Carolyn’s Cure: Revisiting the List

updated Feb 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

There are still a few more days to go before the January Cure is over, but when it came time time to show off the results of my big project, I realized that more than any single project getting done, this month has been about taking care of the small things piece by piece. So instead of showing off one task–although trust me, I spent plenty of time painting this month–I thought it would be a better idea to evaluate my total progress.

Here’s my full list, in all its glory, with my tasks crossed off.

General Tasks
  • Pick paint colors
  • Clean floors
  • Get rid of items that have no place
  • Sell mantle on Craigslist (with all of this inclement weather, we decided it was just better to let it stay in the garage for the time being. Who wants to move a mantle in a windchill of -40?)
  • Change the locks
  • Get a vacuum cleaner
  • Clean out the old living space
  • Donate outbox items
Living Room/ Dining Room
  • Make curtain rods (all the items have been purchased, but they aren’t installed yet)
  • Hang white curtains
  • Paint
  • Mount TV
  • Organize cords
  • Get plant stands/ make plant solution
  • Make or buy accent pillows
  • Hang art (we’ve considered different configurations, but we haven’t settled on a final arrangement)
  • Improve living room lighting
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)


  • Go through excess stuff
  • Organize/ find a place for everything
  • Paint
  • Hang knife rack
  • Hang apron hooks
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

Ed’s Office

  • Paint
  • Build shelves
  • Lay out rug
  • Organize mementos
  • Hang pictures
  • Organize closet
  • Window treatments
  • Steam flag
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

My Office:

  • Get another bookcase (again, I’m blaming the weather for making me reluctant to visit IKEA and haul stuff around)
  • Put away books
  • Window treatments
  • Figure out plant situation
  • Art
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)


  • Landing strip
  • Mirror
  • Find a better rug for after winter (we were using a carpet remnant)
  • Paint
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)


  • Organize tools
  • Get rid of extra stuff or put it away
  • Find a guest bed solution
  • Tidy laundry room
  • Adjust thermostat on water heater
  • Window treatments (purchased, not installed yet)


  • Organize closet
  • Move extra nightstand
  • Figure out nightstand solution (in a temporary way)
  • Window treatments
  • Art


  • Paint
  • Shower curtain
  • Get laundry hamper
  • Organize storage
  • Get towel hooks/ ring
  • Art
  • Figure out better towel storage solution

Clearly, we didn’t do everything, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there’s still some post-move tidying, arranging, and organizing that needs to be done, but by and large, we put in a lot of work this month, and all those tasks had a huge payoff. I constantly have to remind myself that a home is not put together in a month, and as we all know, a home is really about the experiences one has there just as much as it’s about the stuff that’s in it.

In light of that fact, I’d also like to list some of the great things that we’ve had an opportunity to do this month that weren’t on the Cure plan but that made our house an even more special place.

  • Had friends over for mulled wine
  • Took in a foster dog (Champ is such a cool dog and has been a happy addition to our home; if you’re in Chicago and looking for a great family dog, you should definitely consider him!)
  • Baked some delicious salami cheese bread
  • Started working on a book
  • Had an out-of-town friend stay in our guest room – as someone who has mostly lived in studio apartments, having a space for guests is quite thrilling
(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

Without the Cure, many of these things wouldn’t have happened. In some cases, it felt like a slog, but all in all, after one month of tackling our list one task at a time, we have a space that’s much more conducive to cooking, socializing, and spending time with each other.


  • Carolyn’s Cure: In with the New
  • Carolyn’s Cure: Changing the Colors
  • Carolyn’s Cure: It’s Not Easy Being Green
  • Carolyn’s Cure: Making the Entryway Work
  • Carolyn’s Cure: Reflections on a Semi-Failed Media Fast
  • Carolyn’s Cure: Out with the Outbox