2016 began in a small apartment outside of Manhattan in Astoria, Queens. Although I had a large room, it came without one important thing- a closet. I improvised and managed to find a standing wardrobe that successfully stored everything I immediately needed- or so I thought.
Initially it was fun having everything I owned in sight; kind of like a store! Each morning I got to shop my own closet! The fun, however, wore off when that dreaded day came.
Dresses and skirts and shoes, oh my. This doesn’t even appropriately depict the unmanageably of my “stuff;” the other half of my wardrobe was hidden in a hall closet and under the bed.
I moved to a smaller, more expensive apartment in June… I purged, I donated, I left behind. At that point I had packed everything I owned and headed down the street (three trips in an SUV, to be exact) to a space conveniently located two blocks from the NQ line. Proximity to the subway is crucial when living in NYC; however,”space” took a backseat in my priorities and I was hit hard with reality once my move was complete.
My stuff didn’t fit.
Life really does throw you curveballs. Just when I managed to find a place for everything and was finally feeling settled, I received some bad news. July wasn’t even half way over and I found out I lost my marketing gig on Fifth Avenue… just a couple of days before I was told I needed to find a new apartment.
Back to the drawing board.
So, what does a girl do after riding a New York rollercoaster for over two years? One might tell her to “pick yourself up and keep going!” My wise mind told me to leave… that there had to be something better, more fitting for me just around the corner.
Unfortunately, leaving meant packing. Packing everything I had collected, everything I brought with me, everything my family sent me from home. Sigh.
So, here’s what I did.
- I carried three pieces of luggage home to Michigan with me- only with the summer clothes and things I would immediately need.
- I shipped several- and I mean SEVERAL- boxes home to my mom’s house. I’d worry about those later.
- About those boxes… each had a method behind the madness. Winter coats in one, miscellaneous shoes I never wear in another, work clothes, random clothes, house crap… but mainly clothes.
- I gave a lot of things away. I had purses that were great, kitchenware I had never used, and bulky things I just couldn’t take with me. I left my brand new leather chair with my roommate as a token of appreciation for dealing with me. More on that later.
- I threw a lot of things away. Towels, sheets, socks, toiletries. Goodbye.
- Someone on the sidewalk must have had fun, too- I left a variety of odds and ends, storage compartments, books and jewelry organizers on the curb. Come and get it.
I did a lot of organizing and additional purging when I returned to Michigan, and did even more of it this past month before heading to Boston.
Once again, I got on a flight with three pieces of luggage. I had searched high and low for a temporary apartment outside the city, and in the end found a cute Airbnb while I interviewed for jobs.
An organized, manageable amount of clothes.
For the time being I’m content in my temporary Medford home. It’s organized, cozy, and has space for everything I need- not everything I own. In a week I’ll have a better idea of where I want to live and what my rent budget is, but I’ll tell you one thing:
Even if I had all the space in the world, I wouldn’t want to fill it.
There is something serene about knowing exactly what you own, where it is and how it fits in your life. My old habits of being a packrat have diminished with each move, and now I value organization, piece of mind and decluttering more than the American dream of consumerism and “stuff.” Ugh, stuff.
This is what brings me to the “mindful” theme of my blog- in being present and content with where you are in life, what you have and what you want, you can also live minimally, stylishly, happy and content. These things are on your terms- no one else’s. I came to a crossroads where I had to decide what I valued- it wasn’t “keeping up with the Joneses” or buying the latest pair of heels- it’s about quality over quantity. Quality in people, places and things- not living a life of excess.
Although I have made some mistakes along the way, I’ve gotten the chance to learn about myself, declutter my room, and ultimately, declutter my life.
While I used to own dozens of purses, now I only keep what I use- and love.