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This blog post was written by Contributor, Jackson Cheevers.
There are a lot of changes in my line of work as a visual merchandiser. Not only the clothing from season to season, but also how we hang the merchandise, a more unique fold, or new props to liven up window displays. I am constantly reorganizing the back room to make space for the new, and toss the old. After going through this cycle of clearing back of house every season, I figured I was prepared for any kind of organization job that came at me.
Then came time for me to move house. The process of finding a new place was long, but once the lease was signed I immediately turned to my closet and groaned at the sheer amount of shoes I was going to have to weed through and decide what got to come with me. This was my first time actually moving, let alone first time attacking an unfamiliar place with my familiar organizational techniques. When I went to University, I only brought a suitcase (or five) of clothes. When I moved to San Francisco I brought bedding and clothing. I never had furniture, books, art, everything that comes with making a place an actual home. I was overwhelmed with how to choose what was most important and what would be allowed in the new home, especially now taking two other people’s preferences and décor taste into account.
Ultimately I did not go through anything at all. Neither did my roommates. We packed up everything we had in any kind of bag or box we had and filled the entire living room, sunroom, and kitchen to bursting. We surrendered our ways of organizing, and let the mess grow.
As a household we chose to attack things one room at a time, starting with the spaces we needed most: bed, bath, and kitchen. Every room was repainted before we brought anything into the house. Our bedrooms were first, as having that retreat at the end of the day, ones own space to be ensconced in, has to have top priority. When the rest of your home is in disarray, having one project makes the insanity of the rest of the house bearable, and allowed us to actually sleep in a calmer space.
Using our bedrooms as a foundation for the rest of the house, we quickly set the bathroom and kitchen to sorts, leaving our sunroom, which we transformed into a closet, and living room for last. In setting up the other rooms in the house, the piles of our possessions in the living space went down dramatically. By bringing everything with us, we were able to see what was going to fit in the space, what needed to be replaced, and what we could get rid of. Having two extra sets of eyes and opinions was the most helpful tool in this process. We went through every article of clothing, every piece of bric-a-brac as a team. We noticed where we were going to need more storage solutions, that we did not wish to have a television so the money could be spent elsewhere, that all we needed to find was a dining table and a sofa. The three of us had friends help us move, but kept the actual decision making process of what to place where and what to keep to those of us who were going to live in the space. This led to a more unified approach to building a home, and a lot more ownership of the space.
In the end, we brought everything with us, ended up spending much less money buying or replacing things we did not end up needing, and when we were finished organizing as much as we could for now, our house was already set up as a home. We moved out of our old places much faster, and got started on our new life in a new apartment faster as well.
This whole world of organization and making things comfortable and clean does not necessarily have to be an organized process from start to finish. Coming from my old apartment, which was very organized, just had me stressed about how I was going to be able to fit everything exactly as I had it already organized in the new apartment. By throwing it all together I was forced to rethink what was in front of me, and create a much better system for the new space. Even though we have only been here for two months with much more work to do we have already created a home I am so incredibly happy to come back to at the end of every day.
Jackson Cheevers is a Visual Merchandiser working for an Italian luxury fashion brand, living in San Francisco. Childhood interests in spatial arrangement, home interiors, and fashion translated well into a degree in Visual and Communication Arts. Jackson has experience in home staging, event planning, exhibition coordination, and visual merchandising. Currently, besides a very fast-paced career, Jackson enjoys to explore California, continuously rework his look, and constantly find new exciting ways to decorate his and his friend’s homes.