I am a travel junkie as I collect experiences and not things. But my last round of travel about did me in. I am a tired girl and realizing that there are certain things that no matter how amazing the experience, it is nice to be home.
I visited with my professional organizer friend Amanda who owns Urban Clarity in New York and we compared how our lives differ, me in a house and her in one floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn.
I showed her a picture of our basement family room that I never go in. She was amazed by that. The truth is that I have more space than I need. They use every square inch.
She shared what a typical email from a potential client looks like. Potential client is expecting a baby and isn’t sure how they are going to make room for the baby and still have a storage for the vacuum. Their space is limited and just having the necessities can be challenging.
The Minimalists opine “simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” When you live in a very small space you really are forced to subtract the obvious as well as the meaningful. I have never had to worry about not having enough space. I take pride in having empty drawers. They have no empty drawers.
I asked my friend if they have a Costco and she said they do but she doesn’t go to it. First she would need a car to bring all the purchases home. The majority of people do not own cars in the city and their shopping reflects that. Plus they really don’t have room to store the bulk items. For me I can buy the giant packages of paper towels and giant bottles of olive oil, I have the room to store them, she does not.
As I rode the subway I watched how people shopped. They had to carry what they bought or use a small hand cart. Maneuvering the steps and turnstiles and the crowds of the subway can become harrowing. Now imagine having to take a child in a stroller on this journey. I was overwhelmed just thinking about.
While the subway is a great way to travel, you are on their schedule. You could miss a train by seconds and they don’t care. Yes you could take a cab, but I found myself sitting in traffic rather than making forward progress. Living in a rural area I know exactly when to leave my house to make it to a client’s across town. I only worry about traffic if I have to travel through road construction. But my friend didn’t have to put new tires on her car or replace the radiator that I had to in my car this month.
There are very few large super markets but rather bodegas which are very tiny convenience stores located on most corners. You go there for unplanned things you run out of. My friend and my cousin (who I was staying with in Brooklyn) both use Fresh Direct, a grocery delivery service that delivers your groceries between the hours of 6am and 8am. A very small window. Planning is key and meal planning is a necessity.
But this is what I know, no matter where you live, your normal is your normal. While I love exploring and learning about how other people live, I like my king sized bed and my large kitchen island to prepare a meal for my friends and family. And I know my friend loves her brownstone in Brooklyn where she prepares meals for her friends and family.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa’s e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.