I discovered the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up at the same time as one of my friends. This friend is just above forty years old, she has children, and like me, she had no idea we didn’t HAVE to keep all the stuff we did. The main difference between us was that she already had her own flat, and I still lived at my parents’, so she had more to declutter than I had simply because she had more space.
We decluttered around the same time, compared progress and encouraged each other when the process was getting tough. When we were pretty much done, that friend told me something I had never realised before. She said “Lucky you! You are not going to make the mistakes most people make when furnishing their flats for the first time. You’re not going to overbuy or buy things out of obligations”.
It turns out, I did make mistakes, but assuredly not as many as I would have if I hadn’t read Marie Kondo’s book first. I wanted to share my experience with you. And if you’re going to move into your first flat, you may be able to avoid the mistakes I made!
My best advice
The first trick is to never buy anything out of fear. Don’t buy two pots because you are afraid you will need two. Buy one pot because you know you will need it. Start from there and build as you go, if you need to.
The second trick is to establish what is important to you and what isn’t so much. What do you want to invest money in? I honestly think that buying a good bed should be the top item on anybody’s list. A good night sleep is a serious life-changer. Second thing for me was my couch and third were my pot/pan as well as my kettle. These were the things I was willing to invest money in. The other items, I was ready to spend less on. For instance, I spent less than CHF 50 on my plates, bowls, glasses and cutlery. Almost 5 months after moving in, I regret nothing! 😉
When moving in
The only things I bought specifically for my flat before moving in were my bed, my cutlery, plates, bowls, glasses, pot and pan. I did not want to start buying furniture before being in the space for a few days because it is too easy to buy too much or to buy things that do not fit the space.
The first few days, I only had a bed and a couple of stools I borrowed from my parents. I already knew before finding a flat what kind of bed I wanted, so when the time came to buy it, I was ready. I used two boxes stacked on top of each other as a table. Then I built from there, very slowly as I went. For instance, it took me more than two months to choose my chairs and my couch, and I survived quite well without these items. It was actually rather funny to try and live without certain things for a while.
First flat – list of furniture
Below you will find the list of what I bought in the first days, weeks, months of living on my own in a flat. I didn’t keep track of the exact days I bought things, so they’re an estimate.
- One bed (Day 1)
- One bedside lamp (Day 1: I already had it)
- One alarm clock that doubles as a bedside lamp (Day 1: I already had it)
- One wardrobe (Day 15: I kept my clothes in the built-in closet in my entryway until then)
- Two chairs (Day 70)
- Two bedside tables and the bed headboard (Day 90)
- One ceiling lamp (Day 110)
I have recently bought the headboard and the bedside tables that go with my bed. I didn’t need them at first, but I knew I wanted to get them at some point. I waited about three months before getting them. The only addition I will make is an extra wardrobe if my boyfriend comes and live with me. Other than that, I don’t think I need anything else.
The ceiling lamp was the most difficult item to find. I wanted it to be soft-looking, comfy-looking, and to fit my colour palette – but not completely white. It was a challenge, but I ended up finding the perfect lamp.
- One table (Day 15)
- Two chairs (Day 70)
- One pot (Day 1)
- One pan (Day 1)
- One colander (Day 30: after I tried to make pasta without it, I ended up buying one…)
- Eight plates (Day 1)
- Eight bowls (Day 1)
- Eight knives (Day 1)
- Eight forks (Day 1)
- Eight tablespoons (Day 1)
- Eight teaspoons(Day 1)
- Eight glasses (Day 1)
- Six mugs (Day 1-Day 120: some I already owned, others I received as a gift)
- Four cutting boards that double as table mats (Day 1)
- Two salad bowls that I also use as mixing bowls (Day 1)
- Ons scale (Day 120: I wanted to bake something, and then I realised I didn’t have a scale, so I went out and bought one :D)
- One waste bin (Day 1: I used one I already owned at first, then I bought a new one)
- Three recycling bins (Day 7: I started with simple plastic bags)
- One pair of salad servers (Day 120: I used a fork and a spoon at first)
- Three spatulas (Day 1: I got them from someone else)
- Food processor (Day 1: I got it from someone else)
I didn’t include food here but don’t worry; I fed myself well right from the start! 😉 About that food processor. I got it from someone else who bought it in 2007 and never got it out of its box… I was happy to get a free food processor, but I rapidly understood that it was just terrible. I don’t feel like buying a good food processor right now, but I am thinking about it and weighing my options. In the meantime, I simply make do without it.
- Four chairs (Day 70)
- One dinner table (Day 15)
- One couch (Day 70)
- One console (Day 90)
- One buffet (Day 90)
- Two stools that double as my coffee tables (Day 1: they belong to my parents, I will buy my own one day ;))
- Two plants (Day 1: I already had them before moving in)
I should say a word about the chairs as well. As you can see, they are scattered in my flat. They are actually part of one set. The goal was to have precisely enough seats and cutlery/plates to host an eight-people party. This calculation is pretty quick. I wanted to be able to host parties for my close family where everyone could be comfortably seated, and that would amount to eight people. I will use the stools if I need them for bigger parties.
- One washing machine (Day 90)
- One bath rug (Day 60: I should have bought one earlier… )
- Two towels (Day 1: I already owned them)
- One hand towel (Day 1: I already owned it)
- One hamper (Day 15)
I use the space behind my mirror to keep all my stuff. I found I don’t need extra storage. Again, I did not include the everyday products I used here. This is a list for another day.
- One vacuum cleaner (Day 7)
- One broom (Day 7)
- One bucket (Day 7)
- One all-purpose cleaning product (Day 7)
- One detergent (Day 90: I bought it when I bought the washing machine)
- One dish-washing liquid (Day 1)
- Two rags (Day 1)
And that’s pretty much it! I realise this article is already pretty long so I will tell you all about my mistakes in another article.
What were your goals when you first moved in? Do you feel you bought too much or just the right amount? Tell me about it!