Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Viewing Your Home Through Someone Else's Eyes

A charming vintage copy of a British homemaking magazine, on eBay

Sometimes I use creative 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 (at least let's hope so), it does horrify me into doing more weeding, sorting the closet more frequently, washing down the walls more often, and tackling my messes.

There's no way I can pretend I'd actually 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 broken laundry room wall where my puppies chewed it. Those are things I should replace or get fixed right now, so *I* can enjoy living in my home.

What might you pretend in order to inspire you to clean your home differently or more frequently?


  • Need to do any loads of laundry? Clothing, towels, or bedding?

  • Throw out any dead houseplants; get rid of any empty plastic gardening pots that old plants might have come in.

  • 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 a Bravo film crew just showed up, or Oprah Winfrey, your favorite actor or actress, 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? What do you notice, what do you hear, and what do you smell?

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 walking 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, replace nasty old plug socket covers and light switches? Time to recarpet, get new curtains, replace stained pillows in the bedroom, throw out a ratty old couch, change out the rusty old 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 BLOGS: Down to Earth

Rhonda's blog teaches you to live a simpler life. Besides sewing, cooking and homemaking, she posts about growing and preserving food, being part of a community, slowing down, and building a strong family. Recent posts I've enjoyed include making simple soap with four ingredients; striking a balance between work and rest; and her post sharing pictures of her gardens.

Down to Earth


For quite some time now I've been hoping to find an attractive bread box I could use to store my bread in. I'm currently the only person in my household who eats bread, and it takes me more than a few days to eat up a loaf. I keep throwing away moldy loaves, which is really wasteful and discouraging. I don't like the taste of bread that's been in the refrigerator, so I need to find a way to store it safely on the counter.

I love the retro stylings of this new Wesco Grandy brand bread box. It comes in three colors - red is my favorite, but doesn't go with my kitchen. I guess I'll settle for the white one, and just be prepared to wipe fingerprints off it constantly.

Wesco Grandy Bread Box, at Williams-Sonoma


Cookies and Cream Cupcakes (Bakerella)

Grilled Turnips With Garlic (The Bitten Word)

Key Lime Donuts (Edible Perspective)

Mood Food (Trend Central)

Make Lunch Fun and Healthy (Williams-Sonoma)

Make Marshmallow Fluff at Home (Bon Appetit)

The Many Melons of Summer (NPR)

NY Grocery Turns to Scent Marketing (The Early Show)

Summer Entertaining: Pitcher Drinks (Bon Appetit)

Triple Layered Rocket Pops (Detroit Free Press)

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