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Over the course of June, I moved from a large one-bedroom apartment in the residential near-the-ocean side San Francisco to a tiny studio near Market St. We’re talking massive downsizing and culture change here.  I’ve been “settled” for a month now, but am still lacking some important furniture and tripping over boxes in the morning.  I’m close, though.

Here are the gem lessons I’ve picked up so far…

  • Getting a sunny paintjob and having a bed built into my walk-in closet were both really good ideas, and also made the fact that I had a month of overlap time between the two apartments completely necessary. I don’t know how it could have been done otherwise. (I have to keep telling myself this because paying double rent for a month was rough.)
  • I can live alone, but I can’t move alone. Getting help from friends made the job 75% easier.
  • Friends who have buff arms from rock climbing are inclined to carry heavy objects in exchange for bottles of bourbon.
  • Of the stuff that needs to be given away, offer the exciting things to friends. Crock pots, it turns out, are very exciting.
  • There are some things that are too nice to trash, not exciting enough to give away, and not [whatever] enough to donate. Things like half-used hair products and hot sauces.  I filled two trashbags with these things, called them Grab Bags, and offered them to friends under the condition that they take EVERYTHING inside them.  They went for it.
  • If your friends aren’t biting, Craigslist will literally take most anything off your hands within an hour. Swallow your pride and use the “Free” section. You need the quick solution, the extra time, the good karma, and that excited person’s undying gratitude way more than you need $20 right now. Unless you thought ahead, that is, because…
  • Whatever nonessential downsizing and upgrading you hope will happen in the midst of the Momentum of Moving actually needs to happen at least two weeks before the final move. Any sorting you procrastinate into those last two weeks has a good change of just getting thrown into a box and taken with you, and you’ll still be sitting on it after you unpack.
  • It wasn’t enough just to move and give away half my stuff. I also needed to migrate computers, face having to get a new phone (still procrastinating that one), and quit my job (sorta. long story. more on that one later), all at the same time.  There’s something to be said for dealing with lots of change at once, but damn that was a lot of painful displacement. I think I’d be easier on myself next time. (My poor partner kept half-joking, “Are you gonna get rid of me, too?”)
  • Professional carpet cleaners are AWESOME. But most of them need more than a day’s notice if you’re calling at the end of the month (when the rest of the city is moving, too).
  • How to clean when you’re moving: Start with the farthest room or closet from your front door, make sure everything is cleared out of it, spray it down with some fierce cleaner stuffs,  leave it for a few minutes, wipe it down, air it out, close the door, and tape that door shut. You’re done with that room for the rest of your life.  Now do the next one.
  • DON’T BE FOOLED. Moving doesn’t end when you’re done with moving.  Then you have to unpack.  AND UNPACKING TAKES LONGER.
  • But you can procrastinate that, since there’s no landlord looking over your shoulder reminding you of your deadline. Which means you may never finish it. Which sucks.

I think I’ll stay here for awhile.