If you were to walk in the front door of my apartment right now you’d probably turn to me in shock and scream, “You’ve been robbed!” To which I would smile and shake my head whilst trying to figure out how to explain my minimalist approach to decorating an apartment I’ve lived in for two years.
Mostly, lack of finances contribute to my apartment’s aesthetic. Moving to, and living in, New York City takes quite a toll on the bank account, so I’ve selected to only have the bare essentials. However, an even stronger influence on my design choices are my mother’s moving philosophies. That, or I identified with Cindy Lou Who in my youth and secretly hoped my grownup apartment would look like the Grinch had ransacked my home on Christmas Eve.
Mama’s First Philosophy: Until you’re ready to settle down, everything you own should be able to fit in the back of a car.
That piece of maternal advice came my way on the eve of my move to New York. I stood in my parent’s basement as I attempted to sort all my worldly possessions into two piles, “Take to New York” and “Leave behind.” In my mother’s defense, I only had the room of a Honda CR-V to get all my belongings to the Big Apple so the advice was probably more practical in nature than a lifelong motto. Regardless, it has stuck.
My mother’s philosophy aside, growing up as an expat contributed to my minimalist lifestyle. When you grow up prepared to move every few years you learn to cut out the extra weight (or your parents force you to get rid of your excessive stuffed animal collection because 15 is a little old to be so attached to teddy bears).
Mama’s Second Philosophy: Focus on decorating one room at a time and buy quality furniture that will last you a long time.
She’s right. I don’t have any witty words about it. Wait, I do. This sage advice has a powerful nemesis, Ikea.
My Philosophy: Don’t waste your money buying boxes and bubble wrap.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy boxes or bubble wrap from a FedEx, UPS, Staples or Home Depot stores. If you’re packing up your own belongings then ask the proprietors at your local grocery or liquor for their leftover boxes. Typically, they are more than happy to hand them over.
If that doesn’t work out for you then cook a nice dinner for your friends that work in an office. After a bottle of wine, politely request they pilfer the the recycling piles at work for boxes and newspapers. If you’re staying in the area and just moving apartments/houses try asking all your buddies to loan you duffle bags or suitcases.
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