Moving blows. I’ve moved more times in the past four years than I care to count – into dorms, back home for the summer, into apartments, out of apartments. At least for those moves my parents (and their arsenal of Dodge vehicles perfect for hauling) were only 90 miles away. “Why yes Nicole, we’ll come out today to get a load of boxes, and then we’ll take you out to dinner!”
My parents were equally awesome when it came to moving from Iowa to Massachusetts – they supplied me with boxes, rented and drove a Budget truck to move mine and my boyfriend’s stuff out of our apartment in Iowa City and into their garage an hour and a half away, and then hitched a trailer to their Durango and made the 1,200 mile trip with us to Massachusetts (and the 1,200 mile trip back to Iowa). Because of all of their help, we saved at least a thousand dollars in moving costs and countless hours in frustration.
But there were still things that my parents couldn’t help me with – trips to Goodwill with clothes purged from our closet, packing up two years’ worth of accumulated junk, and cleaning every corner of our filthy apartment. And we were all on our own when it came to setting up our new place.
We were blessed with a pretty neat apartment in Iowa City. While it was a glorified studio with a curtain strung up between the living room and bedroom, it had tons of storage. There were two huge built-in bookshelves in the living room, and a wall full of built-in cupboards in the bedroom that were perfect for clothes, extra sheets and towels, cleaning supplies, and general crap with no other place to go. And all of this was on top of two pretty big closets. This made up for the cracks in the walls and hardwood floors that needed refinishing a decade ago.
So when we got to our apartment in Massachusetts, we were both pleased and disappointed. It had been recently painted, the hardwood floors were gorgeous, and the bathroom had been redone. But its three closets supplied less space than the two we had in Iowa City, and there were no built-in anythings. Plus, while we gained an office, we lost space in both the bedroom and living room.
Now we have the task of figuring out where to put…everything. We both had waaaaay too many books and one tiny bookcase. While we each have
our own closet now, my closet still doesn’t have enough space for me to hang all of my tops. We’re storing extra sheets and towels in a filing cabinet we found on the curb around the corner.
While this isn’t my first apartment, it feels like it is. I have never had to put this much thought into storage solutions or decorating, cruising Target and IKEA’s websites trying to decide who has the cheaper closet rod or which bookshelf would fit best in the living room.
In theory, this should be fun. Online shopping as a productive activity – who doesn’t like the thought of that? But it is frustrating, having an image in your head of exactly what you’re looking for and not being able to find something similar that fits your budget.
Now that we’ve been in Massachusetts for nearly three weeks, we’ve had enough time to get the basics, including one very tall bookshelf. We’re down to two boxes of random stuff that still need to be put away, but overall, we’re mostly unpacked. It’s not a perfect set up, but we’re getting closer.
These are absolutely insignificant problems. But right now, I still don’t have a job. I spend a lot of time in my home, and that’s exactly what I want it to be – a home. I want to be comfortable and happy here, not stressed out by clutter.
So fellow post-grad, if you haven’t found yourself here yet, you will.
A bit of advice – it totally helps to have a cat that makes you forget about the mess, your homesickness, and that “hopeless” job search. Trust me.