Archive for July, 2012

July 30, 2012

Moving Monday::Kitchen Basics

by heatherkp

We’ve finally landed in our new home.  It’s been a LONG haul and a very much anticipated transition with bumps and curves along the way that no one could have anticipated.  We’ve been “in” the house for just a week now and we are quickly coming to love it.

We feel very lucky to have found it, it’s pretty much exactly what we were looking for in a fantastic location.  After living in a house in MD that was big but still didn’t fit our needs and then not having any space of our own we feel like we’ve found just the right size which includes a new studio space for me to create art and textiles and a workshop for my husband’s tools and business.

Now to share with you some of what we’ve been doing in the house and some tips on organizing your way through unpacking.  Start with the basics!  Last week I mentioned some supplies to have on hand to make the transition easier but the next step should be to get your Bedroom(s), Bathroom and Kitchen set up.  These are the first areas I unpacked since I wanted to be able to really start using the space.  I got the clothes in the closets (removing all the wardrobe boxes from the picture), next came unpacking luggage into our dressers and linens and toiletries into the linen closet and bathroom.  With these practical things out of the way we could find clothes to dress and go about our normal routine.  May seem obvious but man did it feel great to put clothes into drawers and closets after living out of luggage for quite some time!  But I’ll share closet organization in another post…

Next I focused on the kitchen.  I had 20 boxes of kitchen, dining room and bar supplies!  We have a small house built shortly after WWII and the kitchen is a galley type with no pantry.  I have 1 curio and 1 china cabinet to fit all our non-essential dining items and I was quite concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in the cabinets!

Somehow I managed, with room to spare (not much).  I started by really thinking about how I would use each zone of the kitchen and since it’s not eat in I wanted the dishes and silverware to be easy to access from the dining room (which adjoins the kitchen).  I determined which items I wanted in each cabinet and drawer (roughly) and then started the process of unpacking and putting things away.  As I came across the inevitable items I’d forgotten about and didn’t yet have space for I set them aside on the dining room table.  I also mentally reserved space in certain spaces for these and other larger items as I worked through each box and cabinet.  Since I don’t have much counter space our microwave, toaster and mixer are the three items I knew I would have to keep out.  The rest of the small appliances went into the cabinets.

I had certain organizing pieces/tools I used that are flexible and can be made to fit various configurations, like baskets,  that hang from the shelves (below) and risers (above), these can be great help if you have tall cabinets and in some situations they can almost double your useable space.  I find that containing smaller items (like lids, spices, utensils etc) in baskets or bins makes the space easier to keep tidy and it makes it easier to grab what you need and return the rest without disrupting everything around.

Finally there were the cleaning supplies under the sink.  I wish I could tell you the name of this contraption that I used, I’ve had it for ages and the great thing is that the “shelves” snap in place and can be configured around pipes and other obstacles.  I’ve used it in the last 2 houses and it’s a great organizing tool (I’ll see if I can find it and post a link soon).

Overall I had to be flexible and re-think how I organized quite a few things since I use to have a pantry and a lot fewer drawers.  These cabinets are also much deeper than I was use to, which makes for extra storage but I will have to move things to get to the less used items.  That’s okay with me.  Each person has to customize their space to their needs and that’s the fun of organizing for me, finding a fit for each person’s specific needs and desires.

PS…I have no garbage disposal in this kitchen and that white bin on the top left is my compost bucket:) fits perfectly!

July 29, 2012

Walking Weekend::1 Day in Amsterdam

by heatherkp

Boy did we walk in Amsterdam.  We had a limited amount of time there and we had plans to stop at a few spots but mostly we just wanted to walk along the canals and see what we could see!

In 6 hours we covered a lot of ground from Central station past the national monument, the flower market, Vondelpark and to the Van Gogh museum.  Here is roughly the route we took which was about a 45 min walk back to the Central station at the end of our day.

Along the way we did some window shopping (I will post next week some of the great designs I saw in the shops), admired the incredible dutch architecture, meandered along the canals (Singel,Herengracht, Keizersgracht & Prinsengracht), had an ice cream and were thoroughly exhausted by days end.  Here are some of the sites along our path.

This was nuts, doesn’t every church have a head shop below/behind it?  Only in Amsterdam!

Watch out for the bikes!  They will run you over and these kind are used to haul shopping bags, children or whatever!

I love that this lady had her bike decorated with flowers:)

Check out this mode of transport!

And I swear this guy turned around just so he could have his picture taken.  Love those yellow pants:)

The traditional dutch architecture was really something, I especially loved the dark facades with the curved gables and the intricate masonry!

One of the happiest accidents on our walking tour was coming across the flower market.  I was sad not to be able to bring home any plants or bulbs, unfortunately tulips just don’t grow well in my tropical climate.  I enjoyed seeing all the lovely blooms and bulbs though.

This is the view of the back side of the market along the Singel canal.

Our final destination (before walking back to the central station) was the Van Gogh museum.  This was certainly a highlight for me. I didn’t get any shots inside (I’m sure I would have been promptly escorted out if I had!).  This rock display outside the museum was very fun.

I was so glad to have purchased tickets online before we went because the line was very long!  This is true for most of the museums in the city, if you go, I strongly suggest you buy your tickets beforehand.

This was the main square where the National Monument is and it reminded me very much of Venice.  There were a lot of people milling around (and a few mimes) as well as a fashion show (it was the beginning of fashion week).

I’d love to return to Amsterdam and have a bit more time to explore.  We barely scratched the surface but it was a wonderful day!

July 23, 2012

Moving Monday::Final Destination

by heatherkp

It’s fitting that our final moving day will commence today on a Monday since I began this moving Monday series over 8 months ago!!  We are exhausted, jet-lagged and feeling our age but we are very excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We are doing a semi-local move so that has factored into the logistics of how things are being done.  We’ve had our stuff in storage as I’ve mentioned and we are hauling it about 80 miles to our house.  We have been lucky to have the use of a nice size truck and trailer which we have used to haul 2 loads so far and today we bring the final 2 loads!

I LOVE the process of nesting and I’m in full swing mode now.  Here are a few tips that I’ve found useful so far.  Keep in mind that this move has been DIY all the way (with the help of friends and family) so some of these logistics will not be necessary for you if you have hired a moving company but it’s good to keep in mind either way.

  •  started to unpack some boxes to get them out of the way before big furniture is brought in
  •  focus on soft goods that go into closets such as hanging clothes (eliminating the big wardrobe boxes), linens as well as dishes and kitchen items which can go directly into the cabinets.
  • measure rooms to determine the fit of furniture before bringing big items in
  • have staple items like soap, disposable plates/cups, paper towels and a first aid kit on hand
  • locate sheets, towels and bathroom toiletries to quickly set up the bathroom and bedrooms for more comfort
  • know where your furniture is going (roughly) before moving it in and leave boxes and other items stacked out of the way for clear passage
  • keep walkways and paths clear of debris, boxes etc.
  • “Stage” boxes in the front entry if it’s not reasonable to place them directly into the corresponding rooms. Have a secondary team inside to relocate items to the correct rooms.
  • enjoy the process!!

My inventory sheet has been super helpful and so far we haven’t located one “mystery” box!

Next week-Unpacking and settling in.

July 21, 2012

Silent Saturday::The Move Begins

by heatherkp

July 9, 2012

On the move Monday

by heatherkp

As you read this we are in the midst of taking off for a big trip to Norway via Amsterdam for my Brother’s wedding!  It’s been quite an adventure planning and packing for an international trip while in the midst of living with most of our belongings in storage, not to mention the upcoming move when we return (and all the necessary things we have had to take care of ahead of time to have things lined up upon our return).

So I’m trying to go light on the packing for this trip which is a bit tough since I have a wedding and there will be cool temperatures.  I’m only checking one bag and taking 1 carry on.  I’ve been referencing several sources for packing info, like the site One Bag which shares ideas for creating a “Master packing list”‘ that you always use for travel but you don’t always take everything on the list.  I really like this idea, it makes a lot of sense and I will be putting together a list for my travels starting with this trip to Norway. I also found quite a few helpful tips such as folding, rolling and bundling on the Real Simple website, which recently featured packing in one if it’s magazine issues. I did incorporate a few new tips, such as covering the bottom and top of my stuff with plastic bags (which prevents wrinkling a bit) and using lots of pouches and ziplock bags (not new but totally necessary).

We have one day in Amsterdam on our way to Norway so we plan to take in the canal sites, maybe a bike or boat ride, the Van Gogh museum and whatever else we have time to enjoy such as a meal or two, people watching and lots of photography!! In Norway we will be staying in Kristiansand with my sister in law’s family.  We will travel to hike fiords, take in the sites in town, maybe go to the cannon museum, take a boat ride to a small island and enjoy getting to know the new side of our family!  We will be eating fantastic fish (except for my husband who may loose weight on this trip since he eats nothing from the water) and reindeer will be served at the wedding!

We can’t wait.  We are just about packed up now and will be leaving in a couple hours.  I won’t be around much over the next couple weeks but when I get back there will be loads of pictures and bits from our trip to share as well as the ongoing (soon to be completed) moving process.  See ya soon.

 

PS Pardon any errors, wrote this quickly and distractedly!!

July 7, 2012

Silent Saturday::Packing Time

by heatherkp

Countdown to Norway!!

 

July 2, 2012

Moving Monday::Living like a Gypsy

by heatherkp

I haven’t said a whole lot about our move for several months now because we have been in a holding pattern.  We have been living like Gypsies honestly, going from place to place…and were settled into a lovely furnished home downtown Charleston for May and June.  We found it too difficult to search the real estate market and make the necessary new connections in a new city living an hour away so being in a temporary furnished place for a short period really allowed us to make the  get to know the city and get down to business.  The time there came to an end yesterday and I will always have fond memories since it’s time spent really getting to know the city on foot and in person.

Onward we move though and we packed it all up over the last few days for our final temporary stay before we settle into the new place we found.  After looking for several months and at over 30 places (the rental market right now is extremely competitive!) we are VERY excited about this home, it has everything we are looking for and it’s in a fantastic location.  We are renting and we found a real estate agent who was super helpful but we also put the word out to anyone and everyone we know and scoured the papers and craigslist.  In the end, we found something through word of mouth. I’m now in the process of setting up all the utilities, TV, internet etc.  Next we will line up a truck for moving day and try to enlist whatever help we can get…it feels like we are down to the final stretch!

I have to admit that we have been lugging around so much (i.e. too much) stuff over the past 8 months living in various locations and taking trips back and forth to here and there…I have had my moments where I just wanted to toss it all out for a more simple life but I didn’t because as organized as I am, I love my stuff!  I will say that after moving so much around for so long, I have learned to edit more quickly and more often.  I have many hobbies that require stuff like knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, reading and more so I doubt I will ever be living a super minimalist lifestyle.  If you have ever lived somewhere temporarily with the majority of  your stuff in storage you probably know the feeling and just know, you are not alone and you will have certainly learned some valuable things about yourself before it’s all over.  I have learned to keep things sorted and separated by category (in bags, boxes and bins), to stick to some kind of regular routine and pattern, edit often and a bit more ruthlessly than I use to, get good rest (because all this moving is exhausting) and probably most importantly I have learned to be flexible and make due with what I have where I am.  I also make a lot of lists and check and double check where I’ve put things, especially if its a very important item.  We have traveled with a portable file box and our fireproof safe box for certain important things and this gives me peace of mind, it’s really a scaled down version of my normal system.

Have you ever lived like a gypsy?  If so did you love it and what did you learn?

All this moving