Simple Moving Advice: Large Apartment to Smaller One

It's that time of year again to determine whether you will be living in your current apartment or moving. The rent has become unaffordable now that you are no longer receiving the income you once had. As you look around your apartment, you have to make the painful decision of what you will pack and what will be sold, given and thrown away. This is a personal time for you that may be best spent alone before you invite the family over to help you pack.

Begin to make a list or sort the items that mean the most to you by thinking, "If there were a fire what would I absolutely become depressed about it if I lost it?" Pack those things first. For some people it may be their treasured photos, diaries, family videos, certificates, awards, and jewelry. Include important insurance and tax information in boxes or suitcases that will be easy to find and unpack later.

Next, you may want to start with your collection of media removing all items that you don't watch, read or listen to anymore. Try to sell what you can through classifieds, fliers, yard sales, flea markets, and the Internet. What doesn't sell you can offer it to a media exchange outlet that will give you money for your used goods or give it to a donation center. Perform the same sorting method with clothes, shoes, kitchen appliances, living and dining room décor and furniture, and unopened beauty and cleaning products that you never bothered using.

Once you have emptied out shelves and cabinets, be sure to throw away unnecessary papers, pens, damaged magazines (but try to sell the good ones,) and miscellaneous parts that are broke and you don't have the need for anymore. Oftentimes, companies will specifically make a part for a certain item that can't be used on anything else. Loose change may be found in peculiar places as you pack, jar it and take it to a coin center that will count your money. Most of these machines can be found in grocery stores.
After you have parted with some of your belongings and got rid of the items you considered useless, you will want to decide on whether your new apartment will be able to accommodate the large sofa and chairs or the huge entertainment center you may have bought not that long ago. If you choose to sell it, then you will have additional space in your new place that you may need. However, if you don't, you may have to sacrifice something else. Some people will invest in storage, but is it really worth paying to store items that you just don't know when you will be able to get out? If you are renting furniture then you won't have to bother with storing or selling anything; however, you may want to consider losing the additional expense if you don't have any of the furniture nearly paid off (such as 3 to 6 months left on your bill until you own it.) If saving money is a priority, then avoid storing or renting items.

Think about turning off any unnecessary luxuries and keeping them turned off temporarily such as the cable package with all the extra movie channels or the Internet service. Allow yourself some time to get caught up on other bills before you have your service continued. Check your cell phone plan is it better than most? Could you save money by switching? Make the time to shop at stores that offer rewards for being their customer and use coupons at grocery stores that will double them. These attempts at saving money will provide you with the additional money to get caught up on bills, make small purchases for your new home, and save for emergencies. Make a promise to yourself that you will be more careful with how you spend your money in the future so that you may never have to downgrade to a smaller apartment again, because you can't afford the rent.

The last thing on your "to do" list once you have sorted and packed all the items you decided to keep, should be to purchase the items you will need to help you live organized and clutter free. The following list will help you decide what you will need to buy based on what you may or may not have.

Anything that can be mounted to the wall, get the mounts to do it. If you have no free storage room at your new apartment complex and you have a bike, mount it to a wall to make more room and keep the tires off the floor. Also, purchase a TV mount with a VCR or DVD section like the ones you may have seen at the doctor's office. They aren't cheap, but they will definitely provide you with the additional space that an entertainment center takes up.

Any books, CDs, or DVDs that you kept can be set on a wall shelf. Collectibles can also be placed in a curio cabinet or something similar that suspends to a wall. Photos in boxes may be sorted and placed in large picture frames and hung on walls. Keepsake mementos can be framed allowing you to get rid of old shoeboxes and photo albums. You can also create more space for your media by purchasing a traveling CD case and getting rid of the CD stand along with the jewel cases.
If you don't have a bed rail or box frame with drawers for a bed, then consider buying one. They will provide the extra storing space you will need for your bedroom items. For the bed rail frames, they will set your bed higher allowing space for plastic containers to be stored.

Don't cramp any of your rooms with useless whimsical furniture that can hold or store any additional items. Keep only the tables that can hold a lamp and some magazines or have drawers.

Don't go overboard with décor. Too many collectibles and décor will make your apartment feel crowded. If you aren't use to a lot of décor, don't start. In time you will have to dust those items and if you don't like to dust, don't get them.

Avoid the temptation to unpack anything that you know you don't need to use on a daily basis. Any large boxes that aren't being unpacked, you can always drape them with a pretty fabric (such as curtains) and make them as a corner table or nightstand in your bedroom. Another way to hide unpacked boxes is to suspend a curtain from the ceiling and hide items behind the curtain, now you have just created your own mini storage room.

Consider back of the door organizers for the bathroom and bedroom. Since drawer and shelf space may be limited, you may want to place your smaller items in the pockets. In the bathroom, if there is space over the toilet, use that space for additional shelving to store towels and washcloths. If you run out of drawer room above the sink, use shoebox containers to store additional items or a drawer organizer or bin for easy access to your grooming supplies.

The most chairs you may need for entertaining is two reading chairs in the living room, if you don't have the space for a large couch. This will also provide the space for your computer desk and office chair. Unless you must have a coffee table, keep it only if it has drawers they would be helpful to your storing needs. It isn't necessary to keep end tables unless you have the space for them. They can sometimes be more of a problem then a solution. When guest come over the tables tempt them to want to eat and drink in your living room increasing the risk for accidents that may stain the owner's carpet that you will have to eventually pay for out of your security deposit.
You may or may not have a dining room. If you do, then you will need at least one large cabinet that you could place your collectibles if it has a display case. If you don't have any collectibles to display, then

purchase a cabinet with doors that you could store coats, umbrellas, hats and other outdoor apparel and sporting equipment.

Consider packing all of your keepsakes in those empty suitcases you will be storing in your bedroom. Since you won't be doing a lot of traveling, why have them in your closet empty? Organize your shoes with a shoe organizer. As for bulky items, the space saver bags that have been advertised on TV in the past will definitely come in handy.

In the kitchen, wall space can also be best used for large skillets and pans. Purchase hooks that can hold items inside the cupboard. The space over the sink could use a nice shelf to hold lighter items. Purchase shelving for seasonings if there is an empty wall near the stove. Extra kitchen utensils can be placed in casserole dishes or other large containers if you run out of drawer room. Keep only your best cleaning products, the ones that can be used on a variety of surfaces. Too many cleaners that only work for specific tasks can take up a lot of space in the bottom of your cabinet. Buy a very large plastic bowl, basket or rack to organize those items. You will need something that can remove all of your items under the sink at one time in case there are ever any leaks.

As you visit various stores, you will come up with more ways to make your apartment more organized and efficient. Remember to take this time to enjoy your new life and appreciate your new home no matter how small it may be. Think of the money you will be able to save in the future, hopefully for a down payment on a new home!

By N. McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media