out, they make a cut, and then they’re supposed to go back in their drawer. But instead they end up on the dining room table, and then I run off to do something else. Soon the table is hidden under a thick layer of detritus and the bedroom floor is covered in clothes. Sigh. The junk piles up. And then putting it away becomes an actual time-consuming chore.
But people can change, right? (Shhhhhh — they can). As a first step toward change, I decided to join Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. The goal is to get a little more organized. Each day we get a new task. Some are easy (making lists). Some are kind of awful (mopping the floors, organizing files). I haven’t been religious about every single task, but I’ve mostly stuck with the program. Here’s an update on a few of the tasks. (To see the full task list, go here.)
Day 5: Select one project to complete
I got a head start on this. I not only selected a project, I completed it. I painted the hallway. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile. When we moved into our apartment, most of it was painted a color I like to call “chainsmoker yellow.” I grew to loathe it. As of a couple of weeks ago, only the kitchen and hallway remained that color. I wanted them to be crisp, clean white. So I decided to paint both White Dove by Benjamin Moore. So far I’ve completed the hallway, which used to look like this.
(Hmmm. Both photos look kind of awful. So you’ll have to trust me that the after looks better. Hallways are really tough to photograph.)
That back door is locked and unusable, so we created some additional storage by hanging a curtain. The dresser from the first photo partially blocked my office doorway, so it found a new home. And I gave away the original curtains, which were sun-bleached and ugly. The hallway is actually much darker than the photos suggest. There’s no overhead light (although it looks like there used to be one — see the medallion?). I used a flash to give you a sense of the color, but it actually looks more like this.
Off to the left is the bathroom. Off to the right is my office. And at the way back, on the left, there’s a closet with a sliding door. The curtain covers the back half of this closet, but we hardly ever need to get in there.
I think a bright runner, like maybe this kilim, would be lovely here. Unfortunately it’s not in the budget right now. Perhaps I could spring for some cheerier curtains instead.
Day 6: Frame some Artwork
The framing task came at the perfect time. I had just ordered this jellyfish photo from Mammoth & Company. The actual image is 7″ square, but all Mammoth & Company art comes on standard size paper, in this case 8″ x 10″. That left me with some not-so-great framing options: 1. Put the image in an 8×10 frame and have uneven borders. Or 2. have it professionally framed.
Professional framing looks amazing, but it’s undeniably expensive. (If you’re in New York City, I recommend 567 Framing. They do good work for a reasonable price.) Uneven borders, on the other hand, can look kind of amateur. However, when I stumbled across this 13″ square frame at West Elm, I realized I had a third option: a ready-made frame plus a custom mat. 567 cut me one for just $10. Add that to the cost of the frame ($20), and you’ve got yourself a bargain. But it still looks professional — win win! Here it is in its new home on my office wall.
7: Plan a Get Together
I had already planned a dinner party! So take that, Cure.
Instead of sending paper invites via snail mail, I sent electronic invites via Paperless Post. So much classier than Evite. Some cards are free, others cost money. This design cost 3 “coins” per invitee, but I received 25 free coins in exchange for joining (25 coins = $5). So I didn’t have to pay anything this time. (Like Evite, your guests can RSVP online).
We invited three other couples for a total of 8 people (including us). It’s the first time we’ve ever needed two leaves in the table!
I mostly worked with what I had for the table, but I did buy a longer tablecloth, new napkins, and new vases. I love the vases, but I wouldn’t recommend the napkins — even for the sale price of $11.99 for a set. They’re cheaply made with wonky corners, and they come out of the dryer so wrinkly they need to be ironed before every use. Shame on you, West Elm and Allegra Hicks. I expected better.
Enough chastising. Back to the dinner party!
The MenuStarters Cheese, Salami, Bread, Crackers, Olives Soup Cauliflower Soup Main Porchetta Sides Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts Arugula, Fennel, and Orange Salad Roasted Butternut Squash Dessert Apple Cake Vanilla Ice Cream Salted Caramel Sauce
Are you participating in the January Cure? What projects have you checked off your to-do list?