This Simple Big-Picture Project Will Get You Closer to the Home of Your Dreams — The 2019 January Cure

The January Cure is Apartment Therapy’s way of helping you reset your home for 2019. We tackle one assignment each weekday throughout the entire month. Sign up now if you want to join!

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Getting your home into shape doesn’t happen all at once. Even this crash course of the January Cure is more of a journey than a race—each day we’ll get just a bit closer to a more comfortable home. But you have plenty of time the rest of this year to do small things to make your home happier. We just need to figure out what those small things are going to be.

Today’s assignment is less about cleaning or decluttering and more about mindfulness. You can think and dream and plan to your heart’s content, but before we get started, I’d love to give you two statements to frame your work today: Be kind to yourself and your home, even when it’s hard. And focus on what’s doable and realistic.

Okay, now on to the assignment!

Today’s Assignment:

Create a list of home projects you want to work on.

You can do this mentally, if that’s easier for you. But if you’re able, I would dedicate an hour or so sometime today to doing a walkthrough of your space. Bring your notebook, or a note-taking app on your phone, and begin a list. Make sections for each room, then jot down any trouble spots you notice in each area—whatever needs cleaning or organizing or repairing.

Here are a few examples of things you might note:

  • Scuffed up walls in the entryway.
  • Overcrowded and dusty bookshelves in the living room.
  • A blown out light bulb in the bathroom.
  • Loose knobs on a kitchen cabinet.
  • Mismatched, worn out sheets on the bed.

If you have trouble identifying what’s “off” in a space, I find that taking photos can give you a fresh perspective. As you walk around, use the camera on your phone to snap wide photos of your rooms and see if the lens revealed any clutter spots or imbalanced spaces.

When you’re done with your walkthrough, it’s time to whittle down the list. Highlight just a few trouble spots in each room (three to five is a great number to shoot for) that you can work on this year. They can be the things you’re most excited to start on, the things that will be the easiest to handle, or the things that will make the biggest impact on your space—or some combination of all of these things. What’s important is that you prioritize your list into a streamlined and focused list of doable projects.

When you have the list pared down, re-write it on a fresh page with just your highlighted trouble spots, but re-frame the language so they become solutions you can take on.

Here are some examples of solutions for your list:

  • Good scrub of walls in the entry, or a fresh coat of paint.
  • Sort through books, donate or share the ones you won’t enjoy again. Dust shelves well and replace the rest.
  • Replace light bulb in overhead bathroom fixture.
  • Get out the tools and tighten up cabinet knobs.
  • Search the January white sales for a good deal on fresh new sheets.

This is the list you’ll refer back to throughout the year. It’s a master plan of short- and long-term goals to make your space look and feel better.

Be honest with yourself about what you can get done in 2019. You might have a $50K kitchen remodel on your dream wish list, but it’s okay if that’s not in the cards for this year. Instead, you might want to focus on something you can get done to make that space feel better for you, like staining tile grout.

If you feel overwhelmed at any point, keep in mind it doesn’t matter how far you have to go, what matters is that you are getting started. And all you need to do today is make the list. Resist the temptation to start tidying. There’s plenty of time for the “doing” later this month and all year long.

Once you’re through with your list, come back and tell us how it went in the comments. This assignment can be really motivating for some, but quite intimidating for others, so let’s make sure we cheer each other on!

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Visit the 2019 January Cure Main Page

Download the printable PDF calendar: January Cure 2019

Share your progress on Instagram: #thejanuarycure

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