Many of you doing the January Cure are graduates of previous Cures and/or long time readers of Apartment Therapy, and if so, might have already done a version of today's assignment at some time in the past. If so, stick with (and bear with) me, when I let the new Curers know - this is one assignment that is worth doing, NO MATTER WHAT. It's the setting up of a space and a system that will - practically like magic - help keep the whole rest of your home cleaner, throughout the year. And, oh yeah, for those of you who already have all this in place, make today the day you recommit to using it, every day. It works. Here we go...
It's easy to allow a lot of stuff to make it in under the radar that we don't really think about it until its a full-on project to clean or clear it. Today's assignment is to set up a space and a system, a simple place and accompanying daily habit that work together to filter out the bad while letting in the good. Once you get it set, USE it and make it part of your everyday routine. It'll make a huge difference, you'll see!
Create a Landing Strip and Start Using it
The first two parts of a "healthy home filter" are self-explanatory, you'll want a door mat and hooks or proper, usable space in a coat closet to hang your outerwear and bags.
The landing strip, is also fairly straightforward, and is very important to maintaining your "Cure" organization in the future. It doesn't need to be a large area, nor does it need to be fancy. What it does need to be is functional.
Set up a spot or hook for your keys, a bowl or container for change and your wallet on a surface (like a small side table) to sort the mail and other items (newspapers, books, magazines, purchases) as they come in.
Two other super helpful and nice components to add to your landing strip area are a small wastebasket/recycling bin to hold your discarded incoming mail and other stuff to be recycled and a mirror for last minute checkups on your lovely smile and fashionable attire. :)
Your goal here is to create a space that you'll want to really use each time you come in to your home to sort through the stuff you're carrying in your bags, pockets and hands upon arrival, so you stay ahead of the mail, bills and items coming in to your home and also, have smoother sailing on your way out.
Once you've set up your landing strip, use it every time you come home. Here is a sample walk through of the process, which just takes a few minutes but reduces both stress and clutter exponentially, as it becomes a habit:
As you arrive home, hang your coat, put your keys and wallet in their spots and take off your shoes. Empty the things out of your bags that you won't need to take with you when leaving next time and hang your bags.
At the landing strip area, sort through your incoming mail and any other paper you've brought home with you (newspapers, flyers, catalogs) and immediately toss or recycle what you do not need. Put the mail that will require your attention later in an easily accessible, prominent spot. Then go through anything else you've brought home: groceries, purchases, empty lunch containers, dry cleaning, etc. and put it away, where it belongs, right away.
This will just take a few minutes when you arrive home. As you finish each time, take a moment to focus on the fact that now you can relax and fully enjoy your organized home, knowing that nothing that needs attention is piling up and that everything you need for your next trip out into the world is right where you need it, easily found and ready to go!