Julia's Cure: All the Things I Usually Avoid

Julia's Cure: All the Things I Usually Avoid

Julia Brenner
Jan 2, 2014
(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

Happy New Year! It's a cold snowy New Year's Day here in Chicago and I just finished writing up my list, which isn't too long but involves tackling all the things I usually avoid. Things I'm not so good at - yet. Like organizing closets and creating systems. I think this entryway picture sums up the organization happening in our home: random things and a little holiday message that's still up on Jan. 1 (before that it said "Happy Thanksgiving!"...for a month). How does it all work together? It doesn't. Ho Ho Ho? More like Ho, Hm, Huh? If guests were dropping by, I'd stick all the random stuff somewhere out of sight...and that's where the problem dwells...

My big-picture goal for the Cure is to create functional systems in our home to create a better flow. Or to break that down in plain English: When I open our hall closet, it's really difficult to find anything and I'm also half certain I'm going to get beaned in the head by a box of stuff that's piled up. So by 'flow', I guess I mean not worrying about knitting needles flying at me or an old laptop landing on my head.

Right now, things are just kind of stuck - in bins and boxes and drawers and closets. I don't mind cleaning and I like to make things look nice; I'm good at tossing out and donating, but creating organizational systems is not my strong suit. So, when people remark on how we don't have a lot of clutter for a family of four, I feel like kind of a phony, because the truth is, I've mastered the closet & cubbie routine. I stick things in closets and cubbies so the clutter is out of view, but it's still there, completely unorganized. We live in a multi-unit building, no garage or attic, and the basement is available for bikes and strollers (which is very helpful). Closets are our only storage, and man oh man, the closets and cubbies overfloweth.

I'm excited to try and tackle as many of these goals as possible, but if I get half of them done I'll be happy. Actually, if I can just get the hall closet cleaned out and organized and figure out my sock drawer conundrum I'll be over the moon.

My List:


  • Find (or make?) more functional mail sorter
  • Clean out closet!
  • Attach key holders to chalkboard to keep toddler from absconding with car keys once a week
  • Find/buy better shoe storage


  • Clean out bookshelves – donate and reorganize
  • Fix torn seam in couch
  • Re-frame pictures over mantle
  • New, brighter look for office/work area in sunroom
  • Ambitious: Replace coffee table (busted-looking coffee table) with marble coffee table from my grandmother…which means finding someone to fix table base and repair legs.

DINING ROOM (I completed the Style Cure last summer and it made a big difference in the look of the dining room and also the way we live in it - such a great experience):

  • Add more artwork


  • Clean out dresser drawers and attempt some kind of system… like a sock system?
  • Clean out/organize closet!
  • Change out picture over bed
  • Take down 2-year old’s crib because she’s now closer to 3 than 2. :/


  • Re-caulk the whole shebang


  • Clean out the closet…from hell
  • Ambitious: Create a gallery wall


  • Buy new blind for window
  • Find/create some kind of system for pots/pans storage
  • Buy more proper canisters for dry goods storage
  • Clean out and organize utensil drawers
  • Post-holiday clean out of fridge & freezer


  • Replace broken shade
  • Finish pre-Christmas cleaning out of closet
  • Hang more artwork
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