a small move
10 tips for setting up shop

as I've started posting more finished projects, I realized that I didn't share my post about getting the "moving into a small space" ball rolling so here we go. I usually don't get overly personal on my blog but do want to share that this move is a very special one. I am living on my own again after ending a 5-year relationship. It's exciting to be starting this new chapter although definitely mixed with emotion and the occasional "ok, I have to handle this on my own" feelings. But it's good and that's what new beginnings are all about. Since I've already gone through most of my move, I can share some great tips for setting up shop (from a single, independent woman and a small space dweller) point of view.

 1) Spend a little extra money to unload mountains of stress when packing and moving
Seriously people, this one saved the day. I had initially thought I would enlist friends and family to help me with my move but the time and energy was really too much. After some research, I found a great moving company to help me move all my things out of SF and into my LA pad AND it was affordable. The myth about expensive moving companies is just that. Your mind, body and soul will thank you.

2) Make your bed first
I have blogged this on Apartment Therapy before too - make your bed right away. Somehow in the middle of all the boxes piled high to the ceiling, a freshly made bed allows you to feel "at home" in your new home.

3) Get your very own tool kit
My bff from high school gifted me a red toolbox when I moved to NYC in 2002 and it was - honestly - one of the best gifts I ever received. Having my own set of tools - hammer, screwdriver, etc, - has really given me opportunities to get going on hanging frames, building new furniture and just feeling independent.

4) Draft your very own floorplan (no experience needed)
When I first got the apartment, I drafted a little floor plan, complete with measurements. Not very professional (see above) but perfect for getting my ducks in a row with my existing furniture and outlining what I still needed (like a new desk and rug for my dining room-turned-office). This was super helpful and provided an understanding of my space prior to moving in.

5) Keep it in perspective - you don't have to do this all at once.  
As many people say, it's  marathon, not a race and this definitely speaks to unpacking an apartment. Take an hour each day - maybe an hour before or after work - to go through your things.

6) Best tip for unpacking the stacks of overwhelming boxes - take all of your stuff out!
My mom shared this one with me and it really worked. I placed my boxes in the appropriate room and each day, I set aside a few hours (like above) and literally unpacked every box. So the 5 office boxes meant stacks and stacks of office style things on my floor and couch. Then I just put everything away. I didn't even worry about placing things in what would become their proper place. Instead I just got everything off the floor and in it's right room.  I went back the following week and reorganized everything to the way I liked by setting aside an hour or so. 

7) Don't have a handy boyfriend around, hire a handy man. Yes!
So along with booking affordable movers as I mentioned above, I also booked an affordable handyman to come do a lot of things that I couldn't handle myself - installing 2 light fixtures (they are amazing and will be revealed soon), hanging all my curtains and blinds, helping to finish building some not so easy to build Ikea furniture, moving my very heavy new marble coffee table top into place and more. This was also empowering, as a newly independent lady :)

8) Painters tape is your friend - and your wall's friend
Blue painters tape is super versatile in small spaces. I first got to know it bc of my love of painting stripes in my small spaces. (My friends know that I have a thing for stripes (see some here and here) The neat thing about painters tape is that it can be used for a lot because it doesn't stick poorly and make a mess. My fave new use - using painters tape BEFORE I nail into the wall. This little trick protects the plaster from falling apart and will keep a clean hole in your wall to cover up at a later date.

9) Edit as you go
Just because your furniture worked a certain way in your old space doesn't mean it will in your new space. Take a look around and see how you feel. If it's too much, consider losing a piece or accent.

10) Most important tip when setting up shop - enjoy your new small space
Even though I had boxes and stuff everywhere, I had friends over for wine and entertained. Plus in the mornings, I enjoy a cup of coffee and catch up on my blog reading. Enjoy your space - that's what it's all about!

Click here to follow more of my move through my series, A SMALL MOVE.



9 Responses to "a small move
10 tips for setting up shop


Emily said... 7/22/2010

This is a great post! I especially agree with tips 2, 6, 9, and 10. I'm excited to see your new light fixtures. Sorry to hear about the break up but glad you're embracing life!

Jen said... 7/22/2010

Boy, you've got some major experience with this kind of stuff!! Love the bed comment! Being a daily bed maker, I can definately see your point.

Great post dearie! xo

loving. living. small. said... 7/22/2010

yes, the bed making really helps right away. and then after a long day of moving, you have a place to sleep :)

laurenne said... 7/22/2010

Yaaaaaay! So so happy you're back. And I'm with you on the tool box! Power drills are empowering.
Your place already looks more amazing than mine. Bitch.

Zoe said... 7/23/2010

So glad I've just found your gorgeous blog as I'm also about to move from SF to Southern CA. How lucky for me. Two questions:
1) What movers did you use?
2) What paint color did you use for your living room? It's fab!

Meghan said... 7/23/2010

I also have to make my bed right away. I pack everything into garage pads, so that I can find them right away. I also have a coffee pot / coffee. plan. I can get a ton done with a good nights rest and some coffee.

loving. living. small. said... 7/23/2010

Zoe, I used NorthStar Movers - they were seriously great! As far as the paint, it's Behr from Home Depot. The management co actually let me pick three colors and they painted the whole apt for me - amazing!!!!

Laurel said... 7/23/2010

What a great post! So helpful and your new digs look fab! I am a small space fiend and my most recent post is all about living large in the small setting :)
It is truely a state of mind. xo
Love your blog, always. You put a lot of heart in it.

Maureen said... 2/04/2011

Good advice, but as for point number seven, I must respond: Hire a handyman, help yourself for a day. Learn to be handy, help yourself for a lifetime!

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