Source: etsy.com via Shannon on Pinterest

Do you ever let yourself sit somewhere so long that the room grows cold and dark around you? And suddenly you're uncomfortable and you don't know why? You would be so much happier if you just got up, turned on a light and donned a sweater, but you can't move. You've been there so long already, so there you stay, depending on your own limbs to warm each other. You are hopeful yet afraid that your roommate will come home, possibly with a friend you don't know, and find you sitting alone in the dark."Uh, hey?" they'd say.

And you would snap back to life.

In the months since I moved to San Francisco, I've let myself sink into an excess of stuff in just this same way, and suddenly I realized I was drowning. Piles of crap in the corners of my room, my closet regurgitating countless identical tee shirts that had been chewed up and digested, but that I thought I might one day use again. The thing is, when your bedroom is only a 10x10 square with one small closet, you can't afford to accumulate in the way that I do.

I love to wander through thrift stores and pick up $1 frames or funky knickknacks that are just like the ones I see on design blogs and would be oh! perfect! in some eclectic but clean arrangement on a beautiful bookshelf or brick wall that I might one day have. But I don't have that bookshelf now and I don't have the space/time/money/energy to commit to making my temporary month-to-month apartment look like Pinterest (oh god, the pretty of it all). I just don't care quite enough, because most of the time I'm not at home anyway. That's the thing about being 25, you do stuff, so you don't need to own quite so much of it. And you know? When I do have that beautiful bookshelf, that perfect wall or room, there will still be knickknacks out there for the finding.

So upon my return from 2 weeks on the East coast, when I realized I couldn't even unpack because I didn't know how I would put anything away, I set to work purging. I am getting rid of stuff and plan to make due with what I have. My place is nice enough for what it is, so I'll just keep changing out the fresh flowers and, for now, stop collecting junk. I cleaned out my closet and my dresser, I rearranged my bedroom furniture for the third time and have finally found a set-up I like. The hard drive on my computer is full to bursting, so I'm finally going through and deleting all the duplicates and duds from a 6-year-old, 20,000+ file backlog in my iPhoto. I'm growing out my bangs and gettingthehairoutofmyfacegoddammit.

But still, I've stowed away those piles of cheap frames and knickknacks because one day? I am going to do this:

I am I am I am.


  1. I am SO HAPPY you're back! I have been checking for updates from you, and NOTHING in weeks.

    It's almost eerie that you write these words this weekend, because I had the same overwhelming feeling on Friday after work. I have spent the last year [since having a job and making some money] accumulating little furniture pieces, artwork and books to make my apartment exactly what I see on AT, Design*Sponge, and Pinterest. It's taken me all this time to realize "I am not staying in this apartment forever. I don't have the money or resources to do exactly what I want. Now all I'm left with is junk that has nowhere to live."

    Reading this has actually inspired me to clean today. I've been putting it off because I'm afraid it won't look "internet worthy," but there's no excuse anymore. We're the norm - not Pinterest.

    P.S. I'll post pictures of my imperfect, unfinished, inexpensive apartment if you post pictures of yours.

  2. You will do those things! You will have cool little islands of photos and art grouped on your walls. You will have busts of Greek philosophers next to stacks of books and porcelain tchotkes. I know it! It will happen someday when you have more time and more space.

    P.S. If you're having a yard sale, or I guess a room sale, I want to come!

    Also, I came across that adorable whale card that you made for Eli's baby shower, and it made me so happy! I hope that you are still crafting cards in your spare time - they are so beautiful and so fun.

  3. Oh yeah, there really is something so appealing about an 'art wall' but they seem to be intrinsically impossible to actually create.

  4. Shannon, I love this post! I can totally relate, as I do my fair share of collecting, and then I get overwhelmed with all the stuff and I have to purge it too. Lately, I have to start with my inbox, but I love the idea of cleaning up my hard drive too. I just need the mental space back! :)

  5. I had to stop reading design blogs and frequenting any shops with any sort of home decor items... it made me depressed as I knew I just couldn't "manage" any of it. When you have to think about how you're going to manage your stuff it's a problem. Your point is spot on, it is VERY important to remember there will always be stuff out there. My one tip is to always buy a little something while in a different city or on vacation. If you can pair a story to the item the purchase is a little more rewarding, "Oh yes I purchased this turtle in Amsterdam. My dear friend Shannon helped me in my haggling the lady."

    I do find it very therapeutic to purge. The letting go and finding the space. Ahhhh I love it.

    I've been at my new place for well over a month now and I still haven't put up those shelves. The shelves you speak of where you can put the knicknacks and pattywacks. I should probably get to that seeing as there are people like you yearning to have that shelving opportunity. Now I need to go buy a level... yikes, more stuff!

  6. Thank you for the comments, ladies! I'm glad to see I'm not alone in my conflicting need to both collect and clear out. And art walls, yes! They are oh so magical and seem so easy to do, but then you end up staring at a blank wall, a pile of stuff, and quietly weeping.

    I'm slowly making my peace with my current living situation, and per Stacy's request I just may post a few photos soon! I should really get some more art up on the walls first, though... ;)

  7. You are your father's daughter, and unfortunately for your closet space, mine too, more and more. (Re: my new storage unit in my craft room. Even though I can see everything now, I still get something new every time I'm at Joann's. And stash it there.)

    Also, why not just tack that new magical thing up on your "art wall" as soon as you bring it home, so your wall art grows organically, little by little. That seems even more inspired than waiting for the collection to build.

    And I would also like to see the new furniture arrangement.