I recently moved into my own apartment after years of sharing a variety of houses with a variety of roommates. If you can recall the last time that you moved, you know that there are dozens of necessary decisions to turn a space into a home. It’s easy to go on autopilot and simply make the same choices your family of origin or the status quo would make. Ever the rebel, I get a kick out of doing things my way.
For starters, my kitchen drawers are rather narrow and long. My utensil organizer is much too wide to fit. I did a brief search online for something suitable and found nothing. Having much bigger fish to fry, I dumped all the silverware in the drawer and called it a day. My friend who was visiting at the time agreed with me that the spoons and forks don’t need to be segregated. Over a month has gone by now, and it’s simply not an issue. (Mom, I know you’re itching to scour the Container Store or Pinterest for a more civilized alternative. There’s absolutely no need. Truly, I like it this way!)
There’s a built-in microwave above my stove. It takes up a large amount of space, particularly given the limited cupboards generally found in an urban apartment. I knew right away that I wouldn’t use it (haven’t for nearly 20 years) and that I needed to find a way to reclaim that territory. Now, it’s my tea cupboard, housing loose leaf teas and the various superfoods that accompany them. Since many are stored in tins or canning jars, I’ve unplugged the microwave to prevent accidental explosions. I’m rather pleased with this solution! It sure makes teatime more streamlines.
While shopping for a shower curtain, I noticed that an additional plastic layer is recommended for inside the actual curtain. What? Why? I dug my heels in and resisted purchasing extra, needless plastic. Maybe I’m less active in the shower than other people, but so far, not a drop has escaped. Who says you need two sheets of material between the inside and outside of the tub? Martha Stewart? The Plastic Coalition? No thank you. I’m doing just fine with one.
By far, my biggest purchase was an organic mattress that I’ve been drooling over for a few years. I spend more time in my bed than anywhere else, so it’s a good investment in my future health. The cost of the mattress itself was more than I would have spent on a traditional set up, so for the next few months, my wonderful mattress will rest on the floor until I can magnetize a frame worthy of it. I get that this might not be an option for people with mobility issues, but for me it makes a whole lot more sense than going into debt and paying interest on something that is much more of a want than a need. (You can also see the corner of the sheet that is temporarily acting as a curtain…)
Learning critical thinking skills in college was perhaps the most valuable lesson of all. I’m ever so grateful that I have the capacity to question everything, even the small things and the deeply ingrained things so I can make the best decisions for me. I can’t remember how to conjugate German verbs or do advanced math, but I am able to examine costs vs. benefits and customize my decisions to precisely suit my circumstances. It certainly made this transition easier, but also enables me to make bigger choices about my health, lifestyle, and overall value system.
It’s very empowering to lead my life from my own inner compass rather than simply doing things the same way everyone else does. Please consider joining me by thinking outside of the box. Heck, let’s just eliminate the box altogether! Start with something small, like a kitchen drawer, and see how liberating it feels. Before you know it, you’ll be freestyling it all over the place.