Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Fully Kon-Mari'd Apartment Tour: Earnest Student Shared Space Before/After

When I moved into this apartment four years ago I had at least six bookshelves stuffed to the brim with books, DVDs, VHS tapes, collectibles and so much merchandise! (Seen here, it was cozy and usually organized, but, TOO MUCH.) My merch would later inhabit an entire sunroom at my ex-boyfriend's house, and when I sold the amount back down to a manageable amount it came back to my apartment to literally spill out of every pantry and closet...when it wasn't in boxes all around. Tormenting me!


When I completed the first Kon Mari method I was at my lowest point clutter wise, I'd hit a wall and couldn't go any further. Finishing the method forces you to confront every single item you own by category and get over cognitive biases that urge you to hold on to stuff you don't need. It's brilliant and it's transformed my apartment and streamlined my design process! I did the method twice because I rushed through and finished it three days the first time (she recommends six months for the average household) and left out some things/lied to myself about others. This is my apartment two "purges" later.


This is my view every day from where I spend the most time, on my computer! It's hard to capture the scale of this apartment on camera, the ceilings are super tall and it's by far the biggest apartment any of us have every occupied. The minimal beauty of the space kickstarted my (initially, slow) purging when I moved in four years (?!) ago.


This "living room" feels bare compared to before, it's relaxing but I'll slowly be working on it this year. I regret selling a 1960s nutone stereo counsel, I'd love to replace the TV stand with that and hang the TV on the wall, but the gifted IKEA stand hides all our video game related wires nicely! More art will make it's way back to the walls over time. I'm deciding on wether to keep some, re-framing others, and looking for good originals to invest in.


The layout of the apartment is one large "great space" combining living and dining rooms and then a long hallway connecting two bedrooms. My desk is facing the door now for good Feng Shui flow. (And being able to talk to my roomies while I work versus them talking to the back of my head while I face the window or wall is nice.) I am trying to sell the mid century modern night stand you see next to the 90s blue couch. I'd love to get rid of the couch but AJ wants it, so I'll keep removing Yuko fur from it and fluffing it periodically. :P

I know some rugs really break up the space beautifully but my animal sheds so much and it's easier maintenance to obtain for a floor covering. It's a daily battle against the dust in this old apartment.


And this is where I spend most of the day, writing and making stuff for awesome people! The slouchy pillows (from AJ'S couch) are only there to keep Yuko off the chair, she won't jump on it so long as they're in place. She sheds more than any other animal alive, I swear it. I'm keeping an eye out at thrift stores for a comfortable plastic chair or anything I could just wipe her fur off of. I was gifted two HUGE boxes of Christmas lights this year and lined THE WHOLE APARTMENT with them (including kitchen/bathroom) as a lark and my inner kitsch lover/Christmas hating heart grew three sizes this year! I took all the lights down save for my office corner because the dim light is soothing while I work at night. I should replace them with non-festive "normal" string lights for the rest of the year!


Behind my desk the big cork board wall serves as my vision board. I feel like it's really helped me refine ideas, but I'll eventually try living without it to see what happens. I had an identical one I kind of regret donating. You still have some regrets with this method, as awesome as it is, but they're not bad. They inform you, letting you know what your true interest are.


The expedit unit is so empty and free of books! These are mostly school books. In her book Mari Kondo recommends donating ALL UNREAD BOOKS unless they truly spark joy. I thought I needed a lot of books for school and work but I didn't use them months later, so I was honest with myself and sold/donated them for the second purge.


I'm not going to show every drawer in the apartment (so. many! It would add 30 photos to this post at least. Maybe I can do an update on the putting-away process if you actually want to see that!) but I put things away according to her rules of stacking things vertically in all of them. This is my "tools/electronics" box which took up two boxes the first time I did the method! I parred it down some more.


Here's some documents I'm re-designing for a client that I can't get rid of yet and some school stuff. Each box in this unit is holding stuff I'm trying to sell or need for work for the moment but I'm working hard to reduce it all.


And this is what I see if I look to my right while sitting at the desk. The kitchen dividing counter is way taller than the average bar so I'd like to make custom stools for it. I never been able to find any anywhere that are tall enough. 


The kitchen stayed somewhat the same on the outside. I never had too much clutter on the counters.


But the cabinets are much better organized! Sometimes I feel like the spices being out is a bit cluttered and would definitely love to keep the dish drying rack put away when it's not in use (per method suggestions, and it just makes the space feel better when it's up!) but again, roomie protest keeps it out.


The first door on the right is my roommate's bedroom. The wire bookshelf is from the 60s, I was letting my roomie use it but now that she's replaced it I'm trying to sell it. The open door is her bathroom and beside that is my bedroom door.


My bedroom is large and open with a long closet and connected bathroom. This photo makes it seem smaller but the space between the bed and the vanity there is large. I haven't confronted all of my art prints yet, but I'm still enjoying the gallery wall as it is for now. Yep, need to straighten a couple of crooked pictures again. And yep, the Christmas lights should come down, but they're so cozy at night!


I bought the mod vanity originally to sell it but once it was set in my room I decided to keep it, it's a beautiful statement piece that I love passing every day. I've never sat at the stool and use the vanity to get ready or anything. It's "her" chair.


And I have a large attached bathroom with a big-ass shower. The washer/dryer is in the bathroom, odd but you can just toss towels/clothes in before a shower.


Big ass sink counter. Complete with smudges left from the glass cleaner, yay! You can see my childhood The Little Mermaid poster reflected in the glass, I'm thinking up ways to DIY a better frame for it. The bathroom definitely needs some TLC.


And for a laugh, a tale of two closets! I put shelves in the closet per the book's suggestion, a brilliant storage solution, it just makes your home feel more open and clean. The left side is AJ's side. He refuses to put his clothes away citing that it's a waste of time so it's all in a basket! He does eventually want to fill his side with his sports trophies and make it a beautiful "closet shrine". My side is organized but feels too full because I have my photo backdrops, two framed posters, and action figures I'm going to sell stuffed in there. It's hard to tell from the distance but that's all the clothes I have and it's crazy minimal, I have to find some replacements.


This tour is a bit of a "before" and "after": a "before" because I want to keep improving from here, adding more homey details judiciously now that it's so empty and sharing updates along the way. It's not as editorial and carefully cropped as my photos normally are, I just wanted to show a sincere space of a student/freelancer in a shared apartment. (Shared with my boyfriend and my best friend, Marianne.) It's not design-magazine or art-blog ready, but it's real. Only one table and my white "expedit" unit were bought new, nearly everything else was thrifted or donated to me by friends who no longer wanted the items, but it's still cozy and filled only with what "sparks joy". (With a few little exceptions, haha, it's not perfect yet.)

Related Posts: 

- A Full Post of Me Completing the Kon Mari Method + FAQ
- For Fun, My Colorful Vintage Apartment From Four Years Ago I'd love to paint the walls but this apartment is way too huge for that!

I hope seeing the clear organized space inspires you if you're one of the thousands that's purging and decluttering for the new year! Let me know if you want me to write more about the Kon Mari method or anything related to purging! I'll post updates as I transform this space with homemade and thrifted things throughout 2016!
For daily updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.

22 comments:

  1. I love the dresser! Your spices need to be kept in a dark, cool space. Those need to go into a drawer of shelf to preserve their tastes. I keep mine in a white plastic tray in an upper cabinet away from the stove. The tray is about four inches deep, so I can pull it out without spilling everything. I think the white pan/tray was from a cooler, the tray you drop in to keep sandwiches from going into the bottom part with ice. I even bought a tray/pan from something at a garage sale.

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    1. I was thinking of that too, they're definitely in the danger zone. I buy mine from the bulk shop and use them up fast but the others will have issues.

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  2. Oh wow! I'd never heard of Kon Mari before. Organising and decluttering always makes me feel so much better :) your space looks lovely.

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    1. The Kon Mari method is amazing! :D If you love to declutter (and a challenge) I highly recommend it.

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  3. You've done a brilliant job, Van! Personally I like the less is more approach :)
    It all looks so spacious! Our kitchen is tiny compared to yours! Looks like kitty has two favourite places to rest :)

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    1. She has a few ;) Spoiled little animal. We're grateful for our spacious roost. The rent is cheap because it's oddly situated above a corner store. (And at one time, a church!)

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  4. I didnt have the idea your living room and bedroom were so big! I guess a bunch of stuff makes the place smaller.

    This is a biiiig improvement, I still remember when you used to use kitchen cabines to storage your merchandising hehe oh and I love your pillow cases! Hahah your boyfriend is funny, my Bruno is the opposite, he is perfectionist so he doesn't like messes and make sure all is clean.

    Your before post is already a win, can't wait to see the after... Knowing this is an eternal process :)

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    1. I should have stepped back a bit to show the bedroom size better, it's pretty huge :O It's hard to show the scale of this space in photos. And yep, the merch has been in the kitchen cabinets, bookshelves, the closet in bins, I hated it. If I ever resell again, I would have to rent a dedicated space or buy a huge storage solution. But I'm not eager to live like that again in the near future.

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    2. Oh and yep, less clutter definitely makes the size of the space shine, haha!

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  5. I love your place! So organized. The living room is great with the different living sections. I absolutely love the wood floors too the way they are worn! Your cat is so beautiful. :)

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    1. Thank you :) She is, and so much more photogenic than me, too! ha! The hardword floor is commented on lovingly by most visitors as the favorite feature.

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  6. Your apartment looks great. I love all the open space. And the light above your desk!
    I'm terrible at staying decluttered. If I have a flat space, I will put something on it. It's like my version of Murphy's Law...lol!

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  7. WOW! Your apartment looks amazing. I'm seriously jealous. You've done a wonderful job of de-cluttering and organizing. Everything looks chic, clean, and purposeful.

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    1. Thank you! :) Now to find big art pieces to invest in to make it whole, haha...and maybe some replacement authentic mod furniture.

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  8. Holy crap! You are an inspiration, Vanessa! Love everything about your place, and LOL on that pic of your closet's and AJ's:D

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    1. The juxtaposition of the two closets is pretty hilarious ;D I'd do it for him but I don't have the time! Thanks for the kind words!

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  9. I really, really need to do this. But I have so many books it's a bit alarming! But books were the biggest issue to move last time we moved house.

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    1. I loooove books but I forced myself to be honest; I was not opening any of them so I got rid of even more than the 1st purge and haven't missed them.

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