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Slowly Making My Home

October 10, 2016

I moved into my first solo, independent, only-me home a little over two years ago (see my two posts about my move here and here). I started with a lot of hand-me-down or donated furniture, no artwork on the walls, but a new blank space where the possibilities were endless.

It’s been fun (and expensive) making my home, and it’s also been a big learning experience. I am a naturally very messy person. As long as the place I want to be, say my bed or the couch, is clear enough, then I can usually ignore most clutter and piles of things. Couple that with a tendency to buy too many items, and you’ve got a messy home on your hands. This is something I’ve always known about myself. I was always the messiest kid in my family. I tended to never treat my items with much care. I also have a tendency toward depression, which completely takes away any motivation for keeping things decluttered and clean.

Turning those habits around is an on-going challenge for me, but my home, and the desire to have a home that is welcoming to others, is pushing me to confront those challenges. After deciding to no longer date earlier this year and working through the summer straight to teaching this fall, I let my home really go in terms of clutter and mess. I could feel myself coming out of my depression in September, and I’ve seen a huge rise in my energy and motivation. I also happened to be introduced to organization/decluttering YouTube channels via Natalie of Natalie Means Nice. It sounds so silly, but these YouTube channels have been able to motivate me to clean and declutter so much. I guess it makes sense — reading blogs changed how I viewed clothes and myself — why wouldn’t normal, everyday people help me work through my home?

I started by watching a professional discuss home organization but then moved to someone, Sophia, who was trying to work through her own issues with decluttering and organization. Sophia has a completely different living situation and style from me, but she does have the same struggles as me (hello, fellow shopaholic). All it takes is a little YouTube, a list, and I’m off to clean. I’ve managed to work my whole way through my main living area: livingroom, diningroom, and kitchen. I even made sure to FaceTime my sister to show her my progress. I’ve also worked on getting more personalized style in my home, so I figured it was time to update you all. And if you’re a messy person like me, who actually likes a clean place, check out those channels!

Let’s start by my back door.

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I picked up this wood pallet North Carolina piece at an antique/craft show. I also purchased the comfiest chair ever from my friend, Ashley, when she was redoing her apartment. Lola quite enjoys lazing on this chair, back behind the cushions, and keeping an eye on the animals in the back yard.

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Between the chair and couch is this Windham 2 door, 1 drawer cabinet from Target. I had been eyeing this collection for awhile, so when it went on super sale, I snagged it in “Overcast”. I had some cut wood that was left over from my sister decorating a party, so I keep a faux plant on top of that and am almost constantly burning a candle on the cabinet if I’m in the room.

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I also got this couch from Ashley. I think I paid $100 (!!!) because she was getting a new couch. I also put up this metal wall art from Kirklands.

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Across the couch is a closet and then my TV center. The apartment came with built-ins, and I don’t have a big TV, so it fit perfectly there. They did have these oddly-tall sections at the bottom of the center, which ended up fitting my card tables and tripod perfectly. I also keep blankets, now in a basket, and a small ottoman and a basket of Lola’s toys. Lola spends a lot of time in the livingroom, so keeping her toys accessible to her but out of the way was what I needed. I purged all the toys that I hadn’t seen her even sniff in months.

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Next to the built-ins is a bump out from my front closet. I have a simple squared bookcase there with all of my DVDs, some books, and other assorted items. I used some baskets to hide oddly shaped items. One holds a lot of tech things, like a lens for my camera, and the other holds some puzzles and games. The center holds some tech stuff that’s not-so-pretty to the eye. If anyone has a suggestion on how to hide that, let me know.

On top I have agate bookends, a lamp, and vase–all from Target. I also have a little photo gallery above that bookcase. Something that happened organically over time was that a lot of the decorations in my livingroom were wood and stone related, so I ended up going further with that in this space.

Next to my couch is a hallway to the second bedroom and a bathroom. There’s also a half wall that connects to my kitchen.

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I put in a long bookcase with a shorter height along that wall. I keep all of my coffee-table type books here, as well as some games. I bought two wooden boxes from Homegoods with a chevron pattern to hide knickknack items. One thing I’ve learned from YouTube is “everything must have a home”. If it doesn’t have a place that it belongs, do I need it? If so, find it a place.

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On top I have some items that I’ve collected over time. One is this letter box that can light up. I put that phrase on there awhile ago. Maybe I should change it to “Embrace the clean” — nah, not as fun :). I picked up the candle in front of it over the summer. Pineapples aren’t as in-season anymore, but I still think it’s cute so it’s still there. I just recently added this print of a tree ring. My sister had propped up a painting I did in this same spot, and I loved the placement of art but not so much my painting. This rounds out my wood-theme well. By the way, I just bought the print from art.com (cheap), and then bought a more affordable frame at Michaels. I think the whole thing was $40 in all, counting shipping prices.

I picked up the “yum” pie dish in the dollar section of Target. I thought it was cute, and I don’t make pies, so I used a plate display to prop it up for fall decoration.

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On the other side of my bookcase are some more fall/Halloween decorations. I picked up these little dog figurines at Kirklands. I have a dog-obsession, not afraid to admit it, but what often happens is that I cannot find a lookalike for Lola. She’s some kind of yellow lab mix, and companies just don’t have the ability to make figurines to represent all the mutts out there. When I saw this figurine, with the standing up ears like Lola, I had to go for it. Then later I felt like it needed a friend and picked up another. I think they were around $5 each. I also picked up the “Hello Fall” wooden jar piece from Kirklands. This is about as southern as it’s going to get in my decor.

The little orange frame was a piece from my aunt. I think she put card stock or illustrations that she liked in the frame. The lamp is also from Target.

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My diningroom is mostly the same, except with more things! The metal chair was bought to be my chair for my vanity area in my bedroom. It hasn’t made its way there yet, and I’m not sure that it will ultimately go there, but for now it’s in my diningroom. I did put up some wall art from Kirklands (I’m now realizing that my entire apartment is Kirklands+Target+Ashley :)).

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I organized this bookcase by category. The left hand side is what I use most: a basket holding Lola’s important items, like heartworm pills, her Thundershirt, and paperwork for her microchip; a toolbox with a hammer; and the rest are random items that I use maybe once or twice a year, such as office supplies, flashlight, and hooks for hanging wall art.

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On top of this bookcase is a desk organizer with some important mail/paperwork, a notebook, hand sanitizer, and an extra charging cord. I also have a picture from college, faux plant, and a cat statue I picked up at an antique store. So, this cat statue… it’s a little weird but I like it. Now, though, my sisters and friends like to laugh about me becoming a cat lady, even though I don’t even have a cat!! (but I want a cat). I also have a little dish that can hold my keys but often holds random jewelry that I take off when I get home. Above the book case is a little board that I got when I first moved in. I honestly do not use it or switch things out from it, but I see no reason to take it down.

Across the diningroom is my kitchen. It is as basic as can be, but I did go through and reorganize where dishes, pots and pans were. When I first moved in, I put things where I thought they should go, and I never changed their location. It’s just now that I rearranged based off of what was frustrating about my kitchen.

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I think the only visual change is that I got rid of my microwave and got a toaster oven in its place. This freed up more counter space, which I love. I also put up this shelf that holds cookbooks and also has a rod for hanging items like oven mitts.

I am not that experienced with decorating a home, but I do for the first time feel proud of how my place looks, and I love that I now have little decorative pieces that I adore. Next up on the decluttering/organizing/cleaning list is my bedroom… And let me tell you, that’s going to be a huge project..eek!

What do you do to declutter and/or organize your home? Any good tips you can pass along? Any YouTubers that I should check out?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2016 9:18 pm

    You have done a very good job of making the space in your apartment seem huge. The furniture and decorations that you have placed at to the comfortable/homey feeling of the place. Great job with project declutter!

  2. Jacki Anderson permalink
    October 10, 2016 9:22 pm

    Thanks so much for the info on YouTube. I’ll check it out. I’m not feeling the love for my place right now but you inspire me to get back on track. I love that corner cabinet with the double doors. And your wall art. Your place is looking super cute and I’m glad youre enjoying your space more. I have as couple sites and cleaning tips that are helpful too. I just need to put them to use. Keep up the great work and keep the photo is coming!!

    • October 11, 2016 11:04 am

      Thanks, Jacki! Sorry to hear that you feel in a funk about your home. I always loved the way you decorate, and your place is very inviting. Based on the photos from FB, the animals sure are cozy 🙂

  3. Linda J permalink
    October 11, 2016 12:13 am

    Oh, I love having a sticky beak into peoples’ homes! thanks for posting 🙂

  4. vaskeklut permalink
    October 11, 2016 3:39 am

    I love to have a peak in other peoples homes. You have done a great job decluttering and making it a home and cozy. I also love that you are telling the world you are messy – I am too! Not everyone wants to admit they are haha.

    My best tip is for a everyday-decluttering (well. My home is always a bit cluttered but this way I get to the worst of it anyway) is to take a basket/bag and just showe anything that doesnt belong in the room or on the table or whatever and just go from room to room with the basket and put things back in their place.

    So sorry to hear about your struggle with depression. I have been struggling with it on and off for years and know all about the mess that follows. my second best tip is to accept that in periods there will be very cluttered and that it is OK to have some clutter and things doesn’t need to be spotless when I’m out of the depression. I think it is very easy being trapped in the idea of a perfect home. So even though I love a spotless home I have embraced my mess(!) and accepted that some clutter always will excist in my home because I don’t want to spend all of my enery cleaning and picking up items that are out of place when I’m out of the depressions.
    Let me know if you wanna see my mess/home via snapchat haha! 😀

    Good luck with the bedroom, hope we get to see that project too!

    • October 11, 2016 11:07 am

      I’d love to see your place via snapchat! Yea, I’ve been messy forever, and I think it actually impacts my friends wanting to live with me (haha, they know me too well–and I don’t blame them!). I’ve noticed so far that once everything has a “place”, it is much easier to quickly clean at the end of the day. The hard part is going to be keeping my diningroom table clean. It becomes the catch-all for bags from school, mail, shopping, etc. I’m going to try though!

      • vaskeklut permalink
        October 14, 2016 4:52 am

        My desk is my nemesis on this. so little space, som much sh*t gathering there… and my livingroom table.. Haha. I’m rooting for you!

        I’ll give you a tour! Let me know if you want pics or videos 🙂

  5. October 11, 2016 6:30 am

    None of those pictures have any clutter in them, at least by my standards. It looks really comfortable and inviting. I’ve been on a declutter kick the last several months since moving and have embraced the concept of minimalism. The basement is the last to tackle as that is where most of the stuff I’ve parted with has ended up (the wife won’t let me throw it away just yet). My simple rule: Keep it if it has strong sentimental value, is functional, or has a purpose. In my experience, a lot of “stuff” is just that, “stuff”. As in, I don’t need to keep 3 keyboards “because they still work” or keep shirts that are now out of style “because they still fit”. My wife is a completely different challenge in terms of convincing to declutter 🙂

    • October 11, 2016 9:04 am

      Good rule! And these pics are AFTER the decluttering. Ha, I don’t think I could be convinced to show the before 🙂

      • October 11, 2016 9:09 am

        LOL, all that matters is the after.

  6. October 12, 2016 4:27 pm

    I LOVE your apartment – it looks SO cosy! I love all your wooden things. I’m a big nature lover so wooden items, shells, beach pebbles and other things like that are so appealing. I’m also watching Outlander at the moment, and I’m 1/4 Scottish, so I’m craving tartans and tweeds really badly! I moved to a lovely new apartment 2 days ago so I can’t wait to make it homely, but I know these things take time.

    • October 16, 2016 8:45 am

      Thanks, Leah! Yea, this is almost 2 and 1/2 years after moving in–then again, sometimes my life can be too work-focused rather than home-focused, so hopefully you’ll accomplish it much sooner than I did, haha. Love seeing your pics on Facebook. Looks like you have some good neighbors with those cute cows 🙂

  7. October 13, 2016 2:18 pm

    I love that it all looks pulled together without being matchy-matchy or at all generic. I think what you’ve ended up with is really reflective of you – comfortable, warm, eclectic, with a touch of humor and a sense of style. Well done!!!

  8. Kristi permalink
    November 20, 2016 10:33 am

    Your home looks very cute and inviting! I’m a huge fan of mixing things that you love and that work with your style and budget. That’s what home feels like!

  9. March 17, 2017 9:59 pm

    Beautiful home! And I already love Lola! Haha, no joke! It seems cosy and practical but artsy at the same time.The colours and textures give me a retro-vintage vibe and overall feels like a welcoming retreat for times of rainy weather and to zone out with a book and a cup of hot tea. Great job!

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