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January Cure

December 31st, 2017

A few years ago, I did the Apartment Therapy January Cure with a friend. We’ve been doing it and loving it ever since. Basically, It’s a month long focus on clearing out the clutter and cleaning. Every day there’s an e-mail with task, generally they take between 15-30 minutes. Each weekend there’s a bigger chore, which takes a little longer.
Typically, I stay on top of cleaning/organizing throughout the year. I’ve developed habits that work for me. Last year, with all the traveling and my mom’s illness, I got a bit behind in the deep cleaning, decluttering chores that I did in big blocks of time. This year The January Cure will help me get back on track.


Every January my friend and I do the challenge together. As I was telling another friend about it yesterday, I realized it would be fun to do as a group. If you’re on facebook, join us during the week of January. Each day I’ll post photos of my cure project and you can post your photos in the comments of the Chiot’s Run facebook page.

Do you have a specific time of year you clean and declutter, or do you do it throughout the year?

A Little Maintenance

February 15th, 2017

I sew a lot in the winter, this winter has been no different. Sewing machines are like any other machine, they need periodic cleaning and maintenance. My machine gets a good vacuuming every couple months and a bit of oil.


I’ve been sewing so many zipper pouches this winter, I should have cleaned it sooner. The amount of lint buildup inside was a bit ridiculous. One of these days I need to take it in to have it properly cleaned and serviced. We’re lucky to have a guy that will pick it up at my local fabric shop and drop it back off the following week. My little machine isn’t an expensive one, but keeping it properly cleaning & maintained has made it sew like a champ for the 18 years I’ve had it.

One thing I need to get better at is keeping my garden tools properly maintained. This summer I need to build the bucket of sand with some sort of oil (maybe organic linseed or jojoba) to dip my tools into before putting them away. That’s one area I definitely need to up my game, especially before putting them away for the winter.

Do you have any tips for properly maintaining gardening tools?

A Constant Process

January 18th, 2017

Around here, cleaning the floors is a daily occurrence, or at least almost daily. When you have four cats inside during the winter and heat with wood, lots of hair, sawdust, ash, and other bits collect very quickly. If we bring Tara in there’s no hope.
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Every single day I’m thankful for my little vacuum (it’s a Miele by the way and AMAZING). A few years ago my old vacuum died and I went to my local vacuum store and got a Miele, I couldn’t be happier. Well worth every single penny they cost. The amount of dirt this little canister can clean up is mind blowing. I also love that it packs the bags so full and never loses suction when the bags start filling up.
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This is up there with one of my favorite all time things. Crazy I know, but I’m a neatnik when it comes to the floors. I probably should have saved this for one of my Friday Favorites. The rest of the house can be cluttered, but the floors have to be clean!

Is there one thing you are extra tidy about around the house?

Decluttering the Houseplants

January 18th, 2016

I’m one of those people that doesn’t really have trouble getting rid of things, in fact I’m in a constant state of going through the house and taking loads of stuff to Goodwill on a regular basis. The longer I live the less stuff I want to have in my home to clean around and organize. This past weekend I decided it was time to reduce the houseplants. I got rid of plants that I no longer enjoyed. Some were plants that never lived up to their expectations. Like a piece of clothing that never quite fit right, sometimes plants just don’t quite perform as expected. These all went into the compost bin.
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Houseplants that were staying also received a good pruning and then a dose of liquid kelp. I have a lot of houseplants that I love, these lovely little succulents in a tiny window in the bedroom.
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This lovely dwarf papaya tree lives large on my bedside table. I’m hoping it will produce fruit this summer when I move it outside.
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The dwarf banana in the living room is growing like crazy. It will probably be another year or so before it produces fruit. I repotted it a few months ago but it already needs a much bigger pot.
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Under a big window upstairs, I have a few containers full of lettuces and herbs. I like to grow a variety of edibles during the winter.
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Just like reducing clutter in other areas, getting rid of houseplant clutter gives me more space to breathe. Not only do all my plants look better, I feel better as well. Tomorrow I’ll show you my favorite houseplants, one that I’ve had for almost 18 years.

Have you pruned and reduced your houseplants recently? Do you have a favorite houseplant?

A Clean Pantry

January 6th, 2016

Cleaning the pantry was yesterday’s item on The Cure. For me, that essential means half the kitchen. The pantry is about the same size as the kitchen and houses a ton of stuff. There are big glass containers full of bulk items like salt, popcorn, dried fruit, grains, etc. There are also glass storage containers, food stuffs, and pretty much everything I use for cooking besides dishes and pots & pans.
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There were nails here and there and hooks that were only put in with one screw (from previous owners) that I have just never gotten around the removing. Those came down, all the rough sawn wooden shelves got a really good vacuuming, which removed the cobwebs that invariable accumulate.
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Everything came off of every shelf and they were each vacuumed, there’s no washing them since they are rough sawn lumber, but at least there’s no more dust or mouse droppings. This is an old not very well sealed up house so we get mice in the pantry all the time. Now you know why everything is sealed up tightly in glass jars. The cats catch the mice, but not before they scurry around leaving a bit of a mess here and there.
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I’m always amassing eggs for my various egg customers, one of which picks up five dozen every couple weeks.
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Last week I got these containers to organize my various caps for glass jars. They used to be in one large basket on the floor, but it always took time to find the size I was looking for. Now they’re organized into the three different sizes that I have and it’s perfect. It’s also nice that they’re up off the floor. After being asked a few time about these containers, they’re Koziol Organizer , made in Germany from BPA free plastic.
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The shelves look much neater & tidier after a good cleaning. I didn’t purge much, I tend to do that throughout the year as I’m cooking. Every single jar/bottle was wiped down to get rid of any dust that had accumulated, which is quite a lot in an old dusty house. I’m not 100% finished yet, I still have to finish taking out everything that’s on the floor and giving the floor a good cleaning. It’s nice to have this very involved chore out of the way for the year.

What spring cleaning chores do you need to tackle before the garden gets going again?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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