Don’t move here with a bunch of sh*t

11 Feb

For a city with apartments this small, I’ve never seen so many packrats in my life. Let me promise you that, if you move here with a lot of stuff, you’ll be very sorry very quickly. Clutter will make your already teeny apartment feel suffocating. The room I occupy now was — well, I’ll just let the before and after pictures speak for themselves:

Not counting the furniture and household items I keep in my parents’ crawl space for when I inevitably leave New York City, I own less now than I ever have, and it feels great.

Come here with the bare minimum. Ship things out slowly as you figure out how much space you actually have, and what you truly need to survive. If you can still remember that you own an item after not seeing it for a month, you probably treasure it enough to ship it out here.

Do your math homework. Measure for space — especially regarding what will fit up your stairwell and through your door. I shipped a headboard and footboard out here only to find it didn’t fit my new bedframe, and I have a friend who had to pay movers $400 to take his couch off his hands — it wouldn’t fit through the door of his new place, and it was midnight on a Saturday when he discovered this.

(Further, check how much it costs before you ship any furniture. You can find great stuff on Craigslist for cheap, and there’s always Ikea.)

Budget for the changes you want to make. Here’s what it cost me to create my bedroom:

Curtains + rod: $65 (Bed, Bath and Beyond)
Duvet cover: $35 (Ikea)
Dresser: $120 (Ikea via Craigslist)
Paint + supplies: $60 (Home Depot)
Papasan chair: $77 (Craigslist and Pier 1)
Mirror: $7 (KMart)
Floor lamp: $25 (KMart)
Sheets: $27 (Kohls)
Pillows: $43 (TJ Maxx)

Expect a style shift. Your tastes and clothing preferences may change faster than you think. I’m not advocating an overhaul of your personal style (unless you wear scrunchies), but people here dress pretty great and it’s fun to be inspired by people you see in the street. (H&M is a good place to experiment. I remember being so excited to finally live in a city that had H&M!)

That concludes today’s lesson. [Bell rings.]

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4 Responses to “Don’t move here with a bunch of sh*t”

  1. Krysten 10/12 at 10:37 am #

    So far, I haven’t for a moment regretted giving everything I owned away to come here. My clutter-free existence is amazing and is really freeing in a lot of ways.

  2. Brittany Landgrebe 10/12 at 7:47 pm #

    I love this post! However, I can not leave my current home w/ out all my treasured books. As a writer, I’d feel lost without them. And anyways, I’d go broke if I bought ALL the ones I wanted, so these are just a taster, lol.

    I’ve seen some great ideas for shelving books – like hang a thin bookshelf from the ceiling horizontally. More floorspace, & you still can have access to your books, w/ a stepladder if its high.

    Also, floating shelves have become all the rage, & can add lots of ledges to put things like pictures, books, lamps etc. Sneak one behind the couch against the wall and voila, you have yourself some lamps out of the way and off the floor. Or on the ledge above your doors, run them all the way around, for tubs & boxes that can hold things you don’t use on a regular basis. Of course, check w/ your landlord or super first.

    I put tall, not long, dressers in my closets to get more space out of the room, but I’ve heard tell closets are a luxury in NYC, lol. For that I’d get a wardrobe with a hanging rod on the top part for dresses, slacks, and things that wrinkle easily.

    In an uber small apartment I once lived in, I got a loft bed & put a small couch underneath, using the dining table as a desk. Or, if you have just enough space for the couch to go elsewhere, put your desk or your dresser or both under the loft bed.

    And I ALWAYS suggest going to an Ikea showroom if you can. They have some great examples of creating homes out of small areas – even 385 square feet.

  3. flierieEtence 11/24 at 7:01 am #

    Many of folks talk about this topic but you wrote down some true words.

  4. JD 08/03 at 10:15 am #

    Hi, thank you for such wonderful tips. We are planning our move end of the summer (keep fingers crossed!). We are a young married couple (early 30’s) and live in a 2 bdrm apt in Buffalo. We both have some family members we can stay at for a couple of weeks in NYC while looking to rent a temporary bdrm for a couple of months. And while my husband settles into a new job (and hopefully I can find an administrative asst job), we decided to only carry the essential stuff with us like clothes and computers. My question is where would you recommend to store our stuff? Buffalo or NYC? I’m trying to find out what’s the cheapest way to do this. Any advise? Thanks.

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