Saturday, June 11, 2022

Welcome to Your New and Empty Home

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: As I mentioned a couple days ago, this past Monday, the Maine Millennial (formerly known as the Smithie) signed the papers on her first house, purchased entirely on her own. Hurrah! We’ve spent a lot of this week driving her stuff to her new place, an hour away, and in the process, she’s realizing the original driving force behind wedding gifts - when a couple starts a household after living in their parents’ homes, they’re missing a lot of day-to-day necessities.


Or even when you have been on your own. I moved out of my folks’ house when I started college, and never lived there again. But despite the dorms, flats, apartments and houses I rented, when Ross and I got to his “luxury townhome apartment” (the luxury was two dedicated parking spaces) we had a post-wedding mismash - Royal Doulton service for eight and a stack of mismatched plates from my grandmothers. There was a kitchen table but no chairs, a TV but no console, and a mattress/boxsprings combo, but, of course, no bedframe. We put the TV on boxes filled with books and watched while sitting on two directors chairs (remember those?) Our coffee table and end table were more boxes of books, which I stylishly disguised by wrapping them in my old bedroom curtains. (The one item I have never, ever been short on? Books.)


The Maine Millennial is better off than that, because the seller - the daughter of the elderly woman who had lived in the house - is conveying most of the furniture. While the pieces may not be exactly to her taste, it means she’s only had to buy a sectional sofa. (The Redheaded Boyfriend is paying for a new, made-in Maine mattress.) That still leaves a lot of must-haves, though. Bedding. Plates. Draperies. Shower curtain (I’m passing along a stack of towels and facecloths.) Cleaning supplies. And she has nothing for the kitchen other than a coffee maker!


I did suggest that since she and TRB are already talking forever-after, if they move up the timeline, she could kit out her house with the proceeds from the shower and wedding. Yes, dear readers, I have virtually no shame.


So, Reds, let’s reminisce. What did you have when you moved into your first, real adult home? What were you missing? And did you have better ideas for coping than folding old drapes around boxes?


LUCY BURDETTE: Congrat to the MM, and yes, Julia, you are shameless but oh so practical! I remember a few things–an ugly faux leather couch that a psychologist friend paid for (I sent him lots of referrals over the years), another “couch” and chair made out of barn wood that were supremely uncomfortable, and some wooden orange crates for book storage. I don’t have a natural decorating flair so my best advice is to go to local art shows and purchase some real paintings–we’ve found lovely but not expensive watercolors over the years and still enjoy them. 


JENN McKINLAY: Do you remember the Speigel catalog and the Betty Crocker catalog? I am not even kiddings when I say I outfitted my first “grown-up” apartment kitchen with Betty Crocker points and some of my furniture with Spiegel discounts. The Spiegel desk I bought in 1992 is now in my son’s apartment and I still have the baking accouterments that I bought with my points. Good times! 


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: My first real adult home. Hmm. A pretty great two story two-bedroom two-bathroom LR DR kitchen garage driveway 40’s era house in a fun Indianapolis neighborhood–I shared with a roommate, Sharon, :-) , and the rent was 100 a month.

I will let that sink in.

 

We had our beds from somewhere, a couch, I think Sharon’s Mom gave us, and my Mom gave us a gorgeous original cobalt blue Eames chair that I WISH I STILL HAD BUT MY SISTER TOOK IT. We built amazing bookshelves, wall-to-wall in the living room, and shared the purchase of a VERY exciting and VERY glam and VERY VERY impractical wall-to-wall white shag rug for the living room. We were hot stuff, and it was wonderful. 

 

Did we have a coffeemaker? Or pans?  I have no memory at all of that. We definitely had a fondue pot. :-)

HALLIE EPHRON: What we had, just married in our 1-bedroom rent-controlled apartment on West End Ave in Manhattan (which btw I could not afford to live in now) included, for sure, a fondue pot (wedding present). And a food processor (ditto). A cramped table gate-leg for eating at with chairs from the breakfast set I grew up with. The kitchen had no counters (we moved a small bookcase in there and I chopped on top of it.) The living room had a twin bed with bolsters - we couldn’t afford a couch. Then we “acquired” stuff. Dragged in a Singer sewing machine table that someone on 98th St was throwing out. A coffee table my parents were getting rid of. We were on our way!


Cookware mismatched, but included were a treasured set of Descoware (orange enamel coated cast iron) pots. Most of them have bitten the dust but I still have a frying pan and a dutch oven.


A coffeemaker? I remember a little espresso pot (the water went in the bottom and when it boiled it gushed UP through the coffee to the top) that I don’t think I’d know how to use today. 


RHYS BOWEN: After College I shared a flat with friends, furnished with items borrowed from my parents. (It was very glam, just behind Oxford Street and two minutes from the BBC where I worked, so I could get up at 8:30 and be in the studio by 9 ).  When I went to Australia I shared a flat for a while, furnished. Then I married John and sailed for California. Again we rented a furnished flat until we had saved that down-payment (it took six months. Think about that too!)  So we moved into our first home–a dear little 1903 cottage in Marin County. We had enough money for the downpayment but none for furniture, and we were thousands of miles from the nearest relative.We managed to buy a bed, china, cutlery with wedding presents but…

 

 It was the time of hippie love-ins so we decided to hold a ‘move-in’. We invited everyone we knew to come for a barbecue and bring any item they no longer wanted. It worked brilliantly. People brought appliances, a TV, coffee table and also said, “If you can rent a truck I’ve got a fridge, couch, etc.”


We had no dining table so John chatted to friends who still worked for Qantas and obtained spreader boards (they use for airline cargo). With these he MADE a table and two benches. Also book shelves. It is the last creative thing he ever did. 


In many ways I enjoyed this piece-meal furnishing. It was a challenge and we upgraded whenever we could later. My daughter Jane married into a well-established San Francisco family and started married life with a fully furnished and equipped home. I wonder if she found that as satisfying?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: It was fun, wasn't it, that first piecing together a home from bits and bobs. My first experience with that was the garage apartment I lived in during my last couple of years in college. (The rent was $75 a month, Hank!) My parents and my aunt and uncle helped me paint and furnish it. A cast iron/glass topped cafe table with two matching chairs in the kitchen, from Goodwill, I think. The carpet was an offcut from a carpet store. A hand-me-down chair and reading lamp, plank and cinder block bookshelves. I inherited the mosaic tile coffee table that my uncle designed and the whole family had helped make a few years earlier. The bedroom furniture we found abandoned in the garage below the apartment and we painted it Chinese red. It was all so cozy and I adored it. It broke my heart to give it up after I graduated.


I accumulated more hand-me-downs over the years, including quite a bit of my parents' mid-century modern stuff, which has since been passed on to other people. It wasn't until we moved into the current house that we started investing in some real "grown up" furniture, but most of that is suitably loved and battered now.

JULIA: How about you, dear reader? What do you remember about your first grown-up home? And did you make out (with wedding loot) or make do?

81 comments:

  1. I have to say that wherever we lived over the years, as long as we had a coffee pot, I was a happy camper . . . .
    Between what we already had and wedding gifts, we managed quite well; there wasn’t much “making do” as we settled into our first home . . . .

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    1. Joan, I think that's the Maine Millennial's perspective. Have coffee, will travel. Or stay home.

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    2. Love that "have coffee, will travel" perspective.

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    3. I was both pleased and impressed with 100bookreviews.club during every step of the process. The communication, the organization and the service were excellent. I am humbled by the depth of the review and thankful for the kind words about my work.

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  2. My first grown-up home was the 1-bedroom apartment I rented in Waterloo, ON at the age of 20. I do remember getting hand-me down kitchen chairs/table & basic cooking items which I still use now including some Revere wear copper-bottomed pots & my rice cooker.

    But I had to buy a new bed, sofa, and my first IKEA Billy bookcases for that apartment. Again, those original Billy bookcases are among the 22 bookcases I still use in my Ottawa apartment.

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    1. Grace, it's amazing how well those "first home" pieces from IKEA hold up, isn't it?

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  3. Moved into a the small but adequate attic room of a furnished apartment. Brought bed from home-home. A friend gave me a bureau (that I still have). Dishes? Either already there or housemate had. Next apartment needed a couch - another friend to the rescue.

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    1. In my student years, I benefited a lot from friends moving away and not wanting to deal with a dresser/bed/sofa. Sometimes I think those ugly old workhorses are probably still being passed down to student in DC!

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  4. My first solo home was during my first year of grad school, a studio apartment (which sounds fancy - it wasn't) on the square in Bloomington, Indiana. I was young and fresh off living in Japan for two years. "Chairs" were cushions on the floor and my bed was a single futon mattress up in the loft. I discovered a used-cooking-supply store across the tracks and equipped my tiny kitchen. I was happy!

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    1. Starting with a Japanese sensibility is a great way to begin, Edith! Minimalism as a life style.

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  5. Congratulations to the MM. I hope that she and TRB have many happy years together picking out stuff they want to feather their nest.

    My first grown-up apartment was 2 rooms, kitchen and bedroom in the northeastern corner of Connecticut. I began going to local antique barns that I would pass on my way back and forth from my dad and step-mother's home in a Hartford suburb. Over time, I bought a brass bed that I stripped, and an oak dresser. I bought a set of wooden kitchen chairs that I painted. I bought my own set of pots and pans. My dishes were from a gas station, fill up get a dish. I must have had things that were my mother's that my step mother didn't need.

    The bigger challenge was setting up my own apartment in Israel. That one was mostly furnished but think of the stuff you take for granted!

    By the time I met Irwin, our biggest problem was moving him and his things from his condo across the street into mine. Whose stuff stayed and whose stuff got stored or tossed? Ah, yes. Interesting times;-)

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    1. Judy, I had glassware from the gas station! Some of it was actually cool enough for my oldest daughter to ask if she could use it for her own first home.

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    2. I did, too! The first matching glasses Ross and I had came from a gas station giveaway. They were actually great, and lasted for years. Sigh. Now it feels like I'M giving THEM valuable items when I fill up...

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    3. My first glasses were also from gas stations, Danielle

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    4. In regards to gas prices, we love our electric Teslas!

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  6. Being practical, as soon as I knew I wanted to marry Roger, I began to accumulate household items in my room when my budget allowed it: a set of sheets , a set of towels. I bought my set of dishes piece by piece at La Baie d’Hudson: white plates with golden border that had caught my eyes.
    To equip our first small accommodation , we sanded and painted an iron bed frame and two wooden chairs from the stock in the barn on Roger’s parents farm and my father gave us a disused square bar table.
    With the wedding money, we were able to buy a new mattress and a sofa.
    We had little but we were happy.
    Danielle

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    1. Danielle, you sound like you have wonderful taste, which doesn't surprise me. Someone said, "Better to have a few good things than a house filled with junk."

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  7. We lived in furnished student housing for several years, so we owned useful stuff like a toaster and bricks and boards bookcases. When we "graduated" to an unfurnished Los Angeles apartment, we bought a bed, couch, and hit garage sales for everything else. When my son moved into a group apartment, I cleaned out my basement storage area: dressers, kitchen table and chairs, a "stereo bench". We watched the first twenty years of our marriage loaded into a uhaul.

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    1. Margaret, I had forgotten the board and cinderblock bookcase in my first student apartment. Thanks for reminding me.

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  8. Oh, Jenn, I also used the Spiegel catalog! In the early 1970s I bought unfinished bedside tables, a dresser, and a desk in campaign style, painted them myself, and used them for more than 45 years. When my youngest was furnishing her own place she asked if she could have it, and she redid it again, painting it a soft blue and swapping out the hardware. Chip off the proud old block!

    When I got married in 1970 we had so little. Most of our wedding gifts were ridiculously impractical, like the 30-serving coffee urn. (Which I used until we were building this house, and someone left it plugged in overnight. Lucky the house-in-progress didn't burn down!) Someone gave us an old sofa with an ugly cover, so I dyed it purple. Very hippie.

    We talked about windfalls yesterday, and it reminded me of how I got my set of dishes. My mother, in about 1973, won $400 at bingo, which was a LOT of money then, more than she made in salary in a month. She treated me to a set of Ironware--$40, in a gorgeous black and white pattern. Two of our daughters have used them, and are still.

    Julia, you reminded me of the director's chairs I have in the basement. There is a local charity that takes gently used furniture and household goods and distributes them to needy families. It provides the dignity and self-sufficiency that a hand up can give a struggling household. I think I will pass them on to them, along with some of the other still-good items we aren't using.

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    1. Remember hope chests? I guess no one bothers with such a thing any more.

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    2. Karen, count me among the Speigal fans. I got two standing lamps that have a halogen uplight and a sconce-like reading light back in 1990, and they're STILL in my living room. They had great stuff.

      I don't think girls fill hope chests anymore, but I have my mother's - a simple and useful Lane chest lined in cedar. It's at the foot of Youngest's bed, and keeps our extra blankets. Every home needs a chest!

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    3. Agreed! I keep my precious wool sweaters in my Lane cedar chest.

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    4. Spiegel for the win!!! LOL. I love that their stuff endures.

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  9. It was several places and moves before I semi-settled in a house in Halifax. Since I figured that I was in that city for the rest of my life (I thought strangely when I was 22!), I bought a pull-out couch. It was a good one – sturdy frame, the mattress didn’t sag, you could sit on it comfortably, and was covered in a bold gold-ish fabric. Very practical.
    Well apparently, my thoughts of staying ‘there’ for the rest of my life were not to be as I foolishly got married and moved to Quebec. The couch was one of the pieces of furniture that we took. We moved into a lovely little 2-story apartment in Montreal (with free pets – cockroaches!) where we squished the couch in the elevator and true to form it popped open part way up and tried to kill us. Stayed there for the better part of a year, and then moved 100km away to live with my father-in-law. Built a new house 15 km away and took the couch. Built another new house 15 kms away and moved the couch – now it is designated ‘other room’ furniture as my mother bought us a proper couch. By the way the couch is still good, just dated. Built another house 3 kms away, and this time the couch is to go in the ‘attic’ area where the kids play. The stairs to there are quite narrow, but the good news was that the gyprock was not up when we took it up the stairs (and where as usual it popped open and tried to kill us). Stayed there for 5 years and then moved back to Nova Scotia. We looked at the couch which is now 30 years old and decided it could join some of the other items on the funeral pyre in the back yard. However...
    It would not go down the stairs with the gyprock on the walls. No way.
    We skulked out the front door ‘donating’ the killer couch to the new residents. It will take a chainsaw to get rid of it!

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    1. Margo! I can't tell if the moral of the story is, 'Never think you're settling down at 22 or you'll jinx yourself to move forever," or "Beware killer sleeper sofas!"

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  10. What fun to share all your memories of first homes and congratulations for the Millennial. I lived in apartments from my senior year in college until I married. It's hard to say what the first "grownup" apt was - they all were and weren't. After college, I thought everything I did was grown up! In what is a college town tradition, we bought the (very basic) furniture from the previous tenants . Orange curtains, a bright orange and purple flowered slipcover from Sears and a painted wall (also orange-what can I say - it was the 60's) cheered up the dark living room. It was my mom who told me the very ugly brown rug was actually carpet padding. Later apts included an attic in a town house - charming and uncomfortable -in super charming Brooklyn Heights. Melmac tableware from the supermarket. The furniture was odds and ends from parents. Plus eventually a brand new convertible couch for a studio apt. My husband had a similar history. When we moved into our first together, it was a "real" apt building with elevators and a view and lots of closets. And two completely mismatched convertible couches.
    His parents bought us a real, grown up bedroom set for a wedding gift and kitchen counters meant I finally had a place to put a first KitchenAid mixer! (And I still have the hand rotary beater I had as a bachelor girl) Wedding present china was very trendy Dansk . We did choose a silver pattern at the urging of both mothers, who disagreed on everything else (!) but we didn't have "real" china for another ten years.

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    1. Triss, I'm pretty sure those orange and purple items would be a hot "mid-century modern" look these days!

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    2. Sears was our place for appliances in our first (and last so far) house. That was until Hooligan 2 found the button that shuts off the escalator. It was a mutual breakup. Thankfully no one was hurt, but WHY would you put the big red button right at 3 yr old eye level???

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    3. Jenn, boys! Boys! Too funny!! Jonathan (age 4) climbed a pile of bags of top soil at a landscapers. Same kind of break-up!

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  12. What fun! First real home was a one bedroom duplex my soon to be husband and I rented. We furnished with a waterbed and blow-up furniture. Tres chic! We were lucky in one respect, the place had tons of built-in bookshelves that we filled with books and vinyl records - compliments of Columbia House and Book of the Month Club introductory offerings. Dishes and pots and pans came from the Zayer store - think downscale Walmart - and for appliances - well, I'm sure I had a perk coffee pot and not much else. The perk pot, by the way, was a handy appliance in my later years as my first official act in any home I own is to change to gas. No matter what - I've got coffee. Made me very popular in the aftermath of multiple hurricanes in Florida!

    When we married we received a full set of china and stemware - ex hubs has both (had? it's been a long time) as it came from his family. My parents gave us our sterling set that they had been buying piecemeal throughout my childhood. We also received a fondue pot, zillions of cheese boards that we hung on the walls of our kitchen for decoration, and a cheese dispenser shaped like a mouse - wish I still had it, it was cute! The 1970s were definitely a cheesy time in more ways that one.

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    1. Married in the seventies, and no burnt orange fondue pot?!?

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    2. The fondue pot and the crock pot! Rites of passage, indeed.

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    3. I think ours was that odd yellow green with color coded forks. Deborah - I forgot, we did have a crock pot - it was avocado!

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  13. Jenn, I also had bakeware bought with Betty Crocker points! And remember trading stamps? I used them to get silverware and a rocking chair!

    Most of the first few places where I lived were more or less already furnished. Wedding and shower gifts completed the kitchen. Eventually we got a great deal on renting an older farmhouse that had everything except bedroom furniture, so off I went to the furniture store. The next house was a brand-new rental, so we needed a lot more. Gradually we acquired what we needed and more. Now, even after 2 fires, I still have way more than a single person needs.

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    1. Judi, I feel the same. When Ross and I first moved into This Old House, I remember us standing in the almost empty living room and wondering, "How are we ever going to fill this place?" Now I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of too much stuff...

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  14. Hank Phillippi RyanJune 11, 2022 at 9:41 AM

    It is so much fun to read all these— the graduation from cinder block and board bookcases to real bookcases is a big step! As is a real bed after a couch or futon. We had lots of dinner parties that consisted of Beef fondue, cheese fondue, and chocolate fondue… And we all sat on the floor. I remember we thought we were so glamorous and cool !

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  15. My first real home, I owned a bed, an antique dresser (it became the buffet in the keeping room), a lamp, a rocking chair, and two bookcases. My co-workers held a moving-in shower for me and outfitted most of my kitchen needs. Glassware came piece-meal from a local fast food place (grand-nephew thinks they're wonderful). My mom loaned me a table and chairs. My uncle made two dressers for me, and I purchased a couch, a recliner, more lamps, and outfitted my study with a classy futon loveseat for guests. And, most importantly, I owned a washer and dryer--no laundromats for me!

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    1. Oh, owning that first washer and dryer - what a game changer that was! I nearly wept when we moved into our first house and I could just toss the dirty clothes down the basement stairs instead of hauling them to the laundromat!

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  16. We were pretty fresh out of grad school when we bought our first house. I remember being so strapped for cash that we bought the floor model of the media center at IKEA because it was cheaper. From then until now we have had pretty small tvs, since only small tvs fit. (In last month's move I decided we could move on from our late 90s media center!) I also remember buying a real bed frame to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Before that we used the frame from one of those couch to bed futon set-ups.

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    1. Trish, I'm embarrassed to admit, but we got a "temporary" bed frame - just a few rails to keep the box spring off the floor. We were going to get something nice and fancy, with head and footboard, etc. 28 years later...

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  17. When I left my parent's home in 1975, I became peripatetic. I didn't have the same address for any longer that 2 years until I moved to Canada in 1998. I married for the first time in 1980. Our first apartment in NW Denver was small and drafty. It had a lot of empty space -- enough that he could completely dismantle his Norton motorcycle and spread out the pieces in the front room. This was the man who believed that the sterling silver wedding-present cake knife was the best tool to reach under the furnace. Neither of those is the reason he is an "ex-" though. Even in that 5 year relationship, we had 3 addresses. Board and brick bookshelves were the most enduring possession.

    Moving around exposes one's perhaps unidentified fetishes. When I went east to grad school I took only what would fit in my Datsun 310 sedan. That included 5 coats, 10 pairs of shoes and books, many books. My first purchase in Amherst was probably boards and bricks for bookshelves, and a pair of rubber boots because I didn't have the right shoes!

    I did accumulate some stuff though. My first post-divorce bonus check bought a leather sofa that ultimately made the move to Canada with me, having survived the grad school purge in storage. My father's old-fashioned bed which dismantled into moveable pieces also came North, though it has subsequently moved elsewhere. Since I have settled here, we have only moved twice and are planning for the last one to happen this time next year. Let the purge begin!

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    1. Congrats to MM, too. A good nice project to look forward to. And I love the "live better" poster.

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    2. Good luck with the upcoming move, CD! I think purging stuff is actually fun. I suppose you can take the girl out of the military, but you can't take the military out of the girl.

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  18. My first apartment was 650 square feet with one bedroom, a bath, my own kitchen, and a fireplace (we didn’t have a fireplace growing up) and I thought it was a palace. Furnishing it took a village, though. The bedroom was completely eaten up by the king sized bookcase waterbed I got from a friend—you couldn’t walk around it without turning sideways in a couple of spots. The living room had a pink loveseat that was a hand me down from a friend’s mom, and a round oak coffee table I scored at a garage sale—my one and only good garage sale find. The kitchen table was a hand me down from my aunt, the chairs from my boyfriend’s aunt, and my kitchen was outfitted with glasses from McDonald’s (their Disney Parks set, I still have one), dishes that were very cheap with purchase at the grocery store (spend $40, add a plate for $2, bowl for $1 promotion), and cookware that my mom and aunts had spares of and passed down.

    I moved in right before thanksgiving my last semester in college, and I was most excited about having my own Christmas tree, but couldn’t afford to buy one. Justin’s parents gave me their old one, and it was massively too large for my tiny living room, but I didn’t care. We borrowed lights from my mom and bought cheap ornaments at Target, and I thought it was the most beautiful tree ever.

    I only lived there for 10 months before Justin and I bought a house and got married, but still have very fond memories. Congratulations to the MM, I hope she finds great happiness in her new home!

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    1. LynDee , your first house sounds charming, and a king-size bookcase waterbed would have been my first choice when I was twenty-something!

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  19. We lived in a furnished apartment so that made things easier. I did get a copy of the then-new 1973 version of _the new McCall’s cook book_ that I still have and some Tupperware containers. The cookbook is much-worn and not put on the bookshelf, but I still use the waffle recipe.

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    1. Kay, my Mom gave me my first cookbook, the 1979 paperback of BETTY CROCKER HOME COOKING. I still have it, much battered and with no index remaining, but it has the best cookie recipes, so I still pull it out regularly.

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  20. Flora here, congratulations to the MM and TRB (and Janey)--wishing them all the best as they furnish their first home together!

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  21. Laughing at several mentions of a water bed. Us, too! We were so, so cool. A big step up from the fold out couches too. We are cetainly dating ourselves just a bit. Did anyone else have be linens in a kind of rainbow pattern...but brown and orange?

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    1. (This is from me, Triss Stein)

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    2. Triss, I didn't have any sheets, but I got a lot of plates and enameled pots that were avocado green, harvest gold and burnt orange. All hand me downs from my mom, who leaned hard into the seventies look.

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  22. RHYS: Love your stories, especially the move in party. That is a great idea. When a friend got married, instead of spending $$$$$, they had all of the guests bring food to the wedding and it was like a potluck. The wedding was outdoors in a public park.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I love that idea! I'm going to keep it in mind if TRhB and the MM do tie the knot.

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  23. JULIA; Wonderful that MM was able to buy house. That is really hard here in CA. A relative earns a lot of money yet is having difficulty buying a house in Marin County (I think it's the most expensive county in CA) because they are always getting outbidded! What is the name of the company that makes furniture "made in Maine"? I bought a few things "Made in Maine" from LLBean.

    Diana

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    1. Sonoma county must be a close second, Diana.

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    2. Santa Clara County for the win. Highest prices in the state because of our location.

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    3. Diana, there are several furniture makers in Maine, but the really premiere one is Thomas Moser.

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  24. So many wonderful stories from Jungle Reds and commenters. I can barely remember my first grown up place because I moved so many times! Every time I moved, I had to decide which books to keep and which books to donate. One piece of furniture that I always brought with me was the coffee table that my father made with his own hands. I also have a few pieces of furniture that I inherited from different relatives.

    Diana

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    1. Those are the special pieces you never let go, Diana.

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  25. My first apartment was the one soon to be step-dad was moving out of when he married my mom and they moved into her former in-laws apartment (temporary) across the street from where John was living. Confused? Everything was a hand-me-down. Living room was mom's (and dad's) horrible Brown furniture. Dining room was the table set a family friend had given mom, bedroom had my childhood bedroom set. I had claimed my grandmother's college trunk and used it as a tv table. In the trunk was bits and pieces of my grandparents families. Two completed and two unfinished quilts from Granddad's mom. Old wall art and a embroidery sampler. And my grandmother's father's police hat, nonstick and chief's badge.

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    1. I love those last items, Deana. I got lots of the same brown furniture. I wish the home decor blogs or HGTV magazine had been around then; I didn't realize I could have spray painted them all!

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  26. Julia, it just hit me - one doesn't have to get married to have a house warming. Usually people bring gifts!

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    1. I've thought about that, Judi! Would it be tacky if her mother hosted the party?

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  27. My first grownup home came six months after I married. The first six months were in a furnished one-bedroom apartment. When we moved into our house, we were furniture poor for sure. We used my husband's grandmother's no-longer-used-by-her formica topped table and lawn chairs in the dining area of the kitchen. My parents soon gifted us with the money to buy a wood table and chairs. Of course, now I wish I'd kept the formica table because it's vintage and acceptable now. Haha! I can't remember exactly, but I think we had a hand-me-down from Philip's parents for our bedroom. The living room was empty for a year. But, the good luck is that my husband's family business of brown goods (TVs, etc.) and white goods (appliances) added furniture to their stores, so I was able to get needed furniture by paying way below retail and making payments. I do remember our first Christmas, we had a Christmas tree in the living room all by itself, and we had gotten the tree from my husband's grandfather's farm. We were pretty well set in the kitchen from shower and wedding gifts. Forty-five, forty-six this fall, years and I still use some of the dishes and bowls, although my sterling silver set of twelve sits in its case.

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    1. I envy you your discounts from the furniture and appliances store, Kathy. Something like that would have saved lots of the time I spent at estate sales, yard sales, and junk shops.

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  28. Weddings are a good way to get home supplies. We had a wish list, but still had people saying, "You don't think you need this now, but just wait." That was for a silver Revere ware bowl we never used (we just celebrated our 50th anniversary, so I don't think it's time will ever come) and pewter liqueur glasses that looked like bowling trophies.
    Our apartment included a mattress on the bedroom floor (ah, to be young and think nothing of getting up off the floor), a tv that had been my grandmother's, "sofas" made of twin mattresses on doors sitting on bricks, and an end table that was an orange crate (what do people do now that orange crates aren't around?) with fabric hanging over it.
    Our budget was such that if we didn't spend money on anything extra we were $5 in the hole each month. Thanks goodness I'd saved my summer work money.

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    1. Oh, those early years when getting a take out pizza and a cheap jug of Chianti was a huge treat! It doesn't seem so wonderful at the time, but so lovely to look back on.

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  29. Garage sales and Goodwill were a good source, and friends' surplus (living too far from family). Boards & bricks bookcases were popular in my college days. When I applied for in-state tuition, the U of MN committee actually asked if we owned our own furniture (permanence?) -- affirmative and they didn't ask about quality. ;-) I have let younger relatives know they can "shop" at my house, especially the higher cabinet shelves because anything up high won't be used by me . . . <3

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    1. Mary, I have SO much art, bedding, throw pillows, china, etc. I've told the kids I'm happy to pass them on as soon as they're settled enough to want them!

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  30. . . . and congratulate her on the new home. <3

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  31. When we married Frank was in college (yay G.I. Bill) and living in a mostly furnished duplex. We found a house to rent within a month and snagged it first before anyone else. The couple who had bought it to rent out were new to the landlord business and they were as nice as could be. We drove down to Houston and consulted my m-i-l's pink sheet--the neighborhood listing of garage sales, etc. We got an old stove that was very sturdy and weighed a ton, a couch from my inlaws, a chair or two, a double bed with wicker headboard and an Airedale. The neighbors across the street were moving to a condo and needed a new home for George. Frank wasn't thrilled. I wrote a check to pay my f-i-l back since he'd given us cash to pay for things and was horrified when he ripped it up. He laughed when he saw my face as he intended it all to be a gift. We were well set up for cooking and eating between wedding gifts and my purchases the summer we married. We bought a fridge at a scratch and dent store. Someone loaned us a window unit for A/C and a gas stove for heat. I wish someone had given us insulation for that house! I hated going to the laundromat; absolutely hated it. I had taken a job at a department store and the hair salon was getting a new washer and dryer. So much interest was shown in the used pair that management decided to accept sealed bids for them. I won with my top bid of $35 and the store delivered! It was like I'd won the lottery!

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    1. As for George, Frank got used to him. George rode shotgun in my Mustang whenever I drove to downtown Austin at midnight to pick up Frank from his job. It was pretty scuzzy downtown back then and no one bothered me when George was along for the ride.

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  32. I made do. I had roommates for years, so I didn't have to provide everything right off the bat. And I've inherited or accepted hand me downs on many things over the years. My silverware came from my grandparent's house, and my dishes are the ones I grew up with, for example.

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  33. This is a wonderful topic! I had been living in my first real home (a condo in Hoboken NJ) for a couple years, happily accumulating furniture from IKEA that I put together myself, a couch that a friend's mom got for me for a song (I regretted not chosing the teal parachute cloth for years and never found the "sensible" brown fabric very satisfying), and kitchen things from various family members, when I started dating my wife. She was a minimalist with a couch, a dresser, a tv and a bed. I was completely horrified by her lack of furniture, dishes, everything! I started showing up with coffee tables, end tables, bookshelves, and armloads of sundries I didn't see how she could live without. None of this helped my serious pursuit of her at all since she thought I was completely out of my mind. The joke was on me when she finally agreed to move in with me and we had two of everything! I remember thinking, when we packed up the extra ones of everything for friends, this had better last, or I'm going to have a lot of shopping to do. Thirty three years later she's still a minimalist and she's turned our 16 year old son into one too!

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