DEPACK – Starting with Clothes

24 Days until the move!!

Packing and decluttering at the same time. DEcluttering + PACKing = DEPACK. Let the boxes overflow!!

Omg what have I gotten myself into *facepalm*

Packing and moving is hard enough. Why add decluttering? Well, here are some good reasons:

 

  1. You are paying movers to move your things – those things must be valuable enough to be worth spending on in this way
  2. You are starting a new chapter in a fresh, new space. Do you really want to take along dusty items that haven’t seen the light of day for several years at your old place? 
  3. You are spending the time picking up each belonging to put in a box. As long as you are going through everything, use the time to decide what you want to keep and what you want to discard.

 

Obviously this is easier said than done. If you are doing a rush moving job, by all means pack it all up and go. However if you have the luxury of packing at a slower pace and not rushing to move, take a little extra time and declutter as you go. You will thank yourself later.

How do you declutter as you pack, or DEPACK??

I recommend following the same steps as Konmari method of organizing in general. She starts with clothes. So I started with clothes.

I’m touching each item, folding it according to the Konmari method, and putting it in the box. As I take each item and handle it, I am pondering – does this spark joy? When’s the last time I wore this? Do I look forward to wearing it again in the near future? If the answer is no to the above questions, I put it aside into a donate bag or sell bag depending on its condition.

After clothes, I am straying a bit from Kondo’s order and moving onto the categories that logically work in my space, according to what we are not using the weeks prior to moving (and hence can already pack), and also in order from difficult to easy – I’m getting the harder stuff done first.

See pics below of the beginnings of packing – clothes first. The plastic bags are to keep the clothes dust-mite free. I like clear bags as the contents are easily visible inside.

24 days left until the big move – think I’ll be ready??

 ~Shirit

 

 

 

Look how much I already cleared from the closet!! And the box is above right..fill ‘er up!!

Depack

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The big move? Let me explain. This apartment has been our lovely home for 2.5 years, the previous apartment for 3 years. Those two apartments were literally a block away from each other, so essentially we were in the same neighborhood for 5.5 years.  

 

Before you panic, we are moving to another area of Brooklyn G-d willing, like 20 minutes away driving. 

 

So the lifestyle elements that originally inspired this blog: the struggles of stuff, lack of storage space, need for affordable organization solutions while renting, and overall aim towards a more streamlined and minimalist lifestyle, still stand. The new apartment is still super urban, crowded, rented apartment-living with no storage space and no car. Our budget for home decor and organizing still stands at an all-time low. Or nonexistent lol. But I am super super super hopeful for excellent closet space, a spacious kitchen, excellent sunlight, and an easy entryway (no stairs!) A girl can dream.

 

So now comes the big task: packing.

 

There are hundreds of articles on packing and organizing online. Only one urgent, pressing element comes to mind though: can I use this as an opportunity to declutter and truly go through everything??!!! What an organizer’s dream come true!! This isn’t organizing and decluttering all in an existing space, this is packing, sorting, donating and really deciding what is worth paying a mover to lug across town and what simply is not needed in our home and is taking up valuable space. 

So join me on my declutter packing adventure!! Let’s call it…DEPACK. Decluttering and packing all in one. 

Let’s do this!!

~Shirit

 

Decorating with Photos

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Photos make the best home decor. To put up images of the ones you love, those close to you, and meaningful sites and artwork beats any famous artwork in my book. How can you display photos without breaking the bank?? 

By far the cheapest photo printing service I have found is Amazon prints. With only 9 cents per 4x6 image, it beats Walgreens.com and Shutterfly.com in my experience. The downfall is that it can take a week+ to receive your images unless you pay for expedited shipping. If you need them asap then in my experience Walgreens is the way to go – they have same day prints available for in-store pickup, and delivery by mail is quicker than Amazon prints. For less than a dollar per image we are still talking pretty budget-friendly.

Canvas images are in vogue and look gorgeous displayed on the wall. The issue is, they have always been too pricey for me to justify. If you get one on sale, or use a coupon code that would be your best bet.

Below was a large canvas received as a gift (L), to the right is simply a picture frame with photo prints arranged & taped inside. Pretty economic and I think asthetically pleasing way to bring honor to relatives and decorate the walls at the same time!

As well if you keep your eyes peeled occasionally Walgreens or Shutterfly will have free 8x10 photo print deals! Below are simply 2 8x10 photo prints displayed on the wall. It would look one step up if they were canvases, however for a more budget-friendly option this does the job as well. I also can’t help but think flat images on the wall are slightly safer above beds when it comes to earthquakes? Would love to hear your perspective on that one 😉 Best, Shirit

Inspiration – When bad moods strike..

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Why have I felt so irritated lately? What is going on that I feel so edgy, and just want to get rid of everything we own?

Remember I mentioned there was a fire in our apartment building about a month ago? Thank G-d everyone was fine, including the family in who’s apartment the actual fire occurred.

Well life has it that after that fire, the Fire Department has been hounding us. Like every apartment in the building, to make sure we are up to fire code. Which of course we were not. So..basically for us it comes down to the fire escape/porch. Each apartment has a small fire escape, which is sort of like a small porch, which for us held all our storage. Not anymore….

How could you have storage if you are an organizer?? Wouldn’t you have decluttered everything and only had what you use regularly on hand??

Well unfortunately, that is just not reality. Perhaps the experts, like Marie Kondo, are so organized that they don’t own things in “storage,” but we for one kept big things out there (my bicycle) and stuff we use once per year (boxes of seasonal & holiday items).

Time to bring it all in….EEEKK!!! MAJOR EEEK!!!

Because basically, if we were on our own timeline, I would leisurely take things in when I had the designated place for them, one at a time, over months.

This is more like a prod in the back – the Fire Department will fine us if the things are not moved ASAP.

Basically my apartment looks like a storage facility right now 🙁 🙁 🙁

In order to avoid the fine, we moved most of the things in already, without a place for them. Thus started the big rearranging, decluttering, getting rid of/selling, project.

That I will go into later. What I wanted to touch on here, was how all this made me feel.

At the time that we were bringing stuff in, going through things, I was excited to be in the midst of a project, and going through things that would otherwise sit for more years to come I’m sure. However, after the original dust settled, now walking around in a crowded cluttered apartment has really begun to wear on me.

In fact, it’s a conscious and subconscious thing. Partially I didn’t even realize it was the clutter – I just couldn’t figure out why I was so down and anxious. After some introspection, realizing thank G-d I was feeling good, was not in an argument with a friend, work was ok – it dawned on me that my space is overtaking my physical, mental, emotional wellbeing. That stepping over things, lifting and moving things, and cleaning things has all stressed me out, most of all the things that are still sitting here with no place to be. I placed some ads for sale for the large items that I realized I would like someone else to enjoy at this time, and while I wait for someone to purchase they are simply stressing me out and taking up valuable space and breathing space in my tiny apt!!! Ugh!!!

So what do we do in this situation? For your health – this is worth addressing.

  1. Get it out

Obviously what you can dispose of/donate, do so as quickly as possible. Your space is worth it. These items are not paying rent to you are they? And if you are through enjoying the items, don’t build a negative memory of them now that they are taking up valuable space in your apartment. List everything you can on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Apps like Letgo and Varagesale, etc. Do shifts to the local donation bins in your community.

2. Relax & acknowledge “this moment will pass.”

Sometimes #1 is not possible, or at least not as fast as you want it to be. So what do you do??? That folks, is the question of the day. Well you could stress-eat chocolate…NO lol just kidding. What I’ve concluded is, to take a deep breath, and say “this moment will pass.” To relax with the what-if’s (what if my neighbor is furious that my bike is now blocking the hallway), do your best efforts (updating craigslist postings, posting realistic prices for the things YOU think are worth millions but most would pay $50 for), and honestly if it’s really taking a toll, post that it is free for the taking – your sanity is worth it.

For example – one of the things taking up space for me was a piece of furniture, that I not only bought new from Amazon AND paid someone to build, but even in a couple short years had enough wear and tear that I couldn’t mark it at such a high price – forget about even coming close to getting my money’s worth. After less than 2 weeks of posting ads, getting zero bites, I finally listed it for free in a local community chat and have someone scheduled to come pick it up (think good thoughts they will come!) Basically it came down to the realization that for this piece of furniture someone will need a truck/large car, and will need to disassemble it themselves and in my apt – so all those things already cost the person in their time and effort and perhaps even financially if they rent a car to pick it up. I realized I wasn’t going to get paid on top of that – and especially when it came down to it, I decided I was not posting this on the worldwide craigslist since it involves someone coming into my home to disassemble it and I couldn’t bring it safely to a public place to sell – I preferred someone I know in my community to pick it up. So the payment to me, not cash in this example, will be the newfound space in my apt and the endless possibilities to use in this space!!

3. Hunker down and declutter/reshuffle.

The other thing I do is focus my efforts on other areas of home organizing and decluttering that I can make a dent in, even if the big items from the porch/fire escape can’t be dealt with right away. Perhaps it’s almost to feel a little sense of control amidst the chaos (though control in general in our lives is a fallacy when it truly comes down to it). I’m purging other things that haven’t been touched in months, throwing out old and read magazines, etc., and overall beautifying the home in other, smaller ways that I can right now. I’m also reshuffling things from the porch/fire escape into more manageable storage methods in our home, such as taking items out of big bulky containers and putting them into under the bed storage, like: https://amzn.to/2RWotWy, or shifting the couch and putting the vacuum cleaner to the side instead of storing it on the fire escape (more about this later, and how cleaning utensils are much more usable when close at hand).

Space affects our wellbeing – it’s a fact. That is why people pay premiums to live by the ocean, and why people will bring cheerful decor to decorate someone’s hospital room. The colors, objects, and atmosphere around us affects us, let’s have it affect us all for the better!

Until next time, I’m deep breathing in my *temporarily* cluttered space and acknowledging that this is how it is, right now. 

Successful centering!

~Shirit

Houseplants! – Freshen The Air

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Hey all! I’m a definite newbie when it comes to plants and greenery. I have big dreams to have an herb garden, more house plants, and really beautify my interior with natural things!

My incentives for increasing the plants and natural life in my space are threefold:

1. Visually – plants are calming and reminders of the outdoors (much needed in urban living)

2. Cleansing – plants purify and clean the air! Fantastic also for urban, smoggy living. Some are better air purifiers than others, I strive for the ones on the top 10 list (featured below) as well as those that are not toxic if digested for animals or children

3. Olfactory – I love pleasant-scented things. Some plants have a stronger scent than others, but it seems having fresh plant life makes it smell better in here.

Also, plants can be pretty affordable when shopping smart.

So far this is what I’ve got:

1. I had a Bonsai tree from Home Depot in the Kids room, no pics because the leaves fell off and it started to become moldy and got thrown out. Perhaps it was a cheap Bonsai. A similar one on amazon (did you know Amazon sells and delivers live plants??): https://amzn.to/2TeKu3Z

2. Have a house plant in the master bedroom – from a local nursery. This one is fantastic – low light plant, type is Spider plant it’s good for interiors. Similar on amazon: https://amzn.to/2DFx1Os

3. Recent addition – a fake plant from Family Dollar that is also an essential oil diffuser (does this even count as a plant??) Similar decor diffuser on amazon: https://amzn.to/2DG1fk2

4. Some fake flowers. Fake flowers can add a pop of color, as the easiest indoor and low-light plants are green and not usually colorful flowers, advised the nice gentleman at the local nursery.

Below fake plant on the left, real spider plant on the right:

The real test of modern living in 2018 for me was buying a set of live succulent plants on Amazon. Amazon sells and delivers plants to your door!!! What world are we living in??!! That’s amazing!! Though there is a nursery not far, commuting there and shlepping plants back in an uber can’t beat having live healthy plants delivered to your doorstep.

I just ordered these: https://amzn.to/2ThKkt1

I’ll let you know how they are when they arrive. They are supposed to be compatible with low-light, and easy to care for (I’m a major newbie – did I mention that? I can’t take care of anything complicated). The price was right at $13.95, and many reviews said people received bonus free plants!! Let’s hope 🙂

Another neat aspect of adding plants to your home is how they are displayed. Originally our spider plant was hanging in this:

https://amzn.to/2DEgg5Z 

It was fantastic. Except that every time I watered it, water leaked on the furniture!! Being real with you guys, lol.

Now I haven’t given up on this, because it is so aesthetically calming to look at and a smart use of indoor real estate to hang something on the ceiling. It turns out that it leaked all over because I put the spider plant into the Macrame hanger without a way to catch the water. This can easily be resolved by putting your spider plant into a bigger pot, that way the bigger pot (without holes on the bottom) can be a reservoir and hold the water so it doesn’t spill all over your place.

Word of advice – err on the smaller side when filling up this Macrame holder. The spider plant I have barely fit and was a major headache putting in and out. I plan to try the smaller succulents inside it when they arrive – stay tuned!

Links to things I’ve used or similar:

Bonsai: https://amzn.to/2TeKu3Z

Spider plant: https://amzn.to/2DFx1Os

Decor diffuser: https://amzn.to/2DG1fk2

Hanging macrame plant holder: https://amzn.to/2DEgg5Z

Succulent set: https://amzn.to/2ThKkt1

What would you purchase next? Definitely want something easy to care for, something good for low-light as well!! Post below your suggestions 🙂

~Best centering, Shirit 🙂