Small Spaces, Lots of Stuff

Ugh. Packing to move is one of the worst things to do ever. Especially if one is downsizing.

The last time my husband and I moved we went from pretty much a single floor house with 2 bedrooms and basement storage space to a one bedroom apartment with no extra storage space. In the name of saving money as I went back to school to get my degree we downsized. And we had to get rid of tons of things that just weren’t going to fit or be needed in the new space. Out went all the camping gear we’d accumulated (most of it went to a friend who wanted the stuff), as well as lots of old paperback books (also to a friend) and other items we just could not justify keeping. As it is our apartment now is pretty cramped, and there are plastic tubs full of clothing that just won’t fit in closets or dressers.

I’ve moved a lot in my life, and I am pretty ruthless when it comes to downsizing. I lived many years in roommate situations where all the space I had was a small bedroom and some shelf space in the kitchen and bathroom. Knowing what you absolutely need and what you can eschew is vital. Do I really need all those dish towels? Can I live without the extra mixing bowls? (I can, hubby vetoed their going.)

Need: bed, sheets, pillows, blankets; dresser, hangers; one bookshelf; desk and laptop (gee this sounds like a dorm room, right? Yup. The college experience goes on and on after school ends these days.)

Personal touches: pictures (make sure you can hang stuff up); doo-dads (also known as chach-kas or ‘thingys’ – mine are owls of all kind and most of them are in storage now.)

With rents sky-high in most urban areas many people I know live in roommate situations or are in smaller spaces than they would like. Even those few friends who own homes and have space to spread out are finding need to take in roommates to help with costs, which means giving up space. Incomes fluctuate, and what seems okay budget wise one month might seem impossible the next. Keeping your stuff to a minimum can also be impossible as you accumulate papers that need to be kept or items that you find very useful (the Kitchen Aid is a deal breaker according to the husband. It stays or he goes. Sigh.)

Urban affordable living spaces are few and far between as we look at where the jobs are versus how far from said jobs we can safely and effectively live. I’m not sure I could live more than 2 hours from any job as that’s the longest commute I have ever had to deal with. I’d love a living situation that was only a half hour from any job, but that’s not likely to happen.

I guess I’d better go back to making lists of things. Packing for the next move commences in a month or so.

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