De-cluttering

Spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning when you’re moving! In addition to the usual tasks like scrubbing down the bathroom, cleaning out the pantry and organizing the coat closet I am attempting to go through knick knacks and clothes. How is it that I have piles of clothes everywhere but seemingly nothing to wear? As our new place will have one bedroom (instead of two like our current place) I am really trying to downsize and de-clutter. We will be sharing a small walk in closet so I am urging (read: begging and pleading) Jordan to trim back on his shoe and clothes collection as well. I want our new place to feel airy and open not like we’re drowning in knick knacks and laundry.

Last week I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and blog for a couple reasons. One, I had so much to pack that I felt guilty taking time away from getting my apartment in order. And two, I am horrible at keeping any “secrets” from spilling out as I type. I don’t have any skeletons in the closet but  over the past four years of blogging I’ve learned it’s better to keep some details and announcements under wraps until I’ve smoothed out all of the wrinkles. I needed a week to detach from blogging and hit the gym, pack up boxes, etc. I always miss this space when I am away, and though I have been blogging less than usual for the past few months I am excited for new content centered around my new place and life changes.

10 Things Moving/Spring Cleaning Related:

  1. I haven’t read “The Lifechanging magic of tidying up” yet but with all of the things I’m donating and throwing out I feel like now would be the right time to read it. I can use a little extra encouragement when it comes to tossing those cute shoes (I never wear because I can’t walk in them). Ha!
  2. I’ve been looking through Pinterest and Apartment Therapy for creative storage and organization ideas. I want everything from the closet to the kitchen to the bathroom to be clean and clutter free (don’t we all) and I think workable storage solutions make the biggest impact. I see a trip to The Container Store in my future!
  3. Speaking of which…new life goal to someday not spend 25+ days contemplating whether or not to buy a makeup organizer from The Container Store (and instead just buy it).
  4. This move is extra complicated because we are moving on a Wednesday. I couldn’t take the day off work to move and Jordan couldn’t really ask anyone to help him (because it’s a weekday). We found a really great deal on movers and decided to hire a couple guys for a few hours. I haven’t used movers before so I’m hoping it works out.
  5. As moving services can be expensive (even with a discount) I decided to take some of the clothes we are getting rid of to Crossroads, a consignment shop, to see if we could make any money from our old clothes. I’ve tried sites like Poshmark and ThreadUp in the past. I think consignment websites are great if you are selling a couple high end pieces like a purse, great pair of shoes or a jacket but seem like way more work than they’re worth for summer dresses, tees, inexpensive shoes, etc. I spent so much time and energy selling a pair of Ugg snow boots last spring it didn’t even feel worth it after Postmark took their cut out of the commission. Is your experience different? Maybe I’m just impatient with that sort of thing.
  6. Whenever I’m looking at cute studio apartment tours on Apartment Therapy (like this one)I can’t help but wonder where do these people keep things like vacuums, Christmas  decorations or snowboard equipment? Do they just not have all that extra stuff or are they secretly moving the big clutter from space to space as they perfectly curate each photo? Apartment dwellers please tell me how you conceal these items? 
  7. Packing up our medicine cabinet and bathroom cabinets I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t reorganize these spaces sooner. I urge you (even if you’re not moving) to go through your bottles of medicine and products and throw out everything that is expired or (if you’re like me) the empty hair products you have kept for whatever reason. Why did I insist on this extra clutter in my life?
  8. One of the only things I will miss about our current apartment is my turquoise and gold office. We used temporary wallpaper from Target to cover a dark red accent wall. I used this wallpaper but there are quite a few options at Target.com (many more than in stores).
  9. I promised Jordan that when we moved I would get rid of the canopy above our bed. I’ve had a pretty white canopy since my first studio apartment I moved into when I was 20. While I am a little sad to say goodbye to the girly touch I think it’s a fair compromise on my part (after all Jordan doesn’t mind the subtle unicorn theme in our living room and he’s lived under the princess canopy for two years).
  10. Over the weekend we hauled out three large boxes to a consignment store and even more to Goodwill. As a reward for parting with so many pieces I bought this cute gingham dress from Banana Republic (on sale!) and this Leith floral dress from Nordstrom. Now if only it would stop raining so I could wear them.

Happy Monday! If you have any spring cleaning or moving tips please send them my way.

 

Apartment Hunters III

It’s mid March (seriously can’t believe I’m typing that) which means I’ve started packing up the apartment we’ve lived at for the last two years (see my living room decor & walk-in closet/office decor). While I am always nostalgic when it comes to leaving a place I’ve called home I won’t be sad to leave our dark, ant infested space. The past couple weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. I find apartment hunting very stressful. The Seattle housing market feels very competitive, and while it’s all I’ve ever known it really has an affect on my anxiety levels. I can’t tell you how many places I’ve toured, fallen in love with and taken ten minutes to get my application material ready to apply for only for a leasing agent to tell me someone else snagged the place two minutes prior. Many charming period apartments with checkered floors and crown molding have slipped through my fingers.
As a huge HGTV fan (I know I’m not the only one obsessed with Property Brothers, Fixer Upper and House Hunters) I thought it would be fun to create a game surrounding our move. I’ll list three properties we toured (with faux pictures as the actual listings are no longer available) and it’s your job to guess which place we chose to call home.

Our wish list included:

  • A central location close to freeway access for Jordan and downtown so I can walk to work.
  • A community with parks, restaurants, and nightlife within walking distance.
  • Loads of natural light-our current apartment is so dark we are sick of feeling like we live in someone’s parents’ basement.
  • 2 bedrooms (or 1 bedroom with a den) so we can set up an at home office for Jordan.
  • No ants, hehe! But seriously insects are a deal breaker.
  • A bathtub, I bathe more than I shower and I can’t imagine not being able to unwind in a hot bath after a long day.
  • Secure parking for two cars.

Option One: Capitol Hill Two Bedroom

Pros

+This apartment is in a vibrant community with superb walkability, we can walk to grocery stores, restaurants and bars, I can walk to work and Jordan is close to the freeway for daily commuting. This neighborhood is hip and lively, known for the busy nightlife and strong LGBT community the neighborhood is popular among young people (and close to one of the law schools I’m considering attending).

+Two bedrooms means extra closet space and room for an at home office for Jordan.

+The large kitchen has a separate pantry, and lots of cabinets and drawers. I love that we could store all of our little appliances in cabinets instead of allowing them to clutter the countertops as they do in our current place.

+A small balcony offers fresh air and outdoor living space. Since we already have an outdoor bistro table it would be the perfect spot for sipping coffee on the balcony on warm mornings.

Cons

-This mid 90s condo has little character or personality.

-The bathtub is so shallow it’s hardly conducive of the relaxing soaks I like to read in nightly.

-There isn’t parking available in the building and finding street parking is difficult (if not impossible).

 

Option Two: Lakeview Loft

Pros

+Floor to ceiling windows let in loads of natural light and a partial view of a nearby park. Our current gym, Jordan’s favorite sushi spot and cute shops are within walking distance. A running path and park are close by for our daily recreation.

+Although the apartment is a “one bedroom” the master closet is a walk-in so there’s a good amount of space for all of our clothes and shoes.

+Polished concrete floors and an exposed wood ceiling give this apartment touches of character and style. Though the modern feel isn’t my taste, Jordan loves it and I know touches of my whimsical-boho style would help blend our decor styles together.

+ With a gas fireplace, underground parking, a shared gym and a rooftop deck this option has lots of amenities that make it feel luxurious.

 

Cons

-This apartment only has one bedroom meaning we will have to use part of the main “living space” for Jordan’s office (aka we have to find a way to conceal his messy workspace).

-Near the lake this neighborhood is bustling several times a year (4th of July, NYE, etc). This means parking can be difficult and the road we live on will be closed for community activities.

-At the tippy top of our budget this apartment doesn’t leave tons of wiggle room for decorating (my favorite part of moving)

 

Option Three: Eastlake House

Pros

+ This house has lots of character from a clawfoot bathtub to a working fireplace and crown molding.

+ A small bedroom/den next to the master bedroom could serve as an at home office for Jordan.
+ In a safe and desirable neighborhood the location offers access to the city and lake although there weren’t many restaurants or stores within walking distance.

+With 1200 square feet this space is the largest of all the places we had to choose from. Plus as a stand alone house (instead of a condo/apartment) we don’t have to deal with noisy upstairs neighbors.

Cons

-This old house has a dingy feel to it though the owner swears its been deep cleaned. Even after Jordan and I do a thorough scrub down I don’t think it will ever feel as pristine as we would like.

-The kitchen is very dated with an awkward layout. Closed off from the main living area this home is not ideal for entertaining.

-Alley parking means a large risk of dings and dents on our cars.

 

Okay guys now it’s time for the fun part! Which housing option do you think we chose? Which would you have picked? Check back tomorrow and I’ll reveal which apartment we chose. I can’t wait until we move in and I can start sharing our decorating journey.

Searching for your First Apartment: Tips & Tricks

When I began my first search for a big girl apartment the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college I was completely clueless! I had no idea what I was doing (though I thought I did) and in hindsight I should have reached out to an older friend or family member for help. Rather I scoured Craigslist hoping to find a space for myself, my boyfriend (at the time) and my 50lb dog. If you’re like me and find yourself searching for your first apartment in a major city you’re in for a cruel awakening! I was shocked by how difficult it was to find a place to live and the price I had to pay to live in the city. Over the past few years I’ve moved numerous times and enjoyed a handful of apartments in Seattle. I’ve made quite a few mistakes but learned a lot along the way. I thought I would share a few tips I learned for any other newbies hunting for their first place.

tips-and-tricks

1. Know your ABSOLUTE (I CANNOT GO ABOVE THIS NUMBER) maximum budget. 

It’s easy when you’re hunting for an apartment to feel tempted to grab an apartment that maxes out your budget (at least for me). When you find a great place with wood floors, granite countertops, high ceilings and the gym it seems like a race to sign the lease before any other potential tenant can. The problem is you’re often paying for more than you realize (especially as a first time renter). When I began searching for my first apartment a couple of years ago I had a certain limit I was willing to spend each month. When I fell in love with an apartment at the top of my budget I rushed into the decision without fully realizing I would be shilling out an additional $150 per month for parking, $50 per month in “pet rent” and $100 for utilities. These extra fees weren’t exactly hidden but didn’t occur to me until I was already in love with a place and practically willing to give up my first born child to live there. Now I set a budget and include parking costs and additional charges into my big number.

2. Know ahead of time whether you will need a Co-signer or you will be able to apply alone.

Most young people and students don’t have sufficient credit history to apply for an apartment alone (if you do I completely applaud you). As one of those people I try to go into apartment hunting knowing I will need a co-signer which means I let my co-signers know ahead of time what I will need from them and when. Some apartment complexes won’t want to rent to students or people who need co-signers which can feel pretty deflating, however, most buildings will understand and will still rent to you provided you are timely with your co-signer’s application and the signer’s credit and income are sufficient.

3. Look at multiple properties/units even if you LOVE the first one you view.

Searching for a new place (especially your first place) is super exciting! You may walk into your first apartment tour and immediately envision your fabulous new life in your chic new spot. While it’s fun to mentally plan out your throw pillows and gallery wall before you even leave the building remind yourself to take a deep breath and let it all soak in! Though apartments do go fast (especially in major metropolitan areas) keep in mind there are always more opening up as well. By jumping into a lease at the first apartment you check out you may be missing out on other places with better amenities or more affordable accommodations. I’ve found making a “Pros” and “Cons” list complete with the unit’s price/location/square footage is helpful for comparing places. You may find a great new home after just a couple tours or it may take upwards of 12 (my last move). Don’t over-think it but don’t rush yourself either!

4. Ask about the average utility cost and if it is included in the monthly rent price.

As referenced in my first point utilities are an extra expense most units will require you pay separately each month. In my experience utility costs vary greatly based on a variety of factors. Some landlords offer to pay water/sewage/gas and only require the tenant to cover electricity. Some modern apartment buildings are up to date with newest green technology resulting in extremely low utility costs, some older houses (unfortunately) may shock you with OUTRAGEOUS utility bills due to out of date heat retention and methods. Ask about the average utility cost so you know what to expect when your first bill arrives. No one likes running back to Nordstrom to return their new Tory Burch flats when an outlandish electric bill shows up in your mailbox!

5. If you have a pet critically consider how the space will work for them.

A small space may work for a pet if the property has a communal yard, rooftop dog park or park within walking distance. However it is important to be honest with yourself about the needs of your furry friend and the time you are willing to dedicate satisfying them. It won’t matter that there is a great dog park across the street if you never walk your dog over there because it’s too cold or your too busy. A bored or neglected pet is more likely to act out and damage your apartment meaning a large chunk of security deposit money you won’t get back later.

6. Don’t discount older apartments right away.

While brand new places with wood floors and granite countertops have more “curb appeal” so to speak, they’re often more expensive and offer less space for your money. It is important to live in a space you find aesthetically pleasing (or at least aesthetically “do-able”) but many older places can be spruced up with the right decorations, lighting and a two hour dedication to temporary wallpaper.

7.  Drive through the neighborhood during the day and especially at night.

Safety has always been a primary concern for me when it comes to choosing my next home, however, I haven’t always effectively evaluated the safety of my new neighborhood. Research your apartment building and neighborhood thoroughly before making a final decision. Drive by during the day and at night. Check it out on a week day and on a weekend. Take notice of the facilities across the street and on the other side of the block. My first apartment was across the street from a drug rehab center and down the block from a homeless shelter. I don’t have a problem with either of these facilities but they speak to the vibe of the neighborhood and honestly made walking around as a young woman a little too sketchy for after dark! For my next two apartments I really evaluated the neighborhoods prior and was thankful I did. My second apartment was also in a busy community but was close to restaurants and vintage shops as opposed to the epicenter of the city’s crime. On the other end of the spectrum my apartment now is in a quiet family neighborhood which I don’t mind but would bother many other twenty-somethings looking for a more lively city vibe. Do your research!

8.  Make a list of “MUST HAVES” & a list of “It Would be Nice to Haves”.

Everyone has specific qualities they’re searching for when they begin their hunt for their picture perfect, Pinterest-worthy apartment however most of us also have a budget! You may want new hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, stainless steel appliances, underground parking, a rooftop pool, balcony attached to the unit and electric fireplace but may be living on a “this carpet hasn’t been replaced since the 1970s” budget. Know which qualities you really truly need (a unit with a washer and dryer? a reserved parking spot? a safe neighborhood?) and which would be nice to have if the opportunity arises (crown molding? a clawfoot bathtub? a walk in closet?).

9. Consider the amenities and whether or not they’re worth it.

The new, expensive state of the art apartment complex downtown may offer a hot tub, two gyms and a rooftop deck (which is all very exciting) but may not be worth the premium cost. My first apartment downtown was small but packed with amenities. I paid more per month than I would have for a larger place without a dog park on the roof, gym and community areas. Though the gym was definitely a perk and the dog park convenient looking back it wasn’t worth the extra money. I could have had a larger apartment and paid for 3 gym memberships with the money I would have saved in a less trendy building and location. I’m definitely not saying the amenities aren’t worth it just advocating you really consider what you’re paying for!

10. Think critically about who you are living with.

My first apartment was a small studio with a dog and (ex) boyfriend. The space became cramped very quickly and now (due to my bad experience) you couldn’t convince me to live in a studio EVER again. Plenty of people happily live in small studios with a roommate or significant other however it is important to be honest about your needs as an individual and your compatibility with your roommate. 1000 sq. ft. can feel too small if you’re living with the wrong person! When living with a roommate discuss living arrangements prior to move in (even if it feels awkward at the time). It’s important to come to an understanding regarding living standards (how often will we clean the bathroom, is eating on the fancy couch acceptable, is my pet allowed in your room, etc) as well as the other person’s general lifestyle and financial agreements. There will be small misunderstandings even with the most heavenly roommate (Why doesn’t your BFF ever remember to take out the recycling?) but most problems can be avoided by being proactive rather than reactive. It is important to be honest with yourself about your roommate situation. If your Bestie is a party-animal and you’re SO not you might be perfect roomies (because she heads downtown to get her dance on) or it might cause too much relationship stress (when she hosts a “Frat Style Rager” the night before your big presentation). Just because someone makes a great friend doesn’t make them a compatible roommate sadly!

princess-apartments

This isn’t my actual apartment building ya lurks (;

When all else fails don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion from a friend or family member! I am occasionally independent to a fault (& stubborn too) which means I miss out on the valuable opinions of others. You don’t need to act on the advice your friends and family give you but it certainly doesn’t hurt to consider it!

Good luck with your apartment hunts now and in the future! Searching for a new place can be overwhelming but it is also a lot of fun, there’s nothing like creating a comfortable new oasis for yourself and a reflection of your life!

Do you have any apartment hunting tips & tricks? Please share!

Move in Weekend

After an exhausting weekend moving Monday seemed to arrive faster than ever. I was so unprepared for the move into our new apartment, when Friday morning rolled around we spent the entire day packing and then moved everything late into the night. I am SO not a night person and we didn’t get to sleep until 3:30am which is almost unheard of for me. I swear I was running on pure adrenaline (& coffee, always coffee).

home-sweet-home

After my last apartment went into foreclosure I spent the past three weeks living with Jordan and his roommates in a house in the suburbs. He was so sweet to let me stay with him however despite his kindness the house never quite felt like home. If you’ve ever moved into someone else’s house with them you know it can be difficult to give it your own personal touch. I found myself saying “When we get to YOUR house…” only for him to repeatedly cut me off “You mean OUR house“, it was a sweet sentiment but if you’ve ever moved in to someone else’s already established place you can relate: it never quite feels like home. Consequently I was anxious to find a new apartment back in the city. I grew up in the suburbs and completely loved it but moving back reminded me that at this stage in my life I am 100% a city girl.

Ikea-shopping

Ikea shopping like pros.

I played a little guessing game (thank you everyone who participated) and want to reveal I picked apartment #1 (Magnolia Condo). We moved in on Friday and I am so in love with the place already. The two bedrooms are coming along nicely. We made the choice to use the smaller room as our bedroom and it is currently feeling quite cozy and uncluttered (just the way I want it). The second bedroom will be used as an office and walk in closet (we both have an affinity for shoes…) and though there are still quite a few unpacked boxes in the mix the room is really coming together. The living room/dining room area is a separate story altogether. Walking in the door it currently looks like  you’ve arrived on trash island (as it is filled with huge piles of flattened cardboard and packing paper) but I know it will fare much better once our furniture arrives. The current way we greet our guests is by inviting them to eat dinner with us in bed. It’s a friendly vibe (;

kitteninabox

A small taste of trash island (and me pretending to be a kitten in a box).

The biggest downside of this apartment was the lack of natural light. The living room is fairly bright as is our bedroom but the office/walk-in closet was horribly dim. It didn’t help that even though it was the darkest room it had a red accent wall that was making the whole place feel like a gloomy dungeon. Every time I entered I couldn’t help but make some sort of negative comment about how horrific the red wall was (as a whole I don’t love red as an interior paint color but in this room it was especially bad). We didn’t see painting as a viable option since it is a rental but I really couldn’t accept how badly my cute turquoise and gold pieces were going to clash with the bloody wall of death (is that dramatic???). Luckily I stumbled upon the most lovely temporary wallpaper at Target and was able to lure my lovely Jordan into helping me transform the death wall into my dream office.

before

after

My dream office is becoming a reality!

I know these aren’t exactly the best photos in terms of perspective but as you can tell the wallpaper has really transformed the room. I can’t wait until my cute prints from The Preppy Printshop arrive so I can really spruce the place up. Interior design is consuming all of my thoughts lately. I am so anxious to have a real home I have to remind myself not to rush through it…decorating is a process. I still can’t wait to take photos of the finished apartment and give you guys a virtual tour of the place. Am I the only one who is creepily obsessed with seeing how other people live? I am by no means an interior designer but I find the whole process to be such a blast. I’ve had the best time coming up with themes/color palettes for each room. I am so thankful Jordan and I vibe so well when it comes to decorating.

How was your weekend? Do you get lost in the interior design process? All I want is a picture perfect apartment straight out of Domino Magazine (or the Pottery Barn Teen catalogue) is that too much to ask?

xxoo,

Jordyn

Apartment Hunting

Girls HBO Gif

This just feels fitting

Late last week I received a disturbing phone call from my roommate informing me that our apartment is in foreclosure and our landlord requires we move out as soon as possible. My initial reaction was shock. I just moved in at the beginning of January and had no intention of moving until summer at the very earliest. Slowly my shock morphed into panic, though I dislike discussing money (it’s really not the focus of this blog) I’m pretty broke. As a nanny living in a fairly expensive city with student loans and medical debt I don’t have a lot of money on hand to up and move apartments with little notice. A wise, financially responsible adult would have had money in savings for emergencies such as the one I encountered but given my current life situation that was not my financial budget. A forty second phone call left me both homeless and hopeless. I did my best to keep from freaking out mid work day (I’m so proud of myself for not crying) but my mind was racing. All I could think about was the following month…where would I live? How could I possibly afford it? When could I possibly find the free time to pack up and move?

thisishow

I’ve spent the past few months working tirelessly (or so it feels like) to build a more stable and independent life for myself that it is so disheartening to feel like the little progress I have made is being ripped away from me. Still I knew I could only spend so much time wallowing in self pity. Whether I liked it or not the clock was ticking as I felt sorry for myself and the time I had left in the home I had established for myself was running out. My only choice was to look forward so I hopped on Craigslist and searched for apartments the entire weekend. Friday thru Sunday I looked at 12 apartments and honestly it was exhausting. I had so many criteria I wanted met (parking, space, location, price, aesthetics, washer & dryer, natural light) but I knew in order to satisfy one need (ex. parking) I would need to give up another (ex. location). The entire hunt was disheartening to say the least! When I found an apartment I could imagine living in there was always a catch or reason it wouldn’t work. The process made me feel small and weak and helpless.

dumbwhore

Sunday morning I toured three separate apartments. They were all lovely and I could see a happy future in each of them but by Sunday afternoon I was sobbing into my white duvet. I was so upset over the whole process, my lack of credit, lack of money, the suddenness of it all! I was sick of moving (I’ve moved 5 times in the past year), sick of feeling homeless, sick of feeling like a nomadic wanderer. I needed a few minutes to just feel sorry for myself and the difficult situation even though my life is so lovely and happy overall. I cried big fat mascara tears to Jordan as he attempted to comfort me by discussing new decorating options and promised to help me pack up boxes and move. I was so wrapped up in my temper tantrum I threw my white (newly stained with mascara tears) ruffled bedspread on the floor and buried my head into my pillows.

“I’m not an adult!” I cried. “I can’t handle adult problems, I still have a bedspread from the children’s section at Target”. I know I can get a new bedspread if I really want to but what sort of person buys a new adult bed spread before they’ve even found a new adult place to live? It’s asinine. The whole situation feels asinine and hopeless and big! The whole world seemed bad and mean and unjust and cruel (and these were just my feelings over impending homelessness) think if I were to face an actual big girl tragedy.

iamokay

So here I am in the process of hunting for an apartment with nothing but student loans looming like a dark rain cloud over my head, a nanny salary and a whole lot of shoes to make room for. In the words of Marnie from Girls “I may not seem okay, and I might not be okay now. But I am, like, okay”. Being a grown up is hard sometimes but at least apartment hunting is sort of fun?

What do you look for in an apartment? Have you ever had to move suddenly? Were you as stressed as me?

xxoo,

Jordyn