Before I get into today’s post, I want to encourage you to visit one of my friend’s websites. Laura Dreyer is a talented artist and creative business owner (she is the creator of Little Clay Land), but is also a long-time friend and the designer of my logo and lot of the branding that became the cornerstone of my professional look. She is publishing a series of interviews by creative entrepreneurs and mine is posted today.
As a part of the series, she is including hand-drawn lettering of the creative’s business. Here is the one she did for me…
Anyway, just a little light reading, if you’re interested!
A part of what makes me feel not-at-home somewhere that isn’t my home is that I don’t have a place for everything. That might sound like a stupid and obvious statement, but hang in here with me. I end up being a very messy traveler, because my stuff is scattered all over the room I’m occupying. Not literally. It doesn’t look like a messy teen’s bedroom, but clearly I don’t know where to put things, so I just set them down somewhere. The result is my belongings become like an invasive vine creeping over a garden. It takes over. (Can you tell I’ve been doing lots of research about vines?)
So, when I think about literally making myself at home somewhere, I think about everything having a home. I know where my shoes go and where I drop my purse when I walk in the door and where to hang Sebastian’s leash and the spots to search for the latest lost toy. I know where to find tape, tools, and the Tylenol. Things being organized and in there place makes me feel at home.
When we first moved into our house, we just needed to get things roughly in the right spot. I’m sure you can relate to that! There are usually grand plans to unpack box by box carefully, contemplating the perfect spot for each and every item.
But then, there is reality…
A flurry of people are unpacking boxes, holding up random, unrelated items, asking where each should go. The help is greatly appreciated, so you tell them to just stick it over there and put that thing in this cabinet and you’ll get it sorted out later. You are sick of stacks of boxes in your hallway, so you just throw things into a closet and vow to come back to it when there is time. Then, you get into the routine of life and the sheets and towels and sleeping bags balled up and stuffed on linen closet shelves seem normal and completely okay.
Until one day you realize you’re not really making yourself at home.
Yes, you’ve painted the walls and bought furniture to fill the space. On the surface, it looks settled, but you couldn’t find even one of at least ten screwdrivers you own if your life depended on it. They are probably in a box in the garage buried under an accumulated pile of cardboard that needs to go to the recycling center, but you can’t even get to that because of the maze of bikes and scooters and nerf guns that have yet to find a permanent home.
That’s been the reality.
All of this has been sinking in for me over the past few weeks and maybe even longer than that. When we first moved in, we were laser focused on getting specific projects done before our first winter – finishing the studio, painting the kitchen cabinets, etc. Nitty-gritty organizing was just not a priority. Stuff was behind closed doors, so we can just close the doors and deal with it another day.
Now that we’ve been here almost a year, though, I have found myself getting increasing frustrated at the disorganization. That doesn’t stem from the fact that the spaces are a mess, because they really aren’t. (Well, the garage is, but that’s really the only space that is out of control.) The frustration has much more to do with the fact that I still don’t know where everything is! The garage, especially, drives me nuts. There are so many tools and supplies that I have needed, but I can’t locate them, even though I know they are somewhere in this house!
So, I’m using the summer to work through the house, closet-by-closet and drawer-by-drawer, until everything is sifted, sorted, and organized, and has a proper place. The nice thing is that we purged a ton of stuff before we moved, so I don’t have a lot of purging to do, although there is some.
Last week, I worked on two of the spaces that needed the most attention – the laundry room and storage in the master bedroom (my closet and wardrobe). Other than the normal cycle that happens with the wearing, washing, and putting away of clothes, things were pretty much where I plopped them when unloading the moving truck. I hadn’t adjusted shelves or tried to fold things nicely and arrange them in like piles.
I took the time to do all of that and even weeded out clothes that are too small or ones I never wear. And it looks so good!
I don’t know about you, but organized closets make me happy.
I shared my closet on Instagram Stories and received a lot of questions about the closet system we have. It was here when we bought the house, so I don’t know the brand or anything like that. It may have even been custom made. Either way, I am so thankful for it! After sharing a closet that is typically the size found in a “kid’s bedroom” with Jeff for 11 years, this closet is luxurious and I love it!
Now, I feel like I’m taking full advantage of it.
I also sorted out my wardrobe, which is where I keep my folded clothes. It really needed to be thinned out as well. I packed away the jeans that are a bit too tight in the hopes they will fit again soon. Until then, I’m not having to sort through them when I’m getting dressed in the morning.
There is a real joy in knowing that you can put on anything in your wardrobe and it will fit.
One thing I realized is that I have a lot of clothes! I know not compared to some, but I’ve never had a huge wardrobe and this feels like a lot to me. I could stand to get rid of even more, but I’m going to wait until I (hopefully) get back into some smaller sizes.
I also got the laundry room organized…
I absolutely love having a utility sink and laundry room right off the kitchen and it’s nice that the traffic path doesn’t go right in front of the washer and dryer, but it is still a bit of a tricky spot to keep tidy. It’s especially a challenge when I’m doing laundry and four baskets are lined up on the floor, creating quite an obstacle course…
When we first moved in, I made the decision to use the closet for storage. I filled it with a couple of cheap plastic utilities shelves and filled them with paint, tools, etc. As I started using the space, I realized all of that stuff should be stored in the garage or utility room and I needed to claim that closet for laundry baskets and supplies.
It’s definitely not pretty, but it is so much more functional! I moved the plastic utility shelves to the garage and utility room and cleaned out the closet. I then filled it with an adapted wire utility shelf (from the garage) and set the shelves, so they would accommodate laundry baskets. On the top shelf, I keep my detergents and such, which is a much better spot than the floor!
I can store all four laundry baskets on the wire shelves while I’m doing laundry, so it can all be hidden behind the doors and, more importantly, the floor is clear and I’m not tripping over baskets or stepping into freshly folded clothes.
I also cleaned off the washer and dryer and organized all of the cabinets. They mostly house cleaning supplies – rags, microfiber cloths, spray bottles, speciality cleaners, scrub brushes, extra spongers, etc.
Now that it’s cleaned and organized, I’m going to paint, swap out the cabinet hardware, hang some things on the wall, and change out the light fixture. It’ll be sort of a mini-makeover. Maybe one day we’ll give it a full overhaul, but it really doesn’t need that at this point. It could just use a little prettying up.
As I’ve been working through each space, it really has felt more and more like we’re making ourselves at home here. It’s been a lot of hard work and it’s kept me away from more creative endeavors lately, but it was time and it’s worth it.
Up next is the garage. Send a search party if I disappear.