Don't know where I'll be living in a month (long)

marie26July 5, 2010

DH passed away 1 1/2 months ago and due to financial reasons, I gave notice on the rental I'm in and I must be out on July 31. A new tenant is moving in August 1. I have an offer in for a condo but won't have an answer if I get it or not (long story) until July 23 or so. Only then will I know if I need to find a month to month rental, whether or not its furnished, and look for another condo to purchase. I'm still looking for one now but there are none that come close to the one I'm hoping to get as far as price and how much newer it is than others in the same price range.

Since I'm going from living in a house and downsizing to a 900 sq. ft. or so condo (and not knowing my in-between living arrangements if I need them), how can I plan on what furniture to keep and what to throw away. Much of the furniture I own I will be getting rid of (or have already thrown out) but there are pieces I would like to keep such a complete wall of bookcases, a somewhat large dining room table that has no leaf with 6 chairs, perhaps the credenza, the computer desk and printer desk, and a 60" big screen TV (which I'd get rid of if I knew there was no wall for it to sit against).

Needless to say, between working a full time job, taking care of my disabled adult daughter, trying to downsize in a very short time, trying to figure out where I'll be living, I'm becoming an extremely stressed out person. I have friends who helped me at the beginning of this but being summer, they've got their own plans. I do not belong to any religious organization as well. I'm basically in this on my own.

How should I approach this?

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It is hard to make choices. Are you the only one taking care of your daughter? Is there a place she can stay at least for awhile. ND has several places where they can live and even receive training. My friend has a son, with MS, completly in a electric wheel chair, cannot use his arms much, etc, but is working at a hospital where he takes records from one area/person/office to another. They love him and really help out. He cannot feed himself, but has an aid. Could you contact either one of the churches, like the Lutheran, youth group like FAA, local youth sports team, etc for help. Be honest with them and explain what you need. If you are going to a smaller place, you are going to have to downsize big time. Is there anyone where you work that would buy your furniture? Could the tennet that is renting use the items? Maybe it is better just to give them away, would save you finding someone to move them We did that when we moved. Just gave the bedroom set to new owner. We knew they would never fit in our new place. We went from a 2600 split level to a 1400 place. After 8 years, I am still trying to get rid of stuff that I thought I needed, but have never used.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Marie, my heart goes out to you. You have more on your plate than any new widow should have to endure. But I hear a can-do tone in your message and I hope my experience will help you. When my DH received his orders to deploy with the US Army to Viet Nam, I was 4 months pregnant with our first child and had no idea how long he would be gone or where we would live when he returned. We lived in California where I worked full time as a hospital nurse. I gave notice to the hospital and landlord (lucky it was a month-to-month rental) and in my off hours I packed our 2 BR apartment. I separated the things I knew I�d need no matter where I landed and would fit in my small car. After donating or discarding some things, everything else went into storage, hoping we would return to CA. I drove from California to upstate New York where my family lived and I wanted our baby to be born. Found a furnished apartment and a job at the hospital where I had worked before. I lived very frugally and worked until my due date. DH returned when the baby was 3 mo old and we made the trip back to CA to recover our belongings and resumed our lives. Compared to many other service families, we had an easy time.

It sounds as if you are will be staying in the town where you currently live. I suggest you keep kitchen and personal items you use frequently OUT of storage, and think about multi-purposing things -- a deep pot to serve as a mixing bowl/salad bowl, one set of placemats and no table cloths, four towels, a few top sheets and pillow cases� you won�t know the mattress sizes until you �land�. So you may have to buy a couple of fitted sheets later. If you have no friends with space to help you with storage, check if you have something like PODS or a similar facility where you can keep your bulky things until you are in your next home. When packing, label each box with a sequential number, the room the items came from and a huge H-M-L to indicate High-Medium-Low unloading priority. (e.g. holiday serving items will be Low, extra linens maybe Mediums, everyday dish service (above 4 plates, extra flatware) High. Family photos are Low (yes, they�re high personal value, but not needed as the first thing you unload. This are unloading priorities.) Moving stores have special tape to indicate rooms but you can do the same with markers � write BIG. Keep a list on a spreadsheet on your computer of all the boxes. As you pack the things in the storage unit or POD, place all the Low priority boxes far back, then Mediums toward the middle, so you will have the High priority things in front when you first open the unit or if you need to retrieve something. In the very front, store a pail of cleaning supplies, rags, toilet paper, soap and paper towels so you�ll have these first thing. If you have room to duplicate this pail, keep one in your car for moving day. Leave slivers of soap at your sinks...

Make room for a few things to brighten your transition place in case you�re there for a months or a year or more� a few family photos, a small knick-knack to make you smile, a favorite throw for warmth while watching TV, a sewing kit for emergencies, the Christmas card list or similar. Since your husband�s death was so recent, keep any paperwork like death certificate, will, military discharge papers, insurance documents, last year�s tax file. These may be invaluable in the months to come.

You may have things in storage for weeks - months, but at least this way you�ll have some peace of mind, knowing you have what you absolutely need while you are separated from your things. And hopefully you won�t discard things that you later have to replace at full price. If you can, pack the storage place yourself since your system is know to you but hired hands won�t care as much as you do.

Let us know how it's going. We care about you.

Here is a link that might be useful: PODS is in USA and Canada

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 2:40PM
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Hi, Marie,

I think the first thing I would do is make arrangements to have a crew ready to move your things to a storage pod/unit/garage/whatever on July 25. That's assuming you don't work weekends. If you end up getting the condo, great, they move you there. If temporary quarters are necessary, you are ready to go. Pack a few things as the previous poster suggested to have with you in temp quarters.

I would be researching what is available out there on a temporary basis. DH and I used Homewood Suites when looking for a home in the DC area. All we needed was clothing.

And yes, keep us posted.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 4:57PM
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I am so sorry for what you are going through. I'm sure all the stress makes it even harder to think clearly and organize things--that's hard enough on any day.

What may help is the old adage related to figuring out what you can control and what you can't and don't fight the latter.

It sounds like, since you don't know exactly where you'll be moving, and hence don't know the sq footage, or floor plan, or some of those pesky issues like, wall space, where the doors are--then you just admit, and give up the burden, of trying to do something you can't do--you can't KNOW what will fit where or exactly what things you might end up not being able to use, beyond knowing if there's stuff that right now you know you just don't want ever, period, even if you had space, or if there are some items that are large and you suspect they'll be too big and you've got the budget to replace them, then you can plan for that.

So for moving to an unknow space, you may have 2 main options--one is, as above, arrange for storage space and move stuff there rather than to the new place, and then decide what to bring in from storage, and the rejects get sold or given away from the storage unit. This is only if you can afford it plus the "moving twice" expenses. That can be an issue, so if it is a limitation for you, then move on.

The other option is to make reasonable down-sizing decisions, which you have done and may still be doing, based on reasonable concept of your thinking you will have, say, a bedroom, a living area, a kitchen area. Keep the things you think you would prefer to have rather than to purchase a replacement, and vice versa. You have no way to know if the table will be too big or the TV will overpower the room. Whenever you get your new place, have the movers move the stuff. Sure, it might not be perfect--but how could you possibly predict? Then, just take time after the move to decide on whether you need to sell or give away something and replace with a more suitable item.

For the issue of perhaps moving to an interim apartment, again, you can only decide things like, "if I can afford storage I will move out my furniture to it and live with rented" , vs. if storage is not in the cards, "I will plan on renting an unfurnished apartment"(I am assuming more commonly available.)

I think in-person support is important for you now and you are ahead of the game because you have already identified that. It might not be support for moving per se, but could you meet a friend for lunch? Is there a support group for disabled persons and families in your area? Is there a grief support group that might work with people going through a lot of the same things--upheavals, downsizing. If all that seems too hokey, I can understand--it needs to be something you look forward to, a break from all the other work and business matters-- but it's important not to be trying to do everything in isolation.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:10PM
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Marie, I am so very sorry for your loss. That alone would be enough to deal with.
As for not knowing where you'll be moving I would take time to write up two plans. One for getting the condo and one if you'll be living month to month. This way by the 23rd, you'll know just what to do either way. I'll be praying that you get the condo and all else will work itself out.
God Bless.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 3:03PM
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Marie, I am so sorry for your loss. If you are having to move from the home you shared with your DH, then it is even harder to have to move now. I do not have any more, or better, advice than you have been given already, I just wanted to tell you to hang in there. And keep us all posted. I wish you were near me, I would be happy to help you move.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 6:32PM
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Thank you for your responses. I just found out that I won't find out about whether or not I'm moving to that condo until about 5 days after I must move out. I'll have to put my stuff into a pod in a mini storage unit. I can't figure out if I'll need one or two pods. The inside dimensions are 8'8" deep x 6'8" wide x 6' 10" high.

I have to put an ad on Craigs list for next weekend to sell several stereo systems and furniture. I feel as though I must get rid of everything I own just because I'm hoping to get this one really tiny place. And that's because I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I'm beginning to feel quite desperate, not knowing what to sell and what to keep, not knowing where I'll be. I'll be staying with a friend after July 31.

The items I'm having problems with deciding about are: my set of bookcases which I will need because I have 16 boxes of books that I'm keeping (I already got rid of about 16 boxes).

Then there's my dining room table and 6 chairs which I really like but it has no leaf and will fit even this apartment as long as it's the only thing in the dining area. I'm thinking I should keep it because it would probably fit another place quite well and it's a high quality piece of wooden furniture that I would end up replacing with something that's made of particle board.

I also have many (decorative) plastic drawers that are part of a set I bought several years ago that house papers. I emptied out my 5-drawer filing cabinet. I have a new 2-drawer filing cabinet that I can move my daily filing into. I would miss not having 2 extra drawers, though.

I'll don't know what to do about my computer desk and the table the printer's on. They take up space but if I don't keep them, where will my computer and printer go?

Then I have an eliptical machine that my doctor told me I should be using because of my arthritis...

I can't seem to get my head on straight through all this. My family is away and as it turns out, my daughter had already booked a flight to arrive the day I was to leave so she could help me get settled in a new place. I guess we'll just bum out after I'm off from work and I'll pretend it's vacation time for me.

Has anyone used the pods before and how much does each one really hold? If I figured it out right from the website, 1 pod will be $190.00 with delivery and storage while 2 pods will be $280.00 with delivery and storage.

From what I've been told, there's still a good chance that I will get that condo.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 4:49PM
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Hi Marie,

I have used a pod to store half my household during a remodel. Sorry I can not tell you the precise volume. Once you have about half your things packed in your current location you can estimate if you can fit in one or two pods. You can pack it to the ceiling. That is why it is important pack boxes with sturdy lids... so you can stack to the ceiling of the pod.

Good luck during this trying time. I am glad your DD is arriving. Having family around is priceless.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Hi, Marie,
A pod measures 104 inches deep by 80 inches wide by 82 inches high. Measure the boxes (which are the same size hopefully, or close) and total the deep,wide, and high amounts. Then subtract that from the amounts available and that will tell you how much those boxes are going to use up. Do the same for the bookcases, but keep in mind that the interior of the cases could hold soft items like linens or clothes. So what do you have left. The DR set, I would try to keep if I anticipated having up to 5 other people to sit at it. If not, you may want to think about downsizing to a table for 4 with a leaf, especially a self storing one. That may leave room for a bookcase or something else. A huge piece in a small space only makes the space seem smaller. Try to leave some 'open' space for your eye to rest on.

A 2 drawer file cabinet can be used for other things. How about setting the printer on it?

About those plastic drawers that house papers....if you really need to keep those papers, can you invest in a scanner, then scan them onto flash drives or cd's. Birth certificates and the like are advisable to keep originals, but old bank statements, tax returns, etc, can be scanned and the originals shredded. That saves TONS of space, and SO much easier to move around.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Barbara, those are some great ideas. I hadn't thought of using the 2-drawer filing cabinet for the printer. I know I should get rid of the dining room table but I'd be giving up an expensive, all wood piece of furniture just to buy a cheap piece at probably quite a bit more money than I'd get for mine. That hurts. If I don't get this place, another one could have a better configuration that could fit my table.

We own 2 sets of very expensive stereo equipment with speakers, subwoofers, etc. plus other pieces. DH was into music and DVD's. My son thinks I should get rid of all of it because it's too bulky for a small place but DD came up with a great idea. I own 2 DVD changers, one holds 300 DVD's (or CD's) and the other holds 400. I don't like getting rid of cases and using books so she thought I should keep these 2 units and fill them with all of the DVD's and CD's that I'm keeping. (I have over 500 CD's that I'm selling plus many music DVD's) Then I could store the cases in the storage locker. This will take up way less room than on the special shelving unit that they're on now. That's about the only piece of furniture I refuse to ever give up. But I could then use it for books and won't need as many bookcases.

So, I might be able to get rid of some of the bookcases after all. But I might have to do that after I move because I packed the books while taking off of the shelves those I gave away, without figuring out how many shelves they would require.

I started stacking all of the boxes in the dining room and will measure them to see how much space they take up.

Tonight, I plan to pack the china and the nick nacks from the curio cabinet. Luckily, I have large mover's dish pack box for the China and a very sturdy one for the nick nacks. I expect the nick nacks to stay in the box for some time because I'm getting rid of the curio cabinet and will only put in a new one if I can find the perfect spot for it in a new place.

I also use those plastic drawers for kitchen items that I don't have room for in the kitchen. I'll keep them for now. And I'm ready to let go of the filing cabinet. It served me well for 10 years. I've got to get rid of my paper obsession.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:06PM
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My dad was an insurance agent and often helped people when a spouse had passed away. He would tell them not to make drastic changes if they didn't have to for a year. Financial considerations may require you to move, and it is certainly a good time to get rid of things you don't need, won't use and that are not important to you, but I would err on the side of not parting with furniture and things that are meaningful to you too quickly if you can store them and take a little time to let the dust settle and to be able to reflect on them, especially if the condo may be temporary. If you are buying, you may still want some time to see how things fit and how you see things differently after you have moved things in. It's bad enough to have to go buy something you just gave away, but worse still to give away memories when you think you are done with them and find you need them later.

I have a dear friend who has an adult son with MD, legally blind and confined to a wheelchair. His father is deceased. That is only the beginning of her challenges, but she is the sweetest person you could want to know. My heart aches that I can't do more for her, and it goes out to you too. I wish you all the best with this transition and hope you get the condo or something even better real soon.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Marie, I can tell from the tone of your posts that you are putting one foot in front of the other and getting this done. Don't forget to take a breather now and again to pour yourself a glass of iced tea or lemonade, put your feet up and remind yourself of how much you have accomplished under difficult circumstances. You are making it... BRAVO to you! DH would have been proud.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:45AM
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Thank you all for your support. Cross Stitch, it's strange that you wrote this evening because I just finished repacking a couple of boxes of DH's cross stitches and supplies. He was quite the master when it came to doing them as well as huge needlepoint tapestries. Seeing your name put a smile on my face.

I have a question. I was all set to sell my 7 year old washer and dryer that are still in great shape. Most apartments don't have hookups for normal washer and dryers and those condos that do would leave theirs. I doubt (but am not positive) if rentals have hookups for washers and dryers. So my new dilemma, do I not get rid of them now and wait to see where I'll be? But if I get the condo, how will I get rid of the washer and dryer because I can't bring them into the condo in hopes of selling them.

I desperately need to get items on Craigs List for this weekend because I must move after next weekend. I just can't bring myself to do it, though. Part of the reason is I want to give my bedroom set away because it's really not worth much but I don't want to part with it until I must leave. The TV's on top of the dresser and I don't want to be in an empty room with just a king size bed (which also has to go). But it's hard for me to get the house ready and price things properly. I haven't even checked on the internet what some of the items are worth.

Does anyone know if a king size bed frame will work for a queen size or full size mattress?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:53AM
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I'm writing to keep myself in check, that I do everything that needs doing today. I haven't hardly done anything the past 3 days after work. Last night, DD and I went out to dinner and for a walk along the dyke. We had a really nice time out together. I should have mentioned that DD's disability is a neuropathy of the digestive system which happened because of her life long diabetes type 1. She has to live with constant chronic pain while trying to manage her very brittle diabetes. Most days, she cannot eat but on the odd day she feels well enough to try to eat. Last night was one of those nights.

Before supper, we went to a couple of furniture stores, just to look. My mind is made up about my dining room set - it's got to go. We saw an espresso table with a butterfly leaf (and chairs) that was pretty small, oval shaped, so it will fit sooooo much better in a small condo. Seeing that table put everything in focus for me. I didn't buy it but I will, I think, if I get this condo.

I had been fretting about the stereo equipment and speakers. DD is engaged but her fiance doesn't live here. The marriage could be in a couple of years. She said that she wouldn't be able to buy the quality of the 2nd set that I was going to sell so we decided to store it for her. If there's room in her bedroom, she could use it now. She wants to keep my computer desk for now so maybe that's not going to be for sale, either. In return, she's almost made the decision to sell her large all wooden dresser.

So, I am selling a big screen TV, dining room set, professional 5-drawer filing cabinet, king-size bedroom set (might give this away), washer & dryer, hardly used elliptical machine, carpet shampooer (used twice), sideboard (credenza) - not sure what people call it here, an end table, tools, etc.

I might sell DD's dresser, desk, teak cabinet that holds stereo equipment, a table that goes behind a couch and a 4-shelf metal shelving unit that I had bought for the kitchen here to hold the microwave, etc. that perhaps could be used in a storage locker to hold boxes. There's also some lamps I might sell. I also have 4 large drawers of wires that DH would never let me throw out but I did keep organizing them. I have no idea if I should just throw it all in a bag and put it in the garbage or should I show people and let them take it. Some of the wiring is very expensive but DS says that in the past decade, even wires have changed.

I still have boxes of books that might be worth something, music DVD's and CD's to sell as well as unopened expensive puzzles and models to sell. We decided that after we move, we'll figure out which ones are worth something and put them on E-Bay. I was going to try to find a CD store that would just take them all at hopefully $1 or $2 a piece but DD knows that DH had purchased quite a few from overseas that were very hard to find and were not cheap. It's worth waiting on these. I could always drag them to a store to get rid of.

So today, I have to pack the stereos. I don't know if the speakers need packing. I also need to pack or throw out odds & ends from various surfaces around the house, move the boxes for future selling to one room, pack my night table (which I'd already gone through), do laundry, move the sideboard to the living room where I'd already put the dining room table and chairs, start sorting out clothes, etc. for taking with us while the stuff's in storage, pack up the bathroom (already sorted into containers), etc.

So, these are the things I MUST tackle today. But I'm sitting at the computer not wanting to end this entry because I know I'll have to shut down the computer for at least a few hours while I get to it. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:57PM
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Keep up the good work, Marie. You know we're all thinking about you. I'm glad your DD is there to help you.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:27PM
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I wanted to give an update and ask for more advice. The original condo fell through and I was about to give an offer on another one but that building had even bigger problems than the first. My daughter and I along with our cat and dog are staying with my girlfriend and her son for the past two weeks after I moved out of the rental. I got most of the deposit back and ended up putting everything into 3 pods and moving into my friend's place. Each pod is tiny. I was told that it would hold a 1 bedroom apartment. They must have meant one that a bachelor who owned practically nothing and never cooked lived in.

I had gotten rid of so much stuff including my bedroom set. I put an ad on craigslist saying it was for free. A guy ended up taking the headboard, dressers and nighttable and said he'd be back for the mattress and boxspring. He never showed up again and I ended up hiring people to dump it as well as furniture that I didn't know if I would need because I refused to get a 4th bin. Another friend ended up taking odds and ends to her shed for me and the friend I'm staying with has a bunch of my stuff in her garage.

A week ago, I made an offer on another condo that is 1,040 sq. ft. and it was accepted. Since it had been in probate, it is empty and my daughter and I can move into it in 2 weeks after the closing.

The only problem with the place is that my daughter's bedroom is more the size of a den (quite small) and it has the tiniest cupboard ever. But the master bedroom has 2 double sliding door cupboards and she can use one of them. My daughter didn't care at all that the room was small. She loved the apartment as much as I did. The kitchen is huge, not the galley or tiny u-shaped ones I'd seen in all the other condos. There are cupboards galore and lots of counter space. Unfortunately, there are only 4 small drawers. I'll have to put something inside some cupboards that I can pull out and use as drawers. There is a walk-in laundry room off of the kitchen with another shelf and more cupboards.

The dining room is to the right of the front door and I feel there's room to put those darn bookcases there. Everyone I know is telling me that it will spoil the apartment and make it cluttered. I'd done this in another apartment years ago and didn't mind it but I want to try to live without the clutter from now on. (Hard to believe since I still ended up taking so much stuff. LOL)

The only other place for the bookcases is to put one or two units next to one side of the fireplace in the living room and put the rest in my bedroom or I can put them all in my bedroom. I plan on taking DD's queen bed and I'll buy her a twin bed for her room. I don't plan on buying myself a bedroom set although I want a headboard and a nighttable at some point, just no dressers. It's amazing how I keep going back to these bookcases. For all I know, because I got rid of over 15 boxes of books and have many more that I want to try to sell, I only need about 3 of the 6 units. When I move in, I won't have guys who can just come over one day and move stuff around for me so where I put them now is where they'll stay.

Does anyone have any advice for me on where they should go?

Thank you all again for your support through this trying time. Friday was the first time in ages that I actually relaxed and felt a little like my old self.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 10:20PM
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Marie, your last sentence says it all. Good to hear you are starting to feel like your old self. Those bookcases seem to be a major problem in your relocation. Do you really go into each and every one of those books at least once/year? If not, why not donate more to your local library. I know you've done lots of that already, but you are still tripping over books. You can always check out a volume from the library if you must have it.

As for dressers, I did a whole house remodel that finished in 2008. I am not a clothes hound, hate shopping and thought I could live out of my closet (not a walk-in but lots of custom shelves). Off-season things are in a closet in the garage. I kept the empty dresser in the bedroom for 1 year to see if I could live without it. After 1 year it was still empty so I gave it to a charity and I love the extra space to get around the room.

Good luck in winnowing out the rest before your move-in date. Bonnie

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 3:34PM
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PLan for a way to be able to move those bookcases, if only so that you don't feel so locked in.

Now is the time to permanently attach those silicone furniture pads; I'd *seen* them work really well for sliding furniture around, yes, on both hardwood and carpet.

And remember that you can hire "man with a van" type people, or some kids from the local church's youth group, or something, to move things if you need.

Otherwise, I vote for going with the things that instinctively feel right and familiar to you. Even if it is those bookcases. There is always time to get rid of them, and it's more important to make your new home feel *like* "home."

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 2:19PM
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