Category Archives: Home

Packing up our whole life

Neither Kay nor I had ever been professionally, internationally moved, but we plan on leaving Switzerland, so a removals company it was! And knowing I should use this time to cut down on things, I didn’t hesitate to get rid of six bags of old clothing and accessories that we don’t need anymore!
In fact, the whole apartment was kind of a mess for all of November and December as we got things ready to recycle, donate, sell, or throw away. This is what it looked like at Christmas. No tree. 🙁And we filled a rented transport van twice with materials to get rid of.I got a little emotional (and freaked out) by the time the movers arrived. I couldn’t believe that we actually had people here to pack up our house… and I needed to trust them not to break anything! These guys were obviously really experienced packing, but it was still a very whirlwind day, especially because we hadn’t taken down our dining room lamp before they came… so we were unscrewing it as they started moving in with boxes and the lamp somehow swung down unexpectedly when it bumped off one of its screws, smashing our long sought and much beloved pendulums. 🙁

“Selberschuld” – your own fault – as we would say in German… we contacted Philips about the lamp, but it seems they do not sell individual glass covers for the bulbs and the lamp has been discontinued since we bought it. Boo hoo!Still, the day went on and the guys got packed up on that cold day in January.And how emotional I got when our flat emptied! I was not quite ready to let it go… even if this particular flat actually holds some of the worst memories of our lives, from me finding out I have celiac disease, to losing Kay’s mother, to that dark, depressing time with pneumonia and missing Kay while he was away studying.Still, it was our first home we bought together. And that means quite a lot. I could have seen staying here for quite awhile. Maybe not forever, but a good chunk of time enjoying that amazing huge balcony in the summer.

Now all of our stuff is packed up and being stored until who knows when. Two months down the road, I am already a little disconnected with the “physical stuff” we own, but don’t actually seem to need.

Have you ever done a cross-continental or cross-country move? How did it turn out?*

*Please tell me all your stuff didn’t break in transit…

New bedroom, or not

Almost as soon as Kay left for France, I decided that I wanted a drastic change in the bedroom to make the space “mine” while he was gone. I didn’t want to feel like he’s missing in my bed all year long, so I thought that changing the room could make it more “my place” and less “our place”.

To do so, I planned out on our floor plan on the computer how to move the bed 90º to face the windows and open up a large floor space in front of the bathroom.It was pretty tight, but I moved the whole bed frame and the extremely heavy Tempur automated bed frames myself, as well as the dressers, using cloths to make sure the floor was not damaged.I even set up Christmas lights and tied all the cords for the automated bed frames up nice and neat. It was only when I was going to bed and went to close the bedroom door that I realized, the door didn’t shut!

Dammit!! The door wouldn’t shut by like 1″. It was SO tight. So close, yet so far. I had to move the whole bed, mattresses, and bed frames back and at that point, my muscles were really, really tired. The bed frames are so heavy with the motors. And this was when I was already ready to go to bed… ugh, stupid Katie!Since I couldn’t gain any floor space by having the bed in a different spot, I decided to put the smaller dresser in the wardrobe since Kay is not using it this year. It frees up the space in the room and makes the bedroom look a little more polished. I’m not totally a fan of this dresser shape, even if I like the mirror function.So here we are, right back at the beginning, just without the small dresser. Not much difference, but I took out the nightstands and still have all the cables tied up under the bed so that the robot vacuum can come in here and clean while I am away at work.Normally I am better with visualizing whether things fit or not, but I missed the mark in this case.

Have you ever gotten the measurements of something wrong before finding it out after you make a move?

Planting Bulbs

Earlier this summer I bought these rad flower pots (yes, rad) and then went crazy and lined our whole balcony rail with them. Since then, they’ve been empty, but as fall was approaching, I decided to plant bulbs in all the pots to enjoy next spring.Planting bulbs in the autumn is something my father always does, so I was reminded of him a lot as I dug all the holes for the bulbs.I am still not sure how well bulbs will do in pots instead of ground soil, but I tried to buy bulbs that matched the depth of soil in my pots.The red dot on the packs also says “also for balconies and pots”, so I am hoping they are happy bulbs. Our balcony is pretty sheltered from wind in the courtyard, so they shouldn’t freeze too much.
I couldn’t buy exactly the kind my Dad gets because he plants deeper in the ground, but I did manage to find some varieties that are close to his daffodils.We’ll see what happens!

Have you ever planted flower bulbs? How did they turn out?

Pantry Upgrade

In Zurich, I very much wanted a standalone freezer because our new compartment freezer was tiiiiny and I wasn’t allowed to fill it all with ice cubes and cranberries. (Important things for Americans!)

But back in 2011, Kay thought his job then would maybe send him away soon, so he didn’t want to waste the money on a freezer and carry it up five flights of stairs with no lift. So we never got one, but we ended up staying in that flat for three years.

I actually wanted to get an extra freezer in our current flat as soon as we moved, but again… Kay was pretty down on the idea. Finally this year, I asked for a freezer as my birthday present so that I would be able to make big meals by myself next year and freeze the portions so that I am not always eating the same thing.

Kay agreed and said that we should order only an A+++ energy rated appliance so that it’s a little more environmentally friendly, although honestly this criteria pushed me to order a bigger freezer, so I’m not sure how good an idea that was. I anyway promise to fill it up with yummy gluten free food!After a lot of hemming and hawing, I ended up ordering the freezer myself and stayed home to have it delivered. Thank God that a) it fit in the lift and b) there was a cleaning man around to help the delivery guy unload this.

I had cleaned the entire pantry out the night before the delivery and dismantled the shelves with Kay’s help. We installed the freezer during the week and then on Friday night before our trip to Liechtenstein, I went to Migros Do It on foot and bought 50lbs of shelving to carry home in my arms because I wanted to put the pantry in order ASAP and knew it would be hard without a weekend at home to buy things like this.It’s a tight squeeze, but the freezer is in the left of the pantry with some of the original, taller shelving between the freezer and the back wall, with the shorter, newer shelving to the right. I could even sneak the cordless vacuum in the door frame so that it can still plug in since there is only one plug on the wall of the freezer.I was mildly annoyed at myself that I did not realize how much shorter the new shelving would be considering we have our tall ceilings, but it has the same number of shelves as the older shelving and honestly I was in a IDGAF mood.I believe the older shelving was from Jumbo and the newer was just from Migros DIY, but the Migros wood is much worse quality than from Jumbo. The slats are closer together on the older shelving and smoother, making it easier to store smaller bottles on the shelves.Anyway, after assembly and putting everything back in the pantry that is not trash or to be sold, there is actually quite a lot of room in the pantry even with the addition of a huge freezer.On the smaller wall above I still have room to sneak my cleaning mops in. I might space the cleaning products out more so that they are easier to get to individually, but this is where it’s at for now.After the empty shelf I have cleaning cloths, food shopping bags and paper bags. Below that is cardboard recycling, bound up to go out.Up on top I still have room for buckets and cleaning products that are too tall to fit on the shorter shelf.With the taller shelf set between the freezer and the wall, it makes for really deep shelving. I put all the glass, metal, and PET recycling on the ground back there and hopefully it will be less annoying to deal with than our previous corner shelving, which had a lot of extra shelf legs mucking up space below.On the upper shelves I can store electrical things we rarely get to as well as Kay’s tools.And above are even more bags, because who has a ton of reusable bags?? This girl!Overall, I’m really happy how everything fits in and as long as the floor remains free so I can open the door, which is likely considering Kay is gone next year, I will be a happy camper.

I have already made an entire lasagna and portioned it off into 8 pieces for the freezer. 😀

I also made Kay install a hook on the door so I could store my clothes drying rack there for easy access. I am infinitely less annoyed when I need to take it out of the pantry nowadays.Do you have an extra freezer in your home?

More blackout curtains

When we visited Ohio in September 2013 to buy fabric for our bedroom curtains, I originally planned for four curtains. Unfortunately, the store only had enough of the fabric Kay and I agreed on to make two curtains, so for almost two years, two curtains was what we had.

While the single curtains were just enough to cover the windows, the gap between the window and the curtain rail above was enough to let some light in through the sides, so we started leaving our shutters closed all the time to block out more of the blazing streetlights. It was too much of a pain to pull the curtains aside, open up the window, close or open the shutters, close the window, and rearrange the curtains every morning and evening.

I decided in April to pull the trigger and order more fabric, international shipping even! And then I let that fabric sit in my house all spring and summer while I nervously worried how on earth I would make two matching curtains to my current 2.77m ones. I was always hoping for a weekend when Kay would be away, but those kept getting cancelled too, so finally this weekend I decided to be brave and figure out how to do the whole thing again.

I’m very happy to say that I succeeded with some almost perfect curtains!Thank God for detailed measuring notes in my planning book! I didn’t have 100% all the details down, like the important part of trimming 10cm off the sides of the blackout fabric on the back so that the patterned fabric would wrap nicely around to the back, but after 8 hours of intense labor, these babies are done!Not to be underestimated, the bobbin did run out in the home stretch, and I had temporarily “forgotten” how to rewind it quickly because it had been months since I’d used my machine which I am still getting used to. And the needle broke after that. Why do all these problems occur after midnight?Still, I was able to wrap them up and put them up before we went to bed and I have to say… the effect is awesome. It’s sooo dark in here now.

I think we will continue to leave the shutters closed on weekends to sleep in, but the curtains now work so well that I can leave the shutters open all week and then just open the curtains quickly in the morning when we get up. I’m so jazzed I finally got this big bedroom project done!

What was one of your most satisfying home projects to finish?