Roots Before Coat Racks

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 / 10:00 AM

I bought a coat rack.

This is a big deal for me. I've been terrified of buying furniture since moving to the east coast. When I was in college, it didn't seem like that big of a deal. We bought cheap items at IKEA or off of Craigslist, and my boss at one of my jobs gave me a couch for free she was looking to replace. When my roommates and I had to move, we were lucky to have friends who helped us (also, we bribed them with beer).

When I left Irvine, I sold everything with little hassle and began the next chapter of my life as a nomad. I bounced from furnished room to furnished room--in Maryland, then DC, then back to Maryland. In five months, I lived in four places, and I didn't have to worry about a single piece of furniture at all.

But New York, I knew, would be different: I didn't want to move every month and I didn't want to worry about hauling furniture across town. I was lucky to find a furnished place in the first few days of arriving in Manhattan, but I still didn't want to "settle in." I didn't think I would be in the city longer than six months, and even if I was, who knew if I'd be in the same apartment?

By the time I got all of my belongings in one place, it was three months later. Three months after that, when it became clear I would be staying in New York, I finally unpacked everything from my suitcase.

Then life got kind of messy, as did all of my shoes. I was already tripping over a pile of boots and heels and sandals every time I walked into my room and, every time, I would think to myself, "I should get a shoe rack." Then I'd shrug and move on, and do the same thing the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat.

At that point in 2012, it was as if "settling in" would mean "settling down," and I couldn't seem to get myself at that point. I didn't want to do any sort of settling.

But finally, in October, after 10 months of living in the same apartment, I finally bought a shoe rack--and it was amazing. Then I bought a shelving unit to hold my records and other items I used to pile on the floor next to my desk. And then I bought a jewelry tree, and my necklaces and rings were no longer tangled up in each other. And then I bought a desk organizer so I had somewhere to thoughtfully place pens and Post-Its and laptop accessories.

Now, entering my third year of living here, I no longer think to myself, "How would I move this?" It's odd to feel settled, but it doesn't feel as uncomfortable as it used to feel whenever I would think about the idea of "long term." I'd like to think these are all baby steps toward being a "real adult" (whatever that means). Next step? That whole ironing thing.

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