The 20/20 Cure {Days 2-5: flowers, inspiration, outbox, eco-cleaner}

Somehow, four days of The 20/20 Cure fit into one today! That's what I'm loving about The 20/20 Cure: It's easy to keep up with. 20 minutes a day completing ONE task really isn't too much to ask. Plus, for me, it's definitely accomplishing the point, which is to cure my home by putting some positive energy back into it. Each day's task is merely a starting point to get me motivated and energized to do even more.

What to do with that motivation and energy is a personal choice. I thought about tackling the full 8-Week Home Cure checklist, but the list is daunting and I really don't need the extra guilt for not completing it (because at this point in my life, it would not be completed). So, I decided to choose four areas in our apartment to focus on in the next twenty (well, 14?) days. Four areas that I hope to "cure."

The four areas of focus for The 20/20 Cure are...

{AREA 1:  Daniel's side of the bed, bedroom}
It's not completely needing attention because of his messiness (afterall, removing dirty clothes that get dropped there isn't that hard to do). It's mostly needing attention because we stalled out in our unpacking. There were a couple boxes of things from his office at work and his office in our home in Florida that weren't pertinent to daily living and got in my way in other parts of the house so I dropped them here. Add to that college papers and binders that have never been properly sorted, and we've got ourselves a good foundation for dirty clothes to be thrown on. Part of curing this area will include hanging the shelf over our bed, and finding a good shelving solution for extra office-type things.

{AREA 2: Outbox, hallway}
More about the outbox below as that's a task for Day 4. I love the concept of the outbox but have not been great at clearing it (read: it's difficult to donate items when you've got two little tag-a-longs). I had a tub of items meant to be donated and some items that I was still debating. Below that is a tub of picture frames and decorative-type items that I was still debating. I'm not sure what I'll do with this space once it's clear, but clearing it is a priority for this 20/20 Cure.

{AREA 3: My clothes, closet}
This isn't a huge messy, and eliminating unworn/unflattering items during Project Eliminate went a long way in keeping this pretty low maintenance. But... I have a shelf of non-hangable items that is messy and out of my reach. So, I will be finding a better solution for those items. Along the way, I'll also clean up other parts of the closet and make it all more functional.

{AREA 4: Bookshelf, living room}
This is probably one of our more organized areas of our home. But there's always room for improvement. I want to make better use of this space (i.e., it houses books we never read or reference, so why not use it for something we use frequently?). I also want to make it a more attractive focal point.

Here's a recap of each day's 20/20 Cure tasks...


I tend to roll my eyes at this task. Mostly because the cynic in me asks, why buy it if you know it's gonna die? Sure, there's not much else I'd apply that logic to, but a plant just never seems to last long in my care. Add to that my procrastination of pitching the flowers once they've expired, and I feel like I spend more days looking at dead flowers than actually enjoying them in their prime. Phew How's that for a depressing perspective on things?

Good thing I had extra motivation. Date night! It was my night to plan date night, and I thought flowers would be a nice touch. I was short on time and stuck with whatever Wal-mart had to offer. I also was limited to the $5 options because of flowers' afore mentioned inevitable expiration. Roses and daisies seemed much too feminine to give to my man, and, well, the greenery looked cooler to me :)


{DecorPad living room}

Oh, man, this is by far my favorite task in all of my Home Curing experiences!  Seriously, it's one of my preferred uses of "me time" so it's hardly a task. I used to clip spaces I loved from magazines, then, because I wasn't really buying magazines and my inspiration was mostly via the Internet, I started savings images to folders on my computer or sometimes posting them on my blog.


Then, came Pinterest. Oh, I love you! I now have my "home style tray" stored as a Pinterest board complete with the links to lead me back to the original source. When I'm not pinning my favorite home inspirations while browsing the Web, I enjoy just looking at my style tray, soaking in the possibilities. Perfect for someone like me that is still developing a specific sense of style--this is a great way to see all my favorites together and evaluate what appeals to me most about each space, separating likes from loves.


Thick stripes. Grasscloth. Bright, simple, clean. Resourceful. Second-hand/second-life. Large, canvas photos. Neutrals. Yellow. Green. Mix of woods and finishes. Open shelving. Minimalism. Earthy. Family-friendly. Livable.

{DecorPad kitchen}

Some of my favorite online sources for home inspiration include:
IKEA family live
[the nest]
apartment therapy's house tours
Better Homes and Gardens
Real Simple


The single most valuable concept I have learned through the Home Cure is the outbox. I used to approach the process of sorting my belongings with the categories keep, toss, undecided. Makes sense, right? Truth is, it actually slowed the process way down. Instead of making quick decisions, I'd consider it too long and usually ended up with a much-too-big "undecided" pile. Not so with the outbox.

Basically, the outbox neutralizes emotions to encourage quick decisions. Instead of deciding right away whether the items should be kept, donated or "other," all I am deciding this very moment is that I am not loving the item where it is. So, I put it in the outbox. Whether it's a book, article of clothing, decorative item. Whether I'm sorting through a specific drawer or shelf or if I'm just passing through the apartment and seeing something that doesn't look right where it currently is. Fear or guilt don't play any part, because I haven't decided what exactly will be done, just that it needs further consideration.

Seriously, this is a great way to get things cleared out and instantly see the potential of what your cleaned out space could be. Of course, the outbox needs to be dealt with. But don't do it until the item has been in there a couple days, so you can truly see what life is like without it. Now, when you evaluate it, you're doing so with some added information. Did you miss it or need it? Maybe it needs to be kept but given a new place to rest or repurposed. Does it belong to someone else? Return it. Anything else that is well used, not missed, no longer loved or needed, now has guilt-free permission to leave the house. Donate, regift, recycle, trash. And enjoy your newly cleaned-out, clutter-free space :)

Another worthwhile read on the topic: Make Clutter History by Maxwell (same author of Apartment Therapy). He suggests leaving at least 10% empty space to allow newness to come into your life.


This is one area I'm completely sold on going "green." Seriously, there's enough pollutants and toxins in our air, so why add to it by spraying harsh chemicals every time I clean? It's also an area that anyone can jump on board without feeling like their sacrificing to do so. Eco cleaners are sometimes thought to be too expensive and not effective, but that's just not true. Yes, some fancy green brands can be a little pricy. And, yes, some products just aren't as effective as their harsher counterparts. But, overall, green cleaning can get the job done and it can save money.

I've mentioned this book before, but should probably do so again in a book review. Here's the recap: Salt, Lemons, Vinegar, and Baking Soda are very effective (and safe) when used as cleaners throughout the home from laundry to bathroom to kitchen. Oh, and super affordable. This book includes amounts and combinations to use for specific cleaning throughout the home, as well as other household and beauty uses. Getting back to the basics never looked so good. {Side note: I bought this book on clearance for a few bucks at Barnes & Noble; I did not spend the $29.89 listed on Amazon.)

For this step in The 20/20 Cure, I replenished our supply of baking soda. We use it in our diaper laundry, sprinkle it in with the dirty diapers, scrub the bath and sinks with it, clear our drains with it, {and more!} :) We had a huge bag of it we got from Costco (along with the huge jug of vinegar in the background), but we don't have a Costco around here so I settled for the "small" box size. We'll see how long it lasts.

I'd be a little hypocritical to let you believe I use only those four ingredients. I want to/try to, but we have exceptions. One is named Daniel. He likes his ocyclean detergent and Lysol. There's also a couple cleaners we keep on hand for tough stuff like spills in the oven, and a couple cleaners we are using up rather than just pitching. But, I'm learning and hope to completely convert to non-toxic cleaning.