How do you organize when you move a lot?

marie26March 27, 2010

I have moved way to many times. And for the past 12 years or so, it's been moving into rentals.

I'd end up organizing everything into the space allotted and then I'd end up moving again.

This time, even though I've lived in this place for 2 years and can continue to stay here, I've decided I need a cheaper place that I feel at home in. The place we're in now is very old and I am not happy in this house. There are external reasons for this as well but I should be able to come home to find peace. And for the first time in a long time, I don't have the energy involved with finding a new place and organizing into it.

So, when you move many times into rented apartments, townhomes or houses, do you just have to let go of everything you own so that it will fit into the next space? My living room furniture is oversized and that will have to be gotten rid of. But what about the books or collections or extra kitchen utensils (an addiction), etc.?

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Kind of an odd question. You have dealt with this over and over in your own way, apparently, and you by now should realize that it comes down to either packing and moving and unpacking everything or paring down your possessions and not replacing them to accommodate your transient lifestyle.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 8:51AM
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I should have explained myself better. I moved to an extremely expensive city with very high rents even for places with very small square footage. I have not experienced this in the past and could usually find somewhere to live that would fit my furniture and belongings.

Must I get rid of everything I own because of this dilemma or how do you pare down your stuff for something that might only be an interim thing? It's not worth it for me to put anything into a storage unit. I've always been of the mind that if it doesn't fit in the house or a storage locker, I shouldn't have it. Having said that, I did throw out tons of stuff in my last place and feel I'm basically at the bare bones of what I need (want) to keep.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 3:02PM
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If you feel you are at the bare bones of what you want to keep, then you have answered your own question. After you live with all that stuff around you in your small place for a while, you may decide a different approach - pare down, pay for storage, move. But only you can decide what to do, what to keep.

If you are looking for how to store it all in a small space, that's a different question. Tell us more about what items you have that don't fit and maybe people can suggest ways to store them.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 7:24AM
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It all depends upon what you want. If it is just 'stuff', I'd get rid of it. If it's something you love or need, keep it. This is kind of rambling, but it's some general thoughts I have.

One thing I'd look at is furniture. Are you moving stuff around and keeping it because you 'might' want it in the future? Or is it stuff you currently use? For instance, we have a 1950's "Dixie" brand bedroom set with double bed, dresser, nightstand, and mirror that dh bought at auction several years ago before he married me. It's a well built sturdy set of furniture and we hate to get rid of it, but it is just taking up space in our lives. We don't currently have a need for it. It would be great in guest bedroom, but we don't have a guest bedroom. It'd be great for the kids 10 years down the road when they get an apartment, but for right now it is 'stuff' and just taking up space.

Another thing to consider is the scale of what you own. When I was starting out on my own several years back, I lived in in apartment. I was always amazed at the furniture people had in their apartment like huge overstuffed couches and big chairs and tables. It wasn't to scale for the size and the rooms always felt crowded. Are there a few things you could trade out or downsize? For instance, do you need a couch and a loveseat? Could you get rid of one or the other? Or you replace the couch with a loveseat and the loveseat with a comfortable chair? Do you need a coffee tables and end tables or are they just more horizontal places to put things?

I see a lot of sideboards, hutches and cedar chests in people's homes. To me, they are space wasters and time killers because they have to be cleaned and don't offer much in return. That's my opinion only. If they adding value to the person who owns them, then great, but my impression usually is that someone had a space to fill so they filled it.

I think it all comes down to what is a priority for you. Is the furniture, books, collections, etc., still important to you? Or do you think you could let go of some of it to free up time and space?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:07AM
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I could get rid of most of the furniture without a second thought. It's not new stuff and if I had to give it away, I would. I work for a furniture manufacturer and could get dressers, etc. at a pretty good discount.

I would not move the couch because it is too big. I do have a 50" big screen TV before they came out with reasonable flat screen TV's. That might have to stay.

Is it worth stressing about what's inside the drawers in the office? Most of it is organized projects that are not finished but definitely in the category of "Have I used it in the past 6 months or even longer?"

To my credit, I've thrown out some tables and emptied drawers.

I've been going through way too much personal stuff in the past few years and need a new outlook, perhaps a new start. The stuff seems to be weighing me down. But I don't have the money to buy new.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 8:07PM
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Then don't buy new. I think you are at the point where you need to take a hard look at if what you *want* to keep is truly what you *need* to keep. Keep the things you need and allow yourself a budget of wants -- but I'd keep it a very small budget.

The stuff that's weighing you down is not your bed and essentials, it's probably the other "stuff." One thing I'd definitely give the heave-ho to is that TV. If you are in a smaller room, you will be sitting closer to the TV and the bigger TV will be out of proportion anyway. It's also a huge energy hog that costs you money every month. Give it away (or sell it) and pick up a $200 smaller flat screen TV.

As for the little items... If a project has been unfinished for 6 months, you aren't going to finish it. In the future, perhaps you need to set a rule for yourself about being required to finish a project before getting the stuff for your next one?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:56AM
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You might benefit from remembering the concept of "sunk costs."

Just because something *once* had a monetary or sentimental value, doesn't mean that the value remains. Especially its value *to you* may change.

I feel for you w/ the huge sofas; it's *really* hard to find "trim" upholstered furniture, especially semi-inexpensive couches. They just eat up the rooms! I wandered through an ultra-high-end furniture store in Phoenix recently, and there were about 3 sofas in the whole place that weren't humongous! They just *look* weighty. (and they weren't that comfortable to sit in, either, actually)

Do you have the money to buy used?
Do you have enough connections that you can put the word out that you're looking for something used, or hand-me-down?

I agree w/alabamanicole, that perhaps you should consider whether you can afford to buy *one* thing that's a "want moving on to a need," like a comfortable-to-sit-on sofa that's not a beast, that can be "easy to move around with." And then let the other stuff slide.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:04PM
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