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A Happy Mess

Two weeks ago I was so stressed, so engulfed in anxiety I could hardly breathe. The boxes upon boxes upon boxes, the filthy bathroom floors and grubby kitchen sink were making me feel like a crazy person.  I spent most of the week emailing back and forth with my friend Kim at Kim’s Kitchen Sink because of everyone in the world she is the only person who has been able to verbalize the way I feel when my home is messy: If my home is messy, my head is messy.

Kim has been coaching me on how to deal with the mess while working forty hours a week, and basically what it comes down to is learning how to live in the happy mess. Because it is a happy mess – it’s the mess of nesting and setting up a new home, a new future full of endless possibilities and opportunities. So that’s my project for the next however many weeks it takes us to get settled in this new apartment.  To learn how to live in the happy mess. Instead of looking around at the piles and breaking into a cold sweat, I’m trying to look around at the piles and see the potential. Here’s a peek at what our Happy Mess looked like last week:

kitchen mess

The kitchen mess

living room mess

The living room mess

what a mess

More living room mess – and a sad little dog (she hates messes too) (or maybe I’m anthropomorphizing.)

office mess

The office mess

putting it together

Then there’s this guy, working tirelessly to put it all right. I see that smile and the mess melts away so that everything feels happy.

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  • A Happy Mess. That’s a great way to think about it, b/c otherwise I agree, otherwise a house mess = head mess for me as well.

    • It’s been a bit of a challenge… some days… and other days it’s easy. I find that when Mike is home and we’re happy, I don’t notice the mess nearly as much as when he’s at work and I’m left on my own to deal with it.

  • Tara

    Me too. I find it hard to think when things are a mess.

    • Really? I did not know you felt that way! Maybe I inherited that feeling from you. 😉

  • In full, 100% honesty, I will say that the first thing I noticed about each of these pictures was how bright and lovely your new space is. Sure, there are boxes. But check out those shelves over the fireplace! And the eat in kitchen! And the IKEA hanging rack/shelf already installed in the kitchen! (we have one of those that is still on the floor because I’m not sure we have a need for it in our new place but I’m not ready to get rid of it) And my heart warmed at the sight of the other kitchen things that I recognize from photos of your teensy tinsy NY apartment. Nostalgia? Maybe. But those little things feel like home to me (even if it’s, erm, your home and I am totally projecting).

    Regardless of the progress you’re making, and the lovely, wonderful nesting you’re doing, I applaud you for trying to live happily in the mess. You and me both, sister. Works in progress.

    • Thank you! I am so happy that what you noticed first were good things!!! And I love that you recognize our things and that they feel like home to you. One day you might come visit me and it won’t be like you’re in a new place for the first time – it’ll be like you’ve been there a million times before. 😀 The new kitchen is about 7 1/2 times larger than our last NY kitchen and it’s wonderful. The apartment has come a long way in the last week, and I am eager and excited to post some updated photos! It’s not done yet – there are still boxes in every room and things we need to buy and things that need to be arranged, but it’s coming along and I am very pleased. And it’s much more fun to enjoy the process than have anxiety over it. Thank you for all of your coaching and advise during this transition! xoxox

    • *advice. Not “advise”. Geez o pete.

  • Jim

    I’d love to see a time-lapse video of the transformation of this apartment. I know it’s going to look great eventually. The kitchen already seems charming as heck. =)

    • Thank you! I have to give all the credit to my husband – he is decorating the kitchen, the office, and the balcony. I’m doing the bedroom, living room, and both bathrooms. His rooms are waaaaay more done than mine are.