Ken and I have been together for nearly 10 years… since I was a teenager… and we’ve been living together for 7 years… which is why we still have some furniture left over from college. The furniture in our house is kind of a hobbled together collection of pieces that don’t go together and aren’t necessarily things that we would have picked out ourselves. Some are hand-me-downs, some were cheap pieces at Ikea, you get the idea.
When we moved into this house in Baltimore, we decided we wanted to get some “grownup” furniture–we bought a matching bedroom set so we now have matching dressers & nightstands. We also got a grownup couch and coffee table for our living room. The furniture in Julia’s room all matches (thanks to my Mom!) but some of the rest of the house is still kind of hobbled together.
I realize that part of this is because we’ve been together so long. Unlike friends who met in graduate school or after graduate school and went through a purge of their belongings before moving in together, we met in college and merged two apartments together into one household then moved everything we had to New Orleans since we didn’t have the money to buy new furniture. We never really did a big purge when we moved from our first New Orleans house to our second one because, well, I was pregnant and didn’t have the energy and because we had a baby on the way so of course we had to add more stuff to our list of belongings. We did get rid of some stuff when we moved from New Orleans to Baltimore but having an 8-month old does not lend itself to cleaning and de-cluttering projects.
Over the weekend when we went to our friends’ Kellen & Katie’s house, I had a big epiphany: we need to do some purging of clutter and maybe purchase one or two key pieces of furniture to make our home feel more grownup. So I’ve decided to take on a few projects over the next several months. Obviously none of this is going to happen overnight but my goal is to have people walk into our house and not only feel like they’ve entered a warm and cozy home but for them to also get the sense that grownups live there. Yes, we have a daughter and she lives here too, along with all her toys and games and stuffed animals, but I want people to walk in and get the sense that we are grownups, professional young adults. Right now our house doesn’t feel that way.
So… I hope to document some of these projects for your enjoyment…
Project #1: Tackling the paper problem
Here’s the problem we have: When Ken gets home from work, he brings in the mail from the mailbox and sets it down on the dining room table. Maybe we go through it a few days later… Ken pays most of our bills online, he gives me the important things that need to be taken care of (i.e. mailing checks, etc.), and the rest kind of sits there. Cards sit there, catalogs sit there, Ophthalmology journals sit there. Eventually the pile gets moved from the dining room table to a bookshelf and it keeps piling up and piling up and piling up. There are important documents mixed in with junk mail and then suddenly Ken says, “Anna, did you pay that X bill that came a few weeks ago?” I inevitably say, “No, I didn’t know we got it…” and then we have to find it. Stuff doesn’t get shredded or thrown away or filed away until weeks or months go by and by that time I’m feeling so overwhelmed and stressed out by the whole ordeal.
So here’s the solution: I’m going to purchase some sort of inbox type of thing, into which we will put the mail each day (after throwing away the junk mail). On Sundays, we will diligently go through the mail: shred what can be shredded, file away what needs to be kept and filed, pay the bills that need to be paid, etc. Then we will start all over again.
Project #2: My Closet
Problem: My closet is currently a disaster. Shirts and sweaters are not folded and I can never find what I’m looking for.
Solution: I’m going to buy some of those shelf dividers in which to stack (neatly) my sweaters and shirts so that they can stay organized and will be easier to find (ideally). I also need to find some solution for hanging/storing scarves/hats, etc. so that they are more accessible than just having them in a cardboard box. I would like them to be easily accessible so that I can see the wide array of options I have to choose from.
Project #3: My Desk
Problem: I simply have not yet unpacked a few boxes of stuff that I had around my desk when we moved…
Solution: I pledge to unpack those boxes and organize things around my desk.