Downsizing – Coping with 400 less sq. feet

For the last 3 years, I had the luxury of sharing a 2 bed/2bath condo in West Hollywood.  First with a roommate for 2 years, then with my Jefe for the last year.  But at the end of July, Jefe and I were forced to move due to landlord issues.  I admit that we were renting our old place for a steal so we knew when we started apartment hunting, that we’d be forced to downsize.  I was shocked at how true that statement turned out to be.

Turns out, when I have 1300 sq. feet of space at my disposal, I WILL FILL IT.  I had to learn the hard way that if there is empty space available, it’s very easy to continually shove stuff into every closet, cabinet and corner available without ever truly evaluating what I have and purging what I may not need any longer.  Below is a quick tour of the old place:

(Note that these pictures were taken shortly after Jefe moved in to the old place and before we broke out the paint cans, bought an island, hung nicer curtains, etc.  I unfortunately don’t have many “after” pictures as we moved in such a rush.)

Two months later, we’re finally settled in to the new place, but I’m still working to weed out the things I’ve discovered that I truly don’t need as you can see from the below (please excuse the work in progress that is our apartment…):

Thanks to some serious prodding from Jefe, I had to realize that without the space, I can’t hold on to such things as unused decor or uncompleted design “projects” that there just is not space for.  When downsizing from 4 full closets, a kitchen the size of a sailboat, a linen closet, and a dining room hutch to 1 closet, a tiny linen cabinet and a kitchen the size of a dinghy, I had to reevaluate….

  • Having an Ikea lamp reworked to fit a standard lampshade I loved.  Lets be honest – when do I have the time to find a place that repairs lamps?  It probably would have cost more to get it reworked to fit the lampshade than it cost to buy an entirely new, standard size lamp.
  • Throw pillows with less than stellar covers (my no-sew hem tape skills still leave a bit to be desired and I have yet to acquire a sewing machine)
  • Picture frames that although I love, don’t fit the style of our current decor
  • More Christmas decorations than kitchen supplies (sad by true)
  • Books I will never read.  Although much to Jefe’s dismay, I’m still holding strong to my Twilight series.  He’s currently considering purchasing them for me on my Kindle so he isn’t embarrassed by their visible presence when we have guests over.
  • Owning enough candles to burn down a city block

I had to learn the hard way that I can’t just store things without truly evaluating if I will ever use them once they’re behind closed doors.  Hoarding tendencies run strong in my blood and it’s nice to be on the path to a somewhat simpler life.  And I can finally admit that I do not miss the vast majority of the things we donated to Goodwill/resold on Craigslist.

Although I miss the amount of decorating opportunities such a large space provided, at this point in my life, I’m working 10-13 hour days and am exhausted by the time Friday night rolls around.  That leaves little time for large-scale decorating.  So for now, I’m focusing on really turning our smaller space in to a home so on the weekends, we can just enjoy the space we do have.  I’m also looking to take on side projects that include badgering my friends to let me redecorate their places, which would leave less time for my own.

Finally, this large-scale purge of ours will hopefully make it easier when the big moving day to NYC comes along, whenever that may be.