9 Tips for Living Well While Your Space is In Transition

9 Tips for Living Well While Your Space is In Transition

Abby Stone
Jun 3, 2011

I'm in the midst of redecorating my living room. There are plans for the new — couch, credenza — but the old — couches, club chair, coffee table — are still hanging around while I try and figure out how to get rid of them. Trying to live with the old while being focused on the new is a little — okay a lot! — chaotic. We've all been there.

Whether you're moving, redecorating, painting or refinishing, gung ho on a DIY project or settling into a vacation home, here are some tips for living in a space in transition without losing your mind.

Designate one area of your home as your outbox or staging area: Mine's by my front door and, while it may be a little chaotic to walk into, once I'm actually inside, I'm so excited by the potential of the new arrangement, I can forget about the chaos for a bit.
Orient your outbox or staging area so it's not the focal point: One thing that keeps me sane is that the stuff I plan on getting rid of is "behind" me; the couch acts as a wall between the old space and the new space so I don't have to look at it all the time. Out of sight, out of mind is the thinking here.
Keep it clean and clutter-free: There's enough chaos already, so keep the area you're working on neat. Clean it up at the end of each day and try to bring as much order to it as possible.
Focus on one area at a time: Whether it's unpacking boxes or moving furniture, break it down into steps and accomplish each step before you move onto the next one. For example, once I moved the credenza, I organized all the knickknacks and electronics on it so it was completely "finished". If you've just moved into a new space, unpack the kitchen, fill up the fridge with groceries, make the bed and organize the bathroom before tackling the rest of the boxes.
Celebrate small victories: You've finished painting one wall, you've figured out where the couch will go, you've moved that heavy credenza across the room -- celebrate! Whether it's taking a moment to revel in your accomplishment, relaxing and surveying the new arrangement, or photographing your progress, take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
Keep a photographic record of your progress: Looking back and seeing how much you've done in a short period (though it may feel like it's taking forever) is very satisfying.
A vision board keeps your focused: While it may sound woowoo, I've noticed that having a vision board (or a vision book) not only keeps you focused on what you want but it helps it happen that much faster.
Share your victory with others: Reach out to your fellow design geeks with pictures of your accomplishment. While the majority of your friends and family may roll their eyes, your comrades-in-beauty will appreciate your progress
Focus on your progress: Sure, you've got a ways to go and the pile of stuff by the front door is embarrassing, but look what you've done!

Image: Jill Slater for Katherine's Meticulous Work in Progress

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