Organize & Clean

Rebecca’s Cure: Creating a Project List

published Jan 2, 2014
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(Image credit: Rebecca Bond)

My house definitely needs a hefty dose of the January cure! We moved in two years ago full of enthusiasm to renovate, remodel and redecorate, but somehow ran out of steam (and money) and the process just stalled. The upshot is that while some of the house feels like ours (the bathroom my husband put in and the kids’ rooms), other areas (the 1980s pine kitchen and the drab hallway) are just crying out for some TLC.

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I started off on the front porch feeling pretty confident. I recently added new coat hooks and a bench, which doubles as a shoe rack, so the space works well. But I noticed that the floor was caked in mud and I could barely move for the sheer volume of stuff. I resisted the temptation to grab a mop and start sorting. After all today is about planning not doing.

Inside, I knew the hallway was going to be a problem area. It feels dark and gloomy and unwelcoming – the polar opposite of how I’d like it. Taking a look with fresh, critical eyes helped me understand why I am so unhappy with this space. I came up with a very disheartening eleven points for improvement, then managed to whittle them down to a more manageable five. My top priority is to replace the ugly brown office-style doors. Not a cheap solution but it will have a positive impact on every single room in the house.

After the low of the hall, I felt a much better about the living room and dining room, though the sideboard seems to be turning into a clutter hotspot attracting random stuff with no obvious home. Either we have too much stuff or too little storage. I suspect the former.

(Image credit: Rebecca Bond)

Okay – onto the kitchen. For me this is another heart-sink room. Where to start? There are the obvious tasks I could tackle right now like wiping down the muddy cat flap. Then there are the medium-sized jobs like finally getting round to sewing that blind for the window. But there is no escaping the fact this room has had its day. The layout is all wrong, the units are knackered, the oven is on its last legs, the (hideous) lino looks grubby even after it’s been cleaned. It has to go. All of it.

Upstairs the house is in better shape, though the carpets could do with a good steam clean. Our bedroom needs more artwork on the walls and the top of the chest of drawers has become a dumping ground for all kinds of stuff – books, children’s toys, half finished sewing projects. The two children’s rooms need additional shelving and more pictures on the walls. The spare room is a little bleak, though functional and clean, so that can wait. The family bathroom needs more storage space. And the en suite is mid-demolition so big changes are already happening there.

(Image credit: Rebecca Bond)

So here it is, my January Cure 2014 project list;


  • Sort through coats and shoes and remove items not used on a daily basis
  • Move buggy to garage
  • Mop floor
  • Wipe down bench


  • Replace ugly brown internal doors
  • Touch up scruffy paint work on walls
  • Sand down lumpy paint work on bannisters and repaint white
  • Remove handrails from walls (used by previous elderly occupants)
  • Take up stair carpet and see what is underneath (hopefully beautiful wood!)


  • Make slipcover for sofa
  • Buy log basket


  • Declutter CD rack and sideboard
  • Remove grease spots from wooden floor
  • Remove watermark from sideboard (arrgghh, when did that happen!)


  • Wipe down cat flap
  • Clear clutter from open shelves and replace with useful and/or decorative items
  • Find storage for cleaning products taking up space on window sill
  • Deep clean units inside and out
  • Sew a blind for large window


  • Rip out entire kitchen and redesign possibly extending into neighboring cloakroom and even into garden.


  • Declutter top of chest of drawers
  • Clean chest inside and out to get rid of strange musty smell
  • Finally build new bed that has been sitting in its polythene wrapper under old bed for over a year!
  • Touch up scruffy paint work around skirting boards
  • Dust wardrobe doors


  • Check for leak by window and repair wobbly window frame
  • Sort out broken and out grown toys
  • Declutter surfaces
  • Put up more pictures
  • Source a desk or table for doing art, craft, lego etc


  • Put up wall shelves
  • Put up artwork
  • Sort through toys


  • Replace old curtains
  • Sort out overflowing papers
  • Tidy shelves


  • Needs bathroom cabinet
  • Is there a case for replacing new flooring that I really don’t like?


  • Continue demolition
  • Source shower unit
  • Source floor tiles

I have a gargantuan task on my hands. But breaking it down into bite-sized chunks makes it feel more doable. It won’t all happen in a week or even a month but if I get stuck in now, I’ll be well on my way to a happier, healthier, more organized home.