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curing january.

January 3, 2014

I never learned how to clean. It sounds stupid, but it’s true. Once my mom told the cleaning lady not to touch my room so that I could figure it out myself. I responded by collecting change, which I presented to Rosa in a plastic baggie, asking, “Is this enough to hire you to clean my room?” I guess I was cute, because she said yes. That set the tone for the rest of my cleaning and organizing life.

Sort of.

I don’t have a cleaning lady anymore. I did for about a year and I learned a lot from her. Her name was Dolores. She loved her Rock Star drink and died suddenly from a stroke. She was also my friend. We laughed and joked and she’d shake her head with a smile and say, “Oh, Clementina” whenever I’d say something stupid like, “You mean I can wash the shower curtain?!”

After that there was another lady who was very nice, but it wasn’t the same. She’d come, she’d clean and I’d stand or sit there like an idiot watching. What I wanted and needed was to do it myself, but I didn’t know where to start.

I’ve gotten better over the years and I have learned that even without Dolores I enjoy certain aspects of cleaning (Hello kitchens and bathrooms!) but there is rarely a time when my whole house is clean. Generally, if my living room sparkles, my bedroom looks like the trash heap from Fraggle Rock, and vice versa. I’m over it.

*Also, a friend who also happens to have signed up for it as well pointed out that with a clean house it’s much easier to focus on completing other projects, like painting. Or, you know, setting up a nursery so this baby has a room of his own sometime before high school.

So this year I thought I’d try a new way. I’ve signed up for the Apartment Therapy January Cure. Basically, emails arrive every morning with a new assignment, there is a schedule and you complete tasks. I do well with tasks once I have them, I’m just not very good at giving them to myself.

The first one is to create a project list. You go through your house room by room and make note of what needs to be done. Then you narrow it down to the three to five tasks per area that will make the biggest difference in the feeling of the space. It was actually harder than I thought it would be. There’s so much to be done that seems easy to just jump in and do, but the point of day one is to make the list.

I took pictures as I went through so y’all can see where I’m starting from. I also thought it might help to keep me accountable. (And so embarrassed that I’ll actually follow through.)

Any tips or ideas or plans you’d care to share about organizing and cleaning in the new year? Has anybody done the January Cure before?


Christmas paper, cords, and some old wedding favors under the bull. Oh, and there are some colored pencils back there. All totally useful items for under the television.


That room in there is my office. At least it’s supposed to be. Lately it’s become more of a dumping ground for papers and pictures and books (Oh my!).


That corner.


So somehow this will become an appropriate room for a baby in less than three months. (We’re planning on co-sleeping so I guess it’s not the end of the world.)


I really only included this one for proof of the excuse: cyrus has been sick, so this corner is a hub of junk and germs. (More so than it would normally be.)


Our back bathroom. Where mirrors go to die.


Can't you hear them screaming, "Untangle us! Hang us up!"

Can’t you hear them screaming, “Untangle us! Hang us up!”

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2014 10:48 am

    Your apartment is nice, and not to untidy, I have so much to do, maybe i should just that group, I started painting my Bedroom last summer, Then ran and of paint and it got so hot i didn’t finish, ugh the thoughts of it, Really need more motivation , like a kick in my ass 🙂

  2. January 3, 2014 12:34 pm

    Thank you for letting us in to see your place. That takes courage! I love the red bull, the stuffed-and-then-some bookcase, and whatever the intriguing wood surface is in the last photo. Here’s a great trick for pruning the closet: turn all your hangers backwards from the way you usually hang them. Each time you wear something, turn that hanger around to the “right” way. At the end of the year, toss out any clothing on a hanger that hasn’t been turned. (I make an exception for a few highly sentimental things, including a prom dress that my sister sewed, and my mother’s full slip–from back in the day when ladies wore such things.)

    • Clementine permalink*
      January 5, 2014 10:02 am

      That wood surface is an antique trunk my parents brought back from england 35 years ago! Also, I’m beside myself that your sister sewed a prom dress AND that you still have it.

  3. Karin permalink
    January 6, 2014 12:26 pm

    It doesn’t look like you don’t know how to clean as much as it seems like you just need some help organizing things. I am an organizing and cleaning freak (just ask our friend @tigerlilybelle) and could whip that place into shape in an afternoon! And yes, I can literally hear your necklaces and other assorted jewelry pleading for someone to untangle them!


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