Ultimate Spring Cleaning, Day 13: Goodbye White Walls

by Michael on April 3, 2010 · 0 comments

Maybe something in a Mad Men style...?

Ultimate Spring Cleaning is a project to clean and declutter not only your house, but your life. Each day you’ll get a housecleaning assignment, an assignment that involves the world around you, and a project to clear your mind. You can start anytime at the Ultimate Spring Cleaning main page.

This weekend will be light on heavy work (unless you’ve been procrastinating on cleaning that living space, in which case, get busy!). But that doesn’t mean you won’t be doing anything. In fact, for some of you today might be the most mentally taxing day of the whole month, because you’re going to do a few things you don’t normally do. It may be mildly traumatic. You’ll get over it, I promise.

Your Home: Channel Your Inner Interior Decorator

Every single one of us has been there: wooden peach crates for storage, a big cable spool serving as a coffee table, posters thumbtacked to the walls. Some of us grew out of it as soon as we got a real job. Others took a while more. Some of us, sad to say, are still there.

Well, it’s time to get your place in shape. We’ve been tackling the clutter (be ruthless!) but if all you’re left with is bare walls, furniture that isn’t supposed to be furniture and that awful table lamp you found out on the sidewalk with a “free” sign on it, it’s going to be that much harder to ask that hottie over for a drink, or your friends for a holiday party. Also, that Rob Zombie poster on the bedroom wall is not subliminally restful.

Have a Plan: Don’t go all-out to get new art or furniture until you’ve given some thought about how it will go together. Think of one or two focal pieces, like furniture or highlighted art or paint color, then decorate around them. Sketch it out, look in magazines and stores for things that you can envision in your home, and make a shopping list.

Buy Furniture One Piece at a Time: Most of us can’t really afford to toss all of our furniture and start again, so pick one piece of furniture as the focal point of your room (like the sofa), buy it first, then fill in the other items and art around it. Same in the bedroom—the bed is always going to be the focal point, so treat it as such.

Give the Room Personality: Your room should reflect an aspect of your personality, keeping in mind it shouldn’t be too dark or too…how should I put this…feminine. I play and listen to music, so I have guitar hangers on one wall that turn my guitars into art. If you take photographs, have some blown up and framed. Which brings me to…

Use Frames: Okay, that old Nirvana poster is valuable. Great. Don’t ruin it with thumbtacks or that goop they say won’t harm the walls—frame it so it looks valuable. Framed art can really add a touch of class. And maybe put it in the hall instead of your living room.

Don’t Focus the Room on Your Entertainment Center: This is probably the number one mistake men make. We love our gadgets, so why won’t everyone who comes over? Take the focus off your TV and raise the maturity level of the room. I deliberately chose light-colored wood for my TV/stereo console, so the focus goes back to the conversation area.

Paint (If You Can): Having color on your walls is a relatively inexpensive way to transform your entire room. However, it is effort-intensive if you choose to do it yourself, so as with most home-improvement projects, plan to spend about twice as long painting as you think it should take. Don’t forget to paint the trim a complementary color.

Stick to Your Budget: If you can’t afford much, you can’t afford much. Sometimes just rearranging furniture, removing clutter and putting up new curtains can transform a room. Think about whether addition by subtraction can improve the vibe of your space. Stacked storage cubes, throw pillows for an old sofa, small up-lights instead of a bulky lamp—these are cheap ways to get the job done. If you like working with your hands, you can modify inexpensive IKEA furniture with ideas from IKEA Hackers.

Get a Second Opinion: Before you do anything big, find someone whose taste you admire and ask for their opinion. They might even turn you on to a store or two you didn’t know about, or a way to save time or money.

The overall rule of thumb for decorating your home is to do what works, within your budget. If it takes you more time to save up for a new bookshelf or you can’t find the right tile for your bathroom floor, that’s fine. Do what you can when you can, but at least make the effort to start. This is an ongoing process, and you should continue to adjust your decor even after this month is over.

Your World: Meet Some Women

Believe it or not, decorating isn’t the main task of the day. Nope, today I want you to go out and make an effort to talk to as many women as possible. Where you do this is up to you:

  • Combine it with grocery shopping
  • Go out for coffee at the coffee shop
  • If it’s a nice day, go out for a walk in the park
  • Find a farmer’s market
  • Run some errands at the bank/hardware store
  • Go clothes shopping and talk to the sales clerks
  • Browse at a bookstore

Really, just about anywhere will do, except for bars and clubs. There’s too much weirdness in those locations if you’re not used to them.

Note this section is titled Meet Some Women, not Pick Up Some Women. Your goal today is just to get used to actually saying something to a woman you don’t know. You’ve done this before, many times, just without thinking about the fact you were talking to a woman. It’s not brain surgery.

Talk about what it is you’re both doing, the scene around you, some jewelry she’s wearing…just about anything. When the convo stalls, tell her to have a great day move on. Just remember to look for the signs she’s interested, just in case she does want you to take it further.

Get out and talk to women. Just do it.

Yourself: Toss Your Porn Collection

Different people have different opinions on pornography. To some it’s evil, to others just kind of icky, and to others, the only question is how to acquire more.

I’m not here to judge, or to tell you not to use porn. If you’re a big fan I probably couldn’t change your mind anyway.

But what I do want you to do, here, now, today, is to pack up your porn collection, every last photo, and toss it. Put it in the trash, burn it, recycle it (there are services that will do secure shredding, if it’s that important), cut up the DVDs and tapes, and delete every last image from your hard drive.

Why?

Because porn is one of those things that gets built up, like earwax. You can’t bear to throw away (or are scared to throw away) anything, so you get this big porn buildup that ends up kind of haunting you. What if a girlfriend were to find it? Or if the cops showed up with a warrant, could you guarantee all the actresses were of legal age?

All I want you to do is to purge the buildup. Feel what it’s like to have not one frame, page or pixel of naked women doing whatever around the house. Maybe rely on your own imagination once or twice. Then tomorrow, if you want, you can start a whole new collection. The great thing about porn is that they always make more.

But today, throw your porn away.

Then meditate.

See you tomorrow.

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