My 6 New House Essentials

Once you’ve moved (and here’s 7 tips for making that easier) decorating your new place is the fun part. Unfortunately, that kind of comes last, after the clean-all-the-things stage, and the get-it-functional stage. Eventually, you reach the why-are-there-still-boxes-here stage, but somewhere in there, your house becomes a home. Once again, Casper was collecting these tips, and I decided to join in.

1. Rug

It’s almost a fact of life that once you move to a new place, some of your rugs will no longer fit your new rooms, or you’ll have new rooms with new floors to be covered. I hate carpet with a passion, so rugs are my friends. I choose my friends with great care, which is why it seems to take me years to pick out rugs. And even then, I’m guilty of chronically picking rugs that are too small. Here’s a guide for how your rugs should fit in any room, from Home Depot.

2. Artwork

Nothing personalizes your new place like artwork, and when you’re ready to hang things on the wall, you know you’re really settling in. Etsy is one of my favorite places to find affordable art, and also Society6, but I also like finding unique paintings at craft fairs and antique stores, and then customizing thrift store frames for cohesive gallery walls.
But not artwork has to be purchased. In the gallery wall in the entry way, I have a blue jay painting by Brian’s great-grandmother, a framed cover of a catalog, and a free print I found online of eggs, mixed in with flea market and craft store finds, and a DIY moss covered letter.

3. New mattress, sheets, and pillows

When we moved into our first house, we took the opportunity to upgrade our mattress. Because we upgraded from a full to a queen, we also had to get all new sheets and a bedspread. I think we kept the same pillows, but if you’re moving, it’s a great time to evaluate how those are holding up too, and consider having your pillows shipped to your door.
These marble sheets from Urban Outfitters aren’t cheap, but I’m seriously in love with them and trying to figure out if there’s a good way to DIY them. How awesome would these look in a bedroom with rose gold accents?

4. Cleaning Kit

When you’re living in chaos, the last thing you need is to not be able to find where you packed the cleaning supplies, or lose them in the maze of boxes. One of the most useful wedding presents we received was a plastic caddy full of cleaning supplies, like this one. This has been invaluable during all of our moves, and still comes in handy for keeping cleaning supplies corralled and portable.

5. Inexpensive Organizing Solutions

While you’re unpacking and organizing your new closets and drawers is the perfect time to invest in some new containers. My favorite are clear plastic shoe bins. I use them for craft supplies, office cords of all kinds, and of course, shoes. You could also get a little fancy and try some of my painted paper Trader Joe’s bags for storage.

6. A Special Item to Mark the Transition

 When we moved into our first house, our realtor bought us a wooden cutting board shaped like the state of Arizona. Regardless of whether you’re upgrading or downsizing, excited about your new place or dreading it, I think marking the transition with something special and celebratory is important. Some people frame keys or a photo of their old house, or you can have a custom portrait made of your new place. My DIY state art would be perfect if you’ve moved out of state. Find something that either pays tribute to where you’re leaving, or celebrates your new beginnings.
Here’s a handy graphic to pin for next time you’re moving:

7 of My Favorite Tips to Make Moving Easier

No, I’m not moving, at the moment. But in the seven years we’ve been married, we’ve moved six times. The first year after moving into our house, it felt almost weird to not be scouring for boxes, busting out the packing tape and sharpies, and uprooting again.  But now we’ve happily lived here for over three years, moving is a distant nightmare.
With all that relocating, I do feel like I have some expertise in making moves … of the home kind. So when I noticed Casper (the mattress company) was sharing home moving tips, I thought I’d get involved. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make a big difference. I’m not sure moving is ever totally easy, but at least we can aim for easier.

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Last Minute Vacay, the Calm Before the Storm

At last minute, Brian and I decided to spend Labor Day weekend in California with my sister-in-law. We were feeling the pressure of all we needed to do before moving, plus the stress of finding a place to move to, so we took our last opportunity for a quick get-away.

Saturday we went to Seal Beach and had Mexican food twice.

I looked like a snowflake!

We also watched Harry Potter 6, since I just finished the books.

Sunday, Andrea painted my nails.

We watched Harry Potter 7 Part 1, and we tried to go to the Getty, but they ran out of parking. So instead, we went to Santa Monica, and drove for at least half an hour before we found parking there. It was worth it!

 The pier!
Man with a tiny dog in his murse.

Then we went to church. I wish I’d taken pictures, it was breathtakingly beautiful inside, but I felt like it would be sacrilegious. The music was beautiful, and the sermon just happened to be on the same passage as last week’s at my church: James 1:27. Then we went out to dinner with Andrea’s newlywed friends at BJ’s.

After incredibly delicious pizza, we ordered the Pizzooki Party Sampler, with triple chocolate, white chocolate macadamia nut, peanut butter, and red velvet cookies with chocolate and vanilla ice cream on top. Heavenly!

Then we watched Harry Potter 7 Part 2, and went to bed.

Monday, we went to our favorite restaurant in Cali, Schooner or Later, for brunch. Looked at all of Andrea’s pictures from her Europe trip, packed up, and hit the road.

For the first time ever, we didn’t hit traffic leaving LA or coming into Phoenix! 
As always, the time went by too fast, but it was perfectly relaxing and wonderful. 
Now the storm has hit us, a storm of stuff to do before we can move, stuff to do on the house and cars for our landlord, furniture to fix up before we move, a desk to sell, packing, programs for my other SIL’s wedding, packing, stuff to do for church, cleaning, cars and hotels to reserve for the wedding, packing, a dress to find for the wedding, downsizing, lease to sign, laundry, projects, and so much more. Not to mention blogging, and all the things I want to plan for the coming months.
I mentioned to Brian that while we were in Cali, I fell asleep right away and stayed asleep every night, but here, I toss and turn for hours. His theory: I didn’t worry or stress while in Cali. I think he’s right, all I thought about were the one or two fun things we were going to do the next day. Here, my mind is in a constant swirl of to-do lists. 

It will pass. We’ll get through it somehow, and I will survive!

Moving: Hate it or Love it?

Newsflash: I really, really hate moving. In the last four years, I’ve moved four times: into the dorms, into an apartment, across the country to our first apartment in Arizona, then to a rental house, and now, back to an apartment at the end of September, an apartment that we haven’t found yet.

Whenever we look at an apartment and my first thought is “No way,” Brian loves it. And whenever I think, “This is the one!” Brian hates it. There’s been one exception, a beautiful apartment that was designed to be a condo, right across the street from Brian’s job. We’ve looked at 8-12 apartments in person already, and we have a list of five or six more for this weekend, but this one apartment stands far above the rest in beauty, square footage, location, and value. Unfortunately, they don’t have any openings for the end of September…yet. We found out yesterday that they have four renters who’s terms are up, but they fully expect them to renew their leases.

You know it’s bad when you’ve already started arranging your furniture and decorating the apartment inside your head. Sigh.

My mom helping decorate our old apartment. See the finished room here.

So to keep me from succumbing to discouragement, I’m trying to dwell on the positives of moving, and not the negatives.

Here’s the cons that fill me with the most dread:

1. Trying to find an apartment in the city we want, at a price we can afford. Since the last time we lived in an apartment, the prices have skyrocketed. We rented a large two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a fireplace for the same price that tiny one bedrooms are going for now. Yikes.

2. Packing. I hate trying to keep it all organized and cushioned, and I’m just not good at fitting things into boxes. I’ve never been good at puzzles!

3. Saying good-bye to Kopek. Yesterday, Kopek started his usual whining dance for attention while I was at my desk, so I set down what I was doing and sat on the floor. He curled up on my lap with a look of profound happiness. His owners are going to come get him while Brian and I are in Florida for his sister’s wedding in a couple weeks. I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. “You’re going to love California,” I told him. I pictured him riding in the moving van, head out the window.  Then running along the beach, playing frisbee and jumping in the waves. My tears dripped down onto his black velvet ears while he went to sleep on my lap.

That’s by far the biggest con for me.

On the pro side:

1. Less to clean! We’ll be going from a three bedroom, two bathroom house to a one bedroom, one bathroom house. I’m SO excited to only have one bathroom to clean!!!

2. The opportunity to purge. Call me crazy (Brian does) but I love to get rid of stuff. We were looking through a cupboard yesterday, and found some things that I we moved to this house over a year ago, and never touched once since unpacking. And some stuff we haven’t used since we got married over two years ago. Now’s the time to mercilessly cut out the unnecessary clutter and “stuff.”

We had to purge Brian’s tee-shirts before we moved last time.  

3. White walls. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE this house. It’s beautiful. It’s just not us…we wouldn’t pick the elegant, rich, dark color scheme in the main rooms. That’s why the rooms we did paint are yellow and sky blue. I’m usually not a fan of plain white walls, but I’m looking forward to living in light and bright rooms!

4. A new place to decorate. I do love decorating, and while we have been able to add our own style to this house, because the landlords left all their furniture, curtains, and wall decor, just like with the colors, it’s not really us. So I’m excited to hone my personal style some more and bring life to a new place.

5. Saving money. We’d like to buy a house someday, and that’s a big part of the reason we’re moving. God knew exactly when Brian was going to get laid off, and he prompted us to save up for a house downpayment so that we had enough to live off of for several months while Brian looked for work. Because He’s in control, we know that He will provide us with an apartment that will enable us to save money again.

How do you feel about moving? Hate it, or love it? 

If Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words…

Then these should make up for my lack of posts recently!
New Dining room + New  Dog

A lot of replacing outlet covers has been happening here lately

And replacing smoke detectors too

And two days of nothing but scrubbing walls caked with grime…

So that we could paint before moving in!

I’m very proud of my masking and draping around the shower!

We decided on the darker brown, and we love it!

I look gross, but I don’t even care. We were up late almost every night, and by late, I mean after midnight. And poor Brian has to get up at 5.

Kopec, the Turkish superdog, as I affectionately call him.

Room #3

Feverish packing on Friday. This is BRIAN’S massive stack of tee shirts. He admitted that most of them don’t fit him, but proceeded to tell me the story behind each one; where he got it, who he was with, and the significance of the occasion. 

Bedroom finished!

It’s going to be another late night…

Moving day! 
You can read more about that here!

What projects or exciting events have you been up to lately?