You Are Allowed to Take Up Space: Part 3 STUFF

Click here to read You are Allowed to Take Up Space: Part 1 BODY

And

Click here to read You are Allowed to Take Up Space: Part 2 MIND

The pressure to keep a beautiful home is a responsibility thrust upon women for decades, but perhaps most recently with the rise of social media and the additional pressures to not only have a tidy house but have one that is insta-worthy as well. It might be clean, but how will it look in those blog photos?

Having a perma-staged house requires more than a dutiful commitment to regular cleaning, but also the ownership of the prettiest stuff and in *just* the right quantities. As a lover of maximalist decor I am acutely aware of the ideals of minimalism, complete with an absence of cords. (Seriously, ever notice how there are NEVER cords in pictures of staged rooms? Where do they go?)

kaboompics_Blue sofa with pillows in a designer living room interior
Minimalist Ideal

I recently read a piece about Big Decluttering that really spoke to me. In Dame Magazine, Kate Washington writes

The classism and privilege baked into minimalism are multilayered. Big Decluttering, by positing the streamlined home as a purely personal matter of choice and shifting women’s attention to the domestic sphere, can distract from larger systems of oppression—including the direct oppression of less-privileged women and, often, children, who are severely underpaid for the labor of making all the cheap stuff that more privileged women are taught to toss out of our homes.

This truth has become painfully apparent to me since living in the USA. I’m entirely susceptible to the charms of decor available at a certain chain store that recently also experienced a short-lived residence in Canada.  *cough cough* And I’m not talking about Zellers.

This store sells its overstock and out-of-season items to the nearby Goodwill locations in my region that, in turn, sell the items at deep discounts. I can say with non-mathematical certainty that the marble cheeseboards, gold-dipped end tables, and copper-lettered wall art declaring “Seize the Day” and “It’s Wine O’ Clock Somewhere” lose 75% of their charm once strewn about the shelves of a thrift store, laying next to previously viewed DVDs, planners dated 2017, and sparkly cases for iPhones 5 and 6. (But if you think I didn’t still buy that gold-dipped end table, you are mistaken.)

The clincher is that we all already know that the producers of these goods, including fast fashion, are undoubtedly women, who are undoubtedly located outside of North America, and who are undoubtedly underpaid. This is not new information. Still, an artisan created end table of higher quality, produced locally, would most likely sport a price tag well above my budget.

Desire can only carry you so far. Perhaps if that end table was priced at 80% the regular cost for female patrons? Just a thought.

eclectic-gallery-wall-with-tv-eclectic-gallery-wall-fe17eb87fb0b76b5.jpg
My Ideal

All this being said, I’m not here to criticize my friends who are striving to find balance between all the STUFF to create the home she wants, not just the one we are told we should aspire to. In fact, follow my gal Ruth at Everything Unscripted who is strategically (and bravely) working to declutter her home and share her progress. I’m tuning into her FB Lives to help figure out how to deal with my piles of papers all over my office (or what I affectionately call my “blogger hovel”).

Ultimately, as I mentioned in the previous 2 parts to this series, you have to take up the space that you want. Occupy your home. It’s where you can feel safe to express yourself. If you want to fill it up with baskets of yarn (woven wall tapestries are making a comeback, after all) or souvenirs from your travels, go for it. And, by the same token, if you’re looking to clear space, do it because it’s what you want, and not because of an aspirational room reveal you saw on Pinterest. I promise you: a staged home is not a comfortable home.

This space belongs to all of us. Fill it up. Fill it up with your body and your thoughts and ideas, and the things you hold dear.

Design

How to Avoid Sticky Situations with Shelf Paper

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are living the rental life here in Baltimore. That means, despite some of the features being in sore need of updating, we’re limited as to how much improvement we can actually make. Or, for that matter, how much time and how many resources we’re willing to invest.

That being said, the kitchen was in a sad state of affairs when we first arrived. After some major scrubbing, like, BIG TIME elbow grease, the cupboards still weren’t anywhere I wanted my dishes. Ultimately, I thought that the best measure would be to freshen up the cupboard interiors with some thick, clean, fresh, fun, clean, barrier-like, and did I mention clean?, shelf paper.

shelf paper11

If you’ve never tried lining your drawers or shelves, it can be easy to jump into the cutting and peeling and sticking head first. However, if that’s your method, you may soon find yourself in a sticky, rippled, ill-fitting mess.

First, make yourself a template! I cut mine from an empty cereal box. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to fit.

Once you’ve measured and fit your template, you’ll find that most shelf paper has handy-dandy grids on the back to help with cutting nice straight lines.

After cutting out your shelf and drawer pieces in the correct sizes, DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE.

Okay, I just wanted to make sure I had your attention before you got sticker happy and started peeling off the backs of the paper.

Before that oh-so-satisfying-step, you should lay out all the papers in their places just to have a final guarantee that they all fit properly.

Okay, have you done that?

Guess what?

Now, yes, NOW, you can start to peel the stickers.

But, and you’re going to love this part, there’s another trick involved!

If you’re bubble-averse like I am, then this method is a life saver.

I call it “the underneath-er quicker sticker”

.

.

haha No I don’t.

If I did, though, it would be an accurate and effective description. Basically, you want to peel the backing away slowly from below, while applying even pressure to the top and smoothing away bubbles as you go.

shelf paper7

Finally, you can trim any uneven edges with a craft knife but that’s only if you’re a stickler for edges like I am.

shelf paper5

You’re done! You did it! Hooray!

Now for some sweet Befores & Afters

From BLAH to BAM!

Not too shabby, eh?

Hope this is helpful for your shelf lining efforts!

Design

 

On Organization

Well folks, I’m heading out of this one-horse town. Just kidding. You know I love it here. But, I am going off to a conference in Boston tomorrow. Yay!

Whenever I leave work for more than a few days, I try to clean off my computer desktop and physical desktop as much as possible so that I don’t feel too overwhelmed when I return. Unfortunately for me, despite the best of intentions, this usually only happens a couple of times a year. When it does, though, I often stumble across WAY too much evidence that I’m a ridiculously terrible note-taker. I mean, I guess I’m good enough for my own purposes, but if anyone else had to sort through my chaos, they would be none too pleased.

Today I thought I’d share some of my favourites from this round o’ cleaning to demonstrate how random my mind is sometimes:

you may come in expecting waffles…

Uh, what waffles? Where are the waffles? Why could I have possibly been talking about waffles?

5pm is end of day

Not for me. I work 8-4.

swinger from tree with mobility issue

I think this is from an inclusivity workshop I attended. It makes me think of Birches by Robert Frost. Geeze, I love Frost. Everyone needs to read more Frost. Let’s all go do that now.

 April 15 is ready group

I checked my calendar and, although I don’t know what “ready group” is, no it wasn’t.

Faculty not to make contact

This could have said “contract” and not “contact.” I’m not sure but, either way, I hope they didn’t when they weren’t supposed to.

 

Apparently some days are all about fun with stamps.
And apparently some days are all about fun with stamps.

It’s all good though. There’s method to my madness. 🙂

Krista