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The Smart Girls' Guide to a Glam Life
"We should learn from the snail: It has devised a home that is both exquisite and functional."
Frank Lloyd Wright
For most of my early twenties, my apartment was a poorly outfitted crash pad, decorated with some donations from my mom, a day trip to Ikea, and a few kitsch items found at Goodwill and on the street. But as I started moving into the faster-paced grown-up worldcomplete with a full-time job and financial responsibilitiesmy house increasingly became a haven: a place to seek solace from grouchy bosses and immature boyfriends; a lounge where I could entertain my lady friends. In short: a place to call my own.
So as I evolved (read: got older) and actually started making a little dough (emphasis on little), I started craving a bit more from my casa, mainly in terms of cleanliness, order, and design. It's hard to pretend you're Ms. Organization at work when you start your day spending 15 frustrating minutes trying to find your left stiletto.
And while I didn't really know the difference between Bauhaus-style furniture and pieces bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond, what I did know was that I wanted my home to reflect my personality. So in the practically posh spirit, I gave myself a crash course in home improvement. I read design magazines, scoured flea markets, clicked through apartmenttherapy.com and rearranged my furniturea lot.
The easiest way to cozy up your home is to get a pet. Whether a parakeet or a puppy, pets are proven to reducestress and encourage laughter. If you feel your life is too busy, opt for a low-maintenance pet like a cat or fish. The companionship they provide and the nurturing qualities you develop help make for a happy home.
The Golden Rules of Organizing
You don't have to have OCD to keep your place neat, just use a little strategy. To help simplify my space, I employed the "Truth, Love, Meaning, Purpose" method from organizing expert June Saruwatari. The basic principles are:
Truth: Be honest with yourself about the space you're living in. For instance, if you have a tiny apartment, is it really practical to own a monster sleigh bed? You may like the idea of an antique birdcage or a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, but if you don't have a huge space your place may end up looking like a storage unit instead of a chic pad.
Love: Do you truly love the item? With limited space, a simple crush won't do. Not only is this a good way to help filter out unnecessary items, but it will also hopefully prevent you from acquiring more of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" pieces. Adopt a recycling rule: For everything you buy and bring into your house, you'll have to toss something to make space. I guarantee this will make you think twice about that "fixable" on-sale item at Crate & Barrel.
Meaning: Does this awful space-stealing eyesore at least have some sentimental value to you? It can be hard to separate the rubbish from, well, meaningful rubbish, like the scary-as-hell mask Mom brought you back from her trip to Peru. The thing to remember here is that the item should have meaning for you, and not other people.
Purpose: Does the item serve a purpose? Look around your room right now. I bet there are five things that are totally useless (besides your fat cat) hanging out in plain sight. The magazine rack that holds everything but magazines? Chuck it! Shadeless lamp you were going to brilliantly redesign? Toss it! Torn menus from the diners you ate at on your cross-country trip wallpapering the kitchen? Get rid of 'em! It might be hard, because these are pieces of your life, but it's best to save the memories and lose the miscellany. Take a picture or write about it in a journal. Commit it to memory, and then say adiós.
Start small. Often the very idea of cleaning or organizing is so overwhelming, we either do nothing or do everything all at once, only to find ourselves wading through piles of mess an hour before we're supposed to be somewhere on a Saturday night. Instead, pick a room or an area to clean, like under your sink, and a set a time limit so you don't get carried away.
Robyn's True Tale
The pleasures of purging
Apartment after apartment, along with my clothing, furniture, and other necessary objects, I insisted on lugging around an inherited oversize disco ball. Although I put this groovy guy to use many nights, I still dragged it around long after he wore out his welcome. It wasn't until I moved into my smallest apartment to date (technically a living room) that I finally rolled him out the door.
Some things may be easy for you to discard, like torn Frida Kahlo prints, a finicky hair dryer, or drunken photos of you and your pals on spring break (it's best to destroy the evidence now). Other things, like your Tae Bo tapes (it's a great workout!) or your pink feather boa, may be more difficult to part with. But with a little practice, poshie, you'll soon be a discerning decorator.
My friend rides a cool vintage bike, and since she lives in a small space, rather than lean it in her hallway, she mounted a rack right behind her couch, where she hangs it when she comes home. Not only is it out of the way, it actually looks like a decorative piece.
Make your bed every day. It's the easiest way to feign neatness. Even if the rest of your house is a bit disheveled, coming home to a made bed makes you appear more posh and pulled together than you really are.Practically Posh
The Smart Girls' Guide to a Glam Life. Copyright � by Robyn Moreno. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.