The Fall Cure: Retail Therapy

The Fall Cure: Retail Therapy

Susie Nadler
Nov 4, 2009


Linanda de-cluttered the top of a dresser and made room for some pretty
fresh-picked flowers... a great treat for the halfway point!

mini-banner.gif• Cure Clock: 4 weeks to go
• Assignment: Read Week 4: Retail Therapy
• Members: 1,735...

>> New Flickr Group: AT Home Cure
>> Submit Your Photos Directly to AT

Congratulations, everyone! You've made it halfway through the Fall Cure. You've done some soul-searching, some deep cleaning, some serious de-cluttering and a few crucial repairs. Maybe you've fallen a bit behind, or maybe you're feeling overwhelmed with all that lies ahead, but that's natural at this stage. At the halfway point, it's good to stop and take a breath. Empty your Outbox and enjoy the space you've made. Get out of the house and spend a little time shopping for things you need and love, or re-focus your energies on a DIY project to breathe new life into something old.

Kim's living room in progress! Inspired by an entry in the Room for Color contest, she found an amazing green rug on sale (pictured in lower right).
Don't you think the colors are great together?

First... Let's Talk About Shopping

Retail therapy can be a great jump-start at this halfway point, but let's face it: This is a tough year for shopping. Most of us participating in the Cure this fall are probably dealing with a much tighter budget for new items than we were last year or the year before. Sitting down to make a shopping list likely means making difficult choices and putting some dream items on hold.

Here are some tips to consider when indulging in "retail therapy" on a recession budget:

Prioritize and condense your shopping list. Rather than crossing items off your list for the time being, it's tempting to buy inexpensive, lower quality versions of all the things you want. But in the long run, you might be disappointed that you spent much-needed money on items that didn't last.

Instead, prioritize your list according to your actual needs (putting essentials like lighting at the top, and add-ons like side tables lower down), then trim, say, the last three items off of your list, saving them for when you're a bit more flush. Suddenly you've freed up room in the budget to spend more on those top priorities, which may mean you're able to buy special, high-quality pieces you love rather than mass-produced items.

Consider DIY makeovers instead of new items. It's true that new items can bring an uplifting energy into your home. But with a little DIY ingenuity, you can sometimes achieve the same effect by reviving old pieces instead.

Reader Ann Pierce, whose landing strip is pictured above, added some bright fabric to a couple of stools and created a whole new look. Cekla78 bought some inexpensive Ikea fabric and added some color to her little guest room, pictured below. And then of course there are Maxwell's coat hooks, which looked fantastic after their wire-brushing treatment.

Cekla78's colorful new guest room

Before you go shopping for fabric, here are some posts to reference for fun DIY updates:
Fabri-Tac-tastic, Part I: One Easy No-Sew Pillow Update
How To: Reupholster a Drop-in Chair Seat
How To: Reupholster an Office Chair

And our last "retail therapy" tip:

Focus on items that further your goals for the Cure. Sometimes if you're having trouble getting through the more laborious tasks involved with the Cure, you can use this midway "retail therapy" moment to encourage yourself to speed things along. If your media de-cluttering is going slow because your DVD storage is such a mess, prioritize a lovely new cabinet or storage racks on your shopping list. If you notice as you sort through books that your shelving is on its last legs, prioritize a new system; there's nothing like new shelving to inspire a re-organization.

Flickr member All About Eve bought cute new hangers for a closet-reorganization, above. And Maris (below) found a nice basket made from recycled newspapers to gather junk mail on the landing strip.

Next, A Little Bit of Bookshelf Inspiration...

Nicolezh bought some cozy sheepskins for her reading chairs to add some softness for the winter; suddenly that bookshelf de-cluttering took on a new urgency!

Dragonkatindc is still working on her living room, but has sent a lot to the Outbox... including books! When a bookshelf features so prominently, keeping it from becoming overloaded is especially important.

Dialing It Back to Week Three for a Moment...

Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that some of you are still working on your landing strips. I thought we'd spend a little time back in week three today in case you're still in need of some inspiration and advice.

Cure participant Calderon is dealing with a relatively common problem for house-dwellers: she's got two entryways, one through the garage and one through the front door. This is an issue in my own house: my husband parks outside, so he's always dumping his stuff by the door, while I park inside (smaller car), so my stuff gets dumped by the door to the garage. Like Calderon, we find that our shoes, mail, and so on end up somewhere in the middle—say on the dining room table.

A few possible ways to handle this problem:

If your mail comes in through the garage, sort it there. Keep a recycling bin inside the garage itself so you can just get rid of junk mail before it even comes in the house. Then what little "real" mail there is can easily be transferred to a way-station on a landing strip or to its rightful place on a desk. Personally, I don't even bring the mail inside every day; I sort it in the garage, and every few days I bring important mail inside and transfer it to our desk.

Using a cute mail sorter like Astronauta's helps the task feel less tiresome

• Sometimes it's necessary to have two little landing strips instead of one large one. This might seem bulky at first, but ultimately you'll be glad everything has a spot. Think about why and when you use each entrance and plan accordingly. When you walk the dog, do you leave from the front door or through the garage? Keep the leash on the appropriate landing strip. Do your kids come in through the garage with dirty shoes after school, or do they come through the front door? Provide a mat or a basket for shoes in the appropriate spot.

And to Wrap it Up, a Great Meal!

Since you're cooking three meals at home this week, we'll leave you with Flickr member Purple Plum's great idea for an easy fall meal: risotto. Risotto is a simple, nourishing, one-dish meal that's great for leftovers. It's one of the first things I ever learned to make, in college in the dorm kitchen, and it's a great dish for cooks who are learning because the variations are endless. Purple Plum's lovely risotto included leeks and mushrooms; all the ingredients needed are pictured here.

A few great risotto recipes from The Kitchn:

Recipe: Mushroom and Leek Risotto
Recipe Recommendation: Risotto With Squash and Sage
How To: Make Risotto in a Rice Cooker


What has been your single biggest triumph of the Cure so far?


Week 4 - Intro with Maxwell
Week 3 - Show & Tell with Abby
Week 3 - Tips & Tricks with Sarah Rae
Week 3 - Intro with Maxwell
Week 2 - Show & Tell with Abby
Week 2 - Tips & Tricks with Susie
Week 2 - Intro with Maxwell
Week 1 - Show & Tell with Laure
Week 1 - Tips & Tricks with Sarah Rae
Week 1 - Intro with Maxwell


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