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  • Amanda Tharp

Staying sane while moving

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

When you first buy a home, move into a new rental, or decide to refresh the vibe in your current home it is very easy to become overwhelmed. Where do you start? Should you buy one piece at a time or buy as much as possible before moving in? How do you bring your own personality into the space? What design style are you going for and how do you make it happen? All excellent questions, but not that you can tackle all at once without wanting to cry. To avoid crying I suggest some simple planning and design triaging in the beginning, which I’ll walk you through.


Where do I start?

"To avoid crying I suggest some simple planning and design triaging in the beginning"

I cannot under sell the power of a thoughtfully designed space. We spend about 90% of our lives indoors and much of this 90% in our own home. Our space has the power to change our daily lives. For this reason (and to avoid crying as previously mentioned) it’s important to think through how you’d like your space to feel and what you hope to do there. Obvious tasks of daily life aside, what could you improve in your life if your home supported it? Would it strengthen your friendships if you had a better layout for entertaining? Could you focus more on the new book you’re writing if you had a peaceful space to shut out the world? Think this through and write down a few goals you have for your new space. We will come back to these.


Next, what design style fits your personality and goals for the space? If you don’t know where to begin, try our design style quiz here.

Lastly, write out a budget for yourself to ensure you’re not over-extending yourself as you begin to make purchases. To see how much various home goods cost check out our design palette examples here. In addition, shop around online and in your neighborhood. If you like vintage styles craigslist and Facebook market place in addition to local antique stores are also excellent places to start researching costs.


Time to finally get moving!

When it’s finally time to move into your space I like to tell clients to start out with the very basics, holding on new purchases until they’ve lived in their space at least 2 weeks. During these 2 weeks you’ll get a feel for how you want to use the space, if you have enough storage, which area of the space is your favorite and what you’d like to do there to achieve the goals you’ve already planned for your space.


So what are the “very basics” you’ll need for your first two weeks in the space? These can vary for each of us depending upon how many belongings we’re starting out with and what we like to do within our homes on a daily basis. I like to think of them in four categories: 1. Sleeping: a good mattress and pillows, organic cotton sheets and cozy blankets are a must


2. Working & Eating: Don’t stress if you don’t have the perfect table and chairs or desk right away - a simple and affordable folding table and chair will suffice for both eating and working at first and are flexible pieces to keep long term even after you find your future furniture.


3. Unwinding: a killer lounge chair is a great place to start if you’re keeping existing or lucky enough to find this before moving in. If not, your comfy mattress already covered in category 1 will work for this category in the short term.


4. Living Well: In addition, I always suggest purchasing a few nice house plants during these first two weeks. House plants are practical and beautiful! They are cheaper than furniture, add character and life to a space, can boost your mood, lower your blood pressure and clean your air!


With just these few basics you can already sleep, eat, work, enjoy nature and watch a movie in bed before any of your boxes are unpacked!


Once you’ve reached the end of your first two weeks identify the spaces in which you spend the most time each day and were noted in your goals list. Think about the most important utilitarian pieces in these spaces and start there. Decor can come slowly over time but the utilitarian pieces will allow you to both set the style trajectory and use the space as soon as possible. For example, if you hoped to have a better space for entertaining family and friends you’ll likely be spending a good bit of time in the kitchen and eating space. The table and chairs in this space are the most functionally important and the most prominent pieces stylistically, aka the perfect place to start!


After you have a basic or two in each of your most used rooms move onto the most functionally important supporting pieces in these rooms such as coffee table and media cabinet in the living room, bookcase in the office, etc. As time progresses you’ll begin to add art and vintage treasures to each of these spaces as you find them. In all of these decisions be sure to consider your original goal list, budget and always value quality and function over quantity and expedience. Elements with a story will make your space feel richer and more uniquely yours so resist the temptation to run to the nearest big box store and outfit your space all in one fell swoop. You won’t regret it!


Need help determining your personal style? Looking for curated room designs to see how things could all come together? Check out the New Collective website, links on the homepage.


#slowdesign #newcollective #interiordesign #healthyliving #sustainability #designstyle #livingwell #roomrefresh #basics #furniture #housegoals


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