2017 January Cure: Assignment 3

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Purge Your Pantry

  • Move your trash can or a garbage bag to where you’ll be working. A bag or box for potential food donations is excellent to have on hand here as well. A notepad and pencil are handy for noting down things you toss that need replacing.
  • Take everything out, one shelf/section at a time. Sort the items as you go, getting rid of anything expired or that you’ve opened but know you are not going to eat. Transfer things that are unopened and still good, but that you don’t think you’ll actually eat, to the donation bag or box.
  • Replace the items on the clean shelf, giving them a quick pass with a clean, slightly damp cloth if they are dusty as you go. Put like things together so you can find them more easily and know at any time just how many cans of garbanzos you have around and when you need to stock up.
  • Repeat the process for each shelf/section and take a moment to celebrate your efforts when you are done – this is a great job to get under your belt the first week of the new year.

I had planned to clean out one shelf a week for the next few weeks – I already did one this weekend!

2017 January Cure: Assignment 3 | The Wilson BuzzIt was exceptionally satisfying. But getting to go through my planner and check off chores I had scheduled for the next few weeks…that was exceptionally satisfying as well. :)


2017 January Cure: Assignment 3 | The Wilson Buzz


2017 January Cure: Assignment 3 | The Wilson BuzzThere really is a pretty significant difference between the two, even if it’s a bit hard to see from the pictures. It feels really good to be working towards a cleaner, more organized house. I’ve got high hopes on finishing The Cure this year!!

Past Cures

2017 January Cure: Assignment 2

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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. I find it 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 decluttering or a reorganization.

I’m going go to ahead and say I’ve already done this. Since my theme for the year is “ORGANIZATION” and I’m going through rooms month-by-month, I don’t really see the point in repeating. Feel free to check out my main Organization page and follow along on my journey. ;)

Past Cures

2017 January Cure: Assignment 1

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Choose a drawer, any drawer!

Open it up and go to work – toss what you should (you’ll know it when you see it), move stuff you can pass on or donate to a separate shopping bag for now (we’ll deal with this bag later in the week, no worries!) and move whatever doesn’t really belong in this drawer to where it does belong. Then, do a quick clean of the bottom of the drawer with a damp cloth, replace the keepers and pat yourself on the back. Done!

I’m pretty sure I’ve cleaned out the same stupid drawer every year. lololol

I read some sort of home organization tip from a professional…organizer?…and she was all “Don’t have a junk drawer! Everything in your house needs a place!” Well…that’s never going to happen. I really should get little containers or dividers or something for this drawer, though. It doesn’t stand a chance. At least I tidy it up once a year?? >.<


2017 January Cure: Assignment 1 | The Wilson Buzz

AFTER 2017 January Cure: Assignment 1 | The Wilson Buzz

Past Cures

AT January Cure #19: Blast the Bathroom

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Clean the Bathroom

I’m sure you have a process down that works for you, but if it helps to have a checklist to follow along with, here goes:
  • Grab the towels that are out on hooks or bars, along with the shower curtain (if you have one) and throw them in the washing machine.
  • Clear the counter, put everything in a box and transfer out of the bathroom temporarily.
  • Put your cleaner in the toilet and let it sit while you…
  • Clean the sink, scrub the tub and give the drains a good flush with vinegar followed by hot water.
  • Clean the toilet.
  • And, then, do a good overall clean of the counter, tiled walls and floor.
    • You might want to try this nifty process, which I tried for the first time after reading about it in Real Simple: spray the counter and tiled walls with your favorite spray cleaner and turn the shower on HOT for a few minutes until it gets steamy. At that point, turn off the shower and close off the bathroom for 15 minutes or so to help make the cleaner more effective (it really works!). Come back and wipe things down with an absorbent cloth (a swiffer-y type mop can help you reach up high if needed). Dry everything well. Finish off the job by wiping the floor tile.
  • Finally, shine up the mirror and replace the towels and counter-top goodies.

…and you are almost done with the January Cure! Can you believe it?

Would you like to talk about how hard I fell off the wagon? I fell of the wagon hard, y’all. But I’m going to finish all this!!

…11 days later…

So I didn’t really follow any of the directions, which I probably should have… But I worked from home on Friday and on my lunch break I cleaned. I kind of forgot to take “before” pictures, but whatever. You don’t need to know everything that happens around here, geeze. Can we get a little privacy?! PICTURE TIME:AT January Cure #19: Blast the Bathroom | The Wilson BuzzHere are our sinks. Don’t look in the sinks. I need to clean the drains. I really hate white counters. They’re impossible to keep clean. Especially if you’re not clean people. If anyone in the world doesn’t need white counters, it’s us. AT January Cure #19: Blast the Bathroom | The Wilson BuzzLook at the rugs I bought! We lived here for over two years before I got bath mats. DO NOT JUDGE. These guys were on clearance at Walmart and they are so squisy and soft…I do love them. I’m not sure on the color, but I don’t know what color I want the bathroom to be eventually, so Clearance Blue is good enough for me!AT January Cure #19: Blast the Bathroom | The Wilson BuzzA rare occurrence: Mr. T’s towel hanging on its hook. That door leads to the bedroom. Fascinating, I know.AT January Cure #19: Blast the Bathroom | The Wilson BuzzLook! A toilet! I really hate the pink walls. What color should we paint the walls?AT January Cure #19: Blast the Bathroom | The Wilson BuzzHere is our shower and my closet door. You’ve seen my closet, right? It’s a nice closet. And another bath mat!!AT January Cure #19: Blast the Bathroom | The Wilson BuzzOh look, the toilet! How lovely. And that is our – clean – master bathroom. Just…just don’t look in the bedroom, okay?

Home Maintenance Schedule

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Post-January Cure, Apartment Therapy came out with a “Weekend Project” dealio, which I am now kind of doing. (Even though I still need to finish my January Cure…) The first assignment was sent out this weekend, and of course I’m only just now looking at it. They recommended setting up a home maintenance schedule and writing it in to whatever planner makes the most sense. I used a combination of the AT instructions and this PDF. I’m setting reminders in my Google calendar, and also writing it out in my Passion Planner. Maybe we can finally remember to change our air filters regularly!!



  • March
    • clean and test smoke alarms
    • inspect roof for damage
    • AC inspection
    • wash curtains/clean blinds
    • clean up dog poop/destruction from backyard
  • April
    • clean gutters, make sure there are no blockages
    • inspect interior caulking and repair as needed
    • reverse ceiling fan directions
    • clean out fridge/pantry
    • deep clean living room furniture
    • clean up dog poop/destruction from backyard
  • May
    • make sure plants/bushes aren’t growing against house
    • check that water is draining away from the house
    • ensure there are no insects/vermin getting in the house
    • rotate/clean mattress
    • clean up dog poop/destruction from backyard


  • June
    • clean and test smoke alarms
    • examine window/door seals for leaks
    • check window screens for damage
    • wash curtains/clean blinds
    • clean up dog poop/destruction from backyard
  • July
    • examine and repair grout in bathrooms
    • inspect/lubricate garage doors and door/window locks
    • clean out fridge/pantry
    • deep clean living room furniture
    • clean up dog poop/destruction from backyard
  • August
    • repair cracks in concrete, if necessary
    • drain hot water tank
    • rotate/clean mattress
    • clean up dog poop/destruction from backyard


  • September
    • clean and test smoke alarms
    • check window/door exteriors for leaks
    • inspect exterior caulking for cracks/separation
    • heat inspection
    • wash curtains/clean blinds
    • clean up dog poop/destruction from backyard
  • October
    • check roofs for loose shingles and vents are unblocked
    • trim trees/shrubs to avoid damaging siding/roof
    • check for leaves/debris in gutters, check for blockages
    • clean out fridge/pantry
    • deep clean living room furniture
  • November
    • vacuum/clear out ducts and vents (interior and exterior)
    • turn off outside water outlets/drain faucets
    • reverse ceiling fan directions
    • rotate/clean mattress


  • December
    • clean and test smoke alarms
    • check attic/insulation for leaks
    • wash curtains/clean blinds
  • January
    • build/refill disaster preparedness kit
    • clean out fridge/pantry
    • deep clean living room furniture
  • February
    • drain hot water tank
    • rotate/clean mattress
    • deep clean washing machine
    • deep clean dishwasher


  • test smoke detectors
  • test fire extinguishers
  • clean garbage disposal
  • clean/replace range hood filter
  • check for water leaks: toilets, sinks, dishwasher, fridge
  • clean and freshen sink drains (bleach+water or baking soda+warm water)
  • clean/replace air filters
  • clean/replace water filters
  • clean out dryer lint trap with vacuum
  • at least one dog bath – preferably once a week, though!
  • clean pet toys/bowls

Did I forget anything??

AT January Cure #18: Online Organizing

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Mental Clutter Cleanup

Spend a little time thinking about your online homelife and what your #1 source of stress is. My guess is you’ll know right off the bat what could use a little attention. For me, its always and forever my Sisyphean quest to get to inbox zero. For you, it may also be email, or maybe password management, setting up online bill pay, a cluttery desktop that needs cleaning, email newsletters to unsubscribe to, browser bookmarks that need a purge or simply lots of digital photos and videos that could use some organizing.

Whatever it is, find 30 minutes today to dedicate to whatever issue would make you feel good to make some headway on. Just like when I asked you to clean out ONE drawer and then stop, this is a chance to positively impact one aspect of your online life that you’d like to improve today. Think of this as a good 30 minute start and know that you can revisit and finish up this chore soon and that you’ll get to the rest of them throughout the year. Set a timer and give it a go, I know you’ll be happy to get this underway.

Honestly…I spend eight hours sitting in front of a computer at work every day. And then I often spend another hour or two on a computer once I’m at home. I’m very good at keeping my digital world organized. It’s my personal life that is in chaos!!

AT January Cure #17: Catch-Up

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It’s a Catch Up Kind of Day

Let’s kick off the final work week of the Cure with a little well-deserved time to catch up on ANYTHING you need to, from an assignment you just didn’t get to yet right on through putting the finishing touches on your project. OR, maybe even a little at-home yoga to celebrate your newly-spruced up living room…

“Cool beans, great chance to take care of Assignment #15, and paint the trim in the upstairs hallway!” << That was my thought when I read this assignment. Guess what I did last night. Go on, guess.




Yesterday morning I woke up to the sound of Chairman gnawing on my poor little bedroom plant.

AT January Cure #17: Catch-Up | The Wilson BuzzI hope he’ll be okay (the plant, not the cat – screw the cat). :( I’m already worried he’s not getting enough sunlight, or not enough/too much water. PLANTS ARE SCARY. And this – THIS – is exactly why I haven’t had any. My freaking daffodils have lost their ever-loving minds (no picture, I have some pride left). I think Angus is doing alright, but Mr. T really does need to lower him a few inches. He’s not getting the right amount of sunlight. Anyway…

So, yeah – I was already a bit bummed about the plant, and was trying to decide if I should just move him or ban the cats from the bedroom. When I got home I decided to hang up the last bit of clothes I had left for the closet, to get it ready to put the dropcloth “rug” down. That’s when I discovered something had peed on them. So I laid down the law. NO pets will be allowed in the master bedroom ever again! *stamps foot*

I need one room – ONE ROOM – in my house that I don’t have to worry about pee/poop/vomit/chewing/massive quantities of pet hair. ONE ROOM. Okay, more like two or three when you take into consideration the bathroom and my closet. But still! I’m so glad Mr. T vetoed the cat spiral staircase plan I had to connect the bonus room and my closet. (Oh, yes – I asked for it. I still kind of think it could be awesome. But no!) Of course, if they had easy access between my closet and their room/litter box maybe we wouldn’t have so many closet pee issues. Well…Khat has gone PAST a clean, accessible litter box specifically to pee in my closet, so I don’t know…

At any rate, NO PETS IN THE BEDROOM. This is going to be so hard, mainly for me. Mr. T never wants them in there, anyway. But I like having snuggle buddies, and Mr. T usually stays up later than I do. Splinter definitely doesn’t understand. He has taken to sitting at the door and whining all morning. :( I almost gave in. It’s Splinter! He’s our buddy! #1 guy!! All the kids love him!! But then I remembered…he’s the only dog that has peed in our bedroom. Probably because he’s most often allowed in there. And to be fair, he peed on the toilet. >.< He tried!! Ugh.

So, yeah. I had to clean up some type of animal urine, and do a load of laundry, so that kind of killed my motivation. We did go grocery shopping, though, and I picked up my living room plant!

AT January Cure #17: Catch-Up | The Wilson BuzzIsn’t she lovely? She’s also on top of our fireplace, so no nibbles can take place. “Sarah, why are all your plants 5′ off the floors?” “Catsssssssss…

This is the first “requires bright sunlight” plant I picked up. Our house doesn’t have a lot of windows, so it’s hard to get a lot of light in. But she also requires “no direct sunlight” (I mean, come on – bright, but not direct…you’re killing me here!) so I’m hoping this will work. I’ve started opening the living room blinds every morning when I leave, so this should be the brightest area in the house…if the sun would ever shine. What are you supposed to do with these things (plants) in the dreary winter months?!

Do you like my decor? >.< We got the little dragon at Dragon*Con, for $15. I got the two green vases at Goodwill. They reminded me of my childhood, because Mom used to have a million of these things. I put the bulb in the one because it’s burned out (I think) and I know you have to do something special when disposing of these bulbs because of the mercury or whatever…I can just never remember what it is I’m supposed to do so I panic and have a bunch of non-working bulbs all over my house. 8}

AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins

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Show Your Living Room a Little Love

Deep clean your living room.

This is the “big clean” of your most public room. Give it a good once over and you’ll be ready for your upcoming gathering or, at the very least, a more inviting spot to settle in to watch a movie come Sunday night.

  • Pick up and put away all loose belongings
  • Declutter surfaces
  • Use those attachments and give your upholstered pieces a good vacuuming
  • Wipe down and clean all wooden or other non-upholstered furniture
  • Clean the baseboards
  • Thoroughly dust all surfaces – move things, dust, return items
  • Wipe down light switches, lamps and ceiling fan
  • Clean frames, artwork, mirrors and windows
  • Vacuum and/or sweep and mop the floors
  • Kick back, relax a bit and admire your clean room – you’ve earned it!

Flowers? Yes.

You know the drill :) Go get ’em and enjoy!

before after
AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz
AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz
AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz
AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz
AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz AT January Cure #16: The Final Stretch Begins | The Wilson Buzz

I used my UfYH app again for this assignment. And rocked out to some VSQ. Sorry for all the dogs in the pictures. It’s more effort than it’s worth to get pet-less shots in this house. Don’t forget Sputnik is up for adoption!! Please, someone adopt him…

I didn’t get out to buy flowers tonight…I may get some when I’m on my way home tomorrow. I need to stop and get groceries, anyway. There is still a pile o’ junk in front of the fireplace, but it’s Mr. T’s stuff and I don’t know what to do with it. Does it go upstairs? Does it go to the gallery? I don’t know! So I pile it up. 8} A lot of the crazy that was happening in here was from getting Two-Tone set up. And it finally is!! Me so happy. And I know Mr. T is, too.

AT January Cure #15: Jump In

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Even a Little Closet Clearing Goes a Long Way

Similar to the Pantry Purge or Drawer Cleanout, this is about improving ONE specific, contained area of your home. It can be a linen closet, a coat closet, your main wardrobe closet – whatever appeals to you. If you have just a little time to spend, go for the one that feels most do-able and just give it a quick polish. If you are raring to go, tackle the biggest monster. Whatever you choose, keep it to one closet only – you have the rest of the year to hit up more.

The point is: JUST JUMP IN and don’t worry about how far you’ll get or whether it will be “finished” today. Go in armed with an outbox, a trash bag and a vacuum and do your best. Even 15 minutes spent on straightening, decluttering and dust-bunny hunting will make a noticeable dent!

I originally wanted to clean out the closet in our bonus room that will eventually be a book nook, but this week has been crazy because of Two-Tone Tattoo Parlor (now open!) and I fell behind. So I cheated and used my closet, since I was going to work on it this weekend, anyway. :) I’ve waited far, far too long to finish it. When did I start this?? October 27. Well that’s embarrassing. No matter! I’m not going to post pictures here, because I want those to go in my “Surprise! Closet Renovation” series. For whatever reason. I don’t know…don’t question me. I really didn’t have much to do, just get the drop cloth floor in and finally hang all my clothes back up. So just hop on over to the grand reveal post and revel in the mediocre glory.

Note: I wrote this post on January 24, but didn’t get around to finishing my closet until February 2. WHAT CAN YA DO?

Surprise! Closet Renovation, Part 6 | The Wilson Buzz

AT January Cure #14: Create a Clutter Filter

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Create a Landing Strip and Start Using it

Set up a spot or hook for your keys, a bowl or container for change and your wallet on a surface (like a small side table) to sort the mail and other items (newspapers, books, magazines, purchases) as they come in. Two other super helpful and nice components to add to your landing strip area are a small wastebasket/recycling bin to hold your discarded incoming stuff to be recycled and a mirror for last minute checkups on your lovely smile and fashionable attire. :)

Once you’ve set up your landing strip, use it every time you come home. Here is a sample walk through of the process, which just takes a few minutes but reduces both stress and clutter exponentially, as it becomes a habit:

  1. As you arrive home, hang your coat, put your keys and wallet in their spots and take off your shoes.
  2. Empty the things out of your bags that you won’t need to take with you when leaving next time and hang your bags.
  3. Sort through your mail and immediately toss or recycle what you do not need.
  4. Put away anything else you’ve brought home: groceries, purchases, empty lunch containers, dry cleaning, etc.

This will just take a few minutes when you arrive home. As you finish each time, take a moment to focus on the fact that now you can relax and fully enjoy your organized home, knowing that nothing that needs attention is piling up and that everything you need for your next trip out into the world is right where you need it, easily found and ready to go!

Ha! Another thing I can quickly take care of. Go Sarah! *high-five*

I mean… I do it. Mr. T, not so much. And he can never find his keys! Mind-boggling, right? Having a designated spot for your keys means you don’t lose your keys – who knew?! ;) I like to give him a hard time, but I do love that man. Anyway, while I do have a sort of landing strip (one of the first things I ever set up in our house!), it needed some TLC. Of course, I accidentally deleted my “before” pictures, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Miraculously, if you’ve seen the rest of this Cure, this area of our house isn’t in that bad of shape!! Shocking, I know. But I cleaned it up a smidge. Found a bunch of expired coupons. I am so bad at couponing. It is definitely not my spiritual gift…

I don’t think trash/recycling cans are necessary for our specific situation – we have a recycling can in our driveway, so I dump all the junk mail in it before it even comes in the house! Same goes for any trash out of my car…once I get it out of my car. Can we have a February Cure centered around cleaning out our cars?! Anyway, even if it’s dark/rainy/cold or my hands are too full to sort the mail outside, our kitchen/dining/living/entry rooms are all one big medium-sized open space, so I dump the trash in the appropriate cans in the kitchen on my way to let the dogs out. More information than you ever needed to know regarding my junk mail habits?! That’s what I thought.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures:

AT January Cure #14: Create a Clutter Filter | The Wilson Buzz AT January Cure #14: Create a Clutter Filter | The Wilson Buzz

The pictures don’t show it that well, but the leashes, mirror, and junk are all on the wall to the left of the door (if you’re leaving the house). There is supposed to be a little mail sorter thing under the white picture frame on that pink piece of plywood. We’ve never hung it. Also, the house key I had glued to the frame (it’s a printout of a map of our neighborhood, with a heart around our address) fell off. Not sure where that ran off to, but hot glue doesn’t really stick to glass all that well – learn from me, kids.

The coat rack and shoe box are to the right of the door, at the foot of the stairs. I’ve decided I want to hang hooks on this wall, instead. Then maybe build a little bench/storage thingy for shoes, and put clutter baskets on the stairs where all that clutter is. ;) Wait…I also wanted to build a half-door thingy there instead of a baby gate for when we have kids. Heavens…what are we going to do?! Future Sarah can worry about that. Either project is a long way off.