Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Life After My 50 Weeks to Organized Project (+ An Apartment Tour)

The fact that the years pass by quickly is a truth pretty much every adult has internalized, and it seems like every other week, I hit the anniversary of some momentous event in my life with yet another year tacked onto it. 

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how it's been over a year since we moved into our apartment, and how it's been over a year and a half since I completed my "50 Weeks to Organized" project. And I also thought about how I promised everyone pics of the new place last June or July, yet here I am, in August of the following year, still without blog proof that we did, in fact, move.

I'll admit, my reasons were less-than-pure:

The fact was, I wanted to wait until our place was in picture-perfect state before photographing it and hitting "publish." The fact was, I wanted to be able to show you physical proof that I was, in fact, completely and totally cured from my clutter problems of the past and that I had never fallen back into the bad organizational habits of younger years.

The truth is, I still have to work really hard to stay on top of my clutter habit. Many days, if you come by and visit, you will find that there are dishes spilling out of the sink, mail on the counter that needs to be dealt with, and random books, magazines, and baby items that have managed to escape their rightful place and land on our kitchen island (which is an all-too-easy catch-all for any physical possession coming through our home).  

It is tempting to look at physical proof that I still have clutter in my life as evidence that I haven't really changed from my "50 Weeks to Organized" days and that I still am far from the real "minimalist" that I dream of being.

But then I look around, and I look at before and after photos from the project two years ago, and I think about our old place and my old ways, and I absolutely KNOW, for a fact, that I have changed.

That I'm still changing.

And that I'm changing for the better.

Granted, these pictures were taken on a particularly clean day when we'd cleared out the house in preparation for a baby shower. But even if the counters were full of their usual random debris, I can still look around and see differences.

Here's a short list of differences I've noticed in myself since completing my 50 Weeks to Organized project (50 WTO for short):

*I no longer keep stuff out on the bathroom counter. Guys, this was HUGE for me. Being a girl that liked to "put on her face" every morning, it used to be that our bathroom counter was always covered with makeup, hair tools, styling products, etc. Since doing the bathroom portion in 50 WTO, I have never gone back to keeping stuff out on the counter. It's such a simple thing to put the stuff away right after I use it, but it really makes such a difference.

 (a pic of the double vanity outside our bathroom---I LOVE having my own sink and counter to get ready at in the morning!)

*Before, I kept a lot of mementos and decorative clutter out everywhere because I couldn't bear to part with anything. Since I cleaned off every surface for 50 WTO and only put back the stuff that I felt really looked best out on display, I overall have much less "decorative clutter," which means that the pieces that I do have stand out more. (Note, I'm not nearly perfect in any of these things, but I am a lot better than I used to be. I say this because I'm fully aware of how much decorative clutter is on our bookshelves and on that little end table by the couch there.)

* I have gotten into the good habit of second-guessing purchases that would be taking up permanent residence in our home. Instead of just buying something because I want it or without really thinking about it, I take some serious time to evaluate the future commitment of space, energy, and time that it will take. Many times, it's meant that I don't make the purchase. Or, if I do decide to go forward with it, it often means that I'll come home and get rid of more stuff so that I'm not just adding to our possessions with each new trip to the store.

* Shockingly, I have started to really curb my book-buying. This is by far the most tempting habit of mine when it comes to acquiring MORE of something, but I have started to seriously rein this one in. It was probably all the money we were required to spend on hospital bills that started it, but I have kind of unconsciously in my mind made this vow that I won't buy new books until I've read all the books I currently have that I haven't read (which is a number in the hundreds, embarrassingly enough). Sure, I've slipped up a few times these past six months or so to make some exceptions, but for the most part, I've spent much less this year in books than in years past.

 (Raven's "nursery," which she has yet to sleep in. Basically, it's a glorified library with a crib.)

*Another habit I'm miraculously getting out of is my magazine addiction. Last summer, I had subscriptions to over a dozen different publications (honestly, it was so many I didn't even know the exact number), but now, I'm down to only 4 or 5 subscriptions, which I'm planning on just keeping until they run out and then not renewing them. With so many magazines coming into our place each month, you can probably imagine how quickly they piled up. For awhile, I stocked them under the t.v. with the intention of going back through them and tearing out anything I wanted to keep before recycling them. Now, I just tear out whatever I want (if anything) when I first read it and recycle it immediately after, which has greatly reduced the amount of magazine clutter in the apartment.

*Although it is overwhelming how much your stuff multiples when you have a kid, I have been proud of the fact that I've been doing an okay job of keeping it all relatively in check. Matt and I have hardly made any purchases ourselves for the baby, and what we do have, we use (or we will use when she's a bit older). Her stuff still takes up a lot of room though, which is why you'll see in the pictures below that we still have some pretty clutter-y corners.

* Even though I will probably have to work at keeping counter clutter contained for the rest of my life, because we own so much less stuff than we used to, it's been a lot easier to keep our place looking halfway decent. Basically, we've pared down our stuff enough so that when we have company coming and need to get the place ready quickly, we can do it effectively in about 20 minutes or so (and without having to stuff things in closets, too). This NEVER could have happened before I completed the "50 Weeks to Organized" project.

I still have a lot of plans for making our space a bit more inviting (like finally putting up some art on our bedroom walls and maybe even getting brave and painting a bookshelf or two (!), but all in good time. Interior design has never exactly been my forte, but I figure that if I gradually work on it over time, I'll get our place to where I want it to be.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little apartment tour, and sorry again for it being a year or so late.



  1. Your apartment looks great! Just think of how far we have both come since college. Ha ha, where our piles of stuff would slowly encroach to the middle of the room. I think clutter is the never ending battle of everyone's lives :)

    1. It's a miracle you were able to put up with my slovenly ways for so're a very patient friend :)

  2. We're starting to do the konmari method of tidying that's supposedly life changing. My brother in law did it and posted a video and his place looks amazing. We're still working away through the book, but I love that her way to decide to get rid of things I'd to touch it in your hands and ask if it being you joy. Your place looks so great and makes me jealous of your huge place.

    1. I read KonMari's book and had to laugh because I actually used a lot of her methods during the project without ever having read her book. And the stuff I didn't use, I now want to use as I go into the next phase of my journey towards being organized and "tidy."

      And I totally laughed when you talked about our place being huge. I know for an apartment, we really have it lucky, but just yesterday as I was taking some of the pics, I was thinking, "If we just had a teensy bit more space (esp. closet space), then this place would be a breeze to keep organized." So your comment about our place being huge was a good reminder for me to be grateful for what we have!)

  3. I agree about putting away makeup and tools in the bathroom. I've recently started doing this too and it makes my bathroom feel so much more peaceful... and it only takes an extra few seconds out of my day. I'm kinda embarrassed to admit how lazy I was with my bathroom counters before making this change. I recently did the Konmari method to cut back on my belongings too. It makes such a difference in my everyday life to only see things I love and am grateful for! You have a lovely space so keep up the good work. There is surely something to smile about in every room.

  4. I'm a perfectionist too so it's really hard for me to see progress sometimes. I always think about how far I have to go instead of how far I've come. That's why things like blogging and journaling and pictures are so good -- they help to show how things have changed! So it's so good that you can see how far you've come!!! Also, I feel like "being organized" is one of those things that seems like it would be a lightbulb going off or like a switch, but I guess it's like everything else: it takes effort and maintenance FOREVER! Wish it could run on autopilot though haha! :) thanks for sharing this update! :)


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