The Spring Cure: The Landing Strip

Week 3 - Weekend Prep

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We love the large mirror on Flickr member Diademydo's landing strip.
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• Cure Clock: 6 weeks to go • Assignment: Read Week 3: The Landing Strip • Cure Members: 1,352 (join here)

Welcome to the weekend! If you haven't already started, this weekend you're going to be focused on setting up a landing strip in your entryway and thinking more about color in your home. But first, the landing strip: entrances are notorious for being the home's catch-all place. In addition to what you'd expect to find there (coats, shoes, bags, keys), there's usually a whole collection of loose change, shopping bags, old magazines and mail, a gym bag or two, discarded trinkets, keepsake boxes from college, maybe even a bike or a stroller. You know the old saying: "If you're flying a plane, you can't land in a shopping mall." (Okay, so I just made that up.)

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If you're crafty, you might want to try this homemade mail sorter we spotted over at Ohdeedoh.

Your Entryway and the Landing Strip

Sometimes the entrance closet is so full of random stuff that it can't even accommodate what it's supposed to — namely, the coat and bag you were wearing that day. So what do you do? You kick your shoes off, drop your coat and bag on the floor, and put the mail on the kitchen counter. Before you know it, you've got a collection of mail that's living in your kitchen, you've missed two bill payments, your boyfriend broke his ankle tripping over your shoes, and your coat is permanently wrinkled from sitting in a heap by the door. Sigh.

Friend, the time has come to begin filtering out the outside world so it doesn't take overwhelm your home. No matter what your front door situation is like, you can make something work, even if it's not all in one place. The key is training yourself to use whatever system you've set up, and growing accustomed to setting down your packages right inside the door, putting your keys away in their designated spot, hanging up your coat, and sorting your mail immediately.

The point of all this is to create a healthy filter at your front door to sort the good stuff from all the useless material that we often bring into our homes (mostly in the form of junk mail). As Maxwell writes, "With a good filter, many things may approach, but nothing gets into your home unless it is good for you."

A healthy filter at your door should have three things:

  1. A doormat: Wipe your shoes and then take them off!
  2. A coat hook: Have a place to hang your coat, bag, umbrellas, dog leashes, etc.
  3. A landing strip: This is a flat surface where you can lay down your wallet, keys, and sort the mail. We also recommend keeping a bin or basket near the landing strip to immediately recycle junk mail.
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This is my landing strip.

As you go through your entrance area this week, keep these three things in mind:

  1. Do I use it?
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Does my apartment need it?

If it doesn't pass the test above, then put it into your Outbox. You should aim to purge at least 25% of what you have in this area now. If that sounds like a lot, think about this: do you really need 5 wool caps that look identical? (You only have one head, you know.) And we know that baseball cap and T-Shirt was free, but unless you have an undying devotion to WXYZ 98.5 Light FM Radio then you'd best let it go. Ditto on the broken umbrellas, that lonely mitten (yes, you really did leave the other one on the train), empty boxes... get rid of it all.

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Ashley from (Never Home) Made made her own classy coat closet.

More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce over 62 billion pieces of junk mail. (Gulp!) Apparently, the average person receives 18 pieces of junk mail for every one piece of personal correspondence — a figure that, judging by our own experience, seems about right. So as you're clearing out your entryway this week and creating space for your things, we encourage you to set aside an hour to get yourself off of the mailing lists that send you so much of the junk mail you get every day. Here are a few ways to kiss junk mail goodbye:

Problem: Credit Card Applications
Solution: OptOutPrescreen.com

Problem: Catalogs and Magazine Offers
Solution: Put your name on the Do Not Mail Registry; sign up for Tonic Mailstoppers (formerly GreenDimes) or Catalog Choice.

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Don't have an entry hallway? No worries. Take a cue from Flickr member TV's Jessica landing strip.

A Few Tips For Organizing The Mail You Do Want:

Once you've taken care of all the junk mail coming into your home, it will be much easier to effectively manage the mail you do want, like bills, invitations, and personal letters. Go paperless for everything you can. (We find we can do this now with all of our bills.) Sort you mail as soon as you walk through the door and directly over the recycling bin and shredder. If you get a lot of important daily mail, set up an active filing system on your landing strip. Some common categories for your folders might be Bills To Pay, To Read, To File, Response Needed, or classify the mail based on a scale from Important/Urgent to Not Important/Not Urgent. (See pp. 109-110.)

On Color In Your Home

Sarah Rae has a few great tips for pining down your exact shade:

Carry A Camera: Even if it's on your cell phone, if you're out and about and see a color that you just love and adore, or catch yourself glancing back at again, take a picture and check it out when you get home. The colors we see outside of our home don't just have to be in magazines and online.

Look For Themes: Check your style tray, your inspiration folder or that pile of magazines in your bathroom you're still trying to flip through. See if you're attracted to the same thing more than once. Even if you saved the picture because you liked the sofa and not the wall color, it can still count!

Test With White: Small paint samples are available everywhere now and are a great way to test a color out. To get the best idea of what shade it really is in your space, tape white poster board around each side of your testing area, so your existing wall color doesn't interfere!

Wait A Week: If you like a color today, you should still like it in a week. Even if you aren't painting a patch on a wall and are pinning up color chips (which is just fine!), watch the colors as the sun changes throughout your space. Check it out at night as well as daytime and see if you're still as fond of it as you were in the store.

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