Keeping House, Keeping Life, and Finding a Place for the Mail
I have a bit of a confession to make. Please put down any coffeecake you may be nibbling or tea you may be sipping and take a seat; I don’t want anyone to choke, spray, or fall over with surprise and, alright, disgust. You ready?
I am a slob.
That’s right, the mistress of Pink of Perfection with its pretty photographs and clean design (Sebastian’s doing) is a downright mess. Somewhere in my personal development, certain lessons just weren’t cemented: Hang up your clothes. Wash all the dishes before you got to bed. Put the dirty clothes in the hamper. Don’t get me wrong: I want to be totally together. Who doesn’t? I want to look polished and turned out and come home to an apartment that looks like it should be in a design magazine. Who wouldn’t? But the truth of the matter is that I have to clear off surfaces before we can take tidy looking pictures without mail or half-drunk glasses of wine in the background, and I am someone who pretty much looks like she just tumbled out of bed all the time. I justify all this by calling myself earthy, rather than messy, our apartment lived-in, rather than a disaster, and my hair tousled, rather than just, well, unbrushed.
Much as I try to resist it, though, adulthood is nigh. I should probably be dressing more the part at work (who knew sundresses weren’t “professional”?) and not losing important things like, oh, jury duty summons and passports. I want to have an organized home. Even my horoscope is telling me it’s time.
So who’s advice would you take for organizing? Maybe someone who is having to work at it, and actually following her own advice. Now that nesting season is upon us, it’s time for me to get my nest into shape.
POP Tips for Purging and Organizing
- I firmly believe weekends are for fun, not filing. On the weeknights when you have an extra bit of energy, set the timer for 30 minutes to spend cleaning up. And when the buzzer goes, stop. It’s actually kind of astounding how much you can get done in half an hour.
- If it’s clothes and housewares you have an overabundance of, take them to a thrift shop that will give you a receipt for your goods — it’s tax-deductible! If you know you’re just going to let the things sit in bags for weeks on end until you make it to the Salvation Army (paging Sarah McColl), drop them in a clothes deposit box. Keep your eyes peeled, as there is probably one in your neighborhood.
- Sometimes it’s hard to part with sentimental items that don’t fit or never wear, like a dress you still totally love or a necklace you’re mom gave you. Two options: place this stuff in a bag under your bed. If you forget, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Another idea is to hand it over on “extended loan” to a friend. It’s not totally out of your life for good (you could always get it back if you want), but it’s also not jammed in your closet or jewelry box. Be real about sentimentality. I am a total sap, and attach a lot of feelings and nostalgia to items. But when it’s the feeling that I love and cherish and not the item, I have to remind myself to let the thing go and hang on to the feeling.
- Set a bar. I have clothes that make me feel like an absolute million bucks: they are comfy, chic, sexy, and I love them. And then there’s the rest of my wardrobe. I’m gonna get rid of everything that doesn’t make me feel absolutely unstoppable. Isn’t life too short to feel short of fabulous, yes? And then if you have suddenly one great skirt instead of nine okay ones, wear it a couple of times a week. Isn’t that what the French do?
- Have a place for things. Right now, a problem in my house is that there’s no set place for the mail. Therefore, it winds up on the coffee table, on the floor, on the dining room table, and on both Sebastian’s desk and mine. This is no way to keep things straight. With no room for an entry hall table, in fact, with no entry hall at all, I made this mail slot to hang on the wall from some old albums I wasn’t listening to anymore. It functional and crafty and pretty cool, too.
Record Album Mail Organizer
What You’ll Need
an old record
a cookie sheet
Turn your oven up to 200 degrees F. Place an overturned bowl on a cookie sheet and center your record on the bowl. Place in oven for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, check to see how malleable the vinyl has become. If the record has totally flopped downwards towards the cookie sheet, take it out of the oven. If not, leave in for another minute and check again. When the vinyl can be shaped with ease, remove from oven and bend one 1/3 of the record toward the center to make a lopsided taco shape. Then lay the record flat on the cookie sheet and put a plate in between the folded sides of the record (like the taco filling, if you will), so the record will flop over a bit more. Put in oven for another minute or two. Remove, let cool, and hang on wall however you like. May I suggest making use of that handy hole for a nail?