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How to Decorate: Phase Two, i.e., What Do I Have, What Do I Need - Icarus [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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How to Decorate: Phase Two, i.e., What Do I Have, What Do I Need [Nov. 23rd, 2010|02:12 pm]
Painfully perky
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How To Decorate

Continuing the decorating series (see How To Decorate: Phase One).

In my first apartment, I made the mistake of trying to decorate it before I put things away. The result was sort of a band-aid effect. Pictures on the wall and a total mess around them. Visually, the mess dominated. I called myself an "unrepentant slob" but in reality I just didn't set up places for things. My closet was too full so my coat went on the couch, I didn't have a hamper so my clothes went on the bed, and so on.

When I moved into my current place (this time with mom's help) I noticed she cleaned and organized everything first. She says, "The Feng Shui [energy, for lack of a better word] improves as you keep your place clean. You slowly improve, clearing out your space more and more."

Phase two: At first, your home is for storage.

Homework:
1 - Make a list of what you have.
2 - Make a list of what you need, i.e., you have a collection of mint condition 1979 Star Wars X-wing fighters; you need shelving to display it. You have clothes; you need a dresser. You have a kitchen; you need kitchenware.
3 - Mark next to these items *where* they would most likely be used (bedroom? kitchen? living room?).

Your home, at its most basic, is a place to store your things. Homeless people can't own much because they have nowhere to put it.

Decorating starts with being tidy and organized. A clean space feels good, has good feng shui, and is livable. When you first buy or rent your place it's so clean and inviting ... and then you move in piles of boxes. A daunting, discouraging mess. (Set up one room first. You can retreat from the chaos.)

Once you've listed what you have and what you need, consider a few organizing basics:

- Things you need all the time should be easily accessible.

- Things you rarely use can be less accessible.

- Store similar items together: i.e., cleaning items in the same place, gardening tools in the same closet, etc. That way if you don't know where you put it, at least you know where it should be.

- If possible, store things near where they will be used, since the farther an item has to be moved (especially if used regularly) the more likely you'll leave it out.

- If you have things you don't need or use at all, consider giving them to Goodwill. In my opinion, if you can store it where you have to drive to it, you probably don't need it.

- Decorator!mom says open bookcases often look cluttered, so put them close together to create a "library."

- Open buckets of trash are awful, so buy trashcans with lids. If there's one thing you can do for yourself, try not to decorate with bouquets of trash.

If this is your first apartment/house, you're probably listing basics like beds, kitchen tables, flatware, linens. I suggest buying the small items (like dishes and flatware) long before your move. Free up your budget for the big ticket items. If it's kept in a closet or drawer, buy it early.

Don't buy the big ticket items until you've done the entire planning process.

Finished your homework? Now you have an idea of what you *have* to buy. Some--or all--of it may double as decorative items, but these you need to make your life comfortable.

Next ... Phase Three: Researching What You Like.

Also posted at http://icarus.dreamwidth.org - Er. But please don't unfriend my LJ over this.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: busaikko
2010-11-24 06:41 am (UTC)
These are so interesting! Sadly, my 20 years of junk and my husband's 42 are drowning our poor house. Storage! We need to be cleverer about using it! (I don't suppose your mother has good ideas for living with kids? It seems just as I get the living room floor clean, suddenly someone is laying out traintracks or doing battle-tops....) I want a nice house, someday.
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[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2010-11-24 06:54 pm (UTC)
My mom said that with kids, she had to work all day to keep the house looking the same as it started out that morning. She did institute a rule that the living room remain clean and toy-free when we were seven, so there was always one clean room in the house.

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[User Picture]From: _sabik_
2011-01-11 01:23 pm (UTC)
I hope I'm not out of line in responding on a stranger's LJ to another stranger's comment, but perhaps re-evaluate phase one? Or, if the list already includes children playing, figure out why the current play area is not being used? Is it too small, too remote, unsupervised, cold/hot, poorly lit?

With growing kids, that'll probably have to be re-evaluated regularly anyway, as play and homework needs change.

η
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[User Picture]From: busaikko
2011-01-11 01:30 pm (UTC)
No worries! We actually did a big clean-up over winter break and just went with the assumption that kid stuff would be in the living room, so I cleared out bookshelf space for toys and video games (if you can't beat 'em, give them storage). (And right now I shouldn't complain about the kids; we have one heated room in the house, and this is it >.< )
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[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2011-01-11 05:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, you're welcome to comment to anyone here and I appreciate your helpfulness.
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[User Picture]From: maraceles
2010-11-24 04:03 pm (UTC)
I'm really loving this series!
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[User Picture]From: icarusancalion
2010-11-24 06:54 pm (UTC)
Cool! I just posted the next one.

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