Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Conculsion: Operation Love Your Rental

Oh my gosh we finally made it! Today is the last day of the 31 days series! I hope you liked it! It's been a journey for me, writing every day can get tough! I did miss a couple of days, as I'm just not used to writing on the weekends I think. I am pretty proud of how much I did accomplish this month though & I feel like I'm back in the swing of this blogging thing :)

Want to catch up on the series? Here you go!!!

1) 31 Days of Loving My Rental: Introduction

2) Living Life to the Fullest: Even When you Feel Unsettled

3) The Benefits of Paying Rent

4) What to do with White Rental Walls

5) Organizing Tiny Closets

6) Benefits to Not Having a Yard

7) Setting Priorities & Finding Motivation

8) Keeping up a Positive Attitude

9) Window Treatments

10) One Benefit of Renting: Flexibility

11) Treasure Hunting: Quilts & Afghans

12) Rental Furniture: Versatility in Furnishings

13) Finding Contentment in Renting

14) Learning What you Want

15) If it Doesn't Come With it, Build it!

16) The Replaceables: Change Them out Then Change Them Back

17) Dress it up for the Holidays

18) Cleaning the Rental: Just do it, or get it Done

19) What Makes a Home

21) What's Worth it?  Time in Home vs Money Spent

23) What you Have Now is What You Dreamed of Before

24) House Hunting for the Rental

29) Share Your Success Having People Over

30) Decorating with Art in Your Rental

I hope that you enjoyed the series :)  Get ready to see some awesome posts about our new place come February... until then, we'll be getting some holiday cheer on around here!  See you all tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Decorating With Art in your Rental Home

Back, waaaay back when I first started this blog, I told you all about a couple of pieces of art that I purchased for our house.  They weren't originals or anything, just prints of some paintings by some great Etsy artists.

"Seaside Quilts" by Medana Gabbard Gallery
 I love colorful paintings & would love to someday be able to purchase a couple of originals, but prints will do for now.

"Brave for Love" by joojoo

I don't really know anything about art, except for what I like.  I think that's good enough for me.  I like what I like & plan to decorate my house with as much of it as seems to properly fit.  I like finding artists I like & carefully selecting a print from them.  I love pretty colors & beautiful subjects.  I feel like I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to drawing & painting, so looking at what these artists can do is so amazing to me!

"Owl in a Little Red Beret" by Clear Jade Studio
Prints can be purchased in many different sizes.  They can be framed & placed all together for a gallery look, or placed as individuals around the house.

"To be Brave" by Mae Chevrette Art
Or you can throw up a line of yarn or rope & grab some clothes pins & have fun rearranging & putting up new prints as the urge strikes.  I love this option & have thought of doing it myself.  This could look awesome on a large wall.  Plus then you can change it up to be seasonal during the holidays or put up pictures sometimes or art done by your kids as well.

"I Make My Own Sunshine" by Ello Lovely
Do you have any art in your home?  Any originals that you really cherish? Who are some of your favorite artists to buy from?

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Share Your Successes - Having People Over

Oh this is kind of a hard one for me.  Some people seem to have the house that everyone always gathers at.  Is that you?  It's not me.  I don't know if it's because of my "introvert" personality, or my feelings that my place is too small to hold too many people, or what, but I often find myself shying away from inviting people over to our place.

I've been working on this.  We did host New Year's Eve at our house last year, and we do have friends over to visit here & there, but our house certainly is not the usually gathering place of our friends.  I think for us right now, the best options for having people over is smaller sized gatherings.  Like having one or two couples over.  This is the kind of gathering we are most comfortable in anyway, so it works best for us.

In order to try to open my house more to friends & family, I've been trying to keep up the interior & exterior of our home so that if a sudden opportunity to gather comes up, I don't have to run around the house like a crazy person trying to clean up for the visitor.  I want to feel able to invite people over at a moments notice if the occasion arises.  I need to have a picked up house in order to feel comfortable doing that.

I think it's important to have people over & share your space with them.  It's an opportunity to show others a little more of yourself.  Your home reflects your personality, things you like & enjoy.  If you don't feel like it does, change that!  Everything in your house you should love, or at least like!  The size of the home is not what matters, but the personality you put into it does!

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Binding Stitches: Coptic Stitch Journals

Today I'm starting a new mini-series on the blog.  Every Monday for the next few weeks I'll be introducing to you one of the various styles of binding I do for the journals & blank books I sell.  I'll show you some examples, & let you know what kind of process I follow to make each book & the materials used & time it takes to put each one together.

I'm starting today with the first type of book I started selling in my shop, my coptic stitch journals!

White & Gold Coptic Wedding Guestbook
I actually just added a bunch of these to the shop today too.  I love these books for use as guestbooks or sketchbooks because they lay completely flat when open.

Fabric Covered Coptic Journal
 They also make great journals!  The main materials I use for these books are:

*Bookboard (which I cut to size)
*Artist Paper (purchased in large sheets then torn to size individually by hand)
*Waxed thread (I like Crawford threads)
*Decorative paper for the covers (which I cut to size from large sheets)
*OR decorative fabric, which I make into bookcloth & cut to size
*Solid colored paper for the inside of the covers (usually Bugra paper, which I cut to size)

That's it!  Once all of my papers have been torn for the pages, I fold each piece in half & put them together with several others to form each section.  Books can have any number of sections, with any number of sheets in them.  A section with 4 pieces of folded paper will have 16 pages total.

I then cover the bookboard with the decorative paper or bookcloth, using a PVA bookbinder's glue.  I leave that between a few books to press & dry.  Then I adhere the inside solid paper with the glue as well & leave that to press overnight.

Once everything is dry, it's time to mark some holes in my covers & paper.  I measure out where I want the bindings sewn on the folded side of the papers & make small holes in each section.  I also measure out corresponding spots on the bookboard, making sure to do so on the right side of the board (so it doesn't end up upside down!) & make small holes in each cover as well.

Blue & Green Dots Coptic Bound Book

Then it's time to sew!  I usually sew my coptic journals with just one needle, although it can also be done with many needles, one for each row of binding knots.  The coptic stitch is a simple enough pattern once you get used to it, but it can be somewhat time consuming.  It can go by some other names as well.  It's also known as a chain stitch binding or kettle stitch binding.  This is my favorite part of the bookbinding process!

Circus Coptic Bound Ledger Style Book

Sections are sewn onto the book one by one, stacking each new one on top of the last one sewn, until they've all been added, and the cover is attached.

Floral Coptic Wedding Guestbook

The amount of time it takes to make these books can very greatly, but the whole process from start to finish for one book takes me between 40 min and an hour and a half, depending on the number of sections & pages & size.  That's obviously not including time spent pressing.  The boards must be pressed after gluing so that they do not bend from the moistness of the glue while they dry.

Also, I've got the process of making these books down pretty well & my system worked out so as to be as quick as possible while still producing a quality product.  The way that I do this is by making my books in a kind of self-production line style.  Meaning I decide how many books I'm making, then I tear ALL of my pages & cut ALL of my covers & then glue ALL of my cover designs etc... doing it this way seems to save time.  It would take much longer if I made each book from start to finish individually.  This is why you'll often see me add many of the same kind of book in the same week.

Do you like this style of book?  It's one of my favorites because of the exposed stitching.  What would you use this type of book for?

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Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm on Handmade Marathon at The Petit Cadeau Blog Today!

I interrupt my 31 Days series to bring you BIG NEWS!  Today, my little shop on Etsy is being featured on The Petit Cadeau as part of Alison's Handmade Marathon!

Brown Leather w/ Lace Journal


Case Bound Journal

How stinkin' exciting!  All month for the month of October, Alison has been presenting a different handmade artist each day so that we all an prepare for the upcoming holidays!

Exposed Binding Coptic Stitch Journal

You know you want to get your friends & family all super cool handmade gifts right?  Yea, so you should go over to The Petit Cadeau right away to see all the fab shops she has informed us about thus-far, and start following along to see the ones she still has remaining to introduce us to in the next few remaining days of the month!

Japanese Stab Binding Soft Cover Notebook

I have discovered so many great shops through this series of hers & I have a bunch of things pinned or heart-ed on Etsy so that I can head back to their shops when it's time to start buying gifts!  Head over there today to see what pretty things you can find!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

House Hunting for a Rental

I love love love house hunting! When I was a kid, we'd go camping every summer & we'd almost always go house hunting in whatever northern Michigan town we were in to see if there were any good vacation/retirement home deals in town that my parents might want to buy. They never did buy one, although I know they put some offers in on a couple. Anyway, it was always my favorite! Who can resist having a look in other people's home? Imagining yourself living there? Really? That's why HGTV exists right?

I even enjoy hunting for rental homes.  It's kind of a problem.  It's probably part of why I moved so much in my years out of college.  The hunting for the perfect place to move thing always sucks me in.  LOVE IT!  I'm so glad that my husband now pretty much leaves the hunting to me.  He goes along on the tours with me, for sure, but the info gathering & figuring out which ones are good enough for an in-real-life look is on me!  Yea!

Our current lease ends at the end of February.  So we'll be trying to move sometime in that month.  And.... I'm already looking obsessively at rentals.  You know, just to see what's out there (right?).  It is kind of giving me an idea of what kind of place we can get within the two towns we're looking at for our budget, but it's also kind of a tease for me.  Obviously, none of the places out there right now are still going to be available in February.  Plus, it's stinkin' February, there's not going to be as much out there in general, no one in the frozen tundra of Michigan moves in February, we must be nuts.

I pretty much do my rental shopping through real estate listings (I love Real Estate One's listings, they are great!) and Craigslist.  I've been pretty successful in the past with those two.  I don't really look at apartment complexes any more because of the things on our wish list:

-House or condo
-A place with a basement
-An odd lease length (15 or 16 months)
-In one of two towns (will consider a third if I have to)
-As close to the downtown area of those towns as possible
-Patio/porch & green space
-2 or 3 bedrooms (if 2, need space for office area as well)
-Space for dinning table - hubby wants me to build us a new one
-A fireplace would be awesome

There's a house available right now in a great location with a great large yard & 1300 sq feet (that's almost 500 bigger than our current house) in one of the two towns we're looking at moving too that's within our budget & I SO want it.  It's stinkin' beautiful & just my style.  I periodically take a break from staring at my database at work to stare at the pretty pictures of this house instead.  I know it's going to be scooped right up, it's too pretty not to.  It even has a fireplace...

There was another one last month in the same town, even closer to downtown, that was equally beautiful & perfect.  That one even had a front porch & was 100 sq feet bigger, but with a smaller yard.  $100 per month cheaper too.  Gah, that one is gone now though.  Maybe there will be another beautiful one right when we need it?  Hope hope hope.

That's one kind of hard thing about renting.  A lease ends, another begins.  We have to move in the middle of winter because that's when our lease ends.  I'll probably begin seriously looking in mid-December, but then if we find something we love we have to see if they'll wait 'till Feb for us to move, or if we have to move in January, and decide if we're willing to do that & pay 2 rents for a couple of months, or pass & miss our chance on a great place waiting on the hope that something else great will come along.  It's such a gamble.  Gah, it makes me nervous just thinking about it.

How far ahead of time do you start looking for a new rental?

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What You Have Now is What You Dreamed of Before

In the time since I graduated from high school, I have lived in 9 different places, in 7 different cities (not counting a short period of time returning to my parents house after college).  These places have included

-College-town dorm (1 year)
-College-town apartment with 3 roommates (2 years)
-College-town sorority house (1 year)
-Lake Michigan beach town 1 bedroom apt (6 months)
-Cheep, 1-bedroom apt on the "east side" (9 months)
-Larger 1-bedroom apt in HUGE apt complex (1 year)
-Smaller rented 1-bedroom condo in cute small town (8 months)
-Great single story 2 bedroom apt (so no one above or below me) with front porch & back patio in my most favorite picture perfect town (1 year)
-Current, 3-bedroom house in a different college-town (going on 4 years)

I tried to gather up some pictures of some of the places I used to live for this post, but have discovered that I don't really have many.  Pre-blogging days you know? 

In my 2-bedroom in the "picture perfect" town

What I can say is that for the most part, each new place I lived in was a upgrade in some way.  I now live in a 3 bedroom house with a yard, which I never had before.  My place before this one, which was my favorite, was in a great town, but it was smaller & didn't have a garage like my place does now.

My super small place before that was tiny, but it was just me & it had a huge closet & was in a pretty cute little town itself which was within walking distance.  It also had pretty real wood floors.  Plus it was a condo, so the rental agreement with the owner was really flexible.

Before that I was in a really large apartment complex.  The nice thing about apartment complexes is that they really do take care of everything.  Anything breaks, they will come fix it right away.  They have a whole staff just for that stuff every day.  So that was nice.  But their lease terms can be really inflexible & they almost always increase your rent after the first year.

My place before that one was kind bordering a not-so-great neighborhood.  It had a lot of subsidized housing right behind it with a playgound.  The children who played there found great enjoyment in screaming their little heads off all day long.  I don't get the satisfaction of screaming like a crazy person so much for no apparent reason.  Maybe it was because I was really young at the time & didn't/don't have kids, but it drove me absolutely nuts.

All this is to say that the place we have now IS better than anything I had before.  Really if you think about it, even if your place now isn't as great as the one before it for some reason or another, it probably is better in another way.  The place you are in now is probably something you only dreamed of before.  This is the case for me.  While my house isn't in the location of my dreams, I certainly never had a HOUSE before & that is certainly an improvement in many ways.  We also have 3 bedrooms & we have a garage, which I hadn't had before.

I also have an awesome hubby living with me here.  All my other post-college apartments I lived in alone.  I loved living alone, but I also love being able to have someone to come home to.  :)  I am thankful for the lire & place I have now as they are things I only dreamed of before.

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What is Worth it? Time in Home vs Money Spent

Last year when we decided we were going to stay in this rental home for another year, I decided I was going to do a few things to improve my perceived view of our house.

I did a major overhaul of our front yard's landscaping

Front Yard Update

I painted the bedroom

Painting the bedroom

And planted a garden in the back yard

Raised Garden

I even re-caulked the bathtub

Caulking the Tub

These things were worth doing to me.  I knew I was staying at least another year, and certain things had been bugging me about our house for long enough that I knew I needed to do something about it in order to feel comfortable for another year.

Now that we are planning on leaving here in a few months, I haven't been doing as much to the place itself.  At this time,  it's no longer worth it to me to do these kinds of things.  While I still do improvements to our surroundings, by making sure our place is clean, and decorating it for the holidays & taking care of our place, I haven't been doing any improvements to the actual house.

Sometimes, when living in a rental, there are things you'd like to change.  You need to determine for yourself if the things you'd like to do are worth the money to you for the amount of time you're going to be in the home.  A year ago, these things were worth it for me, now, they are not.  Now, I look forward to our new rental home, and possibly even making improvements there :)

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Makes a Home?

What makes a house a home?

Is it the size?

From here

Is it the colors?

From here

Is it the flooring?

From here

The kitchen?

From here

The size of the tub?

From here

The size of the yard?

From here

How clean it is?

From here

The city it's in?

From here
Or is it the people in it?

Biking in San Francisco w/ the coolest guy evaaaa
I'm going with that option :)

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cleaning the Rental - Just Do It... Or Get It Done

This is probably my number one tip for making your rental feel bigger.  Make sure it's clean!  Do whatever you have to do to get it there.  I follow my 5-minute rule in regards to regular daily cleaning kinds of things, and we also focus our "deep cleaning" on two rooms of our house every week.  This week is kitchen & laundry room week, next week is bedroom & bathroom, then living & dining, then office & bathroom.  This seems to work pretty well for us.

I don't like cleaning though, at all.  I especially hate dusting.  But I don't mind doing laundry.  I think it's probably because dusting was one of my main chores as a kid.  That & emptying the dishwasher, which I also hate.  Does anyone else seem to hate the chores they had as a kid most?  Gah!

Each year that we've stayed in our house, my husband & I have made an agreement that if we stayed, I could get a cleaner.  OH how lovely that would be... but has it actually happened?  Uh, no.  Blaaa.  I would love to have someone come every other week & clean for us.

From here

A couple of months ago we had to have a rental inspection done at our place.  It is a requirement of the city we live in.  I know it really doesn't matter, but I wanted our house to be spotless so that they couldn't blame any problems they found on us.  So we cleaned all week after work like crazy people.  Our house was the cleanest I've seen it ever since we moved in & it was SO RELAXING!  Our house looked, dare I say it, NICE!  All I could think was, oh my gosh, if we had a cleaner it'd be like this monthly!!!  It would be so lovely.

I'm still thinking about hiring cleaning help.  I even have a number for one that my friend has referred to me programed into my phone.  Just so you know, the reason we haven't hired one, even though we stayed in our house all these years, hasn't been because my husband has reneged on his promise that we could get one.  I basically just haven't made the call.  And why haven't I made the call?  Because of the money.  I figure we could have someone come once a month instead of every other week, but still, it's an additional cost that we don't currently have & I'm hesitant to pull the trigger.

Don't you find that your house seems so much bigger & relaxing when it's clean?  Do you & your family clean your own house?  Do you have someone come clean too?  If you do, how often do they come?

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Feel More at Home in Your Rental by Dressing it up for the Holidays

Maybe you were around this here blog last year in December?  Probably not though :)  Last year, my husband & I got our first REAL Christmas tree.  It was hubby's first real tree ever & my first real one since I was probably 10 or so.  I was so excited!

This past year or so, I've been really trying to dress up our home for the holidays.  I never used to.  We don't have kids, I didn't have that many decorations, and it seemed like it took a lot of work... it's not like anyone was going to see it anyway.  But I came to discover that when I did dress up my house for the various seasons & holidays, it was FUN.  I saw it, my husband saw it, if we had anyone over they saw it too.  It just feels more festive, more seasonal.  It's a way to switch things up in our house & not get as bored with it.

I love making wreaths.  Some of my favorites over the past year include my winter wreath from last year, my spring pinwheel wreath & my current fall wreath.  Wreaths are such a simple way to bring the season to our place.  I saved my winter wreath from last year, & it will for certain be up in my house again this year for the season.  I love that one!  I'm positive I'll make another one too though.  Probably a more Christmas-holiday related one.  They are just so pretty!

I've also found that there are other inexpensive ways to dress up your place for the season.  I've done a number of seasonal projects with things purchased from the dollar store up the street.  One of my most popular posts on this blog is about these Christmas decorations made entirely of dollar store products.

I also love to make my house smell like the season.  I discovered Scentsy last year & love using scents related to the holiday or season to make my house seem warmer in the winter or flowery-lovely in the spring.  The scent really does make a huge difference!

Dressing up your place for the holidays makes it feel more like "home".  For me, it makes me more comfortable & comforted.  I also am a big fan of cycles (maybe that's why I work for a school!) & I like the change of seasons that we have here in the midwest.  I love making my home reflect that!

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Replaceables- Change Them Out then Change Them Back

Almost always, when you move into a rental, there are things you don't love about the place.  If you owned it, there are probably a ton of things you would do to your rental to make it seem more "you" am I right?

I have come to figure out that some of these things, you can fix to your liking, while storing away the thing that was there to start with, so that when you move, you can take your thing with you, & put back the one that the rental came with.  Follow?

Ours is like this from Bed Bath & Beyond

For example, some bathroom fixtures you can do this with.  We had the most gross, falling apart, plastic shower curtain rod EVER.  We replaced it with a nice metal tension rod that is 500x better.  But, I did store away the old plastic rod.  My pretty rod is coming with me when we move, they can keep their crappy plastic rod.

There are tons of other things you can do this with.  Like ceiling fan blades, kitchen & bathroom cabinet hardware, overhead light fixtures (goodbye boob lights!), shower-heads, window curtains/blinds, mailboxes, or closet doors.  You want it to look better, but you don't want to be purchasing something for your landlord to benefit from.  So just take down theirs, replace it with yours, and store theirs so that when you move, you can take yours along with you & leave them with theirs.

This one looks NICE!  Bed Bath & Beyond again

I love love love this idea!  The only thing we've actually done this with is the shower rod, but I've considered doing it with the mailbox & the shower-head too.  Have you ever done this as well?

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Monday, October 15, 2012

If the Place Doesn't Come With One, Build It!

In the time I've been living in our home, I've had too many ideas, and not enough time.  One of the things I had big dreams for, that never actually came to be, was the laundry room/mudroom.  I've told you all about my discontent with this room before... and also about the shelf that was up on the wall that fell off the wall practically crushing my poor husband.

But, in addition to this being the laundry room we also use it to store our cleaning supplies, vacuum, steam cleaner, and we use it as our pantry too.

Our house didn't have a pantry, and the kitchen is just really tiny, so there really wasn't any place to put food.  Since the laundry room is right off the kitchen, it made sense to create a "pantry" in there.  We originally had just a little shelf in there but, I recently purchased a large, simple wire shelf from Target & stuck it in there to use as our pantry.  It works great & we have so much more space now that I'm able to house some of our small appliances on it as well like our blender, toaster, sandwich press & such.

On the other side of the room is where our cleaning stuff lives.  We don't have any kind of large closet space to put these in, so I've been thinking about building us a cleaning closet to put in there to hold all of our things.  Now that we'll be moving within the next 6 months, I wont be doing that build, but if we were going to continue staying here I would want to.  Having a space to put all of that stuff would make the room look so much cleaner & more put together.

Better Homes & Gardens

I did a post about some of the options I was considering some time ago, here.

I did build some shelves for our house to display pictures on & also to use for storage.  I think that there are a lot of things that if your place doesn't come with what you need, there are options for building them.  You can build shelves, pantries, kitchen islands, all kinds of things!

What have you built for your home lately?

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quick Thought: Learning What You Want

I just had a quick thought for today... having lived in so many rental homes, I feel like I've developed a pretty good idea of what I want when we eventually do purchase a home.  I also feel like I have figured out what kinds of things I can live with for a while, even if they aren't exactly ideal.  I feel like I have a good grasp on what can be changed & what can't, and what I could do versus what I'd have to hire help to get done.

I feel like this is a major benefit have having rented for so long in so many places.  For example, right now, our house is almost all pergo floors.  Except for the dinning & kitchen spaces, which are tile.  We also have never purchased rugs for our rooms, since for the 4 years we've been here, we're always thinking we're gonna move after "this" lease... but it just hasn't ended up happening yet.  (This time it will happen though!!!)

Anyway, today I was at my aunt & uncle's house & I spent most of the day laying on the ground on the carpet watching football with everyone.  I was laying there thinking oh my gosh I MISS CARPET!  I love hardwoods too, but I really wish that we had some carpet or a good squishy rug somewhere in the house to lay around on.  I'm really a fan of sitting & laying on the floor, and it's just not all that comfortable on cold hard floors.

Totally will be figuring out a way to have some comfy squishy flooring in our next place!!!

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Contentment in Renting

Gah!  I know I often go around talking about the benefits to renting, but just like lots of you, there are days when I really really hate it too.

When I look around at my peers, most of them already own a house.  My little brother has had his for years, my married cousins all have one, most of my friends here in town have them too.  Heck, a lot of people my age are selling their "starter homes" & buying their second houses!  But here we are, still renting.  Some days, particularly when things are not going right in our house, I feel kind of sad about it.  I feel like I got the short end of the stick somehow.

I know it's not true.  I know that this is our choice.  I know that buying at this point just wouldn't be worth it & could be a really big gamble.  I KNOW, but looking at other people's beautiful houses & knowing they own them can be so deflating.

But then, I am so lucky too.  I'm lucky to have been born in the US.  I'm lucky that we rent a house & don't live in an apartment (I've had many years there too).  I'm lucky to have found my hubby.  I'm lucky to have my jobs.  I'm lucky I was able to get an education (MPA baby!)  I'm lucky to have great friends, old & new.  I'm lucky to have an awesome family.  I'm lucky that we have enough money to take a little vacation every now & then.  God is good to us :)

I have so much to be thankful for, the list could go on & on.  Sometimes when I find myself feeling bad, I sit think about what I do have rather than what I don't.  I think about all the people in the world who have so much less & think, "dang Sarah, these are basically the definition of first world problems.  Get over yourself."

Right?  Sometimes it's just gotta be said.

Follow along with my 31 days of loving my rental series here:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shopping for Furniture for a Rental: Versatility in Furnishings

Have you ever noticed that whenever you move, the things that you have aren't quite what you need for the new space, and you always end up having to run to Ikea or something to buy something that'll fit just right into a new space. It never fails, at least not in my experience, and I've moved into a total of 9 different spaces in the time since graduating from high school. Every time I've moved there was something needed that I didn't have. Another lamp, a side table, a shower curtain rod, whatever.

If you live in a rental, it's almost a certainty that within a year or two, you'll be moving. Because of this, I think it's really important that if you're going to spend your hard earned money buying something to fit the place you are in, you want to make sure that things you buy are versatile enough to be used in many other places or situations. This is why when we decided we needed to buy a new couch, we went with a Karlstad modular set from Ikea.  We got the sofa & the chaise lounge.


Right now, our chaise is attached to our sofa at the right side (from the view of looking at the sofa).  But, the great thing about Karlstad is that if we move & the setup would work better on the left, we can switch it.  Or, if they can't fit together at all, we can separate the chaise & put it in the corner of the room or in another room entirely.

Our couch also has a removable cover.  We got ours in Korndal dark grey.  But if in a new space a different color would look better, we don't need a whole new sofa, just a new cover.  Love that!  Plus, the covers are washable, which can come in handy.

Another idea is to purchase a dining room table with a leaf (or 2!) included.  Maybe you currently need a small round table, but anticipate needing a larger table sometime in the future.  You could purchase a table that at its smallest size, is a round table, but if you add the included leaves to the middle later, it will turn into a nice long table.  Something like this:

Furniture Shopping .com

We also have a bed frame that we use which is able to be adjusted for a twin, full, queen or king sized mattress.  We currently use it with a queen mattress, but if we eventually want to upgrade to a king, we wouldn't have to buy a new bed frame.

Buying things like these now could save you money in the future when you don't have to buy all new furniture to fit your new space every time you move.  Furniture can be expensive & an investment, so choosing pieces that are versatile is so important when you know you're not going to be staying in a home for a long period of time.

Do you have any other ideas for furniture that is able to transfer easily to different spaces?

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