Practicality Is Overrated Anyway

We haven't really made a whole lot of progress on the house. In fact, I'm just going to copy and paste that last sentence right now and keep it somewhere handy because I fear it's exactly how I'm going to be starting most of my blog posts between now and, I don't know, Christmas?

You think I'm joking about that Christmas thing---a co-worker of mine did the other day when I told her I hoped to get the new house in shape by Christmas ("it's only July!" she said)---but I'm really not. I've made a little pledge to myself that we'll have everything sorted out and organized and looking good by Christmas, and when I repeat this to myself it makes me feel better that our guest room is an ever-more-cluttered sea of boxes, that the kitchen walls are basically just plaster at the moment, and that we haven't been able to park our car in our garage since we moved in.

On the upside, we renovated our bathroom last weekend, what do you think?

Ah, I'm just kidding, that's the bathroom of the hotel I stayed in last night (the Montelucia in Phoenix; it was gorgeous, at least for the twelve or so hours I spent there). My actual bathroom, if you remember, looks more like this. Be careful of your eyes. You might want some protective goggles if you click that link. I'm warning you.

Part of the problem is that I have always been a very detail-oriented person. (Oh, really? You think? What tipped you off, the handmade cupcake toppers for my 30th birthday or the handstamped cocktail napkins for my wedding?) Putting so much stock in getting things just so has slowed down our unpacking and decoration process immeasurably. I can't just unpack a suitcase, I have to sort through the whole thing, group t-shirts according to size and color, and then try three different drawers to see which they look best in. I can't just pick a rug, I have to agonize over the task for weeks, visit forty seven different websites, narrow it down to three choices, change color palettes entirely, hold paint chips up to the computer, change color palettes back again, and then finally order the one I liked the look of in the first place.

It's a blast to be married to me, you can imagine.

Last weekend I did what was probably the most pointless thing I've done in the last few weeks since we moved into this house (and please remember that you're talking to a girl who arranges her wine glasses by height.) I made....well, how do I explain this?....a sort of display in the bathroom.

I had this thought one day, randomly and entirely out of context, that I should put the three million mason jars that held flowers at our wedding to some sort of good use in the new house. A normal person might use them as vases or maybe even wacky drinking glasses at outdoor parties (ooh! Good one! Mint juleps in mason jars!) but I thought maybe they might look good in the bathroom. And so I bought a bag of cotton balls and I bought a bag of Q-tips and I thought ah, excellent, now we will have some useful things really handy, and then I had nothing to fill the third jar with, and so I filled it with rocks.

Rocks! So useful in the bathroom! Exactly what you need sitting in a glass jar within easy reach! Darling, have you seen my shaving foam? No, I haven't, sorry, but there's a jar of rocks on the shelf! Oh crap, I've cut my finger, do we have any bandaids? Hmm, no, we don't have any bandaids, but have you seen that very useful jar of rocks?

Trust me, I know that my priorities are all wrong here. I've heard the phrase "arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic." Half my possessions are still sitting in cardboard boxes because I can't summon the time or the energy to unpack them---I mean eh, did I really need a hairbrush anyway? I hardly miss it---and yet my bathroom shelf is deeply, meticulously, uselessly set up with stuff, forty percent of which is there simply to look pretty.

It's silly, yes. But you know, it makes me happy to set up aesthetically pleasing little tableaux like this, particularly when the rest of my house looks like Lindsday Lohan just got done rampaging through it after a three day Oxycontin bender. Even brief, curated snatches of order and calm make it easier to realize that one day this house won't be a disheveled disaster zone like it is now, it'll be a comfortable, familiar, harmonious, happy home. Even if it does take us until Christmas.

1
Kavita
Jul 23, 2010

My favourite item - the jar of rocks. :-)

2
Sarah
Jul 23, 2010

I have a lovely clear bottle filled with pencil shavings in my WC. Might look nice next to the rocks. Natural textures!

3
Tilly
Jul 23, 2010

Just tell people they're for hot stone massage treatments xx

4
Tilly
Jul 23, 2010

Just tell people they're for hot stone massage treatments xx

5
gill
Jul 23, 2010

I think we should be married to each other. ;) I also arrange my wine glasses by height but because it makes so much SENSE (you can reach them better, right?).

Love the jars in your bathroom: practical and beautiful (and recycling too). Hope you don't mind me stealing it for my bathroom. Thanks.

6
SuzRocks
Jul 23, 2010

1. You remind me of my old roommate- who made sure our bathroom looked like yours(minus the rocks).

2. Good call on the mason jars. I have more than 150 of those things sitting around somewhere.

3. Speaking of mason jars- did you know about the person on Etsy who made them into the coolest light fixture ever?!?! I'd put in the link, but I'm on my phone and that'd be really technically difficult.

Hopped over from BlogHer -- congrats on the Voice of the Year finalist nod!

Enjoyed your site immensely. Thanks for the early a.m. laugh here in NJ....

8
laura
Jul 23, 2010

You travel a ton, right - start grabbing matchbooks! They're pretty and exotic and having a mason jar full of them in the bathroom would actually be useful because people could, you know, light them.

I like the rocks though, they remind me of the kind you always see lined up on people's backs in those spa getaway package ads.

9
Heather
Jul 23, 2010

I LOVE the jars! I think they look really chic. I currently have the itch to go through my house this weekend and throw EVERYTHING away and unclutter the house! I recently got married and there's just so much STUFF now I can't take it. I love all of our new stuff, but can't stand looking at a lot of old. So, hopefully this motivation stays with me through the weekend and I can start getting rid of things that we just don't use and make our house look as cute as your little shelf, there.

10
Karen
Jul 23, 2010

ACTUALLY, they are useful. According to feng shui principles, if the bathroom is in a central location of the home, that means there's too much water element in your home and you need more earth element - like rocks - to balance it out. Too much water in a central location means you're flushing everything out - energy, money, positivity... and you wouldn't want that in your brand new house would you?

I only know this because I have a container of rocks in my bathroom too and looked it up one day. I swear. See also: I'm a dork.

11
Kristen
Jul 23, 2010

Oh, girl, can I ever relate to the All or Nothing unpacking philosophy. I'm the same way with cleaning -- my husband is a great tidier. If we have company coming in an hour and you want the place to look great, he's your guy. If you want half the kitchen counter to be SPOTLESS, and you want all the junk that was previously there organized into helpful piles (trash, bedroom, bathroom, overdue bills, etc.), then, why, you should really give me a call.

12
Amy
Jul 23, 2010

Merry Christmas. . .I got you a jar full of rocks!

Love reading about your antics!

13
Emily
Jul 23, 2010

I understand completely! I bought a new place in September (a one-bedroom condo, mind you)...and because I also am so meticulous and detail-oriented, I FINALLY got everything organized and felt settled...oh, last month. NINE months later! But at least I can finally feel comfortable having my housewarming party! Although...after so long, maybe I should call it my "house-cooling" party! Good luck getting organized!

14
Christy
Jul 23, 2010

I can totally relate to the unpacking issues also. I'd rather have one room done & pretty instead of 5 rooms sloppily done that you'll have to re-do later. The rocks are pretty but for other alternatives, even disposable razors look prettier in a mason jar. Also soaps - if you use a brand of soap with a non-pretty wrapper, like my husband's bright Irish Spring, then unwrapping them & putting them in the jar makes a pretty display also. I also love when people put sponges in the jars but have no idea where to find them. We also had mason jars left over from our wedding - a ribbon at the top & sharpened yellow pencils makes a pretty display in the kitchen for phone messages & grocery lists. :) My mom has some antique ones that she displays filled with: marbles; buttons; white string lights (brightens up the mantel).

15
Jenn
Jul 23, 2010

It's not a jar of rocks, it's a study on contrasting textures! The poofiness of the cotton balls, the smooth, hard edges of the rocks, the soft, ruffled edge of the flower, the hard, glossiness of whatever that thing on the left is, the fine lines of the q-tips...

16
Carolyn
Jul 23, 2010

Holly, you may berate yourself for your jar arranging priorities, but I am totally stealing that idea.

Are you ready for the best part? I collect white rocks from beaches, and they're in small jars and containers all over the house, so when I consolidate them into one mason jar, I will have THREE MASON JARS IN MY BATHROOM HOLDING WHITE THINGS OH YES I WILL.

When we're involuntarily committed,we can share a room and set up our glass jars together, on one lovely shelf. It'll be stunning.

17
Paula
Jul 23, 2010

I actually like the set up. Only one problem for me with it. The Q-tips aren't straight in the jar. They are going ever which way. I noticed it right away in the first picture. I keep trying to look at the big picture and I like it, but my OCD keeps concentrating on those darn Q-tips. :)

18
agirlandaboy
Jul 23, 2010

I think the soap dispenser needs to move a little to the left. This is my way of saying I totally get you.

19
Locusts and Wild Honey
Jul 23, 2010

I couldn't be more of the opposite on this kind of thing. I'm from the school of Good Enough, Let's Drink Beer Now.

But I admire your handiwork oh-so-much. That's why my dream is to buy a home FROM YOU and benefit from all your hard work.

20
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 23, 2010

Paula, at first I tried to get the q-tips straight in the jar, but there were so many of them that it was an uphill battle. Trust me, it's bugging me too.

21
A. Marigold
Jul 23, 2010

It may be silly (is it? Isn't all decor silly, then?), but it's very, very cute. ;) Kind of makes me wish I used mason jars at my wedding so that I could reuse them at home, but I guess trying to store 175 mason jars while thinking of something clever to do with them might be a bit much.

If you feel compelled to put something more useful than rocks, they make soaps that look like rocks?

22
ni
Jul 23, 2010

I like the use of jars! It looks nice.

As for organizational obssessiveness, hopefully you are not as bad as me. I use spreadsheets for everything. In high school, I had a back-to-school spreadsheet for what I wanted to buy and by priority of items. And I used to work in retail so imagine how obssessed I am with folding and hanging and color coordination of my closets. And just like in a store, i switch up the setup of my closet every few months to keep it fresh. hahaha, I even did my boyfriend's closet for him and he even told me to stop it.

23
kat
Jul 23, 2010

i do this all the time. setting up the miniscapes on our house. because i love it so. it drives erik nuts - all these little things that are less practical but more for looking nice.

and we use our masjon jars for drinking AND vases. love love them.

24
Kate (and Ben)
Jul 23, 2010

You're doing great. I think it's best to take one corner of one room at a time, eventually you'll end up with one complete room--a place to run to when the boxes and bare walls and paint tests everywhere else are driving you mad.
good luck!
-K

25
Ryan
Jul 23, 2010

I think Christmas is an ambitious deadline for getting the house in shape. After the last time we moved (Oct. 2007) we didn't have a toilet in the main bath until after new years because I HAD to have the special one that I had to special order and was delayed and then only half of it shipped and then it was three months later and we finally had a toilet upstairs (and basement toilet=scary & cold). Now three years later half the kitchen is still in boxes because it didn't make sense to unpack everything when I'd have to re-pack it to renovate the kitchen. Kitchen renovation is only 30% complete.
But I spent all Sunday last week cleaning and organizing the sun porch where we store the bicycles and recycling bin.

26
Starla
Jul 23, 2010

Reading some of this made me think, this isn't just any bathroom, it's a Holly Burns bathroom. Like the M&S ad! I think the shelf looks lovely. I wish I cared enough about making my bathroom pretty! I just kinda go, meh, that will do. It's only rented! Happy new home adventures, look forward to the before and after pictures.

27
Joy
Jul 23, 2010

I think it's way better anyway to actually live in a space before fixing up the space. How else do you find out where you'll want to leave your keys or where your socks are prone to "live".

Also, decor is major!

28
anna
Jul 23, 2010

This reminds me of my daughter's first birthday present from my uncle & aunt. A box of stones.

29
Brooke
Jul 23, 2010

Dear Holly,
Please relax a little bit, there is no first prize. You sound stressed and unhappy. House reno's take a LONG time. Esp when you are doing them youself. There is no point having a new house if it is causing you stress.

30
Kristabella
Jul 23, 2010

OK, so I like the rocks. I mean, yeah not practical, but cute!

I still have the box of pictures/art in the entryway of my condo, that I've been in over a year, because I want to do so! much! before hanging them. So there they sit, in the box.

31
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 23, 2010

Uh, thanks for your concern, Brooke. I think.

We're not renovating our house, just generally moving into it while trying to hold down busy full-time jobs and a crazy travel schedule. I'm certainly not unhappy.

32
jasmine
Jul 23, 2010

pretty tableux=pretty bathroom. like it!

33
Bellie
Jul 23, 2010

Brooke- I think YOU are the one that is a little ( and by that I mean a lot) stressed and uptight!

You obviously dont get the humour!

34
Betty
Jul 23, 2010

Mason jars, they are the universal decor. Always plenty of them on hand. They always add that needed homey touch when used for storage, especially hygienic supplies I think. I tend to have the need to bring something natural to the bathroom (like your rocks). What is it about that? I have sea shells sitting on the top of the toilet tank in a white buffalo china dish and a dangly string of driftwood with a rusted padlock hanging off the bottom. I guess nature really does call.

35
Kate
Jul 23, 2010

I love that you keep your sense of humour about this! It's hard: so much to do, so little time - it's everyone's mantra, but it's refreshing that you take it in your stride, Holly.

I love the shelf design, by the way!

36
jes
Jul 23, 2010

When Roger and I bought our house, we told ourselves the same thing: It will be done by Christmas! (We bought in March.)

That was March 2008. It's just that you start remodeling something, and then you realize that before you can finish that project, you have to do another one first. And if you re-texture all the walls in the house, you'll save $500. So do it all! At the same time! Shuffle everything around! Get even FARTHER BEHIND in your remodeling schedule! At this point, we're so far behind that it's ridiculous.

Seriously. It's exhausting.

I sincerely hope for you that your home really IS done by this Christmas. And I might be a little jealous, too. ;)

37
honeypops
Jul 24, 2010

would it be a good idea to seal the jars of q-tips and cotton? less pretty but in case they get damp?

38
Susan
Jul 24, 2010

Why on earth did you bring up Lohan..cheap shot and nasty.d8!jem

39
Anna
Jul 24, 2010

I totally sympathize. I have rows of rocks--really pretty ones, mind you, that I've collected along the shore over the years--that are lined up in neat rows along the fronts of my bookshelves. Yes, it makes retrieving a book slightly complicated, and yes, the cat is in the habit of knocking them off. But...rocks!

40
Libby
Jul 24, 2010

Too funny! I love the look :)

41
Daily Tragedies
Jul 24, 2010

Please give yourself until NEXT Christmas to have everything done. I know it seems far away, but I live in 600 square feet and it took 18 months to really get everything perfectly in place.

42
CarrieLyn
Jul 24, 2010

I love it. Enjoy making the house a home...If this shelf is any indication, it will be lovely!

43
Camels & Chocolate
Jul 25, 2010

You didn't tell me you were heading to Montelucia! I'm with the publicist of that property in Tassie (the one I want you to meet for the Qantas thing). I've been trying to find the time to go there the past two years since it opened!

Woman, your home was featured in Apartment Therapy.

This house of yours, even if it takes until 2050, will be amazing. I have no doubt.

45
Stephanie
Jul 26, 2010

I love the jars. But I can also imagine that picture featured on Catalog Living: http://catalogliving.tumblr.com/.

I think it's so lovely....but if it were my house, no doubt someone would stick a used q-tip in the rock jar, and the cotton balls would somehow, magically, be overflowing out of the top and all over the shelf itself.

I actually visited the other day, and I came back today and wow! It's as clean and nice as I remember!

(When I've asked about the state of disarray in my home, there's always that mysterious blank look as my answer.)

I love that it's so clean and nice and organized. My hero(ine).

:)

47
Christina
Jul 28, 2010

I like it. Everyone needs a bit of silly pretty in their lives.

48
Alecia
Jul 28, 2010

I had a similar mason jar full of rocks sitting on our toilet until it shattered leaving glass shards and rocks everywhere. You have inspired me to get a new jar and put up a shelf.

You need to have your happy place when disorder is the status quo. Now you can go and stare at the shelf whenever you feel overwhelmed by all there is to do! That's important!

49
Leslie
Aug 06, 2010

OMG, I have found my long lost twin...even with a husband who likes Irish Spring ! Mine buys the stuff at Costco in 30packs....he needs a intervention.

50
ladyloo
Aug 06, 2010

Your tableaux's are lovely. And my mother, who has moved as much as your folks, I suspect, says that it takes at least a year to get a house to "that place". So don't go beating yourself up.

51
Deejay
Jul 05, 2011

Your story was really infomraitve, thanks!

52
yjtfovzslv
Jul 06, 2011

XP5eaE nlvylpwqkqny

53
trolleywud
Jul 07, 2011

phenergan >:-)) biaxin hlhmdt zanaflex gxo children on prozac 94337

54
Lakisha
May 19, 2016

En masse forskellige krydderier (sådan et blikpangsdrodunt ligesom karrypulver eller garam masala). Du burde kunne finde det ved de asiatiske madvarer i et velassorteret supermarked. Vil tro brugsen, kvickly, irma etc. har det

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
Just to make sure you have a pulse
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.