Carolyn’s Cure: In with the New

(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

January is the time when many of us say, “Out with the old, in with the new,” and for me, there’s no exception. My partner and I just closed on our first house at the end of December, and this January, we’ll be using the Cure, not just to deal with the stuff we already own, but also to make this new home ours.

(Image credit: Redfin)

Our home is a 3-bedroom, 1894 Victorian that underwent a number of significant renovations before it became ours. From a single-family home to a multi-unit building, then to a foreclosure and home base for squatters, and finally back to a single-family home, much of the Victorian layout and features were modernized before we ever bought the place. Some of the finishes in the home are far from what we would have selected (gaudy upstairs sink and weird backsplash tile, I’m talking to you), but we’re thinking of this as a long-term home, and we loved the layout, space, and architectural features of the home. For example, there are cozy eaves that will make for the perfect reading nook, and the ceilings are forever high.

Needless to say, having just moved in, there is a lot to do, and there are a lot of long-term projects on our radar that will require some scrimping and saving. So this January, we’re focusing on some basic tasks that will help make this home feel like our own. High on our list: picking paint colors and at least painting the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Window treatments are another must, since right now we have some thumbtacked bedsheets covering our giant bay windows. And organizing, sorting, and doing the post-move purge (inevitable even after the pre-move purge) will also figure high on the list.

It’s an ambitious list, and we’ll be kind to ourselves if all these tasks don’t get done in January, but here are the items that I’ve marked as top priorities for the Cure:

General tasks:

  • Pick paint colors
  • Get rid of items that have no place
  • Change the locks
  • Sell mantle on Craigslist (a weird electric fireplace that the former owners left in the garage, which we have no place for)

Living room/ dining room:

  • Paint
  • Mount TV and organize cords
  • Make curtain rods
  • Hang white curtains
  • Find a plant stand solution/ make plant stand


  • Paint
  • Hang knife rack
  • Hang apron hooks
  • Organize/ find a place for everything/ get rid of excess stuff

Ed’s office:

  • Paint
  • Put together shelves
  • Lay out rug
  • Organize books and mementos

My office:

  • Get another bookcase
  • Put away books
  • Come up with a guest bed solution


  • Organize closet
  • Figure out nightstand solution
  • Move old nightstand (too big) to basement to use for storage


  • Get laundry hamper
  • Organize storage
  • Get towel hooks/ towel ring

Hallway and Entry:

  • Make a landing strip
  • Hang mirror
  • Organize entry closet


  • Organize tools
  • Adjust thermostat on water heater
  • Get rid of extra stuff or put it away

Seeing this list on paper, I’m not daunted or overwhelmed. Instead, I’m downright eager. Hand me a paintbrush now! Aside from my childhood home, this is the first house I’ve lived in, and after being a long-time renter, it’s thrilling to have a place to call my own, even if that means tackling problems like a roof replacement in five years. Even the unglamorous decisions and tasks seem new and exciting, naïve though I know it must sound to seasoned pros. I’m definitely looking forward to the end of January, when we’ll have a place that not only can we call our own but that also feels more like it.