Moving and shaking


This week was an exceptionally busy one. I have a bit of overlap with my leases in Brooklyn and Providence so even though I’m still wrapping up work in the Ocean State, I took some time to move most of my stuff down to my new apartment. With help from my incredibly generous friends and family, I spent the last several days packing, schlepping, unpacking, painting, cleaning, and setting up my new home.

My last move was just across town, so relocating without producing any trash wasn’t very difficult. I made many trips back and forth, wrapping things in blankets, strategically placing them in my car or a borrowed pickup truck, and I took care not to hit any bumps or make any hard turns. This time around I have a 3-4 hour drive between my old and new home so packing without boxes, bubble wrap, newspaper, and tape required some more careful consideration. My best friend and I rented a 4’ x 8’ U-Haul trailer and hitched it to his small pickup truck. We managed to fit the bulk of my belongings in this rig. My bed and breakfast table pack flat so that helped a lot. I wrapped some of my fragile ceramic and glass kitchen wares in my sheets and comforter and placed them into my small blanket chest. I was really satisfied with that parcel. It traveled well.


I own quite a few glass jars and bottles, in which I store dry and liquid bulk food and hygiene goods. I transferred those in some borrowed milk crates. The crates that were tightly filled and placed at the front of the trailer (closest to the hitch), like the rectangular one pictured above, made the drive without a problem. But I did have some casualties in a smaller square crate that wasn’t quite Tetris packed like the others. The items in that crate had a little bit of room to rattle against each other. It was also at the back of the trailer, which means it probably had a bumpier ride than the others. It was also one of the last things to go and by that point, already tired from packing and loading and eager to get on the road, I’d gotten a little careless. But I really should have taken the time to stuff some clothes into the gaps between the fragile objects to prevent them from jostling around, because unfortunately the broken glass can’t be recycled and now it will end up in the landfill. Plus, one of the vessels that broke was a bottle of red wine vinegar, which made quite a pungent mess in the trailer.


Still, all things considered, I am pleased that I didn’t have to wrestle with a single cardboard box. My place is scrubbed clean and painted with low VOC paint. I will recycle the empty paint cans and the roller will likely become trash (couldn’t figure out a way around using one and I’m not sure that I can get it to come clean even with the most thorough soaking). My mom always says that any place we choose to live is basically just four walls, a floor, and a roof, it’s the things we chose to fill that box with and how we decide to arrange them that make it feel like a home. I thought about that sentiment this week, as I hung my ceramic planters in the windows and art on the walls (all made by my gifted, beloved friends).


I thought about it as I set up my new kitchen. I took the doors off the cabinets so that I could see all my tableware, stainless steel containers, and jars full of ingredients. I find that having open shelving makes my kitchen more functional. Besides, having cabinet doors that swing open in a space as narrow this one is a little cumbrous. Heads are bound to get bonked. Eventually I would love to remove the cabinets altogether and replace them with extended open shelving. It will give me more storage room and I think it might make the space feel a little bigger. In good time. For now I will make the units that are there work for my purposes.


Setting up my bed and unpacking my clothes were two other tasks I needed to tackle before I could feel settled. I placed some herbs and a small compost container on the fire escape outside the bedroom window. Today the dry breeze carried the smells of a backyard barbecue and the nearby water through the apartment. Little by little the space really is starting to feel like home. Now I’ll be able to focus on starting school, knowing that I have a great spot to return to each day.

9 Responses to Moving and shaking

  1. Andrea August 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Colleen, this is an amazing new-to-you space. And is that a visor hanging off your bedroom door knob? Cool style, girl. Definitely makes me want to clean the kitchen and possibly remove some cupboard doors. I lose jars and pieces of bread all the time! And I swear I’m not that gross.

  2. indreams August 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    oh, it looks like such a great space! and look at all that light! ya done good. 😉

  3. Annah August 16, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Wow, it’s so beautiful and has so much light; I love it! How will you compost now? I am moving into an apartment soon, and I am wondering how I will compost since I won’t have a backyard…. :/ I’m thinking about doing vermiculture.

  4. Emma August 16, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    I need to say thank you again. Seems we are moving simultanuously and have quite the same strategies. I used every traveling bag my parents own, and returned them safely for reuse after moving in my new place. I feel so motivated to continue, as I have now heeps of zero waste possibilities…just in my street. Zero waste, and happe Ghent, here I come! Enjoy this new chapter in your life!

  5. Leah September 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Your apartment is beautiful! I’ve been reading your blog for some months and your commitment to a waste free lifestyle is incredibly inspiring. Your careful consideration of daily decisions and research that you share with us is so helpful as I try to also join you in producing less and less waste.


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  8. Jack Connor December 17, 2015 at 4:47 am #

    I also love to make new things out of un-used materials for a decorations or something that may somehow useful. It makes me feel creative and unique.

  9. Kajta February 3, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    Your Apartment ist wonderful. Just looking at the Pictures (especially at your kitchen) makes me breathe deeper and fell peaceful. Amazing.

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