1.31.2013

The January Cure: Day 22

I feel like I started off really strong in the January Cure, and I've really slowed it down here at the end. Today's task was to shop for your party. Which I haven't planned. What I do know, though, is that I have way too many party supplies–napkins, cupcake liners, cutlery, paper plates, etc. So, when I finally figure out what to do, I'm going to try to use up what we have around here. I did the same thing when we had a holiday party back in December; we made pancakes, and I was able to clear some stuff out of the cabinets to use as toppings.

Chip Off the Old Block

J. Crew just has just added lots of new spring items to their website. I have a lot on my wishlist, and I'm hoping that some of them will make it to the sale section. These pants really confuse me, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing them on sale...


I think that might be taking the colorblocking trend a little too far. I'm on board with these socks, though!


1.30.2013

The January Cure: Day 21

Today's task was one I knew I needed to do: a quick clean-up. For me, that meant vacuuming. Now that we have a new vacuum that can do floors AND rugs–and has lots of handy attachments–I'm realizing that regular vacuuming is the key to keeping our place clean. Our two bunnies may be fixed, but they certainly do produce a lot of little dust bunnies!

1.29.2013

The January Cure: Day 20

Today in the January Cure I was supposed to hang my artwork, but I already did that. So instead, I'll share some different progress. We have a new inbox! As I mentioned previously, everything about our landing strip works pretty well, except that I wasn't loving our spot for mail, keys, etc.

As a reminder, here's the before:


And here's the after:


Tada! I ordered a set of inboxes and an accessory tray from Poppin. After fruitlessly searching for something cool and vintage on Etsy, this seemed like the most practical option. I'm hopeful that it will be super-functional for us. I also like that I can just grab it and stash it in the bedroom if we're having people over and serving food on the bar.

This was my first time to order from Poppin, and their packaging is super cute. This is what I found when I opened the box:


Love it!

Blanket Beauty

Isn't this Pendleton blanket beautiful? And it's seriously marked down at Urban Outfitters.


1.28.2013

The January Cure: Day 19

I'm glad that I had the weekend off and today is a catch-up day; it's been a nice break. This is the final week of the Cure, and I hope to take some good apartment photos this weekend to share. Right this minute, though, we're trying to get the bunnies to get along. So, I guess it hasn't totally been a day off after all.

1.27.2013

The January Cure: Day 18

I took the weekend off from doing any work on the Cure, but fortunately I was all caught up. The tasks were to clean the living room, empty the outbox, and buy flowers. I didn't end up getting flowers until the middle of last week, so they are still going strong. The outbox has already been emptied once, but we'll need to make another trip to Goodwill at the end of the month. Finally, I cleaned the living room last weekend at the same time as I did the bedroom. Since we had family in town this weekend, I was glad I didn't have anything to tackle for a few days!

1.25.2013

Well-Heeled

It's Friday. Let's keep things simple and check out some cute shoes from Loft:




One, two, three.

1.24.2013

The January Cure: Day 17

As we come into the home stretch on the Cure, I'm running out of stuff to do, but that's nothing to complain about! Today's assignment was to think about the lighting in your living room. Our apartment is a loft, so our living room is also the dining room, office, and kitchen.

The Cure suggests having alternative sources of light than just the overheard. I totally hate the overhead light in our living room; it's really harsh and usually only gets turned on if we're cleaning. Instead, we have a lamp on either side of the room, usually leave the kitchen light on (it's behind the couch/living room area), and often leave the pendant light over the dining table on. None of these sources are particularly bright, so they create a nice atmosphere. We have lamps on either side of the TV, but they're distracting if the TV is on. We usually only turn those on for parties.

I had to learn about ambient lighting when I lived in DC because my tiny studio didn't have an an overhead light. I had four lamps, tube lighting underneath my bed and couch, and usually left the closet light on.

In our current situation, the only change I'd like to make is to have a spot to sit with a bright light for reading. Our ambient lights are great most of the time, but if we want to read, we have to go in the bedroom.

Here are a few shots of our living room lighting:





A Better Pill

TOTALLY loving this enamel pill keychain from Jonathan Adler. I'm a big fan of anything that can hold a few Excedrin. 


1.23.2013

The January Cure: Day 16

Another day of the Cure, another job I've already done. Today I was supposed to clean out the bathroom and the medicine cabinet. I started tackling the bathroom back at the beginning of the Cure. Now our drawers and cabinets are clean, neat, and the stuff we need is easier to get to. Win, win, win.

1.22.2013

The January Cure: Day 15

Today's job was to get your cords under control. This is something that we had to do by necessity when we first got Bernie over two years ago. Bunnies are notorious cord-chewers, so we had to take precautionary measures by containing the mess of cords that had lived under the living room TV. One trip to Ikea later, and it looked like this:


I don't think Ikea sells this exact product any more, but there are other options out there. Like this one, that lives behind our bedroom TV:


There used to be a mess of cords on the right side of the dresser, but no more!


Pretty much any other cords around here are covered in either this cord cover from Ikea or plastic tubing from the hardware store. Dixie, our newer bunny, is much more adventurous (and naughty) than Bernie. She's ruined a surge protector, an iPhone cord, and a Macbook cord. The $80 to replace that computer cord wasn't fun, so it's now fully coated:


Do you cords drive you crazy? The Container Store and Poppin both have lots of helpful options for getting them under control. I recently got the Cable Turtle for the incredibly long cord on my hair straightener and it makes the bathroom feel so much neater.

1.21.2013

The January Cure: Day 14

Today I was tasked with getting our files and papers in order, which was already on my to-do list. I finally made file folders for 2013, but I need to locate the little plastic tabs to stick in the top. I also submitted a couple of claims for my health spending account (using their snazzy new iPhone app!) and started the process of changing my name on a couple of old mutual funds.

I reorganized our filing cabinet and Jud's desk a little, but not much else to report. In other news, though, we finally took our couch cushions to the reupholster last week. The seat cushions are tufted, and the seams were splitting near the buttons. I've literally been putting this off for years, and I'm so glad we finally just took care of it. We used a local place that had recovered a couple of chairs for us, and they had the cushions back to us in less than 24 hours. Moral of the story: get on it! I spend about a zillion hours on this couch, and now I don't have this little task nagging me every time I'm here.

I hope everyone had a great MLK/Inauguration Day. I appreciated having a day off and was glad to get a few more things done around the apartment.

1.20.2013

The January Cure: Day 13

This weekend I was supposed to work on the bedroom and get flowers. I'll pick up some flowers when I'm out tomorrow, but I got lucky because the bedroom was really, really close to being finished. I've been doing tons of work on my closet and drawers, so all it really needed was a quick dust and vacuum, then Jud washed the sheets.

So, since I've been working hard to whittle down my clothes, shoes, and accessories, I thought I'd share some tips on reselling them. As I mentioned last weekend, we made $215 by visiting our favorite resale shops. Here's how:

1. Purge, purge, purge. The first step is going go through your closet and be ruthless. Pull out everything that doesn't fit, is stained, that you don't wear any more, and that is no longer representative of your style. Then do it again. Try on things that you're unsure about. Think about when you last wore something. I've had items that I'll wear nonstop for one season, and then next season I don't give them a second look. The chances that I'll pull that item out next year and wear it again? Pretty slim. Don't forget to go through all your shoes, jewelry, and accessories as well.

2. Sort. Inspect each item closely and sort into two piles: one to sell, and one to donate. Anything that is stained, pilling, ripped, or missing buttons should go into the donate pile. Also throw in anything that counts as a pajama or undergarment; resale places rarely take those.

4. Know where to sell. I'm lucky to live in a large city with multiple options. I always hit up several, and I do it in order from where I think I'll make the most money and be the most successful to where I think I'll have the least luck. Do some searching online to find places, then stop in before you want to sell so you can get an idea of what kinds of items they buy and how much they sell them for.


Locally, Rag-O-Rama is my favorite, and they now have two locations. I go to both. There are also two Plato's Closets in Atlanta. Buffalo Exchange has also just opened up here, so that's on my list too. That's five places that I can–and do–go. Last weekend we hit up four out of five. The first Rag-O-Rama gave us about $40, the second gave us $130, Buffalo Exchange gave us another $40, and Plato's Closet (the last stop) only bought two things and gave us $5.

I prefer to go to stores that pay cash right away vs. consignment stores. If you're selling designer labels or higher-value items, then consignment may be a good option.


4. Pack it up. Clothes don't need to be wrinkle-free to resell them, but they should be clean and folded neatly. Wash anything that needs it, and toss anything that smells musty into the dryer for a few minutes (a few spritzes of Febreze also helps). Fold everything up and put it in large shopping bags or reusable grocery bags. A lot of people take their clothes in garbage bags, but I think that implies that what's inside is garbage.

5. Sell! When I can, I try to show up right when the stores open so that I don't have a long wait. If it's your first time, they'll explain their process to you. On average, most places will give you around 50% of the price that they'll sell it for in store credit, or 30% in cash. I always, always take the cash. If it's going to take more than 20 minutes for them to go through my bags, I leave the store and come back later. Personally, I rarely see much in the store that I want or need, and I want to avoid the temptation to spend the money I've just made.

Also, and this is really important, you absolutely can't let yourself think about how much money you've made vs. how much you originally spent. It's a losing game. If you sold an item that you wore many times and loved, then getting some cash for it is just an added bonus; you already got your money's worth out of it. If you sold an item that you never really wore, then you learned a valuable lesson about what's realistic for your lifestyle.

6. If at first you don't succeed, try try again. There are always a few items that are in perfect condition that, for whatever reason, the store doesn't purchase. Maybe it's out of season, maybe they already have several similar items in stock, or maybe they are currently looking for other sizes. Or, maybe the salesperson that day just overlooked it. Pull out the items that you think deserve a second chance and use that bag as the starter for your next visit. Donate the rest.

7. Become a more mindful shopper. The most valuable part of this process is that it makes you really think about what you do and don't wear, what you do and don't like, and what fits into your lifestyle. Use this information the next time you go shopping. I, for example, am always drawn to sparkly things, but I very rarely wear them. Last week I found myself seriously considering a sequined miniskirt and a pair of gold boots (both on sale), but I was able to think rationally and realize that the chances of me getting my money's worth out of them were slim. So, I passed.

8. Keep it up. I sell about once a season and comb through my closet each time to evaluate what needs to go. Each time I get a little better at approaching the task rationally and not getting too sentimental. Think about the value of having room in your closet and your drawers for new items that you will find and love. Some people have a one-in-one-out rule. For me, I don't ever buy new coathangers. If I run out, I know it's time for another critical look.

Good luck and happy selling! I haven't tried my hand at selling online, but I know that there are a lot of new websites and apps popping up to help you do just that. If you don't live in an area with good in-store options, those may be worth looking at.

1.18.2013

Shop 'til You Drop

I made a quick trip to the mall yesterday and I saw an insane amount of pink and orange at Loft and Gap, and it was all on sale–with markdowns on new merchandise and extra markdowns on sale items. Lots of deals out there if you plan to do a little shopping on your three day weekend!



Gap and Loft.

1.17.2013

The January Cure: Day 12

Today's job was to declutter your books and media. Jud and I did an enormous sweep of our books, DVDs, and video games last year. At the beginning of the Cure, I did another sweep and tossed a few more books in the outbox.

So, while I still need to deal with some papers and filing, the rest of this has been taken care of. So, I thought I'd share two resources for getting rid of your books and media.

Half.com–I started using Half.com in college to buy and sell my textbooks, and it's a great way to sell off other books, DVDs, and video games. You just enter the ISBN number, and it tells you what other people are selling the same item for. If you want your stuff to move, then price your item at $.25 to $.50 less that the lowest one listed. Every month or so, check your price and adjust them as needed to stay competitive  Once and item is purchased, you'll get an email with the person's address, and you just toss it in the mail. Half.com is run by eBay, and they take a small cut of your sale, but they also give you a little for shipping.

Paperbacks and bestsellers are a dime a dozen on Half.com, so I've found it to be better for other media or books that are more "special." Which leads to...

PaperBackSwap.com–If you have books that aren't really worth anything, then you can list them here. Like Half.com, you just enter the ISBN numbers. When someone requests a book, you put it in the mail. Instead of getting paid, though, you earn a point that you can use to request a book that you want. So, basically, you trade. The selection isn't particularly amazing, but you can create a wishlist and be notified when a book becomes available. They also have sister sites where you can swap CDs and DVDs, and points can be transferred between them. If you are feeling generous, you can donate your points to schools or members of the military so that they can order books.

I think most of us are guilty of harboring collections of once-watched DVDs and never-read books, and a little media cleanse is a great way to to free up shelf space.

One last tip: Find a spot to store all of the items you have listed online. Then, when something is requested, you don't have to dig through all of your entire library to locate it. Also have a few sizes of mailing envelopes, packing tape, and address labels on hand.

Hip to Zip

Jud got me the Kate Spade gloves I'd been coveting for Christmas (the first pair in this post), but it hasn't really been cold enough to get much use out of them yet. Maybe we'll have a snow day (or snow week!) before spring arrives. There's talk of flurries tonight...

I bought myself a pair of touch gloves from Echo before the holidays, which are great to wear while I am actively using my phone or writing, because they are thin. And with the contrasting orange zipper, who can resist?


1.16.2013

The January Cure: Day 11

Today I was supposed to do a media fast for the evening. No TV, no computer, no smartphone. Well I failed miserably. I am a pro at telavisaphonernetting, a skill I mastered in grad school. Maybe the first step for me is to cut back to one piece of technology at a time.

I'm guilty of leaving the TV on most of the time for background noise. We have a radio and I'd love to listen to NPR at home more often, but it is difficult to get a clear signal in our apartment. I also keep an eye on my work emails that come to my phone throughout the evening, even though I wait to respond until I'm back in the office the next day. I also read tons of articles and blogs online, but find it harder to start a new book. Clearly I need to think about adjusting my habits.

This is one I'm going to have to work at!

Fancy Feet

My bookmarks folder is full of things that I planned to post about before the holidays, but didn't. Blergh. I think I'll try to categorize everything into a few posts to clean it out. Today, let's check out a few pairs of shoes.




Kate Spade, Steve Madden, Loft.

1.15.2013

The January Cure: Day 10

Today's Cure assignment was to work on your big goal project. As I decided on Day 5, my big project is to deal with all the little projects that I've been putting off. Crossing a few things off my list each day feels great.

Here's what I accomplished today:

  • put the bunnies on a short date (bonding our bunnies has become a long, long project)
  • got a quote for having our couch cushions repaired (and I will drop them off on Thursday)
  • finished reorganizing my dresser and nightstand drawers
  • reorganized the cubbies of stationary, party supplies, and paper goods
  • oiled the dining room table
In total, this all took about an hour. I'm tempted to continue to add to my physical list (I've certainly been adding to my mental list), but I think I'll hold off for now. I'm enjoying seeing my to-dos shrink each day :)

1.14.2013

The January Cure: Day 9

Today's task was to create a landing strip. The idea of a landing strip is to have an organized plan for what to do with your stuff the moment it comes in the door. This prevents clutter and pile-up from happening in the first place.

Although it's not perfect, we already have a good system in place. When I walk in the door, my purse, coat, and tote bag are hung by the front door. We each get to have only one coat hanging on the laundry room door; the rest are stored on a rod right inside.

The red bins below the hooks hold reusable shopping bags. If it's raining, there's an umbrella stand on the other side of the door (made of an old missile!). Jud drops his briefcase across the room on his desk.


(That's a cinnamon broom hanging out with our umbrellas).

Once I'm in the door, I take any food containers out of my tote bag and drop them in the kitchen. Then I grab the mail key and run back outside to check the mail. The kitchen light takes a minute to come on, so I read the mail and put the dishes away when I get back.


The corner of our kitchen counter is where we deal with mail and the things that come and go. The orange magazine file holds labels, stamps, coupons, and stuff that needs to be dealt with. The dish next to it is for keys and pens. Next to that you'll usually find checks to take to the bank, DVDs from the library, notes from the apartment office, etc.

Our system almost works. We go through the mail right by the trashcan, so it's easy to toss or recycle the junk. The letter opener, though, is all the way across the room on Jud's desk, which is where bills end up. We're on a hunt for a new organizer that will replace the dish and the magazine file; something small and simple, but with room for labels, stamps, a pen, a letter opener, and keys. And, obviously, incoming and outgoing mail and papers.

Has anyone seen anything good?

The other component of a landing strip that Apartment Therapy addresses is what you do with your shoes. Unless we're headed back out soon, Jud and I are both good about putting our shoes away in our respective closets shortly after we get in.

1.13.2013

The January Cure: Day 8

This weekend's tasks in the January Cure were to buy flowers, clean the kitchen (REALLY clean it), and cook dinner in your newly cleaned kitchen.

On Saturday night I tackled the kitchen while Jud worked on the bathroom. Two hours later, both rooms are looking so, so much better. I had already cleaned out all the drawers and cabinets in the bathroom, so Jud's task was to deep clean, especially in the shower. I'm looking forward to a bath in our newly sparkling tub!

Meanwhile, I attacked the kitchen. A couple of months ago I went through all of our food and tossed everything that was expired or that I knew we wouldn't eat. Then I made a list of the foods that we needed to try to finish up. Last night I did another sweep and cleaned out anything else that had expired or that we still hadn't eaten. Then it was all about taking every. single. thing. out of the cabinets and fridge and wiping it all down.

In other news, we've been making serious progress on my original list. The outbox was taking over the laundry room, so we piled most of it into the car for a trip to Goodwill and to sell the clothing at our favorite resale shops. $215 and an empty laundry room later, I'm feeling great.

Since the January Cure is now over a third of the way through, let's see what's been accomplished so far:


Bedroom:
-reorganize dresser and nightstand drawers (almost there)
-pull out any clothes to sell or donate
-do something with the framed art/photos on the floor by the TV
-find a frame for my new bunny parade print
-clean out the green box on top of my dresser
-look into getting a better scale
-find a new bedside lamp for Jud

Bathroom:
-reorganize cabinet of extra toiletries
-wipe out drawers
-deep-clean the shower
-reorganize nailpolish
-get a new clock
-scrub the hairspray gunk off the the lid of the toilet seat
-get maintenance to fix our hissing toilet

Laundry Room:
-rehang tablecloths
-clean out blue drawers and bin of bunny stuff
-wipe down the washer and dryer and use Goo-Gone on the weird sticky strip on the dryer

Entryway:
-throw out the reusable shopping bags that are worn out or never used
-reorganize the dishes and decorations in the yellow buffet
-rethink the decorations on top of the yellow buffet

Kitchen:
-choose recipes to use up some neglected ingredients in the cabinets and freezer
-wipe down the inside of the refrigerator
-go through and deal with/put away everything in the orange mail holder (halfway there)
-look through cookbooks to sell/donate those that I don't use and identify recipes in the others that I'd like to make
-recycle excess paper shopping bags
-find a better place to keep the aprons
-get more magnets

Living Room:
-do another sweep for DVDs and video games to sell
-look into having the split seams on the couch cushions repaired
-continue to work on bonding the bunnies so that they can share a pen (working on it, but it's going to take a while)
-look for new rugs for the bunnies' pens

Office Area:
-reorganize the cubbies of stationary and paper goods
-do another sweep for books to sell/donate
-make 2013 file folders for medical, paystubs, and bank documents
-print and file 2012 paystubs
-figure out how to unlock our new bank

Dining Room:
-oil the table
-find or make tags or labels for the decanters on the bar (rethinking if I need/want these)
-re-do the decorations on the top of the bar

Of course crossing these things off of the list has led to other little projects. A lot of this stuff is, honestly, too boring to blog about, so I think when this is all said and done, I'll wrap up the series with a tour of the apartment.

I almost forgot: in addition to cleaning the kitchen, I was supposed to buy flowers and cook a new meal for dinner. I picked up some tiny pink roses on sale at Kroger today and we made cheese and avocado quesadillas in our new cast iron skillet for dinner. I'm a little embarrassed that we've never made them at home before, but we seriously need more fast, easy, and flexible meal options in our repertoire, and this definitely fits the bill.

1.11.2013

Step and Repeat

It's Friday! Let's keep things light and check out two celebrities wearing pink and orange. Kerry Washington and Petra Nemcova.



1.10.2013

The January Cure: Day 7

Today's assignment: plan a party or get-together for the first weekend in February. I love to plan parties! Maybe even more than I enjoy actually having them. Our parties usually have a theme; this year Jud's had a root-beer tasting for his birthday, and I served a ten course sit-down dinner of only marshmallows for mine. For the holidays, we had a pancake brunch.

So...what to do the first weekend in February? Our get-togethers are usually on the larger side and, while a crowd can be fun, I find it hard to host a big group and also get a chance to really talk to people. I think for this party we should keep it intimate.

I'm going to let the idea simmer for a few days before getting a plan together and sending out invites. I've found that our friends are more likely to respond closer to the date of an event, and as fun as it is to design and mail paper invitations, an e-mail or e-vite is the most effective means for actually getting a response.

Any ideas for a fun, low-key party?

Pump It Up

Yet another pair of adorable pink and orange Kate Spade shoes? (With a reasonable heel!) Oh, if you insist.


1.09.2013

The January Cure: Day 6

I swear, I haven't read ahead about the daily assignments for the cure. Nonetheless, today's task was to choose a piece of art that needs to be framed and to get to it. I literally did that exact thing on...Monday.

Before:


I've hung other pieces with binder clips and it's looked ok, but I wasn't feeling it this time around. A quick trip to Ikea on my lunchbreak and...

After:



Much better! I got the print back in November and am glad that it is now framed and finished.

Despite having already completed today's task, I soldiered on and did some decluttering this evening. Our outbox (or pile of tote bags) keeps growing each day.

Puddle Jumpers

I have a pair of orange Hunter rain-boots that I love, but lately I've also been wanting some rubber flats that I could wear in rainy weather. Enter these lovlies from Kate Spade!


They're perfect! Perfect except that I don't want to spend $98 on them, so I'm going to sit tight and hope for a sale. It's too cold to wear them for another couple of months anyways!

1.08.2013

The January Cure: Day 5

Day Five's task in the January Cure is to choose one project to complete that will make a noticeable difference. Hmmm...I've already done a few small projects, and looking through my list, almost everything falls into three categories: stuff I need to buy, stuff I need to clean, and stuff I need to rearrange. I've already made good progress and have been able to cross off a few things each day.

This got me thinking that my project is really to make and maintain a list of stuff to work on, beyond the stretch of this month. At work, I rely on my hand-written to-do list, automatic calendar reminders, and an organized e-mail inbox to get things done. How come I'm not implementing any of this at home? I love to cross things off of lists!

So, I'm going to continue to tackle little projects each day. We all have little things that annoy us (like the broken clock in our bathroom that I just replaced today!) or need to be addressed, but that we keep putting off. Spending 10 or 20 minutes each day tackling one of these little projects should lead to greater peace of mind. Having a clean, orderly space really does have a direct impact on my mood and state of mind, so staying on top of those little tasks can really make a difference.

Anybody with any bigger home-improvement projects that you want to work on?

The January Cure: Day 4

Monday's task in the cure was pretty simple: sit in a place in your apartment that you rarely sit and look around for ten minutes. The goal is to gain a new perspective and consider new ideas for improving your space.

So! I am blogging from this chair:


Located right next to the TV, I look at it all the time, but I rarely sit here. It does, though, give me an opportunity to look over the entire main room of our apartment. As I look around, I actually feel really good about the layout and design that we've gone with. An open loft like ours is a challenge, but in the four and a half years that Jud and I have lived here, we've made constant changes to make the space both more functional and aesthetically pleasing.

One of the suggestions was to think about how the space looked empty. I can't do that without thinking about all of the other furniture layouts we've had in here over the years. At one point we had four (yes FOUR) sofas. When we moved in, all of my furniture was pink and red and all of Jud's was green and brown. A stranger could literally walk around and point out which of us each item had previously belonged to.

So, while I haven't had any big lightbulbs go off, I do see a few areas that need work. Our two bunnies are currently living in separate pens while we bond them, and then we've had to temporarily block off another area where they were causing trouble. I love them, but all of this is taking up about a third of our living space. We need to continue the work to get them fully bonded and sharing one pen so we can regain some room.

Also, we've made huge strides in de-cluttering  but I still see areas for improvement: Jud's desk, the top of the fridge, and our mail area (AT calls it a "landing strip") could all use another look. Several years ago I hung fabric from the underside of our bar to hide big items like a folding table, our luggage, and the Christmas tree. I would love to be able to open that area up, but since we don't have any "real" closets, there is literally nowhere else to keep these things.

Anyone else feel like taking 10 minutes to sit down and think about your home? What did you discover?

1.07.2013

Pink and Orange Challenge: Day 55

On Saturday I snagged an excellent deal on this sweater at J. Crew. Marked down from $90 to $35, I just couldn't pass it up.


1.06.2013

The January Cure: Day 3

Lot of progress in The January Cure this weekend! I got lucky, though, because I had already done everything that was assigned for Day 3.

Buy flowers? Did it on Thursday!


Purchase green cleaning products? Already have them.

Vacuum and mop? Check and check. In fact, Jud and I got a new vacuum for Christmas that has rocked my world. Seriously. Our old one had been parents' and was older than I am. After a trip around the apartment with the new one, the canister was so full that you would think I had never vacuumed this apartment. It was so satisfying that I spent the next day thinking of nooks and crannies that I might have missed so that I could vacuum again that night.

So, since I was ahead of the game, I worked on a few other tasks from my list. First up, the bar. Here's the before:


Ugh, such a cluttered mess. And the dying bamboo is a nice touch. We've been collecting old decanters, but they're totally obscured by everything else. So, 10 minute of rearranging later...




MUCH better. And I was able to add in a wine decanter and some glasses that were stored in other cabinets.

While I was at it, I decided the shelves over the adjacent kitchen counter needed a makeover as well. Here's the before:


Not bad, but there were a few displaced items from the bar that were now homeless. One quick rearrange later, and I had this:


Not a huge difference, but the shelves are now more functional. After that, I headed over to the entryway. Here's our yellow buffet before:


This is a space that's been redecorated a dozen times, but it was starting to feel a little cluttered. The huge book is Phaidon's The Art Museum. It's an amazing compilation of the best artworks in the world bound into one "museum," and every few days we flip to a new page to display.

The stacks of red books are a cool set of 70s decorating encyclopedias (more here). The other treasures include a selzer bottle and penguino pitcher from our honeymoon in Argentina, a gold pear, a rabbit candlestick, a teeny painting of a werewolf, and a wind-up rabbit drummer. It took a little while, but here was the final result:


A few years ago, you might have called my decorating style "clutter chic." Every time I rearrange, I try to embrace a "less is more" philosophy.

And, finally, Jud and I picked up a couple of new pillow shams on sale at Youngblood on Sunday. The store is changing owners, and everything was marked down 40%. Here's one of our living room sofas before:


This is just a slice of our crazy pillow situation. Of the nine in our living room, only two matched. Five minutes (and some serious stuffing) later, we had this:


A small change, but it feels more cohesive now. (Note: Those sock monkeys? They are siamese twins!)

So, less than a week in, and so far I'm enjoying making a concerted effort to get things in order for the new year. Did anyone else do any cleaning or rearranging this weekend?

1.04.2013

The January Cure: Day 2

Thursday's task in The Cure was to create an Outbox. What's an Outbox? I'll let Apartment Therapy explain:

"The Outbox...is a halfway house where things sit while their fate is being decided...Once an item has sat in the Outbox for some time, it releases its hold over the owner and becomes just an ordinary object that one can easily decide what to do with."

Fortunately, this is an easy concept for me. Jud and I keep a bag in our laundry room for clothes that we want to sell, which we add to throughout the year, then take them to our favorite resale stores once or twice a season.

We already had such a bag going, so that was my start. I threw in a few pairs of shoes that I haven't been wearing and two thoroughly used and loved old handbags. I also did a quick scan of our books and found a few that I no longer want, along with a couple of cookbooks. Finally, I spent a few minutes in the bathroom, dealing with my overly large collection of hotel toiletries. Does anyone else out there hoard those travel-sized items, but then never use them? I tossed all the unused ones that I don't want into a plastic bag and added that to the Outbox as well.

Here's a pictures of the lovely pile in the corner of our tiny laundry room:


1.03.2013

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! I've been MIA over the past two weeks during our travels to Texas for the holidays, but now I'm back and ready for a new year filled with lots more pink and orange.

I've been thinking for a while now about expanding this blog to be more than just a bunch of links to cute pink and orange things I find online. While I still want to do that, I've also been thinking about how to grow the blog and make it more personal. I'd love to write a little about food, decorating, home organization, work, etc.

So, to kick it off, here's my plan for January: The Apartment Therapy January Cure! Each day, Apartment Therapy emails you a task to complete, and by the end of the month you have a more organized, clean, and attractive home. What a great way to start off the new year!

I'm pretty organized, do a decent job of dusting and vacuuming regularly, and our apartment is fully painted, furnished, and decorated. Back in the spring, Jud and I did an enormous (for our tiny apartment) purge of absolutely everything we don't want or need (using Goodwill, Craigslist, Half.com, and a couple of local clothing resale stores) and have kept it up ever since. So, while we don't have much excess clutter, I do feel like there are some areas I could work on to make our space work even better for us.

Wednesday's task was to just make a list of the tasks you'd like to accomplish. So, after a walk through the apartment, here's what I've got, room by room:

Bedroom:
-reorganize dresser and nightstand drawers
-pull out any clothes to sell or donate
-do something with the framed art/photos on the floor by the TV
-find a frame for my new bunny parade print
-clean out the green box on top of my dresser
-look into getting a better scale
-find a new bedside lamp for Jud

Bathroom:
-reorganize cabinet of extra toiletries
-wipe out drawers
-deep-clean the shower
-reorganize nailpolish
-get a new clock
-scrub the hairspray gunk off the the lid of the toilet seat
-get maintenance to fix our hissing toilet

Laundry Room:
-rehang tablecloths
-clean out blue drawers and bin of bunny stuff
-wipe down the washer and dryer and use Goo-Gone on the weird sticky strip on the dryer

Entryway:
-throw out the reusable shopping bags that are worn out or never used
-reorganize the dishes and decorations in the yellow buffet
-rethink the decorations on top of the yellow buffet

Kitchen:
-choose recipes to use up some neglected ingredients in the cabinets and freezer
-wipe down the inside of the refrigerator
-go through and deal with/put away everything in the orange mail holder
-look through cookbooks to sell/donate those that I don't use and identify recipes in the others that I'd like to make
-recycle excess paper shopping bags
-find a better place to keep the aprons
-get more magnets

Living Room:
-do another sweep for DVDs and video games to sell
-look into having the split seams on the couch cushions repaired
-continue to work on bonding the bunnies so that they can share a pen
-look for new rugs for the bunnies' pens

Office Area:
-reorganize the cubbies of stationary and paper goods
-do another sweep for books to sell/donate
-make 2013 file folders for medical, paystubs, and bank documents
-print and file 2012 paystubs
-figure out how to unlock our new bank

Dining Room:
-oil the table
-find or make tags or labels for the decanters on the bar
-re-do the decorations on the top of the bar

Wow, that feels like a lot! A lot of these tasks will take less than 30 minutes, though, so I think it's pretty manageable. And, fortunately, not everything has to be crossed off the list by the end of the month. If anyone would like to join in on the Cure, it's not too late to start! Go here to sign up for the daily emails. I'd love to know what others are working on.

I'm planning to post lots of updates along the way with photos of my progress. And no worries, I'll still be sharing links to any cute pink and orange stuff that I come across all month long!