I can organize thoughts and information like a boss, but I’d rather spend my energy writing or spending time with my husband and friends than reconfiguring my small space. Like most creatives, I work most efficiently under deadline, so that means my home is at its cleanest when the pressure is on: my weekly Dinner Group is coming over or company is coming to stay.
After a recent social media onslaught of praise for the book, I started reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. At first, I was skeptical. I have read plenty of articles about how to pare down my wardrobe and create systems to clean my apartment. But even though I have consumed a ton of information on the subject, I just have not found a way to consistently keep my apartment clean for more than a few days. I have tried to embrace the idea that creative life is just messy. But then I find myself procrastinating the thing I want to do most (write) in favor of putting my space back in order.
The KonMari method developed by Kondo operates under the assumption that you have to start with eliminating excess first. While this is common sense, it can be a significant challenge for more sentimental people (like me) to do. What counts as excess? Kondo tells us to make our decision by trusting our gut. Pick up each object and ask the question, “Does this spark joy?”
We are moving in 25 days. Have I bothered to pack one box yet? Nope. And I will be honest – have I bothered to completely unpack since I moved in with Nick in January? Nope. My second bedroom lacks a guest bed, and much to my budding homemaker heart’s dismay, has just functioned as storage. I loathe the moving process. I always have. I have moved so many times now over my lifetime that I have lost count, and I am not even a military kid!
This move marks my fourth in a year – that is an average of one move every three months. Can you see why I am dreading this? I think part of the message communicated to my heart after all has been, “Don’t settle down and get comfortable. It’s not worth it, because it will all have to come apart and be packed up again before you know it.” I wasn’t always this way, but I have somewhat lived my life as a nomad since college – which I began almost 8 years ago! – always waiting for the moment I would have to pick up and go again.
Each time I have moved, I have tried to purge a hefty chunk of my massive collection of stuff I have acquired over the years. Moving from a 2700 square foot house in Knoxville to a 1200 square foot apartment in Hoboken was a challenge to say the least, and now I am downsizing another 250. I am also an emotional person and artsy by nature – someone who hangs onto things for sentimental value or because they can probably be re-purposed or re-imagined and turned into something awesome. This means I have a lot of stuff that is “non-essential” but would pain me to get rid of. Still, I know I need to go through yet another round of paring down as this move approaches. I need to figure out what will be practically utilized in our new space. I would prefer not to waste precious space on storage!
Here are my strengths: I am fantastic at generating ideas or pulling inspiration from research. I love dreaming about the possibilities. While the logistics of getting moved makes me want to hyperventilate, the other side of moving into a new space and chance to finally settle in (at least for a full year, thanks to our lease) and make a living space my home gets me excited. Pinterest is the most fantastic hub for all things visually inspiring. I have to say thanks to my friend Kate and her lovely wedding blog for introducing us. I can keep all the pretty things I have my eye on in one place for reference later! I seriously want to hug the creators of Pinterest, and I wish I had it as a tool for the entire duration of my engagement and wedding planning process. It auto-generates inspiration boards for you. Genius, I say.
Apartment Therapy is another blog I’ve visited on a regular basis. Designing a smaller space might seem easier, but as a girl raised in the suburbs with lots of living space, this is really a new challenge. I love admiring what other people have created so much, but I have a harder time reigning in all my ideas and focusing on one theme or aesthetic because I have such eclectic taste. I tend to spend too much time worrying whether I (or Nick!) will hate the finished product, or if I will change my mind halfway through, so I keep most of my decor ideas safely in my mind instead of being turned into true artistic expression. In classic ENFP style, I love to begin exciting new projects, but often lose steam and enthusiasm before seeing them through to fruition. I doubt myself too much. Even this poor blog regularly suffers because of this – I will have a great idea, but then don’t blog it quickly enough before I become bored. The wedding was great practice for fighting through and making concrete decisions, so hopefully I am getting better. Thank God I married an ESTJ, who by definition is “extremely talented at devising systems and plans for action, and at being able to see what steps need to be taken to complete a specific task.”
So I’m working on simplifying, de-cluttering, packing, re-purposing and redecorating my life over the next month. Phew! I am grateful for friends who are much better at organizing and seeing the big picture when it comes to design than I am, and this is a continual exercise in admitting my weaknesses and embracing the fact that God has put these people in my life because I need them. I need to stop living like a nomad and embrace the newlywed life and accept that this time, I’m not going anywhere for an entire twelve months. I want my home to be a retreat and my soft place to land. I don’t want it to be a place of scattered boxes and a continual source of stress.
Do you have any good tips for moving preparation? How about interior design ideas or systems on a budget? Lay ’em on me!