Hey everyone! I’m happy to share that I finally made a highly-requested video: a tour of my apartment. I love watching these kinds of videos– it’s so cool to take a peek into someone else’s space and see how they live, so I’m excited to share a glimpse of my lifestyle with all of you. This was filmed back in July, so somethings have changed. Namely, I’ve started taking more and more plants into the space. One of these days I’ll film a plant tour 🙂
So, what makes an apartment minimalist? I don’t feel as if my apartment is strictly minimalist, since Brian doesn’t practice minimalism, but I do know that we have both been highly intentional in determining what items we bring into our shared space, as well as how we’ve designed each room. This, to me, makes it a minimalist apartment, even without the stark white walls and numerous empty spaces that we see so often in minimalist content.
For the corresponding blog post content, I thought I’d leave you guys with some of my thoughts and lessons I’ve gleaned since living in my own space for the first time.
Curating a space that’s right for you takes (a lot) of time– and this is a good thing.
Brian and I went without any table in the dining room for months after moving in. We wanted to find the one that would fit out lifestyle best, and that took time (both to choose a table and to save the money). After that, we took another month to purchase bar stools with back support. We went without a living room rug for months, too.
At the beginning of quarantine, we completely rearranged our living room furniture to make it more walkable, and ended up searching for new chairs to fit the space better. Things have even changed since I filmed the video (mostly in terms of plants). There have been so many changes in just the year that we’ve lived here, and this is to be expected when moving, especially if you’re building your adult apartment from scratch post-college. If you want to stay within your budget and be thoughtful about curating your space, you shouldn’t expect your place to be perfect the week (or month) you move in.
You might be surprised by what your style turns out to be.
If you would have told me a year ago that I’d have pink velvet shell chairs, or rooms accented by the color yellow, or even that I’d become a dedicated plant mom, I would not have believed you. My color palette for furniture and clothing tends to be in gray scale, and I’ve been convicted of third degree plant murder more than once in my life. But somehow, my taste and lifestyle has changed drastically over the past year, and I’m glad I’ve been able to expand my horizons with the help of Brian, who has a good eye for aesthetics.
Things aren’t always perfectly instagramable.
I touch on this briefly during the video, but I’ve had to accept that my life and living space isn’t always visually appealing or perfectly instagramable. In an old apartment building, there’s dust and mysterious stains and damage that can’t be cleaned away. And for the months my space was unfinished, there wasn’t much I wanted to share with the world beyond my friends and family. I think there’s a cultural aspect of minimalism– apart from the actual practice– that translates to stark, empty, sparkling-clean spaces that look amazing on the gram. While I love my apartment and think it’s beautiful, it’s doesn’t have many spaces like this. It doesn’t always feel like the aspirational vision that I see everywhere online, but I’ve learned to love the homey, lived-in feeling a lot more.
A note on cleaning (especially when living with a partner)
I can’t think of a single couple I know (that lives together) that hasn’t fought about the distribution of labor in their home. It’s a huge problem for heterosexual couples in particular. I could talk about this topic all day, but for now I’ll refer you to an awesome episode of The Fairer Cents (one of my favorite podcasts) where they discuss this concept. Running into difficulty with dividing domestic tasks should be expected.
Another note about cleaning is that I always imagined I’d keep my own space clean at all time. I’ve worked as a maid with my mother, and have internalized high standards for cleanliness in the home. As someone with a demanding job, this isn’t the reality.
As for practical tips I’ve learned over time, I have a few.
- Do domestic tasks at the same time as your partner. Dishes are the biggest issue in our apartment, as we don’t have a dishwasher and they need to be kept up with daily. It always felt really uneven, but we eventually found a good system. One of us does the dishes in the morning while the other one makes the coffee (we do pour over coffee and grind our own beans, making the process take some time). This way, we’re encouraged by having the other person work alongside us, and when we’re done, two important domestic tasks have been completed. We always deep clean together, too, which keeps us motivated and makes a long process take less time.
- Start with just deep cleaning for company. If you’re overwhelmed with the idea of consistently keeping the home super clean, start with tidying up frequently, but reserve the deep cleaning for when you’re hosting visitors. You’ll be more motivated to clean well when you’re trying to put your best foot forward for your friends or family, and it’ll help you keep up with the more time-consuming cleaning.
- Show grace, pick up the slack, and don’t keep score. I think these things kind of go without saying, but a common theme of my relationship has been the importance of supporting one another in overly difficult or busy times by picking up the slack in domestic work. When I started my second year teaching and my first season coaching, I suddenly had way less time and energy to do basic tasks. Without hesitation or complaint, Brian took care of the crucial household chores that we would have normally split more evenly. The nature of Brian’s work is that he has reasonable hours most of the time, but absolutely ridiculous hours when deadlines are quickly approaching. When this happens, I don’t hold him to his “half” of the work, but rather I take care of things myself and don’t add extra stress, just as he has done and will continue to do for me. And yes, sometimes we’re both super busy at the same time, and things don’t get done right away. That’s okay, too.
I hope these thoughts and tips are helpful for you. Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll write again next week!
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