I recently moved in with my boyfriend. I am not a person with a lot of ‘stuff’ but when we found out I was moving in (it was precipitated by having to move out of somewhere else) we both panicked a bit about where stuff would go. Will’s flat is not large and I knew that I would need to give considerable thought to where things would go. Like a good permaculture diploma student, I decided to do a design.
Here’s what I did:
I made a list of everything that I own. Yep, everything. I didn’t go quite as far as listing every individual pair of shoes, but my list did have my dressing gown and slippers on it… This didn’t take me as long as you might imagine – as I said I don’t have a lot of stuff.
On my list there were the following columns.
Where is it now? How often do I use it? Where should it go? What needs to be done before it can go there?
By filling in the columns, especially the last two, I was able to see patterns emerging. I could see that I would need to create various ‘areas’ – a brewing area, a food storage area, a clothes area. I was also able to make a quick and easy list of the things that I needed to do before I moved. Boarding out the loft was the most important, as this was going to be the biggest storage space.
The ‘where should it go’ column provided the basis for my design, and on top of that I looked carefully at the space available in the loft and worked out where everything could go and still be available to get at. I did this in my head, but I could have drawn it out on paper, though that seemed to be taking things a little too far…
Moving day arrived and my stuff descended on Will’s flat. He had a very small freak out about where it was going to go – and I was able to show him my exhaustive list.
Because the space is so small, I make sure that I put things away quickly in the place that I have assigned for them, and I don’t block stuff by putting other things on or in front of it.
I am very glad that I spent the time designing this move – it helped so much. Overall, I think it went well though I made one glaring omission. I designed in space – where things would go – but not in time. Because my ex-housemate Ben was helping us with a van, my stuff arrived all at once which freaked both Will and I out and also made it difficult to put stuff away. If I was doing this again in the future, I might consider spreading this over time. If I had moved some stuff in and put it away and then moved some more stuff in and put it away, it would have been a little easier. This might not be possible next time I move house, but I shall bear it in mind. Planning in time as well as space is something I need to think about with other projects too – especially landbased projects where it feels like you should implement everything all at once.