Tip #141: Hone Your Rearranging Skills
I was not a kid who grew up rearranging my bedroom. When I was little, my sister Cait and I shared a room and we didn’t have much of a say in (or opinions about) what went where. When I was older and I had a room of my own, the constraints of an old house and wonky corners meant that the bed really only fit in one corner of the room.
James, on the other hand, was a serial re-arranger. He moved his bed and desk and a parade of stuffed animals around his room in what sounds like it must have been a dozen different arrangements.
In a small space, some amount of comfort with rearranging is a helpful skill. Small spaces often seem as through they’ll only work in a particular arrangement, but a little creativity can create a solution that allows for more space, or a better flow, or a generalized sense of improvement. Here’s to a sense of improvement.
As I mentioned last week, we recently invested in a new bed for Faye. And what I didn’t mention then, but what I will now, is that part of the reason for the bed switch has to do with the second tiny person who we’ll be welcoming into our home in January. (Yes. The pregnant woman I referred to in yesterday’s post was, indeed, me.) So, we’re figuring out to make the room work for two kiddos instead of one and that meant adding a bed to the equation without subtracting the crib. Tricky math.
We’ve gotten the room to a place where I’m no longer fearful that everything won’t fit, but some of the details of how exactly everything will come together are still to be determined. In the meantime, a few tips for approaching rearrangement in a small space:
Take turns/Find fresh eyes. James and I can get in each others way a little bit when it comes to rearranging. I’ll declare I hate something a millisecond after it’s been moved. He’ll move something I just decided was perfect where it was. If we stay in the same room mid-rearrange, we’re bound to get a little grumpy with each other. But when one of us takes a little break, everything gels. Left to our own devices, one of us usually thinks of something that the other might not have, and given half a chance to finish giving something a try without anyone chiming in mid-process, we usually end up finding something to agree upon. The advice? Step away and let someone else step in. Take a walk; go make a snack in the kitchen; leave each other to work something out in relative silence and then come back together to determine whether the switch was a good thing.
Keep your storage versatile. There’s no better time to be reminded of the value of versatile storage options than during a room rearrange. If you solve a storage solution with plastic bins kept hidden under a bed, for instance, you have less flexibility about how to shift things around once that bed needs to move. (Unless you rather like looking at plastic bins, in which case, perfect.) Whenever I’m in the midst of a rearrange and realize I need a new place to stash something, I try to think of a solution that could remain flexible should something need to change again. Right now I’m puzzling ideas for toy storage where not everything is on display and I’m keeping my “beautiful and useful” mantra on repeat as I mull it over.
Don’t panic; purge. We all know the value of a good purge, even for folks who pride themselves on only keeping the bare essentials. I was starting to get worried about having space for two kid’s worth of clothes + cloth diapers in Faye’s current dresser, but when I actually endeavored to take a deeper look inside, I realized there was about a dresser drawer’s worth of things that could be consolidated, sorted, and passed along to friends. No need to toss everything, but giving a hard look at what’s working never hurt anyone.
Push through the awkward stage. Rearranging a space means getting through an inevitable awkward stage. There’s no way to avoid it, and I actually think it’s a good thing. When we first put the new bed in Faye’s room my first reaction was “Nope. No way.” But a few weeks in and it already feels like it’s always been there. That doesn’t mean I’m in love with how the rug looks in the new set-up, or that I think I’ve found the perfect under-bed storage solution. But giving myself the time to feel a little unsure means I’ll hopefully eventually end up with a space that feels right in the end.
Tiny apartment survival tips #1-140, RIGHT HERE.