Monday, October 28, 2013

Purging Your Stuff (and part of your life) is Hard

I am moving out of the city and also into a smaller space (my old bedroom in my childhood home) and realize it would be easier and more efficient to limit the amount of stuff that I actually move from here to there.  I once lived in an efficiency and was fine with minimal belongings, but after moving into a "palace" in terms of square footage, I began to accumulate more items and furniture to fill the space.  In the picture below, the only other furniture missing in that picture was a double bed, dining table, folding chairs and a bureau for my clothes. The truly funny thing is that I still own everything in that picture, save for the lavender vase on the coffee table, which broke years ago.

Efficiency.  Arlington, 1997.

I started looking on the Internet to see how others accomplished ridding themselves of things. Check this article on Lifeedited for one family's experience doing this.  If you are also thinking of going this route, two books I have reviewed here before may help you: Throw Out Fifty Things (reviewed here) and Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure that I wrote about here.

For this task, furniture-wise, I'm only keeping what I love.

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris

Unfortunately, that is still too much for the space, but I'm going to make it happen.  The secretary desk turned dresser that I still mean to refinish, my IKEA desk (as future sewing table), my armoire (sewing storage), the chunky mid-century rocking chair, and a self-tiled mosaic table are what I mean to bring with me.  There's also the possibility of keeping the IKEA Misi table, seen in the picture below before its current paint job.  It has been an ideal sewing table with it's six individual drawers the perfect size for scissors, buttons, and other notions.

One bedroom. Arlington, 2003.
I can see that I've kept moving the same stuff from place to place even though many of the pieces were what I came across or someone gave to me as opposed to what I went out and got because it spoke to me and I wanted it. A lot of these items make me feel unsuccessful, like the loveseat a friend gave to me when she moved. She had purchased it years earlier from a thrift store and ten years later it is still in my living room. Underneath the slipcover, it is in horrible shape, to the point I'm ashamed of having people get a good look at it.  I guess I won't feel like I'm an adult until the day I can afford a couch that I choose myself, while this one just reminds me that my lean years are still here.


If you're going to find out who you'll become, you need space in your life for who you are, rather than storing reminders of who you thought you were going to be."
Wende Feller

The rest of my furniture has made its way to Craigslist. A Panasonic portable CD/ dual cassette player (a suggestion to also get rid of my other one was hard to take since I use my music as a way to destress), a bedside table that I repaired, stripped, and painted; an IKEA TV/entertainment center, another IKEA piece, a beautiful dinner buffet (just sold!). There are also two IKEA Robin bookshelves in great condition, a twin-sized futon and frame (remember those?); and a golden yellow (one of my first painted furniture projects) Queen Anne coffee table. Not enough? How about a mini Cuisinart food processor and a Braun 10-cup coffee maker. I am getting inquiries and I've sold two pieces, I just hope to get rid of more as I really need the money they would bring in.

One bedroom. Richmond, 2006.
I hope when I move into my own place again, that I will have the money to buy what I really like, so that my apartment (or house?) will truly reflect my personality and no longer look like I just moved out of a college dorm. I think it's about time.

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