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And the Unpacking Begins!

Apr 30, 2012 12:00 am

Well, we are in our new apartment, surrounded by boxes, and all our earthly possessions (which is a fancy way of saying junk). The movers ended up being amazing, but we weren't anywhere near as prepared as we should have been. This was not a frugalicious move in terms of money, that's for sure! We hired a zipcar a few days after the movers came, planning to move the rest of our stuff, and then didn't end up using it until 5pm….. Of course, we then had to hire it for another day, to get the rest of our stuff out of the old apartment! I am officially NOT recommending this as a thing to do. I'm hoping we'll make some of it back by selling the furniture we no longer need in our new place. We're really trying to minimize our possessions, with the idea that less is more.


I'm looking at inexpensive ways to spruce up the new place. It's a rental apartment in a Brooklyn, in a pre-war Apartment building, so it has good bones, but could definitely do with some TLC. The kitchen has a great eat-in area, with an adorable bult-in corner cabinet that looks to be original, but the walls are covered in vinyl wallpaper circa 1983. Tulips anyone? The bathroom has the original tub, sink and fittings, but there is some blah looking grey tile, I'm guessing also dating from the 80s. The realtor gave us the okay to strip the kitchen wallpaper, but that's too big a job to take on right now. Maybe over the summer…. or maybe I'll just learn to like tulips. An upside to the kitchen is that it has a range hood microwave, and also a dishwasher. Sweet!

I have a love-hate relationship with Ikea, which is where most of our stuff comes from, or rather, Ikea via Craigslist! I live in fear of our apartment looking like an Ikea display room (or museum), but it's pretty affordable new, and easily available second-hand. However, Ikea isn't great for large area rugs, and the thought of a second-hand rug seemed a bit weird. We needed one for the living room, so our downstairs neighbors don't end up hating us.  I really didn't want to spend a ton of money, but at the same time, I wanted to get wool, as our son will be spending the majority of his time sitting and lying (and running) on it, so I wanted it to be durable, and not smell like chemicals. After hours of searching, I finally settled on this Hand-Tufted Chocolate Brown 8' x 10' Rug (in the pic above), from Overstock. At $350, it wasn't the cheapest rug, but was certainly one of the cheapest made from wool. It is a really scary prospect buying a rug online, sight unseen. As soon as the UPS guy brought it upstairs, I hurriedly opened one end to look at the color. So far, so good. I walked away for a moment to put down the scissors somewhere safe away from our toddler, and turned around to see our cat, Ira, had already requisitioned it as hers! It's certainly a hit as far as she's concerned. (And see that weird little pile of stuff in front of her? That would be wool that she clawed out of the rug in the first 10 seconds....) If money were no object, would I have bought this particular rug? No, I don't think so, but I'm happy enough for what I paid. And with a toddler and a cat in the apartment, I don't want to be stressing over keeping a really expensive rug in good shape. If you've never bought anything from Overstock, they have some incentives for new customers - like 7% off, $10 off $200, $30 off $300 etc. You can find them all here on Retailmenot (a great resource for coupons).



And speaking of cats, another pressing issue to solve was the litter box. Our new apartment layout is really different, and the best place to put the litter box is right inside the front door. Welcome to our apartment, mind that kitty litter sprayed all over the floor.... yeah, not so much. There is a very cool, top entry litter box by Modko (above left), that comes with a cool price tag of $180. Yes, it is beautiful, but that's just too much money for me. If you decide to go with option, be sure to use coupon code mk20dwell to take $20 off. As a more economical option, I had been hoping to find one of the Ikea Hol Storage tables or cubes on Craigslist. I was planning to take off the bottom and one side, and just put it over our existing litter box. Frustratingly, they have been discontinued, so buying one new isn't an option. There was actually one listed on Craigslist, but the person never answered my emails (don't you hate that, and I sent three, and had my husband email as well!). But, then a few days ago,  the Modern Cats Designs Contemporary Litter Box Hider (above right) popped up, for only $50. My husband is going to pick it up tonight. It should be great, and will blend well with our entry way table and mirror. It costs around $200 new, so $50 is a good price! And by the way, if you haven't already, I recommend getting a Craiglist app for your smartphone. It's the best way to find something specific, without having to be constantly checking the listings.

There a ton of other things to get done, like about 40 boxes that still need unpacking for instance, but we are taking it slow.  I'm thinking it will take the whole month of May to get settled. I love looking at Apartment Therapy for decorating and furniture inspiration. There are different categories such as green living, budget living, small spaces, and before & after. What do you use for inspiration for home decorating? Tell us about it in the comments below!


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