Your first apartment. A blank canvas. All the possibilities. You read your Pinterest tutorials, and IKEA hacks, and look for furniture and vow to be organized and a grownup.
Obviously, that lasts all of two weeks, and then you look around surrounded by your piles of shit and wonder How did I get here? I meant so well. I got all of these organizing things, I read self help books? Where did I go wrong? Honestly, the most laughable item that I have that’s “adult” that I won’t even list — Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s just such a classic messy girl thing. One well-meaning person gives you this book (I actually inherited this book from my friend, who used to be a professional organizer), and you read two chapters and decide nope, not gonna happen.
My problem in life (that I’m sure many of us feel) is loving a bargain, and then accumulating mountains of crap because of it. Also my ADHD definitely contributes to my disaster zone. It takes more than just buying “adult” items to really wrangle an executive functioning problem. (For those who aren’t versed, executive functioning is what makes you remember appointments, hang up your clothes instead of tossing them on the floor, and not leave half eaten food everywhere. A disorder with this means these thoughts don’t happen naturally. You can buy all of the organizers you want, but if you’re not going to use them.) Here’s my cautionary tale:
1. A printer: $120
I bought it for my thesis, and printing out 80-page packets for workshop every other day just wasn’t worth hauling to school for. I used it a few times until I ran out of ink and couldn’t fix it, because printers and internet routers are my Achilles heel of home devices.
2. A filing cabinet: $40
Six months later, it was a mess of crumpled papers out of order and old workshop papers bleeding into other folders, which ended up on the floor outside of the cabinet.
3. An apron: $12.95
I bought it on sale from Anthropologie using my friend’s employee discount. It’s actually adorable and retro, and I feel like Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis when I wear it. But don’t fall into the trap of buying literally anything because you have an employee discount. I’ve used it for sexy pictures and an occasional cooking session, but it mostly lives under my boyfriend’s bed.
4. Garment rack: $59.95
It was a double-tiered huge rack and fell over about every three months. I used it as a real closet, and it took up a ton of floor space in my apartment. It was so cluttered with clothes and in dead space, so mice liked to hide at the bottom and poop in my clothes.
5. Glass Coffee Table: $30
I bought it in my first round of “adult” furniture shopping. It made one really cute Instagram photo, and then got pushed off to the side by my makeshift kitchen island. A vase on the kitchen island fell through it, shattering it everywhere. I stepped on glass shards daily for like three months afterwards.
6. Giant Ethan Allen desk: $90
I waited for a few weeks for the price to go down. I used my student discount on Housing Works’ student discount day (it’s every Tuesday). It was gorgeous and a very clunky, stately desk with a million drawers, AKA the problem. It was used as landing area/ledge, I used it to study for the GRE, all of the drawers became junk drawers, and again, mice hid under it.
7. Persian Rug: $60
The classiest of rugs, always owned by adults. My childhood home had like five of them. I found one at Housing Works for $60, so I was stoked. Then hair and gum constantly got stuck in it — I actually would use a dust pan, the grip part of it and brush it to get the hair out. I ended up getting rid of it after I moved.
8. 4-Poster Bed: $600
I always wanted one, and I decided I wanted to move out of my teeny bedroom and into my large main room. I moved it back and forth and had really cheap curtains for it. I couldn’t get it back together, and the bed broke.
9. Cocktail Shaker: $5
I once forgot to clean out remnants of a mojito, and it got too sticky to ever open up again.
10. Jonathan Adler Bottle Stoppers: $24
Purchased at a JA sample sale. I lost one still in the shopping bag in my piles of stuff. The other I left in a bottle of Rose that I forgot about in my fridge, and later, I couldn’t salvage it.
11. Everything Muji Makes
I’m weirdly obsessed with Muji, but also a trainwreck. Here’s a list of selected items I’ve purchased from Muji:
- All of their notebooks: especially that come in a five-pack. I end up losing all of them, and my metaphysical poetry notes end up in my thesis notes, and it’s not fun. ($5.95)
- Acrylic drawers: The teeny ones that make it look like “wow this person has their shit together”. They end up with makeup spilled everywhere or coated in toothpaste. (originally $38, purchased two for $10 each, $20)
- Mesh pencil case: All of my attempts to keep all of my writing utensils in a pencil case are laughable. ($5.95)
- Larger acrylic drawer cart: I’ve used it as my nightstand, and it’s coated in dust and the red wax from Babybel cheese. One of the drawers’ entire purpose is to support my fan next to my bed. ($47.50)
In total, I’ve blown $1,121.30 on random stuff for my first place to try and be an adult. Of course, all of it by now is broken, gone, or covered in gum. I’m moving into a new apartment this month — it has the promise of two closets, but that may not help. I’ve been buying up organizers, and I finally got a dresser that has more than two drawers (and wasn’t taken off the street). I love street furniture, but that’s another topic for another day.
I am hoping to finally clean out my wardrobe with my active Poshmark account, but who knows if that will get accomplished. Moving is rough. Anyways, I’m probably a hopeless case when it comes to becoming a totally organized grownup, so comment with any tips and tricks!
Image via Unsplash