Design Ideas

5 Things to Buy First When you Move to a New City

published Apr 30, 2018
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It’s no surprise that moving across the country means that not all of your things can necessarily move with you. For my partner and me, area code hopping from Toronto to Vancouver meant forsaking all of our home furnishings to make room in the car for keepsakes and clothing. So where do you start when you sign the lease and you have nothing but wardrobe changes and some family photos? Having been down to the bare essentials and back again, here are the five things to buy first when you move to a new city

(Image credit: Lull)

1. A Mattress

Poor mattresses. The linchpin of the bedroom set must be one of the most commonly left behind items in a cross-country move. Huge and heavy, sometimes there is simply too much involved in transporting them securely and sanitarily. Whether you go the trendy mail-order route or prefer the classic ritual of brick and mortar bed testing, a mattress should be one of the first items you invest in once you’ve landed in your new city if your old one didn’t make the trek. Once our new pillow-top was delivered, it meant we were out of our sublet and into our home. I’m sure the truly savvy might have theirs delivered upon arrival but in a massive move, you can’t think of everything. Just remember to pack your sheets!

2. A Living Room Splurge

You may be inclined to be purely practical when you begin to furnish a new home from scratch (see #1), but any move, let alone one that requires a time zone change, should be tempered with some more pleasurable purchases. In a mostly empty apartment, give yourself something to gaze at fondly while you eat pizza cross-legged on the floor, dream-decorating in your head. For us it was a rustic reclaimed-wood coffee table. A cozy armchair, a statement lamp or some wall art are all excellent options for your New City Splurge.

(Image credit: Ikea)

3. One Ikea Haul

My very first roommate was an interior design major who refused to shop at Ikea in the name of artistic integrity. After living for a few weeks with nothing but a beanbag chair, some yard sale dishes and a miserable liberal arts student, she eventually relented. As you can imagine, when I decided to move across the country there was no way I would relive the horror of an Ikea-free move, especially in these heighten circumstances. On your first free Saturday, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to one cart full of all of the little household things your forgot you needed from Kalkgrund to Grunka.

4. Stylish Storage

Storage may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are light on belongings, but knowing how much you can acquire before you acquire it is a blessing that comes with starting fresh. Going homemade or secondhand is a great option when selecting sleek storage units especially after making a few investment purchases. Our plywood shelving and nightstands are not only a source of DIY pride, but making them a priority ensured that we didn’t overstuff our new abode.

(Image credit: The Sill)

5. A Houseplant

A Sundew is a small, delicate plant known for its ability to ensnare fruit flies. Before purchasing one at the local farmers market days after arriving in Vancouver, neither my partner or I had ever encountered one before, but its eye-catching stems and impressive resume instantly sold us. This housewarming present to ourselves sat happily on our kitchen counter long before we bought dining room furniture or guest towels and though we proved to be sub-par plant parents to our little carnivore, its early presence in our sparse apartment was a delight. Few plants make the move from one city to another so restocking on your flora is a must. Don’t wait to make it the finishing touch.

This post is part of a three-part series—you can find out more about Colleen’s move here: 5 Lessons I Learned from Moving Across the Country and 10 Things I Wish I Had (or Hadn’t) Left Behind in My Cross-Country Move.