1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Cure: Week One

I posted last week about how I'm a slob and our house has devolved into a quivering mass of hideousness.

Then I found a cure! I read about the book Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure on a houseblog, but I can't remember which one. Whoever you are, I'm indebted to you!

I ordered the book on the last day of my free trial Amazon Prime subscription, and it arrived - to my delight - just one day later.

While the author's apartment is roughly 11 times smaller than my house (250 meager square feet), the heart of this book is the same for all homes. It focuses on the "health" of your home - bones, heart, head and ... um, something else I can't remember right now. It helps you "diagnose your home’s physical, emotional, and energy flow issues" and treat them, too. (Check out the book's blog here for more info.)

I took a quiz to determine my home's health, and it scored low, mostly due to the clutter and the unfinished repairs. That means I need the Deep Treatment.

Week One of the deep treatment requires us to do the following:

1. Vacuum/mop/sweep all floors in the house. Yeah, that's easier to do in a one-bedroom apartment than a ginormous old house with constructional materials lying about, but I'm giving it a go.

On Sunday I tackled the bedroom with the broom and the Clorox ReadyMop. The bedroom was probably the most disgusting room in the house. Since we can shut the door and hide it away from guests - or potential guests, haven't had many lately since I'm too embarassed to let people in this pigsty - we tend to let the clutter get completely out of hand. Both Darwin and I pile our clothes everywhere instead of putting them away, and you saw my shoes strewn all over the floor.

The cute fireplace mantel and tile surround were completely obscured with junk - receipts and clothes tags and extra buttons all over the mantel, bags and boxes and an unopened set of flannel sheets on the hearth. A spider had built a web between a shoebox and the portable heater that was STILL sitting there from this winter.

The dust bunnies under the bed and nightstand were large enough to wreak havoc on a major metropolis. It was all so gross.

Also, I noticed my high-heeled shoes have been making shallow impressions in the soft heart pine floor in front of the door and its full-length mirror. I feel really awful about that. But after the sweeping and mopping, I got the idea to bring in a runner from the hall to replace the shorter rug beside my bed. In the hall, the runner has been sitting on top of a carpet runner because we never got around to removing the carpet. So that solves two problems in one. Actually, three, because I moved the small bedside rug into the guest bathroom to cover the plywood floor. It's amazing what a different these little shifts made!

The bedroom - it feels wonderful now. It's still cluttered with too many clothes and shoes, but that's a project for another week.

As for the rest of the house, Darwin vacuumed the living room and hall from front to back and swept MASSIVE orange cat hair dust bunnies from under the armoire beside the cats' food and water dishes. These dust bunnies made the ones in the bedroom look like tiny bits of fluff.

It's sort of shocking to realize what filth we've been living with!

Still to go: Kitchen, office, laundry room, guest room, guest bath, cats' room. The vacuum bag got full, and we didn't have another one, so those had to wait.

2. Go around the house and list all repairs that need to be done. Brainstorm solutions. Ha ha ha ha haaaaaa! The book provided a page with spaces for several repairs. Yeah, those are all full. And that was just what I listed while sitting outside waiting for paint stripper to cure; I didn't even do the full house walk-around.

Brainstorm solutions? Oh my. All the repairs are doable by us, but when do we have time? Anyone know how to weave hours from gossamer threads? Perhaps a solution we should consider is to hire some of it done.

3. Get rid of one item from your house, the bigger the better. I've been debating this one. I am a "warm" personality, according to the book, which means I tend to let clutter get out of control and tend to feel emotional attachments to objects.

Still, I've improved at getting rid of stuff. It feels so liberating! I just need to start doing it again. I'm even considering having a dreaded yard sale. This weekend Eutaw is having its first annual Hwy. 14 Antique Trail. Guess where I live? Directly on Hwy. 14! So how perfect would that be? And yet ... having a yard sale sucks. I wouldn't be able to manage one up to my typical standards; I don't have time for pricing - just big signs stuck on tables that say, "Everything this table, $1."

Candidates for my "big item" this week? One is a framed floral print that hung in our living room at the ranch house. It's been propped in our living room here, too, but hidden behind another painting. I've hung onto it because I still like the colors, but really it doesn't fit with our aesthetic anymore. A little too Hobby Lobby, y'know?

Also, there's an armchair we never sit in or a cheap, particleboard dresser we don't use anymore.

4. Sit for 10 minutes in one room of your house where you never sit. I'm supposed to consider what doesn't work about this room and do some Jedi mind tricks to visualize what could make it work. I haven't decided which room to sit in yet. Nearly every room in our house gets used frequently, and the only rooms that don't are basically big empty rooms we don't need yet.

If you don't have an unused room, you can sit in an unused corner or space. The dining room settee might work for that, or the guest room rocking chair.

5. Buy fresh flowers. Guess I'm just a low-class individual because I've never bought fresh flowers in my life. I've received some, and I guess I've probably sent some, but I've never just gone and bought some for myself. The author thinks this is important because he wants it to become something I do every week. I don't have a problem with that - in fact, it sounds fun - but I haven't remembered to do it yet. Do Publix flowers count as fresh?

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Sabrina said...

I love all the ideas...maybe I should find a copy of that book!

We've actually done amazingly well getting rid of things but now, preparing for our little guy, we've been hauling new stuff in. Argh! Just when I thought I was getting ahead.

Mostly I had to comment on the fresh flowers. I LOVE having fresh flowers on the table AND I find that if I have fresh flowers on the kitchen table, I'm more inclined to keep the table cleaned off to properly display them.

They really add a great touch to any room though.

1:04 PM  
Christine said...

Buy the flowers. It's amazing how much they add, especially if you buy them for yourself!

I hear ya on a lot of your angst, here~

The room in my house we least use is the finished basement, which is dark and cluttered and cold and avoided as much as possible. Aside from putting mirrors up everywhere, I'm stumped!

When are we heading for Italy, pet? Must take photos and blog 'em, so I can live vicariously in sunny, sunny Italia!

3:30 PM  
Blair said...

I sure as hell hope you are planning on going through all the weeks on your blog, cause I sure as hell need to know if this works so that I can do it in my house... construction materials and all...

4:10 PM  
Kristin said...

We'll see if I make it to the end of the program. I skipped ahead in the book the other night, and some of the stuff just doesn't fit with who we are. But most of it is good advice. I'm really looking forward to getting rid of more stuff!

We leave for Italy two weeks from today! Whooppeeeeeeeee! And of course, I'll have more pictures than you can stand.

3:06 PM  
misschrisc said...

The flower thing is sooooo true. It really changes things. Unfortunately we have a bad feng shui thing going on in our house, or else it's the lead paint, because all the flowers dies about ten minutes after they come into our house. Kind of scary.

Italy, wow cool! Are the American boycotting France or something? I keep on hearing about Italy, Italy, Italy everywhere I go. Well if you have time please stop by and visit moi and say hello. We aren't far from the Italian border and you can see the scary flower killing house for yourself :)

4:06 PM  
Kristin said...

Don't know about the other Americans, but I'm not boycotting France. :) Maybe I'll get over to your fine country one day. I doubt we'll have time to even pop over to France (just to say we've been there) this trip because it's a very tight week. I hope to go again, though.

2:17 PM  

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