my attempt at a clean living room
If you took a tour of our apartment on any normal day of the week, you’d find books, papers, and clothes sprawled across the the floors of a few rooms; junk mail piled on our makeshift coffee table; and one of two couch cushions available for sitting, the other taken by books, knitting, and the cat. It seems half the surface space in the apartment is taken over by objects, both trash and useful.
I have a lot of dream lives, but the most prominent one floating around my brain at the moment is to live on a farm being as self-sufficient and minimalist as possible while having time to write in between taking care of the place. I imagine a collection of sheep and goats, a chicken coop, a vast garden to sustain Dan and myself. I picture an airy farmhouse full of sunshine with a big kitchen, a window above the sink, and the rooms decorated with items I’ve made–knitted, canned, repurposed, whatever. There’s a room for writing, an entire wall made up as a bookcase, floor to ceiling, wall to wall.
At least once a day, I think about living a more minimalist life. It’s an incredibly tempting idea, isn’t it? And as a mild pack rat, getting rid of anything to live more simply is often like pulling teeth (except I like getting teeth pulled). It took two weeks for me to let Dan put my roller derby skates–used maybe three or four times–onto Craigslist, then I took it back and asked him to take the post down. But I’ve been thinking about it even more lately as I read Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity (which I’ll be doing a post about soon). I think about going through my clothes and getting rid of all but a few things, necessities. Some days I think I’ll keep just a few dresses to wear seasonally. But then I think about how much I like my style with more than just dresses (especially my shorts/tights/flannel combination).
It’s not a perfect idea–there are a lot of questions about its feminist aspects, its impact on those around, and its sustainable nature–and I’m certainly not good at implementing even the smallest details at times. I can go through my clothes for an hour, two hours, but I’ll still end up putting everything back, saying, “I like this too much,” or, “This was a gift; I can’t get rid of it.” So my drawers and shelves continue to overflow onto other surfaces. I can shove as much junk into my desk drawer as I’d like, but somehow the top still seems full of books, knick-knacks, and unanswered letters. Browsing pinterest, there’s no challenge in trying to find pretty work spaces that are minimalist and clean. It’s a tantalizing thought to have a perfectly curated home, a task made easier by having few items to keep organized, but the real challenge for me is getting over the idea that I “need” everything that I have.
Simplifying, minimalism–I think I’ll take these one day at a time, one list at a time, until I find the perfect balance, because this living room littered with socks just isn’t working for me.