Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tricking Myself Into Cleaning

A potted pink dahlia that I embellished with sequins as a birthday gift for a friend. She pronounced it very Bollywood!

Sometimes I use little tricks to inspire myself to keep my home clean and well maintained. For example, I imagine I suddenly have to move and sell the house in a month. While this isn't actually a very likely scenario (knock on wood), it does horrify me into doing more weeding, washing down the walls more often, and tackling my messy bookcases.

There's no way I can pretend I'd be able to realistically stage the house myself, just by removing personal photographs, putting away the Kleenex boxes in every room, and storing some decorative clutter. Mostly, walking around my house looking at things as though I'd have four weeks to move, helps me throw things away and plan home maintenance projects.

I wouldn't be able to sell the house with its falling-down patio deck and the broken fireplace doors. Those are things I should replace or get fixed right now, so *I* can enjoy living in my home.


  • Need to do any loads of laundry? Clothing, towels, or bedding?
  • Need a trim on your summer haircut? Roots need updating? Hair need a conditioning treatment?
  • Throwing any outdoor parties this weekend? Have you called to invite your friends, and made your grocery shopping list and menus?
  • Made a pitcher of sun tea, or fresh lemonade lately?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Examining My House Through Someone Else's Eyes

Wander through your house pretending you are a Bravo film crew, Oprah Winfrey, or your mother-in-law, or a houseguest taking refuge for a week. What do you see? Are you happy with what you find, or are there things you would like to change? Try this experiment next time you drive up to your home or apartment. Approach it like you've never been there before. Walk into the front door and sniff, listen, and look.

Don't just go from room to room - open cupboards, snoop in your closets, and peek into drawers. Look for not only cleaning, sorting and organizing projects, but see what needs to be done from a maintenance standpoint. Is it time to repaint, recarpet, get new curtains, throw out a ratty old couch, change out the stained light fixture, etc?

Today I'm walking through my house making lists of things to fix, renovations to think about, and decluttering that needs to get done.

I won't have a lot of time tonight to actually DO those things, but I will keep the list handy where I can see it this week, adding things, and hopefully checking off a lot of tasks.

LOVELY PETS: Martha Stewart for PetSmart

I am so sick of the realistic-looking pet toys that are tossed around my yard. I cringe every time I see the slobbery squirrel and the too-real raccoon. So I'm looking forward to picking up a few of Martha Stewart's pet toys next time I go to the pet store for dog food. I'm tempted by the cupcake and chicken coop and I'm sure the dogs will love chewing up whatever I select. Anything to keep them busy and happy for an hour!


"Where travel and culinary passions meet." Travelogues, articles on wine regions, restaurant reviews, lists and links. Even though I have no plans to travel outside the US in 2010, I still am enjoying browsing through the wealth of interesting articles and photos on this site.



Cherry Bomb (Syracuse New Times)

Cooking Class: Peach Crisp (Chatelaine)

Kids Quit the Team for More Family Time (WSJ)

Seasonal Home Stencils (Chatelaine)

Sleeping Under the Stars: The World's Most Elegant Outdoor Beds (Conde Nast Traveler)

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