Tuesday, September 29, 2009

trimming the fat

My parents came down to visit for a few days last weekend. They didn't stay with me, as my apartment is tiny; they stayed at a B&B over by the National Zoo. They had to check out before noon, but their flight wasn't until around dinnertime, so they metroed over to my place to leave their bags here while we were out. They had been to my apartment before, but it had been a while and my mother was horrified when stepping through the door.

I have a bit of clutter. One might call this a packrat, but I am not sure it's the same exactly. It isn't as though I have an excess of things, it is more like an excess of room to keep my things. I live in a studio/efficiency. I don't know the square footage, but it isn't much. It's fine for just me and my bamboo plant, but two people here wouldn't work. Even a corgi wouldn't work too well (hence the reason that I still don't have one).

I really need to do something about the clutter. I guess I hadn't realized it, since I live here every day and don't see it the way my mother did, stepping in for the first time in a while. My sewing table now takes up a large spot, which is pretty much the middle of the floor. It is actually blocking a bookshelf, though the shelf is also blocked by piles of books on the floor, because the bookshelf is full. In front of the radiator, there is another huge pile of books. I have three bookshelves; one tall and two short, all of which are full. There are piles of books everywhere else.

I need to go through my life and decide what I actually need to keep. Books can be donated to the library and clothes can go to Salvation Army. Let's be honest; I don't wear all of them or the shoes! I may get rid of the ugly blue love seat that I acquired from the girl who lived here before me. I don't need all of these things, I really don't.

I don't have people over, with the exception of Steve, because, honestly? I am embarrassed by my apartment. The building itself has certainly seen better days and my apartment just doesn't have the space. The love seat is usually piled with magazines, Vera Bradley bags and random pieces of mail that I decided not to open that day. There is really nowhere to sit, other than my bed. I don't have a kitchen table, because the galley kitchen is too small!

It's a cute little place, and it does have some nice features (large windows that face the front of the building, two closets with built-in shelves and a large built-in cabinet in the kitchen), I just need to figure out how to work it to my best advantage.

Do you live in a small space? How do you decorate it, to make the most of it?


Anonymous said...

i'm sharing a bedroom at my mom-in-law's with my husband right now so my answer to where to put everything is - in storage.
but when i was in apartments it was all about smart storage, cubes, shelving, pieces of furniture with drawers, etc.
i'm definitely a pack rat but i'm happy to say that with the new house we'll have stuff we need to buy and plenty of space for the stuff i've been hoarding and cluttering my apts. with for the past years!

Rachel H. said...

It's amazing how much stuff you get so quickly and how it fills up an entire house before you know it. Unbelievable!! :)

Black Labs and Lilly said...

I've lived in a small space for the past few years, and it cab be such a drag to try and keep things from piling up.

I try and do a big sweep of magazines, cateloges, and mail once a week to throw out the stuff I've read or have no intention of reading.

I also use a TON of baskets with lids so I can stash stuff all over the place without it looking messy.

Mzchef said...

You need to checkout www.flylady.net, she is a motivational coach and will help with your CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome). She helped me. My packrat-ish-ness is genetic, have you seen my parent's or Grandmonster's house lately? You can overcome this. Don't get involved with storage, purge, purge and purge... you can do it, i have faith in you

magda said...

I so relate to your mom's horrified-ness. My parents came last week, too, and even though they weren't staying with me, either, I was seriously up till 2am straightening things and jamming things in cupboards so it'd at least LOOK tidy. Alas.

I'd start by just getting rid of as much stuff as possible. I made a massive good will run the last "free" weekend I had--and it felt so good! Just be brutal when deciding "keep or toss." If you haven't used it in the last, say, year? You likely won't need it again. Good luck!

Mel said...

Sounds like you and Magda have the same problem. If ya'll every need some close to pro help let me know. I am really good at this kind of thing. Well at everyone elses house. My own... eh... I'd say 80%.

Shoshanah said...

We have a pretty big apartment, but even so its pretty undecorated. I definitely want it to look more guest-friendly but I'm not quite sure how to get that accomplished.