Over the weekend we moved! To Brooklyn. (Please say it like in You've Got Mail, you know what I'm referring to.) It was probably our most seamless move yet, and that is saying something--all told Brandon and I have moved... yikes, eight (!!) times in the eleven (!!!!) years we've been married. Some were cross-country, some were cross-neighborhood, some were just across the apartment complex because we'd found a better layout, every time it's always a hassle. Right? We moved around a lot when I was a kid, too. Big moves (to Connecticut, to Oregon, to South Korea), and I always thought that I hated moving, but it turns out I actually like moving. Not the packing up part. The packing up part isn't so great for those like me who are bad at Tetris-type situations, but the unpacking! Oh yes. Weirdly, unpacking totally gets me going. Over the years I've gotten to be pretty good at setting up and setting up fast. (Holy junk my first ever post was about this very thing.) (Wow I was a much better writer back then.) This weekend was like a 48-hour-long Christmas morning. It gave me a total high. And now that the dust has settled and we're square in the part of moving where you're constantly waiting around for the cable guy to show up, I figured I'd impart unto you a few of my trickiest tips picked up over our years of moving all our junk into various different places. You're so ready, Freddy.

Moving gets exponentially harder the more you own, and one thing New York City has taught me that I've been so grateful to learn is how to live small. Super small. We own the barest of essentials because we just can't bear to part with the space for anything we don't absolutely love or need consistently. Moving is a great opportunity to pare down your household. Streamline your operation! I can't say enough how important it is to clear through your things before a big move. Broken mechanical pencils and kitchen appliances you never really use will take up a lot of valuable box real estate, will add five minutes to your packing time and five minutes to your unpacking time, and then you'll just have to find another place for it...  yuck. Expel the crap. I like to think of each item I own as a unit of effort. A special quilt made by my grandmother is worth a lot of my effort, but maybe not so much those throw pillows I got at T.J.Maxx or wherever that I don't really love anymore. Attack your home room by room, and be merciless. Sell or donate as much as you can. Take nothing with you you won't be thrilled to unpack. (We recently donated all the DVDs of every movie we owned that we could easily find on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Game changer.)

We like a styrofoam bowl or plate stacked between each of our breakable bowls and plates. Hair ties are good for keeping your utensils together. Bottles of perfume and delicate jewelry go in your socks, fragile lamps can be wrapped inside bathroom towels. Full rolls of toilet paper + paper towels are great padding for the rest of your breakables. Same goes for throw pillows + blankets. 

Boxes are a pain! And they're expensive. And they're a hassle to get rid of once you're in and unpacked. We try as hard as we can to reduce waste by making good use of suitcases, gym bags, tote bags, ziploc bags...  anything. Oh! Keep all your clothes in their dressers! (And then get help carrying those dressers in and out because that's heavy...) We try to save the boxes for things that actually benefit from being boxed, like books, glassware, dishes and electronics. And really, go easy on the tape. You're gonna want to be able to get in fast, and also, tape wads are way more obnoxious to deal with in my experience than newspaper piles.

Set aside a box or bag for all your immediate needs and mark it so you won't misplace it. Inside, pack two days' worth of clothing for everyone in your house, the entire contents of your shower, all your medications and chargers and iPads that stream Netflix, and whatever else you need to survive for two days. Pack full sets of bedding in giant trash bags--sheets, pillows, duvet--one for each bed in the house, and plan to put those together first. More than anything else you'll want a hot shower, something cozy to wear, and a nice, clean bed to sleep in at the end of your long moving day.

Never enter a new home without having in your possession: 1. A 12-pack of Diet Cokes (or, you know, whatever floats your boat), 2. All the makings for an emergency PBJ (including a utensil for spreading!), 3. A bag of mini Snickers. Because. Put it in the fridge. Cold mini Snickers will save you! And, 4. Toilet paper. Okay the toilet paper isn't for the kitchen. But, really. Don't forget some TP.

Or, however. The point is: Divide and conquer! We always designate an unpacker and an unloader and I am always the unpacker, hash tag spaghetti noodle arms. I like to think of myself as a kind of drill sergeant when it's time to unload. I get very bossy. As soon as the kitchen boxes are in I take my post, unwrapping every. stinking. glass. one. at a time, while Brandon (and whatever kind souls are helping us move) finishes unloading the truck. In between stacking plates I bark at him and tell him where to put things. By the time everything's in, the kitchen's already in good shape, and you are free to move on to something else. Having an operating kitchen might be the only thing keeping you from hunger-induced tantrums every other hour, you know, or is that just me? When I get snippy I know it's time to take a quick break for a handful of mini marshmallows. Then I'm good to carry on.

In my experience, you're never more motivated to unpack than you are the first few days in your new home. The minute you stop, things tend to settle, and it gets pretty easy pretty quickly to just get used to living out of boxes. The longer I put something off the harder it is to get it done--are you that way too? So I try and have it all done and unpacked before the upcoming Monday. Mondays seem like a sort of a natural deadline, don't they? And it's much easier for me to feel motivated when I've set some parameters for myself. Also, the more empty boxes I get out of the way the more I feel like I'm getting somewhere and the more I'm motivated to keep going, so get it all out of the house as soon as you can so you can really see the progress you're making. (This is all easier said than done, and I'm lucky to only have 15 or so boxes to unload when we move. For a bigger home, I'm all out of ideas. My hat's off to you guys.)

We'd never hired movers before, but this time we decided to do the grown up thing and budget for a team of movers. Worth. It. Even when I was a kid I could tell that the moves we made with a team of professionals ran about fifty times more smoothly than the DIY-ers. We used FlatRate for this move, and here's my funny story about FlatRate, are you ready? On our train ride home after meeting with our broker to see what was to become our Exposed Brick Apartment of Destiny (naming your home is important, guys, and kind of hard... and I don't know if that's quite it yet...), we found ourselves a seat right across from this ad on the F train, and it was hilarious, and also, like, the fourth time the cosmos had knocked me on the head that day to say "DUMMY! PAY ATTENTION!" So, clearly I had found my moving company. (I did do my due diligence and research reviews on Yelp.) I contacted them, they sent a dude over to assess our place, he quoted me a flat rate (get it?) and then that's what I paid and not a penny more. It's common out here for movers to bill you for parking tickets or bridge tolls or unexpected extra man hours ("unexpected" being the operative word here). (I've heard of moves that came out $700 above-quote, so a flat flat rate was hugely reassuring.) First thing in the door our lead mover looked at Huck and said, Hey! I could really use your help! Huck was so thrilled he could have burst, and right there he'd already made it worth our money.)

Well, so that's all I got. 

Here are a few photos from the weekend! (I know! How could there possibly be more!?)

A final parting shot of the old hood. (Who am I kidding? It's actually quicker to get to our favorite spots downtown from here than it was from our old neighborhood, I keep reminding myself when I start to feel homesick.) (Homesick?) 

The first thing to go down was the rug. You know how you sometimes think something is bigger than it really is, and you blow it way out of proportion in your head? That's what Brandon thought was going on with me, and then the rug went down, and he was like, Oh crap. Because that rug used to take up our whole living room. We are still pinching ourselves.

Our dinner table in progress. Brandon hung our tasseltry all haphazardly on the wall like that to get it out of the way, and I liked it so much, it stayed! I haven't even straightened it out yet! But I really should straighten it out eventually.

Here comes the furniture! And Barry! Is this an exciting play by play or what!?

Child labor laws, whatever. Get up, lazy!

I rounded the corner after finishing in the kitchen to this adorable set up. The movers had done it--those plants! I never would have thought to do it this way, but I've really loved it, and it's stayed, too. Making zero decisions looks really good on me, I'm going to (not) do it more often.

We took a roof break that evening once things were settling and discovered these beehives and a small urban garden tucked away in an unexplored corner, and we were like, What is this place, Narnia!?

Oh hi, Lady Liberty. Very high quality photo, thumbs up phone.

And two quick peeks of our apartment as of Sunday night.

(top photo credit to miss Latonya)

Can't wait to show you the rest of it! Thanks for taking us, Brooklyn!


  1. This is my dream space and from what I can tell, it is yours as well. So beautiful!

  2. Oh, Natalie. This is just gorgeous! Enjoy all the space! (Also, can I say I'm happy that you're writing with capital letters now? :P)

  3. It's so so so very good.

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  5. So, I have a pretty lame (or awesome?) sense of humor - I laugh at just about everything - but every time I move or help someone move (specifically dressers), I think about this scene from The Honeymooners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWei1aFDUU8 (Start at 19:40 for the dresser part.)

  6. Bahhh I love your home style. I can't waaaaait to see the new space and get some inspiration for my own home. Congratulations on the move!! And I'm bookmarking this post for the next home-change in my future :) xx

    The What's In Between

  7. Please do more posts. This is the apartment dreams are made of. (And I *hate* New York...blasphemy I know)

  8. I absolutely love moving. Is that weird? I love the tetris game of boxing things, and I am a master of cleaning out junk. When I moved in with my fiancé I ha dot stuff everything I owned in suitcases. Safe to say I let go of a LOT, but I really don't miss it. Great post - can't wait to see more of the new ( and huge!) apartment.
    - Andrea

  9. My game changing move solution was scarves. Scarves! They fit everywhere! Between everything breakable, no matter their size! Stuff them into vases, layer them between things, etc. Lord knows I have enough of them to go around, ad then I don't have to pack them elsewhere.

    Echoing every other sentiment: your new space is gorgeous. And I'm seriously impressed by your unpacking skills--I put that stuff off forever. (Especially suitcases. Oy.)

  10. You lived in South Korea? I'm slightly biased (I served a mission in South Korea and I'm actually here right now for the summer studying), but I think it's such a great country to live abroad in. ^_^

    I love the plants lined up along your window sill, and I can't wait to see how your new place comes together! It's a gorgeous space just empty; I'm sure it will look fantastic when you get through with it.

  11. Your new place looks amazing already! I like what you had to say about moving...perfume bottles in socks...genius. :)

  12. looks so beautiful! congrats lady and welcome to Brooklyn !

  13. Without fail, all I hear, every single time I've seen a blog post or instagram about this apartment... is the sound of a heavenly choir of angels. I am not trying to have this happen. It just keeps happening. I think those of us in NYC can honestly truly appreciate this apartment and all it's glory in a way that perhaps those who've not lived there cannot. In the meantime, I shall hold down the UWS. Cause if not Brooklyn, then the UWS for sure, you know? You know.

  14. What an amazing apartment...
    it's so big and beautiful for NYC!

    good find.

    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

  15. The Fortress of Awesome, that's what we named the house we bought together... I understand the need to name your home!

  16. My only tip would be to yes, leave your clothes in the drawers, but take the drawers out of the dresser and tape a bag over the top or just tape across the open drawer so the contents stay. MUCH easier for the movers to lift it, much easier to put it back together. And if you are leaving the drawers full and in the dresser, tape them shut! Drawers opening unexpectedly can injure someone, you can lose clothes or the whole thing can topple over!

    Great tips, lady!

  17. beautiful photos!!

  18. that feeling of "yes, it IS quicker to get to downtown from Brooklyn than from uptown".... I have the same feeling, and i'm in JERSEY!! (gasp!) for hat matter, it's also quicker for me to get to certain parts of Brooklyn than anyone uptown, and i'm crossing TWO rivers! so, that means... maybe you should check out my 'hood sometime :)

  19. A. Great tips! B. I said, "To Brooklyn" to myself before I even read the next line! C. Can't wait to see the rest of your awesome Exposed Brick Apartment of Destiny!

  20. these tips are so great and your new apartment is gorgeous! I love all of the natural light! congrats on your move and thanks for the help..we'll be moving here in a couple of months and I'll definitely have to revisit these.

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  21. the apartment is just WAY too fabulous. it is making me envious in all the right ways! :) so happy for you and your family!!

  22. I think I'm in love with your bathroom. Claw. Foot. Tub. is right, among other things!

  23. Who was your broker and what neighborhood are you in? That apartment is amazing!

  24. love it love it! adore the potted plants.

  25. I am deeply in love with this apartment and all the exposed brick. I can't wait to see the "finished" product! (Because is decorating ever really finished?)


  26. Holy mackerel! Loving it all!

    We thought our living room was huge too so we walked into the 5 football-fields-long furniture store & chose this massive couch with built in cup holders. It takes up the entire damn living room! Oh well. At least we have ample seating. :) I'm digging your new place & am in loooooove with the plant set up. Way to go Holbrooks!

    Nicole B.

  27. Natalie, I am so happy you love your new place. It's gorgeous and I can't wait to see how you've decorated the rest of the space! These are great moving tips!


  28. Wow good job! That place is gorgeous.

  29. SO HAPPY FOR YOU. This is stupid good. Like those HUGE lofty spaces in NY that you see on movies and television shows and then you spend your whole growinguphood believing you're going to move and have a mystical huge loft apartment and then you go visit a friend in NY 1 time during freezing cold February and realize there are 6 people living in a tiny apartment and there are rooms in the basement and the walls are made of cardboard (with window cut outs!!) and then you see a rat the size of a cat...........and you come back to Colorado thinking what in the sam hell were those movie and TV shows directors thinking???? Then this. Dreams restored. What a beauty. So so so so so happy for you and my Colorado-self who will live vicariously through all of your pictures (there will never be enough). ;)

  30. Awesome apartment. That is all.

  31. It looks so great! I hear ya on the 'unpack immediately' thing. First thing I do when I return from a trip is unpack my suitcase. I hate that feeling of being half-settled.

    Can you share where you got your living room rug? That purple color is awesome.

  32. These are so good! I am of the opinion that moving is just the worst, and I will always and forever (in the future) hire movers to do the bulk of the work. Your new space is beautiful! You are giving me a serious case of NY envy!


  33. Look at all that room! Swoon! (rhymes). Great packing tips...I've moved every year for the past 9 years and I know i'll do it again next year. Sigh. You've got it down, girl. Bravo. And yes, unpacking/organzing is the BEST.

  34. oh my!! congratulations, lady, this place is an aaaabsolute dream!! i don't think that often when i see NY apartment photos, but this. is. gorgeous!!! can't wait to see more updates :) :)

  35. *Swoon* I'm itching to see the rest of your place! It's lovely.

  36. haha we just moved and did the same thing with the rug- best feeling ever! and congrats!

  37. dang girl, what a slick pad! well done.

  38. Beehives? Urban garden? WHATT?! narnia, indeed. ha!

  39. I wanna bathe in that tub. I think i'm experiencing jealousy right now.

  40. Great tips! We're moving soon, so I'll be sure to remember these :)

  41. oh my god, your new place is an absolute dream. that bathroom!! congrats on the move, and great tips!
    x staygoldrebecca.com

  42. GETTING RID OF ALL THE JUNK!!! It's so hard. I'm such a hoarder and I'm just admitting it. I'm doing better and it's SO refreshing.

  43. I will NEVER get over that bathtub. Googly. Eyes.

  44. The apartment is so gorgeous that I've almost decided you're an imaginary person and don't live in this real world.

    But beyond admiring your good fortune and hard work, I can't get these questions off my mind:

    How does one clean brick walls like that? Don't all the little edges collect dust and tiny spiderwebs? Do they get vacuumed? Swept?

    Also, are those water pipes along the ceiling? Are they still in use? How does moisture not condense on them (and then drip onto your rug)?

    Sorry to be weirdly nosy like that.

    Anyway, congratulations on the beautiful home & successful move!

  45. I've moved recently and wish I had some of these tips. Will be using some of these in the future.

    Welcome to your new home from London.


  46. Love love LOVE it all, especially the living room windows....they are fabulous!!

    Great moving tips too, having moved this year, I totally agree with you....there is nothing like packing (and unpacking) and carrying stuff down flights of stairs to make you really question if you need something!!

  47. Really nice post. Your post is expressing what I actually wanted to know, thanks for sharing…
    fast movers

  48. Pack a special bag with items you will need right away, such as; toiletries, toothbrushes, and medications. Carry this bag with you and find a place for it as soon as you get to your new location. You don't want to have to go searching for these things.


  49. Everything is okay. Let me know the expensive for moving the things via shipping agencies?

    Shipping in UAE


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