Hermit Crab Living: Making Occupied Space Yours

See this article featured at Offbeat Home.

Mirror Collection

adding personal touches

My name is Stephanie. I am a graphic designer in official capacity only when I’m employed. You see, I’m 25, and I am financially and habitationally dependent upon my parents. I am not only living once again in my parents’ house; I am living in my sister’s (former) bedroom. It’s a situation I’ve tried to make peace with since I graduated from college in 2008.

When I moved back into this house, my sister’s bedroom was hers, and my bedroom was nonexistent. The room I needed to live in had decorated walls and shelves, furniture, clothes in the closet… I felt like it wasn’t my home, like it was temporary. And that worked for me until I began to realize how detached it feels to be living in someone else’s space and calling it your own. When I didn’t get a job right away, my assertion of independence was overshadowed by disappointment. My efforts to make the space seem impermanent backfired and made the permanence of my living situation less bearable.

One of the first things I did to make my space more like home was to add personal touches, like hanging a small collection of gilded mirrors I bought at a flea market. It made the space seem more like my home and less like my sister’s. Gradually, I de-cluttered the room, slowly and carefully removing my sister’s possessions, asking her what she wanted done with them, and doing that. Small things, over time, eroded the room to reflect my personality and tastes more than my sister’s.


multi-purpose furniture makes a multi-purpose space

Then I assessed my space. I wanted to be able to do everything necessary for daily life in my room. So I moved in some multi-purpose furniture, including a day bed, a folding table that can either be desk or coffee table height, and some folding camp chairs. This step made the space mine; I didn’t have to do my work in the kitchen, or try to relax in the living room while someone was watching tv. It helped the transition for me from apartment life, with all my spaces comfortably combined into a large bedroom, and communal spaces rarely occupied by roommates, to living with my parents, in my sister’s tiny bedroom.

Guitar, Chest, Bookshelf

my stuff, all moved in

I had moved in originally with only necessary items. The rest of my things were kept in a storage facility, there being no room to put them in my sister’s space. Then, they were moved and kept in storage space around the house. Up until recently, I didn’t have enough room in my bedroom to keep all the things I kept in my apartment in college. Moving in my books, records, and miscellaneous other personal possessions has made a huge difference in my comfort level. I feel more like I’m living in a communal house with my parents as roommates than an adult living with her parents.

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with as an adult living in my parents’ house is the condition of my home. I wrote an article for Offbeat Home in its beginnings entitled Ditch the magazine: Improving house-esteem. Truth is, I’ve always tried to lead other people in ways I can’t lead myself, because blazing a path altruistically is a lot easier than working up the courage to do something just for me.

Cord Wrangling

sometimes ugly works

I’ve learned that sometimes the best practical solution isn’t the prettiest solution. For example, my media setup hinges on a cable organizer clipped to a drawer handle that looks very dicey, but works (and moves easily if I need access to that drawer). And that applies to living situations too – it may not be glamorous to live with my parents, but I love spending more time with them, and I’m glad that I can live with them, because otherwise I’d be living on the street and I’m just not ready for that level of living the bohemian ideal right now.

Reading Between Dogs

at home in my space

I think that being able to live comfortably with your parents as an adult hinges a lot on your mindset. I’ve tried to make outward changes, but really, the wealth of my growth in the past four years has been in my outlook, rather than in my room’s decor. Even though making your room a nice place to live is great, you have to be able to live in the house and the world outside of it and stay sane. That’s how I see it, anyway. Until I move, living with my parents is great, because it has to be, but mostly just because it is.

To all you other adults living at home, good luck, hope this helps, and may the force be with you.


P.S. For these and more pics, navigate here on the interwebs.

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Thank you Offbeat Home!

I’d like to take time to thank Cat Rocketship of Offbeat Home for polishing and publishing my article, “Ditch The Magazine: Improving House Esteem” – I look forward to keeping up with the comments, as well as the new blog. I’m so excited!

As for reuseitup, I currently am working on a painting using a set of paints I purchased more than a year ago, instead of new paint, and I am painting on an old canvas I purchased for a different project that I never started. This limited palette has actually worked out pretty well, and I’m hoping to post pictures of the process soon. Stay tuned, and thanks again!

Over and out.

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Quitting (For Now)

So I’ve decided this blog is too much for me to handle. My life is in disarray, and this blog is one of several New Year’s Resolutions I seem incapable of keeping, and the others are more important.

In the meantime, I’ll post less, I suppose. I can’t reach my goal of weekly posts, but I’ll add when I can.

I came up with this idea a little while back, not very original, but an idea. Plywood sheet on milk crate base. Lots of storage for all my stuff. Cause, as we’ve established, I have too much.

Milk Crate Bed

Later. Hopefully not too much later.

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Sources And Resources

In this episode, I’ll be talking about sources. I think in many directions, and I read a lot of blogs, but not as many as most people who read blogs. I read one to five blogs on each of the following subjects: home, architecture, and interior design; being green, or reducing ecological impact; small houses (which fits into both of the above categories); crafts; fashion; weddings (and a subcategory of non-mainstream weddings); technology.

Each one has a purpose. I find we spend most of our lives in buildings, so architecture and interior design are very important, and often, what works well as design in one field will translate well to another. I find reducing ecological impact is the most easy thing we can do to impact the world in a positive way. It may not be the best, but it’s the easiest. Small houses fascinate the hell out of me, and I want to build one of my own one day. Crafts are my hobby. I love making things, designing things. Fashion I could ignore entirely, but like I said, something that works well in one field of design often works well in others. Weddings have become a modern spectacle of the culmination of a life. I think that most things that apply to weddings apply to everyday life, as they seem to be everyday life concentrated. Plus, weddings also fascinate the hell out of me. Technology, and innovations in technology, heavily influence how I perceive the world. It’s only fitting that, on a computer, I should be reading about what I’m going to be reading on next.

Here are some choice articles I find I can apply to this blog:

CRAFTzine’s article on embellishing and selling

Small Living Journal condenses green philosophy from Andrea Zittel

Apartment Therapy’s article on optimism and learning how to finish [projects]

As always, if you have any ideas, feel free to comment.

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I have been musing on and off about guidelines for a long time now. As I still don’t know what I’m doing exactly, it’s a very difficult task to set rules for myself and others. But, in this amount of time, this is what I’ve come up with.

It should be made of, with, or using a tangible object.
Objects are things that are tangible, that you can feel and move and not copy without effort. Objects are things that, multiplied and put to the wrong use, make a devastating impact on the world. Chris Jordan has many photos of the type of medium you should fill your palette with. Reusing things like digital images and music is lovely, and should be encouraged in that it does not violate the copyrights of the creator. There are places for that kind of art – but this place is specifically made to house images of tangible things.

It should be made of, with, or using something you already have.
If possible, this item should be made from things you already have. This blog aims to eliminate waste, on a personal level. It would be counter to the purpose of this blog to create something of entirely new materials. If you must buy your materials, buy them second hand. If you must use new materials (like glue), do not use a large amount of them.

It should be made of, with, or using something you do not otherwise use.
Use of an item negates its wastefulness. The items you should look for should be wasted, unwanted items. Wastes of space. Wastes of time. Wastes of resources. These items are the ones we want to put to use: the mass of unused things we take for granted.

New use should trump old use.
Let me give you an example. If something has no use, feel free to make art out of it – but if that thing has a use, even a use you cannot personally put it to, you should not use it. Clothing that can be used to clothe the naked should not be used to make a quilt for a person who has one already.

Materials should be used up.
Not necessarily on the same project. Don’t make a habit of storing up stuff for your next project though. Materials made more useless is not this blog’s goal. Reuseitup.

I can’t think of a better way to end, but I’m sure I’ll be adding more in the future.

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Examples As Promised

I’m still familiarizing myself with how WordPress works, so forgive me if this is not the right way to go at this… I created a gallery of photos I shot around the house depicting objects I have created from repurposed objects, or objects I have repurposed. Click on any one of them to see a description, and then you can either navigate back to this page, or click on the image shown to see the next image in the sequence. Pretty simple stuff.

These are not professional photos. As I am a professional, I plan on making more of an effort in the future to make my art appear more professional, but it’s a personal standard I want to hold myself to, and not a requirement. Which makes a good segue to what my next post will be about.

My next post will be a detailed description of thematic requirements, another “As Promised” post I mentioned in my last post.

I’m hoping, as time goes by, you will look on my half-baked posts fondly. I would rather provide half-baked ideas as they come to me than wait for them to fully bake (I have the same problem with cookies). I have some comments on this generation, and our need to think now, briefly, lazily, and without purpose, that would make things clearer, but are better saved for another blog, a better one than this one.

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What I’m Looking For

I’m looking for ideas, a photography space or just a room with good lighting to shoot my physical pieces, and most of all, a team to help me. I just don’t have the structure right now to do this on my own, and if there’s one thing I know about conglomerate art, it’s that its level of fun goes up with every collaborator added. Some of these collaborators, all of which I plan to invite seconds after this post is up, will be people close enough to me to make art with me in the same room. Some of these people may have stuff they can contribute, though they live further away. And some of these people may want to do their own reuseitup project and submit it. I invite all of these people to post here, though at this point, I reserve the right to remove something that is inappropriate in any way to the aims of reuseitup. If you have any questions about what might be appropriate, please ask.

In the meantime, while I’m working out a schedule, I’m going to look around my house and shoot some pieces I’ve already made on the reuseitup theme, and look around on my hard drive for some digital art. My next post should contain a number of these pieces, for inspiration and hopefully motivation, both for myself, and for my soon-to-be collaborators. It will also contain guidelines for the theme of reuseitup, as well as guidelines for collaborators.

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