As a graduate of the class of 2010 I was a "lucky one"! I was able to find a job in my field (political science and international studies) after graduation, working for a state campaign. With this job came a salary that was enough to allow me to rent my first studio apartment. What no one told me when I signed on was that I would hardly spend time in this apartment. I would be working 12 hour days almost 7 days a week.
That did not stop me though from filling my space with things to make it feel like "home". Just imagine all of my college things that made it through fours years of dorms along with new items like a coffee table (a sale item at the local big-box store), a rug (a poor quality trend) and chairs.
Recently it was time for me to move out of my island in the sky. This brought me to my senses. Using these five steps, I was determined to never have to move so much STUFF again! Instead, I adopted a "less is more" approach and it has trickled into every facet of my life!
- ACKNOWLEDGE. The day I realized I had too much stuff was probably the most important moment in this journey. It was time to ditch the clutter and every moment after this seemed like a weight had been lifted.
- ELIMINATE. Eliminating things like the rug that shed white stuff every time I walked on it, and my one too many coffee tables to make room for more practical pieces was the driving force behind my keep, toss, or donate philosophy.
- LABEL AND PACK. After the eliminating phase came the packing phase; this can lead to chaos in unpacking if you don't plan. Labeling and grouping is essential to a smooth transition. If you're like me, I've had to run to my local big box store to get the thing I couldn't find, only to find it later and regret my recent purchase!
- TOSS, DONATE & LOAD. After every box is labeled and packed comes the hard part, the physical move. Begin by throwing out the garbage and actually donating those things you've decided to eliminate (don't put them in the truck to do later. Do it now!) Finally, loading the moving truck is a a skill and requires help. I enlisted the help of a male friend and my mother. One person to watch the truck, and two to load it up. Start with the big items first, and remember the heavier boxes should go on the bottom. Spatial awareness is a skill. The mattress should go along the long wall held up by the couch, then the dresser, and then the tv stand. Perishable food and expensive valuables should be the last things to be loaded.
- UNPACK. Unloading should be easy if you've followed the steps. By this point most people are tired and cranky! Thankfully, those perishable foods are right on top and can go right into the fridge and some in your belly. I also usually place the pizza order right about now. Once all the boxes are unloaded and put into the room they will live in, unload the heavy things and set up the bed. Unpacking the boxes can wait until tomorrow, feed your help.
Since I've organized, I know what I have and where it is. Now I can spruce up my space by making sure my future purchases are both practical and suit my style.
On My Own is a guest blog written by me, Lauren a 24 year old who is figuring out what it takes to be on my own. As a 2010 graduate, I have been through three different living situations and numerous jobs! However, through it all I am learning exactly what it takes to make it all on my own. Follow me as I share my experiences, adventures and lessons yet to come as I continue to make it on my own!