12 March 2010

Spring Cleaning

My Gentleman Friend, who indulges in a form of tracking which mountains he climbs up in terms of what season it is, tells me that winter is ending, technically, in a couple weeks (March 20th, at midnight, I think). Thus, spring is coming, and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. While I’ll take on the obligatory dusting and cleansing, I don’t really find it all that thrilling, truth be told. I do, however, really get into more enterprising reorganization projects around the house. (Well, apartment.) I love the black and white quality of a violent clutter purge, or a furniture move. A changing of storage methodologies or artifacts on display can also do a lot to brighten up a room and make one feel very accomplished and clever and productive.

Indeed, this morning, I took on the the first step in a reorganization project I’ve been mulling over for a while (usually at inopportune times), in which I move my most oft-used cameras to the top of the Ikea Expedit in my studio and store the rest in a box relegated to the basement. (Granted, since I shoot with lots of crazy cardboard pinhole cameras and modified cheap plastic and antique numbers, as well as a few “real” cameras in different formats, the number of items in my “oft-used” group exceeds the space available on top of the 5×5 Expedit). So I moved the stuff on top of the design books bookcase (old design notebooks, a box full of handmade paper, old Emigre magazines when they were in journal format, a (badly) handmade clamshell box full of fur from one of our dead bunnies (Mr. Bunny 2, the Big Orange Bunny) wrapped in Saran Wrap) to various places. I moved the boxes of photographs from the top of the Expedit to that bookcase. I started putting cameras up on top of the Expedit. I liked that they were accessible, but it looked kinda crappy. Too chaotic. Too many shapes and sizes. Too many cameras to fit nicely in the space. I decided I probably needed a more complex holding system for them, to keep them reigned in and organized, but still in view. Probably need to build something clever. Maye hack something from Ikea. Hmmm….

Seeing as I had a coffee date lined up, that wasn’t going to happen today. So I decided to spend my remaining morning puttering-about-the-house time browsing some of my favorite websites about fixing up one’s apartment. The kind I like are kinda DIY, mindful of one’s resources — both personal and global.

Don’t Act, Just Look at Websites

If you’re a decorating/home improvement DIY aficionado sort, you probably already know about these sites, but I thought I’d give a little run-down, just in case you were looking for this sort of thing (and it will spare you, dear readers, from another rant on prehistoric archeology, at least for now… ).

When you are in a quandary as to whether you need more clutter or less clutter and either way, what arrangement it should be displayed in and, moreover, how you might make the project of creating said display device as crafty and ambitious as possible, take a gander at these sites:

The standby is Apartment Therapy. I’ve poked around there, off and on for years, it seems. But I think I just realized there is an actual Boston section, where I can view the nice apartments of people in my actual vicinity. You’ve got to love that — especially if you’re hopelessly voyeuristic about people’s apartments, the way I am. It’s full of great stuff, but some of those places are actual houses and way nicer than my apartment will ever be — I don’t think my landlord would appreciate my installing a black and white psuedo-19th century stove) or painting my floor white. (That white-floor bedroom is so amazing… can you imagine you (and your muddy golden doodle) being that clean?)

Then there’s Design*Sponge. There’s tons here — great “Before and Afters” and “DIY”s which will make you want to pick up even more trash-furniture off the side of the road to rehabilitate, recipes, podcasts and my fave section (again with the voyeurism!) “Sneak Peak“. Looking into the houses and apartments of neato artists, designers and crafters is really a wonderful guilty pleasure — only not so guilty, as one can do it without actually sneaking around in person.

Finally, there’s Tiny-Ass Apartment, compiled by Simone, whom I believe has also written for both of the sites mentioned above. Having spent about 10 years in about 600 square feet, I relate to and appreciate this site a great deal (even though my space has now grown larger as has the amount of stuff I choose to fill it with — like a goldfish that grows to fill his bowl). When I lived in my studio apartment, I reveled in the cleverness of vertical stacking, secret hiding spots and general stuff-compression. Guests may have found it precarious, but I found it wonderfully cozy. At any rate, Tiny Ass Apartment has tips and tricks and a healthily irreverent attitude that makes for a good read regardless of your dwelling’s proportions.

Bonus: Real Life, Brick and Mortar

My aforementioned coffee date being in Salem, Massachusetts, I happened by a lovely new shop whilst on my way. It so charmed and enchanted me (and I so wanted to buy everything, except that I’m not a consumery consumer person… and thus limited myself to one gift for a friend). You may be nowhere near Salem (but everyone ends up there, eventually, no? And Salem has been getting really awesome the past few years), but if you are (or online) check out Roost. It’s small and bright and purveys attractive, affordable wares displayed in sensitive groupings that glimmer like color-sorted jewels. It’s got a bit of the aesthetic of Anthropologie without all the mossiness, attitude and clothes for waifs. (Though I do love a good, inspiring visit to an Anthropologie store on occasion.) Lovely vintage-style glassware, felted bowls and toys, letterpressed greeting cards, repurposed and recycled items and some great assemblage art. Everything so clean, quirky and delightful… just makes you want to have a really neat apartment.

Jamie, one of the proprietors (and a quite agreeable, friendly sort at that), told me they may hold some DIY workshops in future, to help encourage people to reuse/upcycle curbside finds and worn out this and thats. I love that stuff!

Nice to have a day when one thinks about light, practical things rather than worrying about the woes of the world (and to do lists). Here’s to spring!

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