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10 Jul

I have a real problem thinking of our apartment as a home. Not because it doesn’t feel like one to me – I get that distinct full-body sigh feeling when I walk in the door after an especially trying day, happy to finally be home.

But it’s a mish mash of different stuff. Some of that is a product of my husband, Trevor, and my’s weird, totally mismatched combination of stuff we each inherited one from the other. I don’t know where I got the idea that a true home has to have a cohesive design scheme, but somehow it stuck and the lack of cohesion in our own apartment is one of things that most enforces the feeling that this isn’t really a home.

The impermanence of living here has sort of paralyzed me, stopped both of us really from making the changes that would be necessary to make this space we share feel more homey.

When we moved in, I wanted to paint the walls, but Trevor reasoned that we wouldn’t be here very long and it would be a pain in the ass to paint them over when it came time. Sound reasoning, except we’ve been here for 4+ years now. Still I’m happy we didn’t paint. I have in the past been momentarily tempted by wall decals and other non-permanent solutions, but that thought – “well, we won’t be here all that much longer, anyway ” – always stops me in my tracks: it’s not worth the effort.

As each year passes, instead of getting better – a la “well, looks like we’ll be here awhile afterall” – it actually gets worse because even though we have stayed here longer than we ever thought we would, there is always the desire to move.

Every time our lease is up we sort of go through this hemming and hawing before finally just deciding now is not the best time for a move. Inititally, we said we wouldn’t move from this apartment until we saved up the money and found a house to buy. 3 years in we hadn’t saved enough, but we started considering just moving to another apartment after a string of lousy wall-sharing neighbors. Ultimately, we decided to soldier on. Last time our lease was up, a month or two ago, we decided to sign a new one but get serious this time – we only signed a 6 month lease, and I’ve been trying to do my share of saving to combine with Trevor’s already sizable savings in the hopes of being able to purchase a home before our next lease term is up.

Today, after considering bills and a few upcoming big expenses, including a trip to NYC in the winter, I told Trevor I don’t think we’ll have enough saved by the end of this lease to make the huge committment of buying our own home. He said he had already suspected that would be the case. But now, knowing I will be here not just the next 4 months, but an indefinite and undefined amount of time stretching out in front of me, I find myself finally thinking it might be time to redecorate. Nothing crazy, no painting involved, but just a general cohesifying (that should be a real word). There is something, however, upon finally breaking down and admitting this, that makes it feel like defeat, like we’ll never leave – I just have to get past that feeling, though.

I think the easiest way to accomplish this “cohesifying” without disqualifying a majority of his or my own stuff is to create separate spaces within the apartment that each feel distinct, and create design “moments” within each space that uses the stuff we already have in new combinations. There is also some stuff we just need to get rid of – stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere, isn’t important to anybody, and won’t be coming with us to wherever we move in the future anyway. Those are my three rules for getting rid of stuff – that and not even stepping foot in Trevor’s mancave, he can sort that out.

Now if only I could actually find the time for all this.

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