20 January 2010

Packing and Settling In

With what I do for a living, packing is a way of life. I don't even blink at it anymore. I'm not a procrastinator with it, but don't see the point of packing until the night before a trip. Mostly because it stresses out my poodle. After years of going overseas for months at a time, I've gotten pretty good and packing only the essentials and none of the extras. It's to the point now where if I'm packing for less than a month, I don't take it seriously. Which means I overpack for a week--not a good thing.

I guess the epitome of this was two years ago, when I returned home from overseas and had three weeks to completely cut my life off here in the States because I was moving to South Africa for a year. I was supposed to lead a three month Swazi trip and then settle down outside of Jo-burg. My scheduled return was set for December. I had two suitcases. One with bare essentials for Swazi and the other with "fun" clothes, my new warm North Face jacket, my favorite chocolate candy, a pair of shoes, and a notebook full of dvds. It's humbling to reduce your possessions to two suitcases, a carry-on, and a book bag. Even more humbling when you return to America after only three months because you're sick, run down, desperately in need of rest, and most of all, walking in obedience. I walked back into my room that day and felt so detached from all the things that were once so familiar--and are so again.

Now I'm faced with another packing dilemma. The blessing of a fully furnished apartment (and a different allotment of space--translation, less storage) means I can't take everything I originally planned on. How do you decide what's important? I want my room to feel familiar. I want my apartment to feel like home, even this temporary place. So as I sit in my room now (the one I've known as "my room" since I was a child), I'm overwhelmed with trying to decide what to take.

I need y'all's help with something. Any of y'all good at decorating? I'm not, although I do have a close friend who is and who will help me. I need ideas on how to make my room feel like me. Even though it's temporary, it's important. I can't paint, but can rearrange all but one (old) piece of furniture. I can't put nails in the walls, but can use sticky tack and other dorm-style tricks. My colors are the beach: blues and purples with bright accents-- yellow, orange, and pink. I love natural light. In fact, I don't turn on "fake" lights until the sun goes down. And I love bright, in case my blog didn't clue you in on that fact. :0)

How would you brighten and make my new room "beachy"? Your ideas will definitely help me out this weekend!

On Friday there will be a special guest post by a VIP!


  1. I have moved overseas twice now, three times if you count the massive move back to Australia with a baby in tow. Reducing possessions always makes me think of what is most important about me and what I need to feel like I have moved in somewhere. I take a lot of books. I also take photos. That is only if I am actually moving somewhere we are going to be living for a while.

    Beachy? Hmmm... well, for me that would be photos of the beach and brightly painted shells. Google 'beach themed rooms' and see what you come up with.

    All the best :)

  2. I hate decorating, so my house is pretty bare. :-)

    You went to Swaziland? Good friends of ours were there for a few years too.

    I hope everything goes well with your move. :-)

  3. easy, peasy... just take a bag of sand and sprinkle it on your floors....

    Um, okay, maybe not. Seriously, get picture frames you can set on dressers/end tables vs having to hang up. shells you can put on tables, bring a fun throw blanket that has your colors so you can drape across couch/bed.

    I dunno, I'm really not a good decorator too, especially with limitations!ha!

    Hope everything goes well!!!!

  4. I use pictures and the colors like you said:) I don't care for shells--but not sure what else to use. Maybe I have seen too many tacky beach shops down here:)lol

  5. Two thoughts...not sure either will help. 1. Shells. 2. I've heard to stack or place things in sets of three. Stack three books on top of each other...etc.

    ~ Wendy

  6. These are great ideas! I never would have thought of some of them. Thanks, everyone!

    Yebo, Jessica--I was in Swazi! Where did your friends live/when were they there?

    Wow, Tabitha! I don't envy your multiple international moves. I bet that was stressful!

  7. I love walking into a beach house. Maybe because I love the ocean. The feel of the vacation home. Throw rugs. No furniture that looks too new or stuffy. Big conch shell on the table. A big piece of driftwood on the bookshelf. An eclectic collection of frames on the walls. NOthing that looks too perfect. Good luck, Laura

  8. I can't really add to what the others have told you except to say pictures of loved ones...to make it more you and to remind you of what matters most in life. :)

    Good luck on it all!!

  9. How about a bright and pretty beach towel draped over a chair? Perhaps some blue and white picture frames and some pretty shells in a glass bowl?
    Blessings and hugs!

  10. These are great ideas!!!! Laura, you inspired me! Karen, you too! I got a chair for Christmas that's black, so I'm definitely going to throw something bright over it!

    Pictures are definitely going up--thanks, Bina!

    Thanks, Rejection Queen! It's great to meet you!

  11. Hmmmm. Can you hang up an old screen? My daughter, soooo creative on a small budget, uses an old screen as a jewelry and scarf holder. Not really beachy, but adds TONS of color and objects d'art to the room for FREE.

    A bowl of cool seashells/rocks, if you have them.
    I arrange conches and lava rocks, even a ammonite, into a bowl and set it on the table. People ooh and aah like it's Lladros...

    Very cool ideas from other bloggites!

  12. Hi Kristen -

    If you're good with plants, how about an exotic orchid? A friend collects sea glass and displays it in different sized jars.

    Susan :)

  13. How about a colorful quilt? I think that would spring life into any room.

  14. Ooh--these are great ideas! I shall have to play! Thank you!


  15. Throw pillows, comfy blanket for the couch, and your favorite scented candle. These things make any living room home!

  16. So exciting! I love going different places, meeting new people. I personally don't take to many things, because I always end up picking up things. I came home with handfuls of smooth black river rocks one time. My husband thought I was crazy. The only thing I would suggest is fabric. It packs small and you can use it for a tablecloth or curtains or over a chair that way too many people used before you.

  17. I am a designer, I was going to say, it's kinda hard to give advice, but how about throw pillows? And colored candles are always a great addition. But I see someone else already said that. I am a table cloth freak too, and throw blankets add color. Enjoy!

  18. Could you get travel posters of beachy places? And woven baskets are wonderful for storing things.

    I've moved many times and I've always had a box of "must have's" that's labeled "unpack me first"--the things from home that will comfort me my first night in a new place... family pictures; a little handmade wooden box off my dresser into which I always tossed my earrings, watch and keys; my Bible; favourite CD's, my afghan, etc.

    Prayers go with you! We'll look forward to hearing from you when you're settled into your new adventure.

  19. Have you seen those hooks you can hang up with the sticky stuff on the back that peel off without damaging the walls? I wish I knew the name. The beginning of this post would have been a lot shorter :) Maybe you could hang those up towards the ceiling and then hang colorful fabric or scarfs? It would give you some bright color and reflect the natural light :)

    I'm praying for you as you settle in! Love ya.