Friday, September 2, 2011

Brook Land

{In Which This Blogger Finally Really Moves to Brooklyn}













Two items for class today:

1. I finally actually really moved into our Brooklyn apartment for good. And I'm showing you pictures from our first day in the place, before we'd unfurled the rug, organized the bookcases and properly hung the paintings. The place still isn't exactly photo-ready, but I'm crazy-happy here and thought I'd show the pictures anyway, because aren't we all a little bored with the perfectly executed, expertly styled, industrial-desert-minimalist je ne sais quoi you always see in Dwell? No? Yeah, me neither, but here's my new place and I love it and I'm showing it to you because we're pals.

2. There's a great aside in Patti Smith's exquisite Just Kids (which is exceedingly beautiful, if heartbreaking and mildly frustrating- call me old-fashioned, but Patti, o Patti, WHY YOU GOTTA KEEP SLEEPING WITH A DRUG-ADDLED TRENCH-MOUTHED HUSTLER? There, I said it. Someone had to say it.) in which she returns to her New York apartment after a trip to Paris to find that her landlord has pawned off or stolen most of her belongings. To which she unsentimentally replies: there's always new stuff, that's for sure.

2a. I read and re-read that line when we were living out of a suitcase in Jaipur and announced to P. that I was getting rid of all non-essential, surface-cluttering, unused and unproductive stuff when we moved back to the States. Now, almost six months later in Brooklyn, I can happily say we purged about a third of all our belongings. I gave away all the clothes I haven't worn in two years. We sold or donated a lot of our Joshua Tree furniture to people who could really use, say, a pair of killer mid-century patio chairs in sea-foam green. We sold our old Jeep. We *might* even sell the Scamp (insert long complicated sigh here). We still have more books than we can shake a stick at and I couldn't stand to part with my illustrious collection of found raptor feathers, but we're making progress on the stuff front. Slow but real progress. And it feels pretty cathartic to start a new chapter of our lives with less *stuff.* Happy fall, urbody.

Hope you have a great long weekend. Would love to hear how other people manage the shedding of collected, sometimes beloved, but always, ultimately, non-essential stuff.

68 comments:

  1. lovely! how did you score such a great tree view in brooklyn? coincidentally, i have posts coming up next week with pics of my new apartment and my approach to minimalist living!

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  2. Julia- can't wait to see your new place! We hunted and hunted and I checked Craigslist every few hours for twelve days, and we were the first ones to see this place (and snatch it up) as a result. Feel like the luckiest girl in the world to wake up in NEW YORK with a view of TREE TOPS.

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  3. Your apartment looks lovely, even if it isn't finished yet I love the decor.
    My solution to too much stuff is to hide it all away under my desk, and then when it gets to be too full, I throw out most of it. Flawed, I know, but it works well enough :P Go you guys for getting rid of stuff though, and in such an efficient way!

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  4. you can't give away the scamp. i said it! the pics of the new place look stunning. i'm so glad i got to see where you'll be nesting these next few years and i miss it already! (and scout misses jumping on your couch) love you!

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  5. Having a basement in my 110 year old home is equal parts blessing and curse. Great for laundry purposes, seasonal item storage and a cool place for dogs to lay on hot summer days. But it also lends itself to hidden, forgotten storage for "finds" that I couldn't pass up. But, I've started donating decorative items to friends who move into new places - that way I can visit them on occasion and get them out of my basement.

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  6. Not going to lie: your apartment looks more put together than my house and we've been there for 18 months. I need to get my act together. If I make it to New York while you're there, I'm officially inviting myself over. :)

    But as far as purging...well, it's a tough thing to do sometimes, but I always feel so good after I get rid of/give away things that we don't use or need. But then I also remember that there are certain things that I might not really need, but they mean too much to me to get rid of. I give myself a pass on those things.

    Enjoy the weekend! xoxo

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  7. Your apartment looks so cozy!

    I'm an the granddaughter of a real life hoarder.. like the kind you see on those TV shows. Getting rid of things has never been hard for me, because of that. One a month, I go through my house & get rid of the things I haven't used in the last 30 days, that I don't think I'll be using in the next 30 days. I'm always surprised at how much crap there is each time to get rid of! I can honestly say that I have never regretted letting something go.

    Happy weekend to you!

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  8. Not the scamp! I repeat: NOT THE SCAMP!

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  9. It's beautiful! I would be so sad if you sold the Scamp, but I would understand (although I would probably be tempted to make an offer!). Enjoy the Labor Day weekend!

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  10. Aw, and I was just thinking how fun it was to see your old stuff in a new setting! I think Stuff is particularly hard to deal with if you a) live in a small space and/or b) move a lot. I like my things on an individual level, but every time I have to displace them, they fill me with oppressive angst.

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  11. Having grown up in the military, we were ALWAYS moving, which forced a discipline concerning STUFF that I still call upon all these years later. If I need it, it may stay... if I don't it must go!! I love nothing more than a clean sweep of baseboard left bare... I usually like that more than the stuff I am considering. However, my draconian attitude has been tested of late with aging parents... and their beloved stuff... what to do??

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  12. new adventures ahead for you. you'll want to come back to that wonderful scamp. can't you just rent it out? :)

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  13. It already looks dreamy. As does everything that you post.

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  14. Ok, thank you for addressing the DRUG-ADDLED TRENCH-MOUTHED HUSTLER issue from Just Kids. That book was incredibly disturbing to me. The co-dependency of their relationship was unsettling, to say the least.

    BUT. Your apartment looks gorg!

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  15. Light. High ceilings. What else is better in a city? Very little, IMO.

    As for getting rid of stuff, put it in boxes. Cry a little. Kneel on the floor before it, crying harder. Get surprised by a cupboard, sob. Then remind yourself that the people who made this stuff dear, if you're lucky, are still here. Even if they have grown and changed and aged as people do. Then admire your clean surfaces, over and over and over again. Then go outside and romp around.

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  16. I had that same Vietri dishware (blue fishies) until the Northridge earthquake stole it ALL from me!! If your place looks this good right outa boxes I can't wait to see it after you get it "photo readied."
    xoxo

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  17. Your new apartment looks so cozy and adorable! Funny you're talking about the shedding of beloved collectibles today; I've just spent the entire day cleaning out my parents' old house (to which we're moving this month), dividing family heirlooms, bagging donation items, etc. It's difficult to emotionally detach from "things" that hold memories. Plus, my mother never parted with anything, so I feel like I'll never be finished going through it all! But props to you for purging; it's such a freeing feeling. Have a wonderful weekend in your new nest, chickadee! xoxo

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  18. I'm so glad you commented on/ found my blog post because now I've found your amazingly gorgeous/inspired blog and paintings. Once again, I find myself saying: thanks, Internet!

    As for shedding stuff, nothing makes me feel better than dropping off paper grocery bags full of stuff at Good Will!

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  19. you moved to brooklyn?!! i have some serious catching up to do on your blog, but i have to tell you that i am just so inspired by you.

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  20. As I was reading this I was like, yeah, I agree, stuff is just stuff, I need to get rid of more stuff! and then I read about the mid-century patio chairs in sea-foam green and I gasped a little breath of envy for whoever got those.... ;)

    P.S. Your apartment already looks great!

    xo
    Cortnie

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  21. This is wonderful!
    LOVE your place, it's so you!
    These heaters are so good looking too!
    And LOVE to meet you one day!

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  22. I'm in a getting-rid-of-stuff phase, as well. I've now lived in my curent home for just over 5 years, the longest I've lived anywhere, ever (I grew up in a military family), and without a moving-induced purge, the stuff does pile up.

    I'm not too bad about accumulating things because my family tends to be pack-rattish, so in reaction I tend toward the opposite. And I detest clutter. However, I do struggle when parting with stuff that has sentimental value. What I've found helpful:
    1. I give myself time if I'm feeling resistant to parting with something. I find time helps to either lessen the attachment (sometimes I forget why I kept a thing in the first place!) or confirm that an item is truly valauble to me and worth the space it occupies even if I don't actively use it anymore. It took over a decade, but recently, I was finally ready to part with my books and notes from medical school.
    2. I think about how light and free I feel with less stuff, and how too much stuff weighs me down.
    3. Related to #2, I remember how miserable it is to move a lot of stuff and how much better it will be to have less stuff when I someday move again.
    4. I photograph stuff that I want to preserve a memory of before giving it away.

    Your new home is lovely. Enjoy feathering your nest!

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  23. It looks pretty darn photo-ready to me! I know the feeling about purging though, I just moved 3 weeks ago and got rid of a LOT of stuff. And it felt soooo good. I'm still finding things that I'm totally okay with parting with, because my taste has changed so much and why should I put it in a box to bring out...never? :) Can't wait to see more peeks, jealous of that exposed brick and lovely light!

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  24. Oh it looks delicious there! Not at all undone, just comfortable.

    I'm trying to lighten the load at my place too. I have WAAY too many clothes, so my latest project is if I'm not willing to get rid of something, I force myself to wear it. It's pretty interesting, some things find new life and other things, after a day of wearing, have made their inferiority apparent and are ready to be given away.

    The bet thing ever though is finding people who appreciate the extra stuff I have. A friend's daughter loves a lot of silly things I've been holding on to, and knowing that those things (Hello Chococat backpack) are going to her make it so much easier to give away than if I was putting it in the Goodwill box.

    I hope you'll give blog readers first shot at the Scamp if you can! Well, I REALLY hope you keep it, I love reading about its adventures. I think that's how I got here!

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  25. you're radical, you know that?

    i am not good at the purging of things. i do a closet clean out once a year and that feels good, but i really gotta get rid of s*it around here.

    i will be in nyc in october, if you have some spare time to meet over a meal. : )

    xo joanna

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  26. Not photo ready? Oh silly, it looks lovely. Like others who've said it before me, I need to get my act together. Two years in this house and it's still "a work in progress." Yikes! Thanks for reminding me that life's too short to waste time fretting over paint chips and where exactly the artwork should be hung. Am going right NOW to grab a hammer, pound some nails in the wall and hang the photographs, drawings and paintings that have cluttered my floor for far, far too long. You inspire me! Thank you.

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  27. A. Your apartment looks fantastic. I'd be glad to move in today.
    B. My strategy, stuff-wise, is to try and find the pleasure to be had in what _is_ rather than what I might get. This makes for a real relationship with the things in my life and pretty much eliminates the desire for more. (But this attitude was a long time in the making.)

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  28. Oh, and to answer your question . . . parting with excess stuff, for me, feels wonderfully liberating. Prior to moving across the country, I gave half of my furniture to friends in need, and the look on their faces was priceless. Then when we moved out of our apartment and into our house, I literally had a two trucks lined up, one was ours and the other was from a local animal shelter collecting donated items for their annual fund-raiser. I stood there directing the movers to put stuff in one truck or the other. It felt great! Last weekend, I went through my closet and finally found the courage to admit that I'll never fit into a size six again, and promptly filled two shopping bags. My next door neighbor's daughter had fun picking out whatever she wanted and the rest went to good-will. Again, the smiles from those on the receiving end were absolutely priceless! It's addictive I tell you.

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  29. WOW. Ya'll are a house-cleaning, closet-emptying, super-organized crew (for the most part!). I think after our wedding we got (happily) inundated with stuff, plus we were living on three wild acres abutting Joshua Tree National Park, had a two bedroom house, two dogs, a shed, a garden, an outdoor living room-of-sorts and I had my painting studio in town. Now we're divided up into two comfortable but small urban apartments in two different cities, so there was no way around a major, major thinning of things. Hopefully I can stay disciplined now that I'm living in a small space and "live lean" as my mom calls it.

    thanks for all the input and thoughtful answers, EVERYONE!

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  30. so weird that you posted this, because i just moved yesterday and holyCRAP do i ever have too much stuff! heh. my moving day was awful, so i think a purge might be in order, even just to raise my spirits (i'm not sure if you even read my blog, but it's described there if you're inclined to know details)...i wish wish wish my place looked like yours right now though! (wanna trade? HA!) that kitchen is to die for, and i can't believe you've already set up the bookshelves and everything. we have SO much work to do here...anyway. congrats! :)

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  31. Remember me? I am so glad I found you. Last time you leaving the desert for far away. Good luck in Brooklyn.

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  32. so impressed by your place so soon after a move! we're over half a year in our place and it's looking more and more hoarderish :( :( :(
    problem is, we're so transitory (a year here, a year abroad, a year there...) that we hardly get to unpack before we're planning the next move! and because i literally don't SEE all our stuff every day, it's difficult to say "toss that now!" understanding parents who have stored (and continue to do so even though i can no longer imagine WHAT is out there!) for us are a godsend, but i hate "using" them.
    it's tough.
    oh well... OFF to Argentina! (outta sight, outta mind?)

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  33. I'm slightly, well, VERY jealous that you're living in brooklyn. You place looks unbelievable!

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  34. your new place is sweet. i can't believe you're thinking of selling your scamp! planning on a new one???

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  35. 1. everyone around me seemed to be reading just kids this summer, so i was feeling pressured, but after your commentary i feel less so. thank you!
    2. for me, the key to keeping my stuff to a minimum has been having a living space that is exactly the right size for the stuff i have. there really isn't more room for stuff, especially since i would prefer a little white space to clutter. i'm pretty unsentimental about getting rid of things, and rarely regret letting go of stuff. i like having exactly what i need/use and no more, so i tend to think a LOT before buying new stuff. which is sometimes exhausting, but it's how i am. it's a balance when it comes to the precious stuff. raptor feathers can't take up that much room, right? what if you framed them or displayed them somehow? and if you're not quite ready to get rid of the scamp, i bet you could rent/loan it to someone who might be able to put it to use while you don't have space for it. . . .

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  36. Gorgeous apartment - congratulations on making it into 'home' so swiftly!

    A couple of years ago, I instituted a rule that, for every new object of clothing I buy, I have to get rid of two pieces I already have. It's been a wonderful habit.

    Good luck purging!

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  37. I love having little picks into your NYC apartment :) NYC will have always have a special place in my heart.

    I recently read the book Just Kids and I loved it not because it takes places in NYC and the journey of her making it, but i love hearing all the little details about how she has to be an artist- and seeing the window into just making things.. sort of magical isn't it?

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  38. Oh, home. Sigh. Lucky you.... and welcome. I hope you love it.

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  39. Wow, Im really happy I stumbled on this blog. I love the way your photos feel. Idk they're very engaging and puts the viewer in them. Like youre family almost.

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  40. Wow, your apartment looks very swish and adult. Perhaps you should take Ryan's approach to keeping your stuff to a minimum. 100 things. That's all you are allowed. That includes individual books, items of clothing, decorative items, etc. Although he's never tried to set up an entire household with this philosophy, and that may not be possible. Unless you're living in the Scamp. Which you may not sell.

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  41. love the lampshade in your living room!

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  42. Getting rid of stuff: I moved to New York.

    NO SELL SCAMP. SCAMP GOOD; SELL SCAMP BAD.

    Welcome, lady. Welcome.

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  43. Thanks for sharing you abode with us! And I couldn't agree more, no need to have a magazine home, those are just for resumes anyways!

    I love your art and your real life style. Every time I read your blog it reminds me to enjoy the simple things in life and to try to capture them through my lens.

    Keep doing what your doing, it's awesome.

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  44. we're moving in a few months and i cannot wait to purge some of our stuffi in a giant yard sale. oh man. i just CAN'T wait.

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  45. Waaaaaaait. You JUST moved in. AND IT ALREADY LOOKS SO FRIGGEN AWESOME. Not fair! Come work that magic at our disheveled dwelling? Pretty please? Payment in the form of saved-seed from our top-secret-super-awesome-heirloom-variety-of-Italian-tomatoes-that-my-dad-snuck-home-from-Italy-one-time?

    Well, either way, your place looks awesome, and I am happy you can settle down and feel safe and happy after Irene kind of shoot things up over there (glad you guys are OK! Really sad about the fig tree, though!)

    Moving really shows you how much STUFF you have accumulated. I know all too well. Our little old farmhouse has NO closets. I'mnotkidding, NONE! So, in order to appear even a little bit organized around here, we REALLY had to pare down our belongings. It was like a big weight had been lifted off our shoulders after we dropped all those boxes off at the Goodwill. Turns out you just don't need TWO vintage picnic baskets. Good luck!

    (P.S. If you set up an Etsy shop I might buy some of your hand-me-downs...would it please you to know they went to a good home?)

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  46. i LOVE your new home - it looks bright and lived in - and I can't believe this pics are from the first few days?!

    one of the things i'm looking forward to doing when i move back home from delhi in the new year is 'starting over from scratch' - like you've done. i purged most of my stuff and put the rest into storage before leaving but i've learned how truly little i need to be happy and while i like..no, i LOVE stuff, i plan on going through my boxes item by item and keeping only what i truly love. and same goes for my wardrobe!

    here's to new chapters :)

    (and funny, after living in india when i move back home high on my priority list is a view of tree tops too :)

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  47. I'm happy i found your blog - the photos are so amazing! The place looks really good and it' great it is in Brooklyn! Housewarming party coming? ;-) Good luck at your new home!

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  48. what a lovely new space. and good luck getting settled!

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  49. I'm sure you well know, it is easier to carry pictures and memories around with you, rather than stuff. These are the things that remain. Patti Smith says it well. Hurricane Irene blowing down a wonderful old tree is a perfect illustration of the fragility of life. Your new apartment looks wonderful, treetops, it has light, it has room for the two of you. From experience, raptor feathers attrack mice. Happy new chapter Lily!

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  50. your place looks amazing...
    really though.

    ♥elisabeth

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  51. So beautiful, truly.

    Please let us happy followers know if you sell your darling scamp. My sweetie and I have been on the hunt for something of the sort of the past 6 months now.

    Lots of luck out there.

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  52. i love spaces that keeps it to essential, almost empty. they keep my spirit open. i would never unroll that rug for example.
    so, for me not having to much stuff is an aestethic need.

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  53. Oh sugar, GORGEOUS. We need to do some exchange visiting in 2012, m'kay? Say yes, yes, yes.

    We've been bad at accumulating STUFF while got married and settled in our cottage in the country for 2 years, and now we've been bad at the getting rid of unnecessary stuff now I live in our wee urban home. Although there is a tiny room of unpacked boxes, and I vow that ALL those things (well, bar the books and CDs and unhung art - sigh) will be Got Rid Of, since they haven't been used/wanted for OVER A YEAR. Just to DO the ridding now. But it will happen.

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  54. The mantel is great, and the treetop view even better. I imagine you're very lucky to have that in Brooklyn.
    I'm trying to shed my packrat tendencies, and have been donating lots of things to the goodwill lately. It feels like a weight has been lifted, and I've only scratched the surface.

    I feel like I've known who makes the pretty pottery you've collected (the creamer, etc), but I can't remember. Anyway, it's just the thing for a morning coffee...happy colors and all.

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  55. The apartment already looks great! However, I must echo Amanda and beg you not to sell the Scamp.

    I am awful about getting rid of things. I develop silly attachments or insist to myself that I can find a way to make xyz useful again or that I really will lose weight so that dress I only got to wear once will fit again. *sigh* We had to pack most of our belongings into a storage unit recently, and there were some things I wanted to get rid of; but since they were wedding gifts, I felt guilty and packed them. The load we took to Goodwill really should've been much bigger.

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  56. Love the apartment- the paitnings here and there- the green living room table- really really love that- and your view-(purging of the 'stuff' is good- I am too about to purge and move- living light is best- sure thing)
    Happy New Beginnings to you!

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  57. Over the years we amassed a big collection of Mexican folk art - some valuable, some not. When we built our house in JT that stuff had been in storage for 2+ years and although it had been well loved, we knew it wasn't going to find a home in the new place. We kept the valuable stuff and sold the rest, plus as much other stuff as we could live without at a garage sale at the gallery one year.

    Living in a small place is a great way to wrangle your stuff - I periodically purge my drawers and closets to make room for the new clothes I can't keep myself from buying, shopping whore that I am. I've also started trading my books with friends and not asking for them to be returned!

    That said, we still have a garage and 20-foot container full of stuff that we constantly sift through and don't seem to make much progress. We are about to part with our beloved canoe (which takes up a lot of space in the container) since we finally must admit that we are not using it here in the desert!

    Your place looks awesome - hope we get to come to NY and see it and you in person!

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  58. Moving does wonders. One time we moved 6 times in two years. Every move was a purge fest. Now that we're here for who knows how long I try to do these things regularly.

    I started to edit my clothes every season. I automatically get rid of anything I didn't wear the year before. Then I try on the rest. My closet is small so it takes no time.

    Half the time I go thrifting I take a few things to drop off myself.

    I'm having a big ole garage sale in a couple of weeks.

    We're donating/selling almost all our paperbacks.

    And every six months or so I try to go through our catch all spots: furnace room, basement, closets.

    ps...Thanks for keeping your photos fo' reels. Totally sick of the perfect stuff.

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  59. Scamp Time Share!! Pay by the day! I'd do it for 2 weeks!

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  60. so lovely - what a great find! I kind of want to come over for some coffee, egg sandwiches and staring at tree tops.

    de-clutter - i just hold my breath and throw everything into black bags so i can't see it anymore and the husband drops it off wherever we're donating.

    I have an uber organized friend who does this every spring - she goes through her stuff, uses color-coated markings - marks things she hasn't used in 6 months and if in another 6 months it's still in the same spot with the marker - she gets rid of it.

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  61. lily, i love this post. sometimes i swear we were separated at birth!! ha.
    i'd consider that evening sky a home blessing from the gods, fab!

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  62. I'm so glad you're "crazy-happy" :)
    Also, I have Patti's book sitting on my bedside table, unread. I guess I should get to it eh?

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  63. Bless that Patti Smith-I have that phrase ingrained in my head now and it is doing me so much good. We are gearing up to hibernate for the winter and I feel like I need to shed some stuff so that we can stretch out in our little place.

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  64. Oh Lily, thou art the perfect blogger. I wish some would rub off on me. *sigh*

    If you sell that scamp, you could sell that scamp to me and G. It would be yours whenever you wanted to buy it back, promise, and you could come visit us in joshua tree and stay in it whenever you wanted. I'd fly to you and drive it back to the desert in a heartbeat. Just sayin'.

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  65. So beautiful, Lily! If that is you in transit, I can't wait to see you settled in. I've missed you!

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  66. We are always shedding, yet items continue to sneak into our apartment. It is definitely time for clothes closet, bath cabinet, book, and kitchen item inventory.

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