Living-space Experiments

I’ve found that I take great joy in experimenting with different ways to store and organize clothing and other household stuff. At the moment, I have relatively few clothes, and most of them fit into two milk crates. I use four red hooks to hang four categories of my most constantly-used clothing items: bras, underpants, tank tops, bottoms (including swim-skirt). And sometimes my drying-rack ends up getting used as a hanger.

At times of my life I have had a lot more clothes than this. At this time of my life, I find it more liberating to have not as many items. I am one of those people who found herself wearing 20 percent of her clothes 80 percent of the time. Particularly after moving to ultra-humid Florida. And so I adjusted accordingly by getting rid of clothes I wasn’t wearing.

Note, you do not have to be a “clothing minimalist” to live a low-footprint life. This just happens to be my version, at least in recent years. During one era of my life, I had tons of clothes, many of which really were more COSTUMES than clothes, and about 30 pairs of platform shoes! And this was while living in a 19-foot travel trailer in South Austin. (I built little shelves to showcase the shoes. The inside of my trailer, lined as it was with Indian silk scarves and such, looked like some sort of Bohemian genie bottle.)

The milk crates sit in a piece of furniture which I scrounged at curbside and dubbed my “clothing hutch”. My bedroom is a lot bigger and has much more clothing storage than I need. The closet is empty, as are the wicker chests. Once I find likeminded housemates to share this home with me in the long term, one of them will get this bedroom and I’ll probably sleep in my micro studio. For now, I’m enjoying my experiments with the large bedroom space.

The rose mesh curtains (fabric bought from a vintage thrift shop), plus the kimono which I use as a substitute for the missing door, add a touch of pretty that keeps the room from being too spartan for my tastes.

I first used the “clothing hutch” when I was renting a one-bedroom apartment and sharing it with a roommate. The roommate got the back bedroom, and I had a partitioned area in the living room. The hutch helped create the partition, and it was a real boon for space! Experimenting with the hutch has been fun. I loved my little “roomette” (see photos below). Note, you can’t see the hutch in these pics; it’s outside the photo. I just wanted to show you my cozy sleeping, working, and reading space. Very RV, or very NYC!

When I experiment with various living-space arrangements, sometimes I feel like a kid building a fort out of blankets and pillows. It’s a joyful, creative experience. I encourage you to try it! Tip: Using curb-scrounged or thrifted stuff takes the pressure off to be “designer perfect.” This pressure takes a lot of the fun out of having a home. Let’s get rid of the pressure! Have fun experimenting. And if you have kids, bring them into it! Kids have such creative ideas, and it’s a fun way to spend quality time together as a family.

I keep my room as tidy as possible because it helps me feel relaxed and peaceful in the room. I think of it as a nice subdued backdrop to the wild, jangly-colored notes of my art, writing, and life.

Further Reading: Check out this neat post I just found on 11 ways to divide a studio apartment into multiple rooms. I particularly like the “movie projector screen wall” — great for video nights! And another post to stir your creative juices, this one from Life Storage Blog: 10 clothes storage ideas when you have no closet.

Category Intro: Decluttering & Organizing

Somehow, even as a little girl, I’ve always been attracted to neat, well-organized tiny spaces. My family traveled across country several times in a small travel trailer, which might have had something to do with forming my aesthetic. Also we lived in Japan when I was about kindergarten age. Decluttering and organizing — both physical AND emotional — is a fun and juicy topic for me, and I hope to share some of the benefits with you. Many people these days are on a downsizing and “life-pruning” path to cut away what is no longer adding value to their lives, the better to focus on the things that matter to them most. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my lifelong organizing & decluttering adventure, and the adventures of other people who have inspired me.