good-bye, stuff; hello, space

black Chinese wedding cabinet, sold on Craigslist

Where there is accumulation, there must also be release. I've written about this before of belongings coming and going. Because lately I have returned to my thrift-store rounds, for balance, other things have had to go, even the furniture, at least the pieces I no longer love, namely those that were dark and heavy in both color and emotional weight. What can I say? My decorative taste is fickle, I need money, and I want more space. After having cocooned in my bedroom for three years when at home, being out of practice at sharing personal space with anyone other than a mate, I am claiming territory, spreading out.

But though I fell out of love with an armoire and a rug, to others, these objects were exactly what they were seeking. And so I am filling needs (wants) with my discard pile, serving humanity via Craigslist and consignment shops. No one else knows or cares about the baggage attached to my stuff, so by selling what's unwanted, I also free myself from more of the past, making space for something new—or secondhand, rather.

West Elm, dark-brown, jute bouclé rug, sold on Craigslist

And so the new housemate and I have been rearranging the furniture with an emphasis on more efficient pathways, better views, and more light. As a bonus, our landlord even had all the windows washed inside and out. Some of the walls will even get painted. I'm taking some curtains down, putting others up, rotating my bedding, shaking things up. Clearing out and cleaning up function for me as mood boosters, ways to take control of my surroundings when other aspects of life seem out of my control. Plus, the process makes possessions feel fresh again, as well as more attractive and functional in a more comfortable, welcoming home.

For inspiration, books such as Laurie Ward's Use What You Have Decorating offer useful tips for making one's current décor work in new ways, involving conversational furniture placement around a focal point, visual balance, the importance of traffic flow, lighting, and so on. Even though the rooms pictured in Ward's text are outdated and unfit for current issues of Dwell or tours on Apartment Therapy, the basic concepts are invaluable. I like Ward's professional commitment to the frugal concept of 'making do' while making one's belongings function more practically and pleasingly. And I like that she emphasizes editing, that often the best change is not what's added but what's removed. Bye-bye, heavy, dark, light-sucking armoire and rug. Hello, vintage mirror and filing-cabinets-turned-console pulled into the main room from my bedroom, reflecting the balcony view of trees and sky.

filing cabinet and vintage mirror console

And because I dragged the filing cabinets out of my overstuffed bedroom, I finally have room in the corner for a reading nook, after finding a vintage upholstered chair yesterday in great condition (which, at least for me, is rare) at Deseret Industries that is at the same time comfortable, elegant, and also a little retro-funky in plush orange-gold. Since my bedroom is the sunniest place in the apartment come winter afternoons, I intend this spot for daydreaming, writing, and reading, with more homey touches to follow, now that I have the space.

thrifted vintage chair, reading nook

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