New House, Fresh Start

tauphideltOctober 23, 2007

We've just moved into a new home. Basically the same square footage but a better arrangement, more compact public areas, no basement. I really love it and am looking forward to being better organized, less cluttered with this fresh start. We had a dumpster for a week before the move and it was so much fun throwing stuff in there! lol

However, I'm suffering from paralysis when it comes to unpacking the boxes. Part of it comes from feeling like it's a Catch-22 -- I'm not sure where things should go since I don't yet know how we'll "live" in this space, yet we can't really live here until I get all these blasted boxes unpacked and out of the way. Additionally I left a not-quite-finished kitchen gut/remodel in which the cabinets were custom-designed down to the 1/4" to suit my stuff and my needs and a 5'x5' walk-in pantry for a bifold door-covered dent in the wall. Same story in the master bath. We now share one stack of drawers at the vanity, the top one of which I gave up in exchange for the sink beside the only outlet. . .

So as much as I love this house, and I do, a bit of it is sulking over these "lesser" spaces I have to work with and some, I guess, is just a fear of doing it "wrong". (As if "put away anywhere" doesn't automatically trump "in a box in the middle of the floor".)

Anyway, I just need y'all to tell me to just do it, get over myself and work with what I've got and be grateful for not only a fresh space to work with but also a true desire to minimize clutter and maximize upkeep.

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few mistakes are forever. Short of suicide (and maybe pregnancy), you can always change your mind, my mother told me once.

So go ahead and put it away "wrong"--you can always move it later.

The one thing I wish I'd done in our new home is install hooks in closets, in the bathroom, for the pictures--DH wouldn't let me, didn' want to make holes in the wrong places.

Well, now, w/ the Command adhesive hooks, there are no holes, and hooks are easily moved, so start there at *least*.

I think your bi-fold covered dent in the wall might turn out to be really useful.

Also, capitalize on what was well-organized about the last house. Are you used to finding the Woolite in the bathroom? Put it there again, or as close as you can get. You can always move it later if you realize that you do the soaking of handwashables in the mudroom, or the master bath, or something.

You might also consider shelving units that are freestanding, so they can be moved if it turns out some other room is better.

You'll have to do SOME re-defining, of course, since places like the kitchen might be smaller--and the master bath definitely is. In those cases, maybe you should just live out of the boxes for another couple of weeks--don't take ANYTHING out of the box UNTIL you need it. And, only put in "permanent" storage the stuff you take out.

after two weeks, look in the box--what's left is stuff you either don't need, or don't need to store in your "prime real estate."

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:10PM
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This is the Stages of Moving:

Phase One: Get things to the basic places -- kitchen, bath, living area etc. Make rooms live for NOW!

Phase Two: You have lived in your new house for a short space in time. WRITE down each time you think of a solution to a problem. Dark room? Too many books? Feels Cold? Too Warm at Night? Walk around with a notepad and write a page for each space:

--How do I want this room or space to work for us?
--What things do I need to make that idea work?? (shelves, lamps and track lighting, ceiling fan, a better coffee table, stools for the breakfast bar etc.)

Phase Three: Rotate and Reorganize. NOW you know where to create a coffee bar (move and shoft those mugs, that sugar and that canister!); shift around the bathroom items and add baskets to hold items in the vanity etc.

Phase Four: Decorate and Claim Your Space!! This is now your home -- paint, shift, add fabrics and artworks, create a family gallery of black-and-white photos, create a sunny spot for coffee-and-the-paper, add a herb garden in some wonderful ceramic pots.

The Lord took a Week to Create Creation!
Rome Wasn't Built in a Day!

Think of moving in AND then creating your home in stages ------ and in terms of Continuous Improvement. As you get to really know your house -- adapt, shift and change to make it work for you!!!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:36PM
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Thank you both, for the push as well as the practical hints. I hadn't even considered the adhesive hooks -- I'm a horrible decorator and screw up lots of walls trying stuff out so you'd think I'd have clued in by now!

The pantry is priority one. I have a deep abiding hatred for wire shelving, so I pulled out the wide, fixed ones they had and am putting up a U-configuration (such as it is) using wooden shelves. Eight inches deep on the ends and 12" in the center, all independently adjustable. MUCH more usable space and I know full well stuff was living in the old pantry that didn't need to be there, so I'm sure it will be fine. It just needs to get done. (The other house goes on the market next week, so much of our time right now is still spent over there fixing stuff, which is just adding to my frustration of things not getting done in the one I really care about. LOL!)

A bit at a time. I discovered this morning that I don't have an ironing board. You'd think one would know such a thing, but we had a built-in one in our old master bath, and it really caught me off guard a bit this morning trying to get ready for work. Wonder what fun fact I'll discover tomorrow? ;-)

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 9:59AM
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TeaCats, you're so smart! Your post just gave me the revelation that even though I've been in my house for 8 years I'm still really working on phase 1. It's time to move on.

TauPhiDelt, when something like the lack of ironing board happens to me I say, "It's just like camping." Framing it like that makes it sound adventurous. Come to think of it, living with boxes is a lot like camping.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 2:47PM
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I love Teacats answer. Do the baths and kitychen first. Nothing is permanent. You will gradually add shelving, dressers, closet organizers, etc. Have fun! I wish I was starting out in a new home. What a great "canvas" to paint on. Your HOME!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 5:57PM
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I got all of the crystal unpacked last night. Half the pantry is in (we cleaned Lowe's out of shelves so that's on hold). Of course, I was unpacking in an effort to find something that I need for the old house before the open house, but whatever gets the boxes opened! LOL!

I have one more night's work at the old house and then I can turn my full attention to getting the new place in order. We have a friend who is planning a move in the next few months. Took a ton of boxes over to her house and dumped them in her garage the other night. I think she was appreciative. ;-) (Take 'em now or they go to the dump...)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 9:04AM
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teacats: I'm printing this out for myself. You're SO smart!

tauphidelt: I know it's hindsight for you now, but for future sufferers, how does this plan sound? Long before we start packing up to move, I take photos of the insides of all my drawers and closets, and all shelving, including the garage. I compare those with the available spaces in the new house, which i've tentatively earmarked as to what they will contain. Then I work out the differences, on paper, and mark up my layout accordingly.

I keep my photos, posting them in each room as I unpack. Thereby reaching the best compromise between keeping things as they are now (less change = less stress), and the required changes due to improved storage capabilities in the new house. It gives me a roadmap to start from.

BECAUSE, by the time we move it will have been 20 years since we last moved. My nerves are already totally shot from the planning, and the build hasn't even started yet. I'm too old--mentally and physically-- to want to move. And this thread already has me frozen with dread! Don't we all go into a new house already exhausted?

My plan is the best preparation I can come up with, but would love better ideas if anyone feels so inclined. Using my idea, as it stands now, once we move, I pull out teacats itinerary and go from there. Because I realize that the best plan is subject to change once "on the ground." Perhaps I'll put out big bowls of M&Ms and play my George Carlin CDs with his rants about House as a place for your stuff, etc. (What mild misbehaviors I've settled down to in my dotage!) And try to adopt as "fast and free" a mental attitude as I'm capable of.

tauphidelt: Isn't that attitude what you're looking for, to unfreeze you? How do YOU get it? (No answer required; plead the Fifth.)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 9:16AM
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Pinktoes, I like you photo idea. Especially if what you have now mostly works.

Just don't get too rigid in adhering to the way it was--but I don't worry that *you* would do this.

Also remember that YOU are the only audience you need to please. My DH and I lived w/ a row of boxes at the end of the dining room for a couple of years (probably proof we could have gotten rid of that stuff). It was out of the way, we were content.

Tauphidelt is NOT content, and her "audience" (i.e., tauphidelt herself) is getting restive.

But if you need a breather after you move in, take it!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 9:32AM
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Thanks for kind comments! :)

Learned the "continuous improvement" idea from my years of writing business stories about companies, industries and factories. These folks had to LEARN to watch their processes (from the front office to the factory floor and right to the customer) and change/update them to match their needs AT THE TIME. Adapting to change was the HARDEST thing that most folks have to deal with at work --- or at home!

"Processes" (at home) are simply actions or routines that keep your household moving along --- for example: "How Do I Handle The Daily Mail?" or "How Can I Make the Kitchen Work Better for Us" or "How Can I Make the Bathroom Routines More Efficient??" or "How can I improve the Laundry Routines"

Then you sit down and literally map out each step -- and watch how to make a daily routine work better -- and faster!!

For example: When the daily mail comes into the house -- who opens it? Where do you put Bills-To-Be-Paid? Where do pay them? Do you keep the paper originals -- and then where do you file them? What about shredding papers? NOW -- look again -- how could make this process run better and faster???

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 11:41AM
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