Weekend Projects

It’s Time to Treat That Stain You’ve Been Ignoring

published Jul 31, 2020
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Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

Because of the way your brain works, you can become less responsive to a stimulus the more you’re exposed to it. The phenomenon is called habituation and it can work both for you and against you.

For instance, when I was a child, my family lived at the end of a street car route in San Francisco. The screeching of the street car stopping was loud, to put it mildly, but within a few weeks, we didn’t notice the sound at all. Our brains learned that the sound didn’t pose a threat and eventually we stopped hearing it, leaving us free to focus on novel stimuli.

In this case, and in the primal sense, habituation is a survival mechanism. Filtering out stimuli that aren’t a threat allows you to better sense potential danger. But this psychological mechanism also has implications at home. Sometimes at home, habituation means that you stop noticing things that you enjoy. Other times, it means you stop noticing something distressing—like the slightly crooked light fixture that bothered you when you first saw it, or the scuff mark on the wooden floor that you have no idea how to remove. Habituation in this situation could be construed as a kind of “survival,” but the relief of addressing such a visual annoyance could be worth the stress of re-noticing it.

This weekend, we’re going to do just that. Each of us is going to find a stain or mark we’ve come to ignore and get rid of it. This could mean something on the house itself, on furniture, or in the laundry. Getting rid of old stains is the perfect way to welcome a new month.

This Weekend: Treat an old stain or mark that you’ve been ignoring.

The first step to treating an old stain or mark that you’ve been ignoring is… noticing it. This can start with a mindful walk through of your space, or use this list to jog your memory:

  • Rubber scuffs on the floor can be buffed out with a tennis ball.
  • Try Folex to treat stains on upholstery or carpeting.
  • Treat the oil stains on the t-shirt you set on top of the washer and haven’t yet dealt with.
  • Get sunscreen stains out of your bathing suits.
  • Use a Magic Eraser to clean pet-rubbing stains from door frames.
  • Touch up the scuffed paint on your mudroom bench.
  • Soak your Instant Pot liner in white vinegar to remove cloudy stains.
  • Wipe down the walls behind your kitchen table with a damp microfiber cloth.

The final step is just to enjoy the relief of checking something small—yet powerful—off your list.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.