The January Cure Starts Today! Sign Up and Get Going With a Quick 10-Minute Decluttering Exercise

published Jan 6, 2020
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Credit: Liz Calka

The January Cure is a long-standing Apartment Therapy tradition, helping you clean and declutter your home for the year ahead. We tackle one assignment each weekday throughout the entire month. Sign up now if you want to join. (It’s free!)

It’s officially a new year! I’m going to spare you the 20/20 vision puns and just say this: As with any other aspect of your life, career, family, or finances, creating a home you love is all about intention.

A clean, beautiful, in-control home doesn’t happen by accident. It takes lots of little efforts, day in and day out, to design a space that hums along to support you and any other people who share it. The great news is that the team here at Apartment Therapy are pros at the whole “little efforts” thing—guiding our readers every day with lessons on how to make a house (or apartment, or van, or dorm room…) into a home. And the centerpiece of that mission for more than a decade has been the January Cure.

If you’re brand new to the Cure, let me be the first one to welcome you! (Make sure you’re signed up for emails so you’re always on top of the daily task.) If you’re coming back for your second or third or 10th Cure, welcome back! I’m Taryn Williford, Apartment Therapy’s cleaning editor and your Cure host for the last three years running. Today’s inaugural assignment is quick, but it’s a great confidence booster to set up the month. By the end of the day you should feel assured that, little by little, you can get every inch of your space into shape.

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Today’s Assignment: Declutter a drawer.

Choose one “drawer” anywhere in your home and clean it out.

The spot you zero in on is totally up to you—and it really doesn’t need to be a drawer at all. You can target any cabinet, basket, bin, or cubby, as long as it’s small and manageable.

In the video above, you can watch me declutter my own kitchen junk drawer to get a sense of how it’s done, but here’s a quick list of steps:

  1. Take everything out of the drawer and empty it onto a surface.
  2. Clean the drawer while it’s empty.
  3. Sort through everything, looking for things to recycle, throw away, or move to another home (in your home, or out to a friend or donation center).
  4. Put everything back, keeping like items together.

The reason we kick off the Cure with this assignment every year is because it’s fast and easy. If you don’t believe me, set a stopwatch before you start. I got my drawer done in under 10 minutes—a great reminder that I can tackle small decluttering projects in the time it takes to heat up dinner. Try it for yourself, then channel that knowledge into the motivation you need to follow through with the Cure all month long.

But for now, that one drawer is enough! We’ve got plenty of work to finish this week and all throughout January.

Keep in Touch!

The Cure’s “secret sauce” is the Apartment Therapy community (that’s you! and me!) who share progress and cheer each other on. So feel free to drop a comment here and share what you worked on today, and what you hope to accomplish with the Cure. We’re also chatting about the Cure every day in The Apartment Therapist Facebook group. And you’re always welcome to use and follow #thejanuarycure tag on Instagram or Twitter. I’ll be posting my Cure projects on my personal Instagram page, too, if you want to comment and DM with me there.

It’s all about progress, not perfection, so good luck and let’s get going!

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We’re just getting started! Here are a few ways to participate in the Cure:

The Cure doesn’t just happen in January. If you want to take your efforts to the next level, any time of year, pick up a copy of Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure book.