Moving apartments (especially in New York) is widely acknowledged to be THE WORST. Between dealing with brokers, packing up all of your stuff, hiring movers, and enlisting siblings / boyfriends / Dads to help, it’s enough to make anyone go nuts.
But there is a bright side. Each time I’ve moved I’ve tried to look at the experience as an opportunity to start with a clean slate. My most recent move was to the smallest place yet, and it’s my favorite apartment because I was able to take stock, decide what I truly needed, and say no to what I didn’t.
Here are some things that I realized I don’t need, hence freeing up valuable living space:
Microwave: I moved in with a janky hand me down microwave from my older brother. After struggling for weeks to find a place where it could reach an outlet, its home became the top of the fridge where it sat and glared down at the rest of the kitchen with its ugliness. Until one day I looked and it, realized I don’t ever use it, and donated it. Food tastes better heated up on the stove or in the oven anyway. And if I need to defrost something, I’ll just fill the sink with hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Five million tupperware containers: My last apartment in the East Village had a cabinet that upon opening would cause an avalanche of various containers and lids. This time around, I purchased a 3 piece glass storage set, and I haven’t needed any more than that.
Knife Block – unless you are a gourmet chef, the only knives you ever need are 1 serrated knife and 1 large chopping knife. That’s it.
A cabinet full of household cleaners– you can clean pretty much anything with hot water, vinegar, castile soap, or baking soda. I learned this the hard way after spending a ton of time and money buying special cleaner to remove the burned on brown stains from my white stove. Low and behold, I got the best results from a mixture of baking soda and water.
Under Bed Storage – instead of buying a container with the sole purpose of living under your bed and holding your possessions, I just use the duffel bag I moved in with to store my out of season clothing.
The most important step in curating a clutter free space is accepting the fact that you don’t need to buy everything before you move. Live with the space for a while first and assess what you need as you go. I guarantee you’ll end up with an apartment that feels spacious, regardless of the square footage.
Photo by Emily Barbeau