Relocation Frustration – Making the Most of the Move

Hurricane Sandy has really stopped so much in its tracks—even if you yourself was not affected, areas far from the eastern coastline has felt the ripple effects of Sandy’s devastation.  I was one of the lucky ones.  Fortunately, I moved out of my high-rise apartment in the financial district (not far from the water) in the nick of time.  My newly renovated previous building was evacuated the next day, while my little old brownstone (brand new to me) seems to have been overlooked by the eye of the storm.  This was a relief in more ways than one, as everyone can agree that moving and getting acclimated to a new space conjures up a whole host of new ‘to-do’s’, purchases, and gearing up to break out the power tools for all that is “assembly required”.  As an independent-minded single white female sharing a 2BR with another of the same demographic, this leads to a lot of stress, shuffling home with bulging, halfway torn plastic bags, and drinking red wine out of plastic cups.  Since every place in New York has its own unique limitations in terms of windows, hard wiring, and storage, it can be very daunting In trying to find ways to cut back on spending and utilizing what you have from previous living situations.  It pays to get creative and resourceful, and I for one can not afford to NOT use my noggin when it comes to problem-solving in the urban domestic jungle.

MAKE LISTS.  I set up a notebook in Evernote entitled ‘The Apartment’ that made it easy for my roommate to access photos of what I had now, what my sweet, dear old folks were driving up from Virginia, and what we needed, organized by room.  I also included measurements of rooms and inspiration ideas when I came across something that I saw.  This served several purposes—it prevented us from buying duplicates and laid the groundwork for what would evolve to be our shared living areas.  We knew we wanted to paint, so it also gave us an idea of what furniture we already had so as to consider this in establishing a palette.
This is a little intense, but it is helpful to make a list of what you need.  Once you start unpacking, group similar artwork together, and start putting it in the areas that it will eventually go.  You will find there are things that you have no idea where to put, or even what they are, or find that it is extra and not needed.  It can be put in the ‘stoop sale’ box, but make sure to refer to your NEED list before doing away with altogether.
BED RISERS MAKE GREAT PLANT POTS.  Case in point: my platform bed has no use for the bed risers I had acquired at some point in my journeys, but my roommate, Hillary, pointed out that they would make great pot
s for my herbs.  Drill a few holes underneath for drainage, and throw a discarded lid underneath and it’s prepped for a seedling. 
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A GREAT PAIR OF HEELS When mounting my drying rack last year, I realized I needed someone or something to hold the thing up so I could screw it into the wall on the opposite side. I grabbed my Cole Haan maryjane with my free hand and voila, instant propping tool.  Sometimes just accessing what is immediately available (within arm’s length) lets you problem solve in new inventive ways.

USE DRAWER UTENSIL TRAYS FOR MAKEUP. Or tools. Or jewelry/watches/cufflinks.
REUSE / THEN RECYCLE — I should be buying salsa in wholesale for the jars I cycle through, and they make great receptacles for paint, and the smaller ones for loose screws.  Also empty glass jars work great for when you buy anything in bulk like pasta, rice, nuts, etc. as they won’t absorb flavors  overtime like plastic Tupperware.

GET FAMILIAR WITH THE LOCAL FLAVOR –Live in little Moscow? Bet the Vodkas good & cheap. Make infusions at home, use as a stain remover and clean cuts with it in a pinch.  and find other uses for unique items you can source locally and inexpensively. I found some great Middle eastern beauty supply stores in my neighborhood selling high-grade essential oils for a quarter of the price. I plan on doing a little research as to which I can cook with and I’m already dreaming up DIY holiday gifts.

When you are finally starting to get acclimated after a move, make the best use of what you already have. It is tempting to run out and get what’s missing, but with a little ingenuity, you may just be able to work wonders with what you have already got and simultaneously cut down the to-do’s, have a few more bucks in the bank, and save yourself an Ikea trip, which we know is worth its weight in gold.


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