Projects & Improvements

The First Step: Create a Project List

updated Feb 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Lindsay Tella)

Date: Thursday, January 2
Today’s Assignment: Create a Project List

Congratulations! You are about to take the first step toward your “new” cleaner and more organized home. I promise that the effort you put in over the next few weeks will make a big, positive difference to your life overall. I also know that, on this first day, you are going to be tempted to dive in and do too much, too soon, but try and trust the process and just take it one step at a time. Today is about observation, contemplation and planning, not action. Ok, let’s do this!

It’s Not Too Late to Join The January Cure:
Click Here to Sign Up

Today’s Assignment: Make a list of projects

To get started, set aside an hour or so to do a walkthrough of your home and make notes on any trouble spots as you move through each room. It’s easiest to organize your list by room – you’ll want sections for all the important areas of your own home, i.e. the entryway, living room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. Start at the front door and do a thorough “inspection”, noting each area or item that needs a good cleaning, a de-cluttering or a re-organization.

IMPORTANT: Resist the temptation to jump in and start cleaning or moving things around – stay on task to just observe and make note of any problems you see that you would like to improve.

A few examples of things you may note:
Wiggly knob on the bathroom door.
Stack of loose watched dvds and played games by the tv.
Mismatched, worn out sheets on the bed.
Overcrowded and dusty bookshelves in the living room.
Blown out bulb in entryway.

When your tour is complete, grab a highlighter and select a few (3 – 5 is ideal) key areas from each room that you plan to focus on – the spots that will make the biggest impact on the look and use of the room as a whole when they are improved.

Now, write up your projects list, room by room, featuring the highlighted sections (remember, just 3 -5 per room, maximum) from your observation notes as the main bullet points.

Examples of solutions:
Get out the tools and tighten up door knob.
Put all media back in cases and organize in storage cabinet, shelf or drawer.
Search the January white sales for a good deal on fresh new sheets.
Sort through books, donate or share the ones you won’t read again. Dust shelves well and replace the rest.
Replace lightbulb in overhead fixture.

Also important: Stay calm, just observe and make your list. We’ll have plenty of time to focus on the “doing” later and – don’t worry – the intention is not for everything on your list to be completed this month. You are really just assessing your home in full right now, creating a master plan of goals, both short and long term, to work on over the coming year.

The big picture behind this assignment is that locating trouble spots and setting goals is half the battle and you’ll have this major first step completed and under your belt before you go to bed tonight!

January Cure Calendar:
Download our PDF to see the full upcoming schedule (and print it out if having a hard copy is helpful to you)

Liveblogging the January Cure:

A group of Apartment Therapy writers are tackling the Cure this month too – and liveblogging it as they go. Look for their posts throughout January for a dose of inspiration to keep up the good work along with a glimpse at how different people interpret the Cure assignments and tailor them to their own home.

  • Rebecca’s Cure: Making a Project List
  • Carolyn’s Cure: In with the New
  • Tara’s Cure: Take Two
  • Julia’s Cure: All the Things I Usually Avoid
  • Alison’s Cure: All I’ve Been Avoiding
  • Elisabeth’s Cure: Ready to Streamline
  • Regina’s Cure: Home Resolutions
  • Kim’s Cure: Finishing Touches and Details
  • Eleanor’s Cure: Big Changes Afoot
  • Lauren’s Cure: Tying Up Loose Ends
  • Elizabeth’s Cure: Revisiting Last Year’s Project List

Join The January Cure: Click Here to Sign Up

Questions? Comments? Pictures? Email us about your progress at
Follow and Tweet! The January Cure: #januarycure