On settling into a new apartment and weeding your book collection

I have finally set up my living room reasonably well, though I can’t figure out how to bring in a couch, and I seriously need more places for people to sit. (Just found some really great-looking folding chairs at Target that I’ll be ordering—folding chairs make great small-space seating options when you need more—but I still want a couch too, or at least a love seat.) I’m considering putting the bookshelves into the entryway, where the shoe rack and the bike currently are, and rearranging the room so that the TV is in front of the windows (really, really need to get curtains, too—Ikea is great for cheap cute curtains), the kitchen table which is currently by the windows goes over where the comfy chair is on the opposite wall, and the comfy chair goes next to the fridge or in the middle of the room (splitting the room in two for “living room” and “kitchen” spaces), leaving the long non-kitchen wall for a couch. But that leaves the bike in limbo. I have no idea where to put it. I think I need to figure out a ceiling-hook arrangement. Anyone familiar w/ that kind of thing?

Seems like the best use of a corner with a radiator, for example–hang a bike rack from the ceiling. Perhaps there’s something out there that I might even put on top of a radiator, rather than having to figure out how to get something to stay hooked in the ceiling? I’m never really good at even hanging plants from the ceiling, so I don’t trust my ability to hang bicycles.

Also things I need to figure out that I could use advice on: is there such a thing as a stand-alone cupboard organizer that would allow you to add another shelf? I don’t have enough cupboard space, but the top shelves of my cupboards are ridiculously tall and could stand being cut in half to allow another shelf, but there’s a gas meter in the middle of the cabinet, which doesn’t allow for a real shelf. I’m not really quite sure where to put all my spices yet.

Where do New Yorkers look for cheap, bed-bug-free, comfy furniture? Ikea’s cheapest couches aren’t the most comfortable. A friend pointed me to a custom furniture place in Indiana that will ship cheap furniture to you that has actual storage inside it, which sounds great, but it sounds like the couches are pretty over-firm, as well, and you have to assemble them yourself. I’d rather be able to sit on a couch to test it out (ask my Chicago roommates, Becky and Siobhan, what happened the last time we bought a cheap couch without testing it out first! No stuffing, no springs, just pleather over board, seriously). Ikea might be my best option for the price, but surely there are other options to explore, right?

This really is a cute apartment, once I can get everything working properly. Not very big, but almost big enough for all my stuff. And if I can go through all my books and maybe get rid of (gasp) a few of them, particularly the ARCs that I’ve been meaning to read but never actually gotten to, and books for church that are now available online, and other such things, I might be able to cut back on one bookshelf and that would save a bit of space!

At least, that’s my thinking. But have you ever tried to get rid of enough books to equal a six-foot-tall bookshelf? It’s agony!

And don’t even get me started on the right place to put a litter box in a NYC apartment. At least, this apartment. I’ve tried and discarded several ideas, and am left with only the front hall, which has no ventilation, so I have a fan going 24-7 in that direction and an air freshener. There’s no room for the automated litter box I love (which is currently taking up closet space—anyone want a free LitterMaid?) so I have to be more vigilant, too. Yet the closet space ABOVE the litterboxes feels quite under used because there’s no organization—I’d love suggestions on shelving options that would allow me to use half the closet rod for hanging coats, etc., but still be able to put laundry/household items above the litter boxes without having to dismantle the whole setup every time I need to clean the litter box.

So, suggestions welcome on places to go to get a great small couch for cheap, how to store a bike in a small space, ways you decide to weed books from your collection,  self-cleaning kitty litter boxes made for small spaces, or closet organization methods.

One of these days, I swear, this apartment will be awesome. And then I’ll move out.

One thought on “On settling into a new apartment and weeding your book collection

  1. I am losing my apartment and moving back in with the parents for the next couple years while I return to college. In my apartment we had a LIBRARY. A whole room just for my books, and even then many of them are in boxes and not displayed. Now I am trying to move these things home and need to make MAJOR dents in my treasured collection. I don’t know what to do either. Do I just keep absolute favorites? Books that are hard to find in the library? Only hardback? I just don’t know. So I feel your pain!

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