I am spending the third month in my new apartment, having moved just before the holidays and spending quite a bit of time getting settled and finding a place for everything. It has been a fairly amazing endeavor that has also resulted in yet another step in downsizing.
While I had to move from my beloved little 650-square-foot bungalow behind a historical home, I found another 650-square-foot bungalow in a community for retired folks. While the space is about the same square footage, it is configured differently, requiring some fairly constructive rearrangement of my stuff. In the process, I have discovered yet more realities:
• Whatever you have, it’s still too much. My past place had abundant wall display spots and more storage space that allowed me to slowly collect pieces of art that I fell in love with and treasured. The configuration of my new space required deft placement in different places.
• When you’re single and are living in a small space, you don’t need a lot of plates. I pondered, worried and debated with myself on some new dishes. The ones I had for years and really, really liked had acquired small chips and needed to be replaced. I loved these rectangular plates that fit well in my cabinets; alas, the company that made them discontinued them, so I had to find something totally new. Interestingly, manufacturers feel that we all need two sizes of plates, regular and smaller ones for – whatever. They also think we all need cups and saucers. Not only does my space not allow for seating 12 people at a table for elegant dining, I don’t have space to store an abundance of dishes. I now own service for six in unbreakable Corelle with no cups nor saucers. Service for six only because companies don’t make service for four.
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• I’m more aware of what I choose to cook on my stovetop. When you live in a small space, whatever you cook has a tendency to leave odors behind for far longer than you expect or want. Beautiful days that allow you to open windows wide will help, but those times are short-lived and few. While I may love the tantalizing odors of a special meal, I really don’t want to have the entire apartment smell like last night’s dinner when the next day arrives.
• In addition to being picky about cooking dishes that leave odors that waft about the apartment, I’m also picky about which dishes to prepare that leave spatters on the stove. While I’m perfectly capable of cleaning the oven (topside as well as inside), I’d really rather not have to do that on a regular basis. I’ve become a big believer in pot covers and aluminum foil that prevent oven spatters pretty much completely.
• I now have fewer places to store up basics (paper towels, toilet tissue, cooking supplies) than I used to have. Because I’m somewhat anal-retentive, whatever I elect to stash away has to be in close proximity to where it’s needed. I have lots of space available in the kitchen pantry, but that’s problematic for me when I need to hide toilet paper. The big jug of clothes wash soap needs to be close to the washer, but it took me awhile to find an appropriate place for it.
While it took time and more than a little thought, I have slowly found spots for all my belongings in places where they need to be. It’s been a creative process, but it’s done.
My challenge now is remembering where I stashed everything.
Bonnie Allmon Coffey has true friends who attended her open house in her new home. Seven fabulous friends had to rotate sitting since there was room only for five to sit down at one time. Bonnie has really, really good friends.