Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2. finish my zen organizing project

We all remember what my living room used to look like, right?
Oh man. Looking at that makes me feel kind of dizzy and queasy. I can't BELIEVE how I used to live. And if you are thinking that perhaps I purposely took a photo of my living room when it was at its PEAK of messiness, you are sadly mistaken. That was just a regular day in the life of 2009 Julia. Cleaning and organizing were very far down on my list of priorities. Very far, indeed.

This is what my living room looked like post-zenning:

And, over one year later, here is what my living room looks like TODAY:

May I take this opportunity to recommend a book to you?

One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds (I had a link here but I couldn't get it to work for some reason. It was affiliate, though, so I guess you can buy it with the knowledge that I won't see ANY kickbacks from it. So if that's what was holding you back from buying it then you're in the clear now).

That BOOK! It changed my life. Seriously.

The book encourages you to make your home into a sanctuary, a haven, a place of comfort, style, function, and happiness. Your home is where you spend most of your time, right? So why not make it somewhere WORTH spending most of your time?

I took that philosophy and ran with it. Let's turn back time a little and have a look at the transformation, shall we?

My kitchen counter, before:

My kitchen counter, post-zenning:

My kitchen counter, TODAY:

My bedroom shelfy area, before:

My bedroom shelfy area, post-zenning:

My bedroom shelfy area, TODAY:

My closet before:

My closet post-zenning:

My closet TODAY:


Okay okay. I do recognize that while this book worked wonders for me it may or may not do the same for you. Approximately one year and six months ago I found myself with an exceptionally messy apartment and a lot of mental energy that I needed to focus on not having a nervous breakdown and dropping out of school because The Crazy Ex was harassing/stalking/threatening me. My sister sent me the book, I opened it to "January" even though it was October, and I started organizing my kitchen. It was the perfect combination of planning, shopping, therapeutic self-care, and Getting Things Done.

And the book worked its magic on me. As you can see, I didn't used to mind clutter or chaos or, OMG, LIVING OUT OF BOXES. The book helped me clean up my act by not only telling my HOW to be more organized, but by changing my PERSPECTIVE.

I lived in the same home from birth to age 17. That house was my HOME. And I think that I felt like my college/grad school/etc. years' homes were "just temporary." Which, I mean, they were. I bounced around from various apartments to rooms-in-a-house to more apartments. And I felt like none of these places were really my homes, at least not compared to my childhood home. I guess I thought that my HOME home would come after I had a career/family/[whatever nebulous other things I wanted]. I suppose I figured that I shouldn't bother making some temporary apartment HOMEY because I wasn't going to live there forever. Which, well, now sounds pretty ridiculous. I feel like I need to clarify that this wasn't a CONSCIOUS thought-process. This is the reasoning that I came up with right now to justify my previous slovenly behavior.

Anyhow! I think the book helped me realize that it doesn't matter that the apartment in which I am living now will not be my home forever. I may have to move soon after I graduate, depending on where and when I find a job (assuming I do find a job). So I'm inevitably going to have to pack and unpack and weed through and reorganize alllll my stuff again. But that doesn't MATTER.
Just because I will have to put everything away again in some new apartment eventually does not excuse me from putting my stuff away in my CURRENT apartment. Eureka!

So. I'm crossing this item off my life list because I realized something the other day: ZEN IS A LIFESTYLE. I don't think I'm ever going to be FINISHED organizing my home. I'll always be getting rid of stuff and accumulating stuff and trying to fit things better and playing around with shelves and boxes. I'll keep working on making my house nicer and prettier and homier and better. The difference is that now I ENJOY cleaning and organizing.
I enjoy cleaning and organizing.
You win, Universe.

Now when I have an afternoon free, I want to spend it by gathering things to drop off at the Goodwill or organizing my important papers into a binder.

Or finding a new function for the little wooden basketty thing I got at the flea market.

Just yesterday I had a few hours to myself (I say that like I don't live by myself and don't have plenty of time by myself, but what I mean here is that I had free time. Which... I guess I could have just said in the first place) and I decided to hit up TJ Maxx. I bought some boxes for my bathroom shelfy thing, and then I came home and organized it.
I actually find it soothing to work on little organizey projects.
I did not used to be like this.

ZEN IS A LIFESTYLE. A lifestyle I am totally on board with now. A lifestyle I will share with you with crazy-eyed enthusiasm.