Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dining room redo

When we moved into this house, we set up all the rooms according to what appeared to be the obvious functions:  the front of the house had a formal living room and dining room, and the back of the house had a family room and eat-in area off the kitchen.

Our round table was a wee bit too big for the eat-in area. I didn't exactly put a ton of effort into the family room.  One day I just came up with a wild hair to rearrange the entire downstairs and so I did.

The former family room went from this:

to this:

Sadly, I had already craigslisted a bunch of bookshelves, so I ended up buying two new ones.  There is no overhead lighting at all in this house, and I craigslisted our two hanging lamps (grrrr), so I needed a buffet or something to put some lamps on.  I  bought a Tarva dresser from Ikea and painted it Behr Dark Cobalt blue.

I'm enjoying the new set up.  The front room formal, need a little something in the way of decorating, but, this set up is really making us use the spaces differently and more efficiently, and I'm happy with that.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Minimalism fail: journey or destination?

Do you look at minimalism as a journey, or a destination?

If I look at minimalism as a journey, I'm making mild progress. If it is a destination, I'm failing miserably.

My reading for the past year has been concentrating mostly on minimalism, frugal living, and slow food.  You might notice that this is essentially the same concept applied across different fields: stuff, money, and food.  Minimalism is the concept of clearing away the non-essential to leave room for the truly important. (This article has some great links.)

I'm getting close to admitting that maybe I'm not a minimalist.  Or that I suck at the practice of minimalism.

Since we moved to California, I have gotten rid of an entire garage worth of stuff. (Actually, that was the New Jersey garage, attic, and basement all crammed into the California garage.)  I got rid of another garage worth of stuff when we moved this spring.

We have a lot less stuff. Probably half of what we moved here with. But it is nowhere near a minimalist lifestyle. We moved from a four bedroom house to another four bedroom house. We still have a garage full of crap.  I would not describe this move as "downsizing."

When we moved, I had this opportunity to really commit.  I could have had a packing party!  I love the idea of packing up every single thing in the house and then keeping only the things that you actually pull out to use.  (Note that this requires diligent labeling of boxes.)  But I didn't.  

We could have downsized into a 1300 sq ft house.  Some of the homes we looked at were that size. In each of the tiny homes my thought was " And where are all the closets???"  Yes--if you are minimalist and have no stuff, you don't need closets!  Except I still have a lot of stuff! I need closets!

I couldn't commit.  I thought about it, I wanted to....and I just couldn't do it.  In the month of March, instead of ruthlessly decluttering, I was laying on the sofa with a concussion, in between searching frantically to find a place to live.  At the end of the month, when it was coming down to "yes, we will be living in a tiny house because nothing else is available," I was facing the realization that we would have to get rid of nearly half our furniture (and everything else) in less than a week.

I just couldn't bring myself to accept this challenging opportunity.  I took the house that would fit our stuff and had off-street parking.

In the interim, since we moved in, I did get rid of a bunch of furniture.  I craigslisted a ton, I got rid of half our books, I donated more stuff.  And then....after living here for two months...I finally figured out the furniture arrangement.....and I went out and re-bought some of the stuff I had just craigslisted.  Which was....frustrating.

We've got less stuff, but we still have lots of stuff, and I like the stuff we have left, and I don't  want to get rid of it.  We have a medium-ish house, and I like the amount of space we have.  I don't think this makes me a terrible person, but it does seem to cancel my membership in the Minimalist Living Club.

I do still dream of 1000 sq ft condo where each child has three toys and there is nothing to clean up at the end of the day.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Princess's room, in progress

I haven't posted much in the way of decorating this house.  Every room in the house is in a "80% done and likely to stay that way for a while" phase.

Princess's room is done-ish.  The main goal was to use what we already had.  I am all about free or mostly free right now.

The rug on the floor was a $45 craigslist find.  It doesn't quiiiiite go with the bright Urban Outfitters rug hung behind the bed, but whatever.  (Nothing can be as bad as the bleeding eyeballs post, right?)

The $45 rug is almost perfect for the room.  I measured the room before I bought it.  Except I don't think I measured the corner.

Have you ever gone along thinking meh, the room is fine, needs something but I don't know what, and THEN you see something and you think YES! THAT is what I need!

Last week I was thumbing through a Better Homes and Gardens and came across an ad for this bed from Walmart:

Yes! Princess's room needs a navy blue headboard! And this one is even reasonably priced! (No, it won't make the two rugs match.)

Except all the reviews say that it does not fit a full size bed, despite being sold as a full/queen  headboard.  I went to Walmart and measured it, and it will not fit a full bed.

I could make my own.  In my spare time. I also need to make a pelmet or some sort of window treatment.