It’s the first days of forever for me. One chapter has closed and another has begun. In the last 20 years, no journey out of Australia for me has been for less than two months (a couple of times), or less than a year or two (most times). I’ve reached a new chapter that sees me settled in Melbourne, no more travels except short holidays. Having a home of my own. Owning actual furniture. Forming habits and routines. Being normal not nomadic. Over the past year, during an almost one year sabbatical of travel, whether I was walking through Europe or riding a truck across Africa, I was listening to the podcast The Art of Decluttering, dreaming up what life would look like settled down. Envisioning my home, my future, and deciding on what podcasters Kirsty and Amy refer to as “visions”.
One of my visions has been to live in an apartment. As a nanny and share-house tenant, I have spent years living in giant homes. And in giant homes there are large rooms to fill and clean, open spaces to heat and cool, big gardens to maintain and urgh, de-weed. Lawns to mow. Way more effort and money goes into large homes than small. This I know. So, apartment living (renting) for the next ten years until I’m 50, will let me see how my future pans out and what my chapters after that should look like. In a fairly economical way. Will I even want to stay in the city after 50? Will I prefer a sea change? What shape of home will I need long term? Time will tell, but my first accomplishment in settling down has been to achieve that vision, in taking out an inner-city apartment with a lovely ocean view. Check.
The vision that Amy and Kirsty most commonly refer to is around how you want any given room to be used. Cluttered spare room? How do you see yourself using that room – do you need an office space, or perhaps a guest room? Each room will have a different vision. What you put in there depends on your vision. So, here in my new home, stuck in isolation with only some furniture, clothes and groceries filling it so far, I think about my visions. Then I think about my storage and its contents.
Clothes will go in my bedroom closets. There are two, either side of the ensuite door. One will be for everyday clothes, the other will store seasonal and travel gear. The second bedroom will be an office. The closet will be for important paperwork, and my nanny resources which will stay boxed for now. I’ll get bookcases and unpack all my books so I can start to read them and gift them on to others. Some photo albums can live there too. I’ll get a narrow bookcase for that space between the two doors, yes, to display all my travel tchotchkes and souvenirs. DVD folders will slip in the TV cabinet. Closet by the front door? I’ll make a mudroom/linen closet, and store my coats and luggage in there and Christmas ornaments on the top shelf. Kitchen, bathroom and laundry are not my known places for clutter, so those will be easy to unpack.
That about covers it. Although I know I have more than that in storage, there’s nothing else I can think of that needs a place of its own. I decide to let everything else live in containers and since I’m in isolation, I’ll spend a couple of hours each day going through those boxes until they are decluttered.
It seems so easy now, before I start. Before all my worldly goods sit in boxes in my living room. But I believe in visions. I believe in dedicated places for useful things and loved things and not giving homes or additional pieces of cupboard space to things that don’t belong in your life long term. So, visions it will be. Swimming in my head as I empty my storage and, for the first time in my adult life, have everything together. It’s time to settle down and make a home.