Apartment Life (Made Easy)

My first apartments were shared, as a student and then as a newlywed. And now after … well after many years I’m back living in an apartment. I no longer own a lawn mower, a hose, a rake or a snow shovel. Love it. This past winter I just enjoyed snowstorms and didn’t have to do anything about them.

Some things never change about apartment living. First, you often need to furnish the place on a budget. (You never know how long you’ll stay at one address.)  Second, small scale items are usually key. Third, you really have to stay on top of clutter.  And fourth, most of us want our apartment to be an expression of who we are, and own pieces we really love.

I love de-cluttering almost to the point of obsession. So paring down for me is both easy and payment in itself. When getting rid of stuff I first ask family and friends if they would like an item. If not, it gets recycled, gets thrown, or more likely donated to Arc’s Value Village. Boom. Cleaner, neater apartment. I highly recommend it.

I’d love to just buy the tempting pieces I see at many of the retailers currently in vogue, but there is the matter of staying on a budget. At times I satisfy my decorating sweet tooth by visiting an Arc’s Value Village store. But when shopping thrift stores you may not find what you want on every trip. So I suggest going again, it’s fun.

George Nelson TableThis George Nelson side table was almost in perfect shape when I nabbed it at a fraction of what it would sell for new. It fell within my budget, takes up little space, and looks fabulous. And the little pottery bowl, also from Arc’s Value Village, was a great find aMikasa Dishesnd looks good wherever I put it.








Shortly after the Arc’s Value Village St. Paul store opened I found this set of Mikasa dishes.  Retro, one of my favorite colors, with ten unbroken cups, saucers, bowls, and a large serving bowl. I considered  whether to buy the set for like ten seconds. I bought it, use it every day and love it. The sweet little napkins are from the New Hope Value Village.

Carved Wall Hanging







I look at a lot of design/apartment/décor blogs and often see splendid objects that I can only wish I could acquire – if I could actually find them. This carved wooden architectural element, and I don’t know its original use, is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. And I bought it at Arc’s Value Village for the cost of a lunch out. I had it hanging over my fireplace in my previous place and now it fills in as a headboard.

I continue to shop at all of the Arc’s Value Village Stores, not always spotting things I want, but on some trips walking out with a gem. My apartment has been better off for it and I’m able to work within my budget and limited space, and satisfy my aesthetic cravings.

And if I someday would need a lawn mower, a hose, a rake or a snow shovel, I’d know where to buy them.

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