Our first apartment was an 1800 square foot loft apartment on main street of my hometown. It had served many purposes before we moved in, including a restaurant and ballet studio. In fact, it still had the huge wall-sized mirrors from its dancing days... as well as dark navy walls and sparkly stars stuck everywhere. We got cheap rent in exchange for painting, cleaning, and assisting in slight renovations. It worked out great for us! Our marrying and moving in together coincided with my grandparents moving in to a nursing home. So we basically got a whole house of furniture, which we had PLENTY of space for!
However, when our landlord decided to sell her house and move back into our place, we needed to move. Luckily, my family was nice enough to let us rent out the family farm. While we were getting outdoor space the actual living space in the house was diminished to probably about 1000 square feet. As a result we had to go through all our possessions, wedding gifts, and of course everything we received from my grandparents' house. We donated several boxes to Goodwill. Fortunately the farm had space to store some of our excess too, so we didn't really need to make any big decisions about letting go of anything.
Fast forward six months and DJ gets a job two hours away. Time to move again! Oh joy. Now we were facing renting a moving van. We wanted to be able to fit everything in one van to keep moving costs down. Our family also chipped in with their own vehicles. Still, we had to cut down on stuff again. Several more boxes were donated and most of our furniture we left behind. The hardest piece to leave was the dining room table... we loved that dining room table!
So here we are now in an 800 square foot house (I like to say we live in an apartment with a yard) :). Two bedrooms- one bathroom- and a tiny little kitchen. Over the course of the past two years we have sold some things on Craigslist, bought a decent couch (finally), and re-arranged the rooms several times to figure out the best configuration for our tiny space. However, I still have tubs and boxes stacked on top and bottom of our three closets. It drives us CRAZY! We can't find anything without moving at least one box to get to it. We are TIRED of it.
Since buying a house or renting a bigger place are both out of the question for us right now, we have two choices: live with it or SIMPLIFY.
So we have started simplifying. My inspirations have been www.orgjunkie.com and a few books perused at Barnes and Noble and our local library. My organizing mantra is from Orgjunkie: "Clutter= anything you don't love or use or have the space to store".
So far I've been amazed at how much emotional attachment we have to such silly things like old papers or clothes that look nice but we never wear. Also, at how much stuff we've moved around with us and never used. We plan to either donate everything except what we can sell on Craigslist OR have a garage sale.
I've also started researching Fung Shui arrangements for each room of the house. I want to do anything I can to make it feel like we have SPACE.
For inspiration I've been looking on www.thenest.com for pictures of rooms we can aspire to.
Operation Apartment With A Yard
1. Get rid of anything we don't love or use or have space for
2. Re-arrange the rooms using Fung Shui criteria to maximize our space
3. Decorate without spending any money (using what we have). Sadly, we aren't allowed to paint- the bane of renting. I will just have to get creative! :)
Well, I'm off to conquer the STUFF. Wish me luck!
The Apartment With A Yard