Night Night at The {NewNew}

More wondrous nesting finds from the fabulous NewNew Team! Continuing with my dream night, I would settle myself in for a quiet evening in my bedroom.

One wall would have this beautiful painting by ArtbyIris.

I would climb into my big bed where I might have these pillows from bshorr ...

or this one from cakehouse.

I would love to write in this journal from collectiveelements.

Or maybe this one from SpinachNPeace.

Then I would read one of the trillion books that I keep by my bed, where my place would be kept by this bookmark from beaconbookmarks.

When my eyes got heavy, I would be turning out this fabulous light from YoursTrulyxoxox.

Night Night.


Adventures in Storage

I've been living in the same apartment for 12 years. In that time I've become pretty good at living with one closet, one sink, one guitar-obsessed husband, 2 cats and lots of stuff. I wouldn't say I'm a pack-rat, but I'm certainly no minimalist.

I had always assumed that our place was about 750 square feet -- I think that's what the landlord told me and I just never bothered to check. So when my husband and I started looking for a place to buy, we finally measured our apartment and found that we had actually been living in 498 square feet. Overnight things seemed almost unbearably claustrophobic!

What a great time to start my jewelry business, salt & paper, quite literally on my kitchen table! Storage became a huge issue almost immediately and so I found what seemed to be the only space left in the entire apartment and put it to work. The 9 inch gap between my pots and pans and my kitchen cupboard became my bead library. I installed a 1" x 3" plank as a long shelf. The original plan was to recycle baby food jars, but that would have required our consuming a lot of baby food (sans baby) so I finally bit the bullet and ordered cases of empty plastic jars. I organized everything by color, and filled up the shelf. I also added a magnetic strip (used to hold chef knives) to keep all my tools at hand, and making it easier to spot when my husband "borrows" some pliers to restring a guitar.

And just when I got everything organized... we found a house.
Today we closed on our new house, which is just over twice the size of our current place!


Organizing, A Crafter's Nightmare

I decided I had too much stuff when even my husband, renowned pack-rat that he is, started to complain about the fabric, boxes, even monsters that were everywhere. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of money for fancy organizing mechanisms or a new house or apartment that comes with rooms of shelves and gigantic closets. We live in Brooklyn, and while it's a bit better than a Manhattan apartment, it's only a small step up on the totem pole.

I had to completely rethink how to organize. Craig's List was the best help, providing me with inexpensive shelves and those big plastic drawers. But wanted something fancy if it was going to be out and about. Something that actually felt like it was a part of the rest of the room, not just something functional.

I had this:

It wasn't pretty and it needed to go.

I found a pretty cube shelving system, not too expensive (especially if you get them on sale), but the price starts to go up if you want the baskets for each cube, or the fancy doors and backs. After a bit of internet searching, I found some GREAT tutorials for fabric baskets. Using a combination of this and this, and a few of my own tweaks (hello pockets!) I made enough fabric baskets in fun colors to store that big pile of junk and could use the tubs in a few more out of the way places.

And now I think maybe running my own crafting business out of my small, Brooklyn apartment might just be possible.

By Karen
of Karen's Monsters

How to Buy a Home of Your Own in NYC

Nordea of Nordea's Soaperie creates her yummy body products in that most elusive space: a home in New York City that she actually owns! Knowing that she splits her time between freelancing and owning a small business, I was curious about how she pulled it off. Herein are the details:

When did you decide you wanted to buy an apartment in NYC?

It was always on my mind...when I first moved to the city, my mom kept telling me I was throwing money out the window by paying rent. November 2001, after returning from a long vacation, I really started to save money and seriously look for a place.

How long between that decision and becoming a homeowner?

I moved into my new home May 2004.

What steps did you have to take to make your dream a reality?

I saved every spare dollar I had. I got advice from friends who were homeowners, and thought about what I wanted in my new home (space, sunlight, and closets!) I sat down and figured out how much I could afford to pay every month (mortgage + common charges) and was realistic when I started looking for a new home.

What was the hardest part about saving for a down payment?

No vacations, no shopping sprees, and no extra anything. I found creative ways to prepare Ramen Noodles.

How did you find the apartment you ended up buying?

NYC Dept. of Housing and Preservation (a lottery system) plus pure luck and patience.

What tips would you offer someone of modest means who wants to buy a home in NYC?

Save your money, and when the time comes, make a large down payment (as much as you can afford.) I had very little money left in the bank after closing, but if my mortgage payments were even slightly higher, I could easily be one of many Americans struggling to keep their home in today's economy.

When did you start your business?

Officially in 2006

How did owning your own place affect your business?

There is no way I could possibly make soap in my old apartment. I don't even know where I would be able to store the finished product. My old apartment had ONE closet. No storage at all. I now have a room dedicated to soaping, formulating, and packaging.

What's the best thing about owning your own place?

More living space and direct sunlight. I can actually grow some plants!

The worst?

These days, money is tight. I'm always worried that my toilet is going to explode....costing me thousands of dollars to repair.