I really enjoyed the living room cleaning (okay, not the cleaning, but the results) this weekend. It's the room where we relax, where my son plays, and where we even eat a couple of meals a week. It feels good to have it all in order. I know it won't last long, but the bones are set so it will just take minor pick-ups to get it back in tip-top shape for entertaining:
Day 14: Get Papers and Files in Order.
Within the last two years, we took some time and put all of our accounts (banking, investment, loan, utilities, etc.) online. It's really cut down on mail, check-in-an-envelope bill paying, and physical file-keeping. Now, though, our problem is that we have so many passwords that we can't keep them straight. It's embarrassing (and not very safe) but we have (until now) kept them all jotted down in the inside cover of "The Red Book", a notebook that floats around our house and is never in the right place when we need it. Now, we've signed up with the free and highly-recommended KeePass. It's a relief to have all of our passwords in one place (and in a place that is not floating around the house). If we'd ever lost that notebook, we would have been goners! It took us a while to do this right, but it's done.
Day 15: Exercise a Little Cord Control.
The cable for our internet and television comes into our living room and then runs halfway across the room to the media cabinet (a hacked Lax wall-mounted shelf). It has been loosely running along the wall for a while now. But this week I took cable mounts (which we already had on hand) and attached them at about a 12" spacing along our baseboard. Now, the white cable is tacked to the wall and won't pose a trip hazard to us.
Day 16: Give Your Bathroom and Medicine Cabinets a Cleanout.
"Score!", I thought, when I first saw the linen closet that connects to our house's bathroom through the medicine cabinet. I thought it would be great to have so much storage accessible from the hallway's linen closet door and through a small cabinet door in the bathroom. But the larger-than-I-was-used-to bathroom storage quickly got cluttered and filled with things no one ever used. Today, I took the opportunity to empty the closet and reorganize it. We cloth diaper, but use disposables at night. So, we keep a couple of packages on hand, which used to sit on the floor of the closet. I cleared them from the floor and put them on the bottom shelf of the closet. I think it looks so much cleaner to have a clear, open floor in the closet. Sheets shifted up a shelf, as did towels. That left one shelf for bathroom products, and they're all now on the shelf that is also accessed through the medicine cabinet door. This way, we can reach bathroom things from the hall or from the bathroom. Deeper storage (like my husband's hair clippers and the basket of our travel-sized toiletries) is on the top shelf. The closet isn't pretty, but it is so much more organized and manageable.
Day 17: Take a look at your living room lighting.
Our living room receives excellent natural light. I love that aspect, but I also think it's let me get a little lazy about proper lighting. The two overhead lights in the room are bright, and we have only one floor lamp in the room, which doesn't really do much to offset the high contrast of dark-to-light in the evenings. I hope to get an additional table lamp (and side table, for that matter!) in the future, as budget and decision-making permits.
Day 18: Weekend chores, flowers, living room, empty the outbox.
I have a lot of magazines in my outbox. After doing a bit of research, I've decided the best thing to do with them is donate them to the community shelter here in town. They've recently moved from the center of downtown to the outskirts of town, so I haven't made it out there yet, but I can't wait to give the magazines away to the shelter, and I hope they'll be interesting to someone there. Some decidedly hideous bookends will linger in the outbox a bit longer, I'm afraid, as my husband doesn't want to give them up.
I cleaned the living room, taking the chance to weed out some of my son's toys (this room is also his playroom), which will also go to the community shelter. Until my son was born, I always felt at a loss when it came to color in my home. My husband and I, both architects, followed a mantra something like, when in doubt, go with white. To my delight, the carefully-chosen toys we've collected for my son are a perfect complement to our living spaces, and we love having his most-loved belongings right alongside our own.
(Images: Regina Yunghans)