Tip 08 // Tiny Changes for Tiny Improvements
As a believer that nary an action is for naught, my life has been heavily founded on tiny improvement stacked upon tiny improvement. If it were not for my confidence in this belief, I think I would have already crumpled myself in despair, afraid to face the realities of a ruthlessly crushing world. So it follows that my home remodel, too, has progressed in increments.
As a person who becomes easily anxious over minutiae, I cannot possibly expect myself to land on something so big a challenge as remodeling a space very easily. In fact, my only hope for a mental survival lies in tiny gains, microscopic wins, and fractional chemical releases of feel-good juice. It is, for me, the only way I know how.
I am not the type to make grand decisions easily. When I do, it is usually in a rush to alleviate myself of the responsibility, ending in regretful tears as I sit with my deflated feeble shadow of a self.
I have always found the external world an overwhelming array of stimuli, Childhood parties too loud, classmates too talkative, movies too scary, life too busy … everything was just too. Hence my attraction for simple living.
When I speak of making a house a home, I refer to a slower pace of finding what feels right in a space. It’s been a year and a half since buying our home, but not a single corner feels 100% done. I mean, we’ve just only found a couch for the living room, after five years of living together. I haven’t even started looking for a coffee table.
Sometimes, it’ll feel right for a few weeks (months if I’m lucky), then it’s back to the drawing board. Curating takes a lot of time, patience takes a lot of effort. So if you are looking to vamp your own home, perhaps tiny changes are what’s right for now. I’ll take a gander overwhelm isn’t what we need, and we should probably be saving our dollars for emergencies and rainy days. So don’t shy away from the little things.
Here, a few of the things I’ve attended to whilst staying at home:
- Organize a pantry. Jessie May is my inspiration for organizing the pantry and the fridge. I already had a ton of bulk products stashed in my pantry but a collection of jars did just the trick for making them actually look nice. Plus, we’ve found a way to make ingredients more visible by moving them to a shallow front-facing cabinet that happened to be at eye level. These ingredients used to reside in a long narrow pantry cabinet where they were easily forgotten and neglected. We’ve since cleaned out said cabinet, and have started with a clean slate. Our new goal after this pantry clean out? Use the current ingredients before returning to the grocery store to buy more. We don’t hoard by normal standards, but this cabinet is already looking too “cluttered” for me.
- Reupholster a sofa. We found the iconic and modular Ikea Soderhamn sectional on Craigslist and picked it up from a young couple newly moved into a apartment about a month ago. This is the most sustainable couch option we could find – one man’s trash is another woman’s new couch, or however the saying goes. We have just ordered a linen cover in Simply Grey, as well as natural wooden legs, from Bemz in order to make the couch more fitting for our space. We should be switching the covers around the end of April, remaking the living room space with a lighter, Spring-ish vibe. In the meantime, we have actually fallen in love with the deep blues, and have decided to keep it as a cover for the cozy winter months in the following years to come, as shown in Coco Lapine’s own remodel. Which color do you prefer?
- Rearrange furniture. We don’t have much furniture to move around. Except perhaps a side table in the living room that doubles as my work-desk, a coffee table, and a footstool. But I’ve been known to move furniture around none-the-less. The dining table has seen three configurations since we’ve moved in. The house has seen donated sectionals propped against windows, hand-me-down patio chairs used in the living room, and a college fold down couch which has doubled into a guest bed. Rearranging furniture is my favorite way to “remodel” a space for free. Erin Boyle of ReadingMyTeaLeaves has a practical approach to making a house a home, which you can find on either her blog or on the Skillshare course she made about ‘Everyday Minimalism’.
- Find solutions to clutter. I love the saying, out of sight, out of mind. It applies especially well to the home and has become relevant now that homes have turned into schools and work spaces, too. The less clutter lying around, the more mental head space we’ve got to work with. As moms across the nation roll their eyes at my notion of having a clutter-free home, I have a suggestion that just might work for even them, too. I am not advocating the organization of ALL clutter into proper places at once. I’m just saying, keep them out of sight. My solution has always been to throw things that commonly get left out on the living room into a “junk drawer” per say. But instead of drawers, I prefer baskets. My house has Olliella baskets neatly tucked underneath shelves, next to the couch, and in the bathroom cabinets. Inside these baskets, however, is a hidden collection of random items that are not so neatly tucked, but are well-loved and oft grabbed. Which goes to show that solutions are neither perfect nor permanent nor neat. They’re simply solutions.
This post may seem absurdly short, considering the amount of time I’ve had at home. But of this I am immensely proud. I’ll just take it, as always, a little at a time.