The Fall Cure: The Landing Strip

The Fall Cure: The Landing Strip

Maxwell Ryan
Oct 26, 2009

• Cure Clock: 6 weeks to go
• Assignment: Read Week 3: The Landing Strip
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As I sit here tonight composing my thoughts on the Landing Strip section - and getting ready to take some photographs of my own landing strip - I read over what I wrote during Week 2 last spring and was impressed enough to think that I might be hard to top. So, while I take the pics, I want you to have a chance to read it...

From Week Two, March 31, 2009:

"I just came back from a big benefit for the National Resources Defense Council (friends invited us), which "works to protect wildlife and wild places and to ensure a healthy environment for all life on earth." Attending threw off my posting and made me unable to get this post up earlier, but it was really refreshing to be in a room packed with six hundred people who believed in doing good for the earth. In New York City, that doesn't happen every day.

Sitting in the audience, hearing all the remarkable things the NRDC was doing, I even got to thinking, "boy, I really don't do that much. I should do more with my life."

That ever happen to you? Sara Kate and I often have that experience of seeing someone amazing do something amazing and feeling like a bump on a log.

And it's easy to start thinking that when people's life achievements are being trumpeted on stage by Leonardo Dicaprio and Alec Baldwin and one of the honorees is Stella McCartney, who received her award from her father.

But then I thought, "Hey, I do a lot. And even though Apartment Therapy is about the home, it's always been about more than decorating. It's about living a healthy life on this planet, and the home is the place where that all starts." The only problem was that I was sitting on my butt thinking all this when I should have been writing this post.

But I'm writing it now. :-)

This week is about working on your entrance, educating yourself on color and/or possibly hiring someone to help you. This is a big week, because the honeymoon is about to be over and you are going to be faced with a third week of hard work, less certainty that you are doing the right thing or able to pull it off and possibly the voices of work, friends or family who would like you to do something else with your time.

Remember, we're all here to help you stay the course and what you are doing is courageous.

Just like I had to remind myself while sitting in the crowd tonight, raising our awareness of and taking care of our home is a fundamental act that is not so so easily done these days. Our days are full of work, distractions, cares and all sorts of stimulation that pull at us and make it hard to feel a center, to have a foundation in our life. And while there's a lot that we can do to help ourselves, I find the actual space we live in, what we call "Home," to be the easiest place to start. Everyone deserves and should be able to make a home for themselves that is beautiful, healthy and organized.

As always, I am not talking about a FANCY home or a BIG home. Just a simple, beautiful home will do.

Learn to do this and the earth will follow, because environmentalism is just an expansion of the concept of home. Think how hard it is to care about drowning polar bears and ground water pollution when you don't yet have your own good home. If you're house is a mess, why should the earth be any different?

So, you're reading up on the 80/20 rule this week? Great. Cooking two meals at home? Awesome. Thinking about how to make your entrance work more as a filter to keep your house clean? Perfect.

This week you stop being a bump on a log and start to become amazing. And we will be cheering you the whole way - along with Alec Baldwin :-)..."


This past weekend we escaped out to my family's country house so things here in the city paused for the time being. This doesn't mean I paused. I did a ton of yard work, cut down a tree and ripped out three huge, old rhododendrons that had taken over the yard. Boy, was it satisfying. I forgot to take pictures, however, so let me tell you about our Landing Strip here in NYC.

Our apartment on Bedford Street is small, so there's no real entrance and no private hallway. We've still created a Landing Strip however, with all the little bits you need, and walking you through ours may give you a better idea of how unconventional they can be and still work. (Pardon the pictures, they're not my best but without natural light it's really hard to take nicer ones.)

We keep all the real outdoor stuff outside of our door: shoes, helmets, umbrellas and cardboard recycling all don't get inside.

We've already trained Ursula well. She takes her shoes off here on the step, and last week she even made a bed for her new Froggie Boots, so that they would sleep well at night.

Our "outside" hallway is compact and looks a bit cluttered, but it's well organized and imagine what all of this would look like if we allowed it into our home. The doorway filter is a good one.

We don't get a ton of mail at home (a lot more now comes to the office), but what does come in gets opened immediately and sorted. Sara Kate puts my mail on the dining table and I then put anything for the office (financial) in my bag, any junk mail or envelopes in the recycling, and anything I want to read I try to get to it that night. I really like the table clear, so it gives me incentive to stay on top of it and a little bit is always easier than a big bit.

This area under the sink is immensely important.

My keys have their own special place inside the coat closet. I always know where to find them.

My wallet and phone are the only things that make it into the inner sanctum, our bedroom. Here they are on my dresser. Sara Kate does things very similarly and her belongings live on her dresser and on the other side of the dining table.

As you can see, our Landing Strip is VERY distributed, but it has to be, because we have no private hallway and the entrance to our home takes you right into the kitchen/dining area. This is okay! Landing Strips are really made up of a number of different elements with different levels of importance.

If you don't have a perfect space for a Landing Strip, you can make one just like this.


What is the thing that you need a landing strip for most? Mail? Packages? Keys and phone?


Week 2 - Show & Tell with Abby
Week 2 - Tips & Tricks with Susie
Week 2 - Introduction with Maxwell
Week 1 - Show & Tell with Laure
Week 1 - Tips & Tricks with Sarah Rae
Week 1 - Creating Your Vision with Maxwell


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