Solutions: Just say yes to organizing, entertaining

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

The fact that old habits die hard certainly applies to those associated with our homes. That’s why I hope to step outside my domestic comfort zone in 2015. I often have lofty thoughts that get sidestepped by pure laziness and procrastination. Because our surroundings are so familiar, they seem to encourage previous bad behavior.

Although my husband has heard this one before, I’d like to improve my cooking skills. Maybe I’ll learn to like the process if I have some success. Even if I end up with one new edible dish, I will consider this a major achievement.

While in the kitchen, I might also cut down on what my husband calls my science experiments; those dishes that sit beside the sink instead of going straight to the dishwasher where they belong. Coffee mugs filled with water and utensils tend to multiply overnight.

I vow to do more entertaining this year, especially the kind I find most challenging, which involves hosting more than four at a time.

As for my constant quest for organization, I’ve already made some progress. Rather than consider the whole house, I’m taking the baby steps needed to reach my goal and enjoying the areas I’ve tackled so far, like a wide drawer that went from disastrous to fabulous. Even my daughter said she was proud of me when she saw it.

Stepping outside my comfort zone also pertains to home repairs and improvements. Once again, choosing more manageable tasks is more productive than dreaming about budget-busting renovations that are more of a want than a need at this time.

Come spring, I’d like to address our neglected outdoor areas that have so much potential, but are rarely used. Last year, we finally replaced our back patio, and the deck is next in line. From there, I envision some outdoor rugs, which will be greatly appreciated by our dog. Some new furniture could make this a coveted spot in the warmer months.

I’ve learned that making lists is one thing; sticking to them is what really counts. The same can be said for creative ideas. I have to act on them in order to see if they work as well in real life as they do in my head.

One is to take advantage of existing furniture pieces like an old medical cabinet that belonged to my stepfather. Though it currently sits in our storage room with mostly empty drawers, it would be perfect for office supplies. The fact that it’s on wheels makes it easy to move to another room.

I’ve already purchased some frames for art and photos that have been waiting to be displayed. Just because we’ve run out of wall space doesn’t mean I can’t replace what’s there.

While I was shopping, a woman kindly pointed out that I had dropped something. It was a photo of my daughter that is intended for a keychain. It had made it to my purse, but not its final destination, which makes it one more thing to add to my list.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at