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I just graduated! No, not from college. From Apartment Therapy’s 20/20 Home Cure! For 20 days, I did 20 minutes of tasks assigned by the professors of design, interiors and all things nifty at Apartment Therapy, aimed to “make homes beautiful, organized and healthy”. I just got my report card, and will share my grade. But first, for you, my top 5 Home Cure takeaways (cliff notes, if you will~wht)
1. Any advice you give someone else, you need for yourself. Case in point – I tell clients all the time to be careful about burning themselves out when we begin our work together. It is so exciting to get started but too much too soon is just too much too soon….and then the flame fizzles. By week three I had done so much in addition to my 20 minute tasks that I didn’t want to do even the dishes.
2. What you focus on grows. Just a little focus on my apartment brought in massive changes. Example: I made the list of six things I needed for my apartment and within two hours a friend called to offer two of them, for free. Beautiful end tables for my living room and a space heater for my bedroom. Pretty cool.
3. It pays to “act as if”. My wish list contained couch but my attitude was “forecast-hazy”. Guess what? No couch. When the Cure started I began looking on Craigslist with more of a “forecast-maybe” with a 35% chance of “why not?” I found something that looked ok and decided to swing by just to browse (after giving my logistics to a friend!) The guy gave me everything, for free. New couch and credenza that are 60s Mad Men beautiful and better than what I have been seeing in the stores. Again, pretty cool!
4. Have a child’s mind. Learning how to clean/organize/improve something from someone else is eye-opening. We all have our way of doing things so getting some other ideas can shake up your routine for the better. I thought I was going to know a lot of this stuff already and I did…sort of. The slight twists on my old tricks were the ones that helped the most.
For example: Maxwell suggests bookshelves should be about 50-75% full at most. I’d never heard this suggestion before. I barely had any books to start with but when I emptied 1/2 my bookshelves it was a whole new reading world. I can actually use the books I have because I can see them! It has revolutionized my reference library, that is; it is actually used for reference now. For a serious book-loving gal this is revolutionary.
5. Connect with the walls in your home, for real. Cleaning at the start of each week, getting into the habit of buying flowers, learning to fix things…all of this has brought a new intimacy into my home. I’m closer to it and know it better because I’m taking care of it better and spending , yes; quality time with it. Next step in my relationship with my apartment was to walk around and put my hand on all the walls as Maxwell suggested in his book. This is extra credit! It isn’t in the 20/20 Cure but it really was the final exam. It felt a little hocus-pocus at first but then I realized, which is it – crazy to walk around touching your walls or to live in an apartment for 6 whole years and never have touched the walls? How can you know about something if you don’t connect with it in a real way?
How did I do? Let’s check out my report card…
I was at an A+ week one and two, and lagged to a B- by week three. So is that A- or B+? I can’t tell! The story behind my decline? I crammed those first two weeks! Then I got a bad case of senioritis the last week and couldn’t wait for school to be out. Sound familiar?
I finished all of the 20/20 tasks and then some! I also blogged and vlogged about each task in detail (photos and all!) on my website. The results are, and continue to be nothing short of top of the class if I do say so myself! And…I do! I can brag all I want because the honors go to the fantastic videos Maxwell of Apartment Therapy created for all of us students.
It’s all sugar and spice until there’s something I don’t want to do! There’s often a little whining involved, but then once I get going I’m an unstoppable and inspired student. (If memory serves me, nothing much changes.)
So even the organizer hems and haws about cleaning and organizing (for oneself!) It is ok to not like something and forge ahead anyway. We can all tolerate 20 minutes of just about any yucky task. Either it is over before you know it or you actually start to get into it and have fun. Usually the latter! I even created a 20 minute 20/20 music mix to mix it all up!
The energy of my home has shifted as a result of the 20/20 Cure. It is literally lighter as a result of this new connection – and so am I. Want to be schooled on your home? The book, Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure is a good place to start. It’s the perfect textbook companion for this field of study. Or read more about my schooling at my blog.
Jennifer Palais is passionate about helping people function for low stress and maximum success in their lives and businesses. But really, she is super passionate about movies and stories. That’s her secret motivation for organization. More movies! Follow her on Twitter for her bird’s eye view. Or join her Facebook page for super special organizing tips and giveaways.