If Your Living Room Feels “Naked” Right Now, It’s Time to Dress it Up

published Jan 27, 2022
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Apartment Therapy’s January Cure is a free 20-day program all about loving on your home and preparing yourself and your space for the new year. Sign up now to get daily lessons sent straight to your inbox!

Every year as part of the January Cure, we practice a “room reset.” If you’ve been following along, you probably have a pretty naked living room right now, since I asked you to strip your living room down to just the essentials a couple weeks ago.

It was sort of like a palate cleanser for your design taste, and a way to experience the extremes of how many things feels like the right amount to keep around. Today, with near-empty living rooms, we’ll complete the final step of creating a living room that you love: Layering in the pieces you love and want in the room, and only the pieces you love and want in the room.

And if you haven’t been following the Cure — you can still do a room reset! Tackle step one first, then schedule an email to yourself to come back to this step two post in about two weeks.

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Day 19: Reset your living room and empty the outbox.

Earlier in the month, you stripped your living room down to its bare bones, minimalist basics. Today we’re going to reconsider the things you set aside from that refresh, then empty the outbox you’ve been using all month.

First, grab that box of stuff from the living room reset and begin to layer your things back in to the space…

You’ve lived in the naked space for nearly two weeks now, so trust your gut about how you want to put the room back together. If you want to bring everything back to exactly where it was, go for it. But more likely, you’re going to have some fresh clarity about which of those things were your favorite things, and how much decoration is “too much” for you. The end goal is to make sure everything in your living room is something you intentionally chose to be there.

Anything you don’t want to layer back into the living room can be put to use in another room, or placed into your outbox.

The second part of today’s task is to empty that outbox…

If you remember, the idea of the outbox is to give your things an in-between place, so you can remove them from your home’s active areas and make a decision later about whether or not you need those things. Here’s the hard truth: The fact that those things are still sitting in the outbox right now — days and weeks later — means you probably can do without them.

So tonight, go through the things that have been in your outbox for a week or more and decide where to send them:

You don’t have to get rid of your whole outbox right now; you can use this box (or a version of it) all year long to help you snap the emotional bonds you have with your things. Feel free to leave things inside today and let stuff sit for a while, but don’t let this moment be a sticking point. You should feel really good about letting go of anything that you haven’t thought about in some time!

Then put your plan into action as soon as possible. Make an appointment on your calendar to drop donations off, or create online listings during the commercial breaks of your show tonight. I know it’s a tough final step, but if you put this part on hold, you’re denying yourself the seriously satisfying feelings that come with truly letting go.

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More Ways to Participate in the January Cure: