I didn’t get a lot of unpacking done when I moved in at the start of July.
Mostly, that was because I was only here for a couple of days and had a lot of things that needed to be done outside the flat – visiting my new university, sorting out paperwork, going on days out with my parents… but it may also have been because I am slightly overwhelmed by the task.
This is the view that greets me from my door when I walk in:
The sunflowers were a gift from one of the students I was looking after this summer. The shopping bags contain items for my storecupboard, as yet not put away, and items for the foodbank, as yet not assigned a halfway home (the foodbank collection point is at my church, which isn’t open on weekdays). The boxes contain books and knick-knacks which will go onto the bookcase I haven’t yet bought, because there isn’t anywhere to put it, because there are boxes everywhere.
It’s no better from any other angle:
I do have a few clever ideas about how to solve the problem. I’ve ordered an over-door storage hanger for the bathroom, where there is precisely no storage at all, so that I can move all my bathroom things (cleaning products, shampoo, spare razors, soap, bubble bath for the bath I don’t have, perfume I don’t wear… maybe I should have a clear out too) out of the kitchen cupboard.
This is definitely not the best possible use of this space. Once the bathroom things are cleared from the top shelf (and I’ve just spotted some shower gel down on the bottom shelf as well), I will probably use this cupboard for my larger kitchen appliances – my slow cooker and my KitchenAid, if they’ll fit on the bottom shelf, and my blender on the top. Hopefully there will also be space for the dozens and dozens of plastic storage tubs I’ve amassed, and some kind of caddy for cleaning cloths and bin bags. That’s step one. It won’t actually make a whole lot of difference to the box mountains, but it will make the kitchen and bathroom a lot more useable.
Step two is trickier, because it requires the purchase, delivery and assembly of a bookcase. I am dithering over which one to buy – the solid wood, medium height shelves from the local shop, a basic but expensive to deliver one from Ikea, a fancy one with five shelves and two drawers from Argos, or another one I haven’t found yet. I’m heavily favouring the drawers, simply because it provides me with another type of storage in the same footprint, but I haven’t decided yet. I need to decide quickly though, so that it’s ordered and delivered before my mum and stepdad visit on Sunday, along with their toolkit and a willingness to assist in furniture assembly.
The elements of another plan are visible in this photo. On top of the wardrobe is a plastic storage box which contains my sleeping bag and air mattress, and above that a bag containing a single duvet for visitors. In the bottom left hand corner is a packet of vacuum storage bags. I am going to combine these items in a cunning manner, just as soon as I can clear enough floor to drag the communal vacuum cleaner in from the hallway. The flat-packed bedding will go… somewhere. I’m not sure. Maybe the drawers in the non-existent bookcase? Maybe the bottom of the wardrobe, along with almost everything else I own? (In case you’re wondering, the bookcase will go where the wooden shelving unit that the guitar is leaning against currently sits. The unit is fairly useless: it’s wobbly, the shelves are stupid heights and it is nowhere near tall enough to justify its footprint. I’ve emailed the landlord to ask if I can dispose of it, since it was left by the previous tenant.)
The one thing I am fairly happy with is my food cupboard. It’s by no means perfect – I’m weighing up the advantage of removing my crockery from the cupboard against the disadvantage of having it sit out on the worktop – but it is workable for now. There’s a fruit bowl on the counter which can house fruit and some vegetables. Other veg will go in the fridge. Things like potatoes will go… somewhere. Maybe in the fruit bowl as well and I’ll call it art.
The bit of the flat that these photos don’t show is the section between the bathroom door and the kitchen, where my gateleg folding-leaf table sits. At present I don’t have any chairs and am perching on the edge of my bed to use the table, but I’m on the lookout for some folding chairs of the right height that will slide underneath the folded down table when I’m not using them. Space is at such a premium here that I simply cannot imagine where I would put real chairs. I’m not wholly sure where I’m going to put the two suitcases and one bag that I still have to finish unpacking, and I am fairly sure that I’ll spend the rest of my time here tripping over the laundry basket, which has ho logical home whatsoever. If anyone has any clever storage tricks, I would love to hear them, bearing in mind that I can’t put up cupboards or shelving and there is literally no spare wall space anywhere.