Tuesday, June 11, 2013


After the movers drop the last box in our new home (and I do mean "drop;" several Crate & Barrel wine glasses are sacrificed in the move), I walk from room to room, surveying the job ahead.  It is overwhelming.  My in-laws have agreed to watch Minnow until 8 p.m. that evening, and I quickly realize that we will not be finished unpacking by the end of the day, or even the end of the weekend, as I had naively hoped.

I can't decide which I find more loathsome: Packing or unpacking.  Wrapping everything we own in multiple layers of bubble wrap and entrusting their fate to the storage gods is draining- no doubt about it- but I am having a difficult time unpacking because I don't yet know where anything goes.  We went from too little space to too much space, it seems.  This box of cleaning supplies could go in the linen closet, but it would be just as at home it in the laundry room.  Should that framed photograph of the Natural History Museum hang in the living room, or the den?  This vase would look equally elegant in the dining room or in the foyer... Also, there are some rooms in which we cannot unpack at all because the painters- God love them- are still painting.  They're going on four weeks now.

"I don't know where to begin," I say to my husband as I pry open boxes and then push them aside.

"Start in one room," he suggests.  "Do as much as you can in there, and move on to the next."

But in which room should I start?  The nursery is a logical first step, because I want to ensure that Peanut's room is ready, should she decide to move in early.  Then again, maybe I should start in the kitchen, the hearth of the home.  But the idea of spending an afternoon filling old, decrepit cabinets with my gleaming stainless steel cookware saddens me, so I decide to seek solace in the most cheerful corner of the house: My master bedroom closet.

In a home this old, it is rare to find one spacious closet in the master bedroom; it is absolutely urban legend to find two.  I feel like my husband and I hit the Power Ball with our equally-sized His and Hers closets.  Having a place to hang my clothes in the bedroom is certainly an upgrade from our first New York City apartment, where my closet was in the living room.  Here, we kept the antique bronze doorknobs- an homage to the former owners- and added fluorescent lights to each closet and the double light switch outside.

Obviously, a new closet calls for new hangers.  A few days before the move Minnow and I find boxes of these fun hot pink hangers, which would perk up any closet, from Bed Bath and Beyond.  They are slim and space-saving, which is important because  I am using them to hang my silk blouse collection, which is sizable.

Like a hoarder, I am big on saving shoe boxes.  I use them to store my most precious shoes, including a few pairs from the J.Crew collection.  Luckily, this closet has adequate shelf space to hold numerous boxed shoes, as well as a laundry basket packed with handbags.

I've had the shoe rack below since my freshman year of college.  It couldn't have cost more than $10 at Bed Bath and Beyond, yet it has proven to be one of the most useful closet organizers.  I've removed the top rack so that my clothes have more room to hang.  To maximize the remaining space, I stack shoes one on top of the other and plan to switch them out seasonally.  Hello, espadrilles!

Because we don't yet have master bedroom furniture, I am temporarily storing folded items in these stackable hot pink cubes from Ikea.  This cube contains all my running gear, which is washed and ready for my first post-partum run in about eight weeks.

Focusing first on the master bedroom closet is cathartic for me.  After my wardrobe is organized, balance is restored to the universe and I feel energized to tackle the rest of unpacking- room by room and box by box.

Of course, we all deal with stress in different ways.  While I am busy getting reacquainted with the clothes that have spent two months hanging in a cedar closet in my in-laws' attic, my husband works on this:

Aside from ample closet space, another benefit to owning a home is having a little land on which to plant a vegetable garden.  The tall plants are Beefsteak and Sweet 100 tomatoes- perfect for summer!

Never again will I need to buy parsley at the grocery store, thanks to my husband's green thumb.

Thyme and rosemary: Two of our most frequently-used cooking herbs.

I've got big plans of preparing jars and jars of fresh basil pesto in my ugly blue kitchen...

...which is probably the room I should work on next.

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