Last spring, during Anti-Procrastination month, I started spiffing up in earnest. I was going to leave it as is, but this summer I was inspired by the book The House that Cleans Itself, by Mindy Starns Clark. I decided to use the approach outlined in the first edition to CONVERT my house into one that, if it doesn't clean itself, is much easier to maintain. The first step was to divide my house into zones. The back entry way was zone 3. You can read about my efforts with the book by clicking on the label HTCI.
What this area needed was a thorough cosmetic lift. Think Nicole Kidman. Essentially, all the rough spots needed to be smoothed out, the holes and cracks patched, and the walls and trim painted. I started in September. I finished the last step on Wednesday, November 21st.
CONVERT, is, of course, a pithy acronym. Here is what it stands for and its relevance to my back entry way.
C- clear out the clutter
There really wasn't a lot of clutter in this zone. I change out the seasonal items as it makes sense.
O- open up and clean
Always a good idea.
N- neaten, organize, and solve problem spots.
For organization we have:
1. The pocket organizer.
yay! my husband got a new lunch bag! You can see the old one hanging here.
2. Hooks on boards, now all of them silver.
3. A boot shelf with the magazine holders hacked into flip flop and sandal holders with a new curtain rod mounted above from which to hang things, namely, the rubber boots.
yep, that's the electrical panel for the house. Yes, we need to upgrade.
When I saw a Ribba frame mounted to the wall on a piano hinge in the IKEA showroom, I knew I had my solution.
those are peel and stick magnets on the wall to help keep the frame closed
Many years ago, I had put up a paper towel bar to hold towels for cleaning off the dog's paws. Somehow, it got taken down and lost. I needed to put something back up.
installed during the Spring Cure 2008
installed Fall 2013
The spray bottles are there because we received complaints about the dog barking. We spray him with water and he stops.
V- verify rabbit trails and set up stations.
Not applicable in this situation.
E- examine sight zones
According to Clark, sight zones are those areas which you see first when you enter the area. If the first thing you see, as she says, is a messy bookcase, your impression of the room is that it is messy. If, on the other hand, you see something neat and organized, say, the made-up bed, then your impression is of a clean room--even if when you turn your head you see a cluttered dresser. To you, it will still be a clean room with a messy area.
She identifies four ways in which this all important first impression can be made--two of which concerned this area. They were
- the sight zone when you entered through the back door and
- the inevitable invisibles--the nicks and cracks and nastiness you just stop seeing after a while but which leave you with a sense of disorder and disrepair.
This was the sight zone as you entered the back door and looked down the stairs, straight ahead:
This is what it looked like today:
Admittedly, not a whole lot better. For this to dramatically improve, I need to paint the stairs (could happen), the basement floor (not going to happen), and do something about the stuff on the basement floor (will happen from time to time).
This next little area of the entry way is a great example of the nasty nicks, cracks and general groadiness that becomes more and more invisible as it builds up over time.
But we dealt with the nicks and cracks handily--and by "we" I mean my husband. He did a fabulous job in here.
R- record future improvements needed
I'd like to figure out a way to remove the old lock properly--both from the door and the molding. That will have to wait for the Spring, though!
We put all the weather stripping on the door we could. (The door is so uneven in its frame we had to use two different thicknesses.)
what is sunlight pouring through through the crack in August is frigid air in November
T- take steps now for ongoing maintenance
That rag on the towel rack isn't just for the dog's paws, of course, but for messes tracked in by other wet and dirty paws, ahem. I used to keep a rag in the kitchen drawer--this is so much easier.
A new rug and the area is done. It is a thousand times more pleasant than it's ever been. Finally, I feel like it is part of the house, instead of just an area to get through quickly on my way to somewhere else.
that photograph in the frame is one I took of some flowers we had on the kitchen table
Is there an area in your house that might benefit from a little cosmetic face-lift? Let's hope it won't take you six months!