“But seriously, there’s a pig slaughtering plant down the road, so apparently once or twice a month it’s just awful. And i picked that over constant Quaker Oats smell…which is apparently always awful except on crunch berry days.”

~S

Well, the apartment set-up continues to plod along. I have this (probably crazy) goal to be out of boxes by this Sunday. We’ll see if that actually happens.

But progress has been made! Since moving in, we’ve acquired a kitchen table and two chairs, a chair for the computer desk, a console table for the kitchen, and, as of last night, a wardrobe from IKEA.

20130408-075412.jpg

I stayed up until past midnight last night putting it together, so tonight’s project is actually filling it up.

The only purchases we need to make left are a pantry for the kitchen and a couch. One of these our purchases is obviously more exciting than the other.

Which reminds me, we sold our couch! My Craigslist streak lives on. It was quite the ordeal, but it is officially out of our possession.

For this week, the plan is to set up the bedroom and living room. The kitchen will still be in limbo until we get the pantry this weekend, but I should still be able to make my Sunday goal. Then it’s just the fun part of decorating everything.

Phew. My body is still exhausted from carting those wardrobe pieces up four flights of stairs. What have you guys been up to?

I have to admit, I was starting to wonder if we’d make it through March.

Between moving, pioneering, extra meetings, and continuing to work full-time at busy jobs, Joey and I were stretched pretty thin.

And I’ll be honest — we didn’t always handle the stress well. What I’m saying is, March was not out best month.

But April, man. April is looking good.

We’re in the new place! And I actually love it more after seeing it in person than I did from the photos. Sure, the “craftsmanship” is still pretty cheap, but the rooms are pretty spacious and we have quite a few closets for storage.

I’m approaching unpacking the same way I did moving into a 4th-floor walk-up (yup, you read that right…more on that in a minute) — one step at a time. It will all get done, and fortunately we’ve already tossed a lot of the clutter, so that should (hopefully) make unpacking easier.

Anyway. BOUT THAT FOURTH-FLOOR WALK-UP.

You guys. What were we thinking? More importantly, what were our friends who offered to help us move in thinking? Because, seriously, it ain’t no joke.

Speaking of which, HUGE shout-out to Phil and Brett (who carried our couch up four flights and then back down again when it wouldn’t fit through the door…sorry again), Eric, Shawn, Dana, Chris, and above all else, my father-in-law (who helped us pack/move for three days despite suffering from a cold and bad knees) for all your help lugging our crap up those stairs. We seriously couldn’t have done it without you, and you’re all my heroes. I promise to never move again or, if I do, get movers.

Joey and I did most of the heavy lifting ourselves last night, and we’re both crazy sore. At least we don’t have to worry about finding a gym for a week or so, right?

Oh, and, yeah, you read right: the couch wouldn’t fit through the door. D’oh. Which means two things. First, the bad news: We have to sell the couch. Which, I mean, whatever. I just hope we find a buyer really soon because it’s hard to store a sectional.

But the good news is that we can get a new couch! So that’s kind of fun. We’ll probably hold off until we can at least clear enough boxes to make room for a couch, but I’ll let you know when we buy one.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of all the boxes to show you what we’re dealing with. I’ll take some tonight so you can see what everything looked like before it was decorated. Everyone loves a before-and-after makeover, right?

Ok. So this post is all over the place. But there’s a lot going on. The point is, it’s April 1st, which means we’re at our official 2-month countdown to our first guests (the lovely Annie and Al) for Memorial Day, which means I have that much time to turn our crazy mess of boxes into a home. Wish me luck.

You guys. Today is my last day of taking the LIRR to work.

My friend James told me recently that the railroad must be mad at me because of how many issues there have been this month. Raised fees, derailed and delayed trains, equipment trouble and overcrowding — we’ve seen a little bit of everything in the last few weeks.

Well, good riddance, amiright?

We’ll start moving in today, but I actually have a few pictures to share that Joey took when he stopped in yesterday. Fair warning, I’m a little disappointed that they managed to make a completely gutted and renovated apartment look exactly like it would look if it had been set up over a decade ago. (Ugh…the bathroom tile. The cabinet finishes.) But I know I’m jut being a whiner. It’s all shiny and new and whatever. Here ya go:

20130329-072418.jpg

20130329-072436.jpg

20130329-191118.jpg

So there you have it. I’ll, of course, post more pictures once we get it more set up. (And after I’ve hidden that dang pink tile I can’t seem to escape behind a shower curtain.)

Assuming I survive the moving process, see ya Monday!

We’re moving in less than a week. I am only panicking a little bit.

Well, panicking isn’t the right word. Obsessing probably is.

For the record, we’re in pretty good shape. I’ve sold everything we needed to sell. (Oh! Did I tell you I sold our dining set? Well…I did.) More than half of our stuff is boxed up. And the hubs has Thursday and Friday off of work this week to start moving things.

I’m sort of hoping once he transports everything that is packed, it will make the stuff that’s not yet packed seem more manageable.

Side note: Is it me, or is packing one of the hardest things in the world to focus on? I swear, I get three or four boxes in, and I am wiped out. My friend Erin explained it pretty well that you get mentally exhausted from having to make so many decisions. Which is probably why packing things like books and dishes is easy, but wading through the mess of our bedroom has taken me two weeks.

Side question: I feel like I’ve asked this before, but is there a thrift store service that will pick up stuff from your house? I seem to remember that Salvation Army used to do this. Is it still a thing? Because I have a pile of stuff to get rid of. (Unless anyone I know is planning on having a garage sale soon? In which case, I have some stuff to contribute.)

Anyway. Packing sucks. On to happier topics.

I bought the rug for our bedroom! I used a 50-percent-off-plus-free-shipping coupon code (WINT50, if anyone else is in the market for a RugsUSA.com rug) and my parents got it for us as an anniversary gift. Awesome, right?

Second side note: Joey and I have been married for almost two years. Wacky.

I’m excited to get the rug mostly because it takes me one step closer to accomplishing my grown-up apartment goals of having a put-together bedroom. Next up, new bedding, possibly new curtains, and an artwork project. (Stay tuned.)

Here’s a list of everything else I would like to acquire/update at some point in the new place (in order of urgency):

1. Free-standing closet/armoire. Our bedroom closet is teensy. Considering right now our clothes are spread out between two closets, we need a bit more storage.

2. A small dining table. I really like the IKEA Docksta tulip table, and I’ve seen it on Craigslist a few times, I just need to get back in the apartment an measure to make sure everything will fit. Really, though, is be fine with almost any small white table.

3. White kitchen pantry. We have a couple of these right now, but they’re a light wood color and they’re pretty banged up at this point. I’d like a white melamine version for the kitchen for a bit more storage.

4. Storage coffee table. This is the least urgent furniture need, though of course more storage is always helpful. I’d like either a Crate & Barrel Hunter Trunk (if I can find one on Craigslist…no way am I spending over $600 on a coffee table) or a white table with drawers.

5. White bedding. I will have a grown up bed if it kills me. Fortunately, Homegoods seems to have a few options at very reasonable prices.

6. White IKEA picture frames and lamps. Because it’s all in the details, right?

So, six-ish things. That’s not bad at all, right? It’s definitely easier setting up an apartment this time around, when I have a better idea what I like and how we live.

What’s next on your home shopping list? I know I can’t be the only one with one of these things…

You guys. I don’t want to brag (especially because I know that the second I do, this will stop being true)(rhyme!!!), but I am pretty dang good at Craigslist.

In the last couple of weeks, I have bought and sold about six pieces of furniture, which will make moving easier (sayonara, mammoth china cabinet) and make our new apartment prettier (he-llo, gorgeous leaning bookshelves from Crate & Barrel). Here’s a quick round-up of my favorite success stories:

1. Bar cart from Crate & Barrel
Original price: It’s not on the site anymore, but given the price of similar ones they have listed, I would guess at least $125.
Price paid: $25

We picked this baby up from a chic apartment building in one of the most desirable areas of Brooklyn. (Was the guy we bought it from wealthy? Put it this way: He had a doorman who was exactly what you would get if you combined Arthur and Lucius and who when we said who we were there to see told us to “knock because of the baby.” You know you’ve made it when you have a doorman who knows your personal life despite living in a 15-story building.)

The guy was nice as can be and had two adorable 6-month-old twins. He was obviously just selling the rack because it was easier than throwing it out, and his lack of concern about money was our thrifty gain.

Lesson #1: Try searching by the names of brands you like. I wasn’t actively searching for a bar cart (even though we would need something like this eventually), but searching for “Crate and Barrel” brought me treasure.

2. Black bookshelves from IKEA
Original price: They’re about $90 each on IKEA currently, but I’m pretty sure they were on sale when my roommates and I bought two of them almost four years ago.
Sold for: $90 for both, including delivery.

I listed these at $40 each, but a woman offered me $70 for them both and I took it. (I am always willing to engage in a reasonable haggle.) When she came to pick them up, though, she only had a small car and they didn’t fit. I offered to drop them off at her house the next day, and she threw in an extra $20. Win-win.

Lesson #2: Craigslist is supposed to be like a community. So if you’re polite an neighborly, you might end up getting more money than you even planned to charge.

3. Leaning bookshelves from Crate & Barrel
Original price: $130 each
Price paid: I’m getting two for about $100 total.

I wanted to find two slim, ladder-style shelves like the ones at the link above, but I wanted white ones. Target had a version for $80 each, but I really wanted to thrift something and I was confident I could find a better price (and quality) with a little patience.

Then yesterday, I found two sellers that were each selling one white leaning shelf from C&B. I contacted them both and offered each $50 (they were asking for $75 and $100 respectively). Both agreed (one of them actually turned out to be a girl from work who is moving to California…small world), and we picked them up on Wednesday.

Lesson #3: Patience is a virtue. (Although Joey might argue that I’m not that patient. He has asked me to please not buy anymore furniture until after we officially move.)

4. Coral rug
Original price: It’s now listed for over $200, but I paid around $90 because it was on sale and I had a coupon.
Sold for: $60

I was honestly starting to think this rug would be my downfall in terms if my Craigslist success. I’ve been trying to sell it for a couple of months, but people are understandably skeptical of purchasing fabric-based goods on Craigslist. So even though we only really used it for about a month, it was hard to convey just how good of condition it was in on a (sometimes sketchy) website.

I lowered my price and renewed my listing last week without much hope it would sell.

And then — here’s where a choir of angels starts singing — I go an email from a woman who wanted to put it in her kid’s playroom. She haggled a bit, and honestly I was nervous she would turn into one of those Craigslist phantoms that says they want your stuff and then just vanishes into the night. But she didn’t. And she even emailed me for follow-up information because her aunt loved the rug and wanted to see more pictures. And she’s coming to get it on Sunday.

AND I’M THRILLED.

Lesson #4: Don’t be afraid to lower your price. The alternative is just donating the item for free, so any gain is still a gain.

Bonus Lesson #5: Take time with your ad. I always try to write them in a business-like-but-friendly voice. I want shoppers to know I’m legit — a real person who probably takes good care of her stuff.

In the same vein, don’t just post crappy photos you snapped in the dark with your phone camera. It’s just like selling an apartment on Craigslist; clean it up, use good lighting, style it a bit. I always try to include one atmosphere shot of the item in my home (another reason why taking photo tours of your home at its best is a good idea.

So those are the big transactions so far. All I have left to sell is our dining room table and chairs, so hopefully we can move those pretty quickly. Our move-in date is most likely going to be the last week of March, but I just need to get the old table unloaded before April 1st. Wish me luck!

What are come of your favorite Craigslist lessons and tricks?