Slideshow of our ongoing home improvement process. Click on a picture to see its caption. You can then use the arrow keys to advance the slideshow.
My Twitter/Facebook update on Sunday was, “Today is the day the boy apartment becomes a co-ed apartment. Apartment, I’d like to introduce you to shelf liner and drawer organizers.” It was a big day for the bachelor pad.
I know that in some ways, it would have been ideal if we’d found a brand new place instead of having me move into Darren‘s place. Because it would have been ours from the beginning, we could have avoided my encroaching on his man-tastic lair.
Nonetheless, in most ways it just made sense for me to move into the place he’s had for two years. He’s got a great spot in a four-plex, a big southern house divided into apartments with wood floors and lots of windows. His treesy neighborhood, Belhaven, is known as one of the most beautiful and consistently wins Best of Jackson’s Best Place to Run. Most importantly, right now I just want to have a simple, settled life and am grateful that he has all the basic necessities already in place.
A challenge arises when Darren has survived without certain things for years that I’m stunned he doesn’t have. A set of measuring cups and spoons, for example. A living room floor lamp that provides ambient light. Rubber gloves. Vanilla extract. I also have certain standards that he doesn’t necessarily share, like covering the kitchen garbage can (especially in the land of cockroaches). I don’t want to barge in and tell him that he’s been doing it all wrong until now, but I do want to be able to live the way I’m accustomed to. I want him to have the same privilege.
So. We’ll compromise, or find a win-win solution. I think we both agree that if something is more important to one of us, that person should make the final call. For example, though I joke about it, I don’t really mind that Darren leaves the toilet seat up all the time, and he doesn’t mind if I line the dusty kitchen shelves with colorful Contac paper.
What we both care about is finding a home for everything, mine, his, and ours. As clutterhounds, we both accumulate piles of random junk unless we know where each item belongs. To solve existing problems and prevent future ones, we went to Target in search of storage and organization solutions, and got a lot for our $240 (holiday gift cards covered about 40%, nice).
You can see the fruits of our labor in the slideshow above. I refrained from taking too many chaotic “Before” pictures of the apartment to avoid a high-and-mighty attitude toward Darren’s clutter. In truth, my own space always looks just as disorganized, and he’s never judged me for it, bless his heart.
We’re taking baby steps, knowing that reorganizing will take time and money. We’re still in the process of identifying what improvements we’d like to make to the apartment, and how to do them on a budget. It’s fun most of the time but can be overwhelming. Here are a few of our priorities:
– Modernizing the old dresser by replacing the drawer handles
– Building a table and lowering the height of the stools we have
– Installing a pegboard on which to hang pots and pans
– Figuring out how to organize the kitchen (food, appliances, etc.)
– Making the spare room into a reading/guest room in addition to a screen printing room
I am so thankful that Darren has been so open to new possibilities for the apartment: rearranging, adding furniture, and doing some things differently than he’s done for years. And thank God he’s just as messy as I am. The reason I’m such a big fan of all these organizational tools is that I’m naturally a slob. But the hope buzzing through this country has inspired us, too, to change. We can become more organized. Yes we can!
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What storage solutions have changed your life?
Any words of wisdom about combining lives with a partner?