Friday, November 18, 2016

storage tips for living in a smaller space

One of my favorite stories to tell is how H & I ended up moving to Dallas. Looking back, it's a comical story, but in the moment it was insanely stressful. For a long time, my plan had been to stay in Houston after medical school and complete my residency training there. My family is in Houston, I went to medical school there, and I really liked my home residency training program. H and I had gotten engaged in the middle of my residency interviews but we both had pretty similar views on where we would be okay with living. I say "okay with living" because of the way residency match works- you rank all of the places you interview at in a list and submit it about 1.5 months before Match Day. Match Day is the day fourth year allopathic (MD) medical students across the country find out where they're  going to be doing their residency training for the next 3+ years. While I will spare boring readers with the intricacies of Match Day and how the system works (If you're really interested you can read about the Nobel Prize winning algorithm here), basically you rank programs and programs rank you. If it's a good match, that's where you end up! So if I rank a program #1, and they rank me like #100, there's a significantly less chance I would end up there. What I'm trying to convey with this explanation is that applicants have little control over where they end up (cue stress). 

Fast forward to the end of interview season in late 2015, when I told H that I really liked the program in Dallas and was thinking to rank it highly on my list. In a strange twist of events, H ended up with a job in Dallas before I found out where I was going for residency, and now the tables had turned- I had to basically get a residency spot in Dallas or we wouldn't be living together for the next few years after our wedding. To add the cherry on top of an already stressful process, can you guess when our wedding date was? Exactly one week after Match Day. I remember minutes before I lined up to run to the board and grab my results (yes, the individual results are folded and stapled on a giant board that we all stampede to when it's time), my dad decided to make a really funny comment to H- "Hope you guys end up in the same city". Exactly what I needed to hear minutes before match results. Needless to say, it all worked out, alhamdulilah (thank God), and we could all breathe a little easier after my trembling hands ripped open my paper and I screamed "I GOT DALLAS!". I texted my (future) in-laws right away, who sent their congrats, and H and I were off to get our marriage license, relieved to have atleast one life changing event out of our way.

When H got his job in Dallas, he had two weeks to find a place to live, move in, and be ready for work. Since we still had no idea where I would end up for residency when he moved, we had to hope for the best and H very thoughtfully found a place close to the medical center where I would theoretically be working. The only drawback, as I found out after seeing the place in person post-wedding, was that it was a little smaller than I was used to. Having always had a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate, a 1-bedroom was quite the adjustment. I remember annoyingly lamenting to H how small the closet was (I had to drastically cut down on the amount of clothes I had, which was probably ultimately a good thing). Barring my initial troubles with the space adjustment, the place has come to feel cozy and like home. I learned to use space very pragmatically and it definitely curbed my habit of buying useless things because we just did not have the space for it! I gathered some of my favorite space-saving tips to post here. Whether you find yourself living in a smaller space, or just want to save space, I hope you find these tips useful!

1. Over-the-door hooks: I've used these almost everywhere I've lived. They're useful for hanging things I use on a day to day basis, like jackets, handbags, and my white coat. We currently have 3 of these in our apartment and I wish we could have more. Seriously, they're awesome. I got mine from Walmart and Target.

2. Storage Ottoman: This neutral, dual-function ottoman has been a great place for me to put shoes that I don't regularly use, like heels and party shoes. It took about 2 minutes to assemble, can hold a lot, and was only $30 on Amazon. Getting rid of the excessive amount of clothes I had was way easier than parting with shoes, so I had to find a place to keep them. Get the ottoman here.

3. Over-the-door shoe holder: Part two of over-the-door things is this shoe container I picked up from Walmart. It hangs on the inside of our laundry doors and is a great place for me to keep the shoes I do wear on a regular basis. This was also a staple I've used in many places I've lived. It's easier than using shoe boxes because I can actually see the shoes I have, and it drastically cuts down on space.

4. Rotating tie rack: Labelled as a tie rack, this nifty twirling rack with 20 prongs can be used to hold really any type of lightweight clothing item. Since it came in a pack of 2, I used one to organize H's ties, and one for my camis and undershirts. It frees up hanging space in your closet, allows me to quickly find camis that I wear daily, and I no longer have the problem of H's ties slipping off their hangers and falling onto our closet floor. Best of all, it rotates. Get a 2-pack for $7 from Amazon here.

5. Industrial storage coffee table: Between this coffee table and our red-orange couch, I can't decide what I would label as the stand-out piece in our living room. H and I saw this coffee table when walking around West Elm one day as we were waiting for a table at a sushi place next door, and instantly decided we would use some of our wedding money to splurge on it. We were both attracted to the minimalist look, and I got (too) excited about the immense storage space within. The extending portion is great for doing work on the couch or eating. It's my favorite furniture piece we own, and is always a hit with guests. Get the coffee table here, or find less expensive alternatives here and here.



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