Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Capsule house

I am looking for some emphatic and prescriptive help, please.

As of last night, I am the proud owner of a ten year old dishwasher and oven, and a set of orange towelling bathroom curtains (? perhaps). This is a big moment. The house already boasts a washing machine and, er, nothing else.

I own:

Lots of bowls (my favourite is the Gien artichoke bowl seen here )

Lots of melamine plates

Lots of mugs and tea cups

2 teapots

2 tea cosies

2 moustache pint glasses

A 1950s flower patterned tea set (incomplete)

A cake stand

Lots of Japanese tea caddies

A Kitchenaid mixer

A full - absurdly full - set of baking equipment

2 stolen paring knives

A blini pan

1, possibly 2 saucepans

A piano

A tiny, antique two person sofa covered in fragile Neisha Crosland silk, unsuitable for children and weepettes.

A large, ancient armchair, jointly owned by the weepette, reupholstered in unwisely pale fabric.

A Squint armchair (present to self in days when I used to earn decent money)

A reissued blue Eames RAR rocker (33rd birthday present)

Too many books, most of which I will never reread

Lots of pictures (large, sombre Barbara Rae Spanish seascape on loan from Papa Waffle, tiny Keith Vaughan pencil drawing of 2 men, 18th birthday present, Steve Bell cartoon, 18th birthday present, Dufy pen and ink of an orchestra, bought with insurance pay out when my mother died, small Dufy pen and ink of a woman's back, 30th birthday present from CFO, two Peter Callesen works on paper, a Rob Ryan print, etc etc)

A hammer

That is all.

What do I need, except a kettle and a mattress? Every five minutes something else strikes me (ironing board! Rubbish bins!) and it's oppressive. Can we try and establish the capsule house collection? Is there one thing I will not have thought of that I will need, and what is the absolute minimum required to manage?

61 comments:

fabhat said...

cutlery, a frying pan, wastepaper bins, shelves (for all the books and bowls) a bathmat (unless you want to use the orange curtains as one...?)curtains for everywhere else,a breadknife, a proper table to eat on (too depressing otherwise - even if all you eat is bonne maman and chocolate bars on it) and a really lovely warm throw to keep yourself cosy...

KSV Woolfoot said...

Scissors and garbage bags.

I am still following along and I send you all my best wishes.

I am not sure that English people say "garbage bags"? I am guessing you'll be able to work it out.

fourstar said...

My dream is to sit in the middle of a smooth concrete room with just a wireless laptop for company. I think I'd be quite happy.

Kathy said...

A sofa suitable for kids and weepettes. Lamps. Towels. TV. Some form of music player. Wine glasses. Tables on which lamps can rest. Dresser (not actually sure what the English call this: bureau? Chest of drawers? For underwear, t-shirts and such). Picture hooks.

Anonymous said...

Something comforting and decadent to drink - hot chocolate or the like to have your first night. And make sure you eat properly so you sleep. It will be hard. I'm rooting for you.

Cupboard for the hammer.
Sun glasses for bathroom.
Most expensive moisturiser you can lay your hands on to open there.
Colour you would never normally wear for your toenails.
Great big bunch of flowers. Oh, then vase too, so scrap that for now.
Something, anything, pleasingly pretty that serves no practical purpose.

You don't by any chance want a set of colour coded chopping boards do you?

Z is allowed profanity today. Don't go crazy with it Z.

kcm said...

A bed. Bed linen. Clothes hangers (if only wire ones fron dry cleaning). Microwave? Freezer? Kettle. Screwdrivers. Wardrobe (or do I recall you saying you had one?). Lampshades?

Are the spawn coming with you? If so then you'll need beds etc. for them.

And get all your friends and colleagues to give you things like vases, table lamps, etc. as house-warming presents.

Anonymous said...

WD40 - miracle spray for unjamming jammed locks, silencing squeaking doors, opening stiff windows, removing crayon from walls, removing chewing gum from children, cleaning bikes and other toys of grease and grime. Truly a must have.

A Different Anonymous.

Lucy Fishwife said...

A really sharp kitchen knife and a really efficient potato peeler. And a corkscrew obv. A huge sofa. A duvet warm enough that you don't panic if the heating is up the spout for a while. BOOKS! Music in the kitchen. Halfway decent lamps so you don't suffer the appallingly depressing quality of one overhead lightbulb.

Anonymous said...

Now that you are going to have not only a Room of One's Own, but a House of One's Own, may I suggest that you populate it with objects -books, bowls, art, etc. that you love, no matter how numerous they may be. Minimalist is all very well, but it's kind of solitary. Sometimes it's comforting to be surrounded by your favourite things.
Take your time furnishing it, but make sure to equip it with the essentials so that you'll feel it's a real home (because it's going to be your home, your refuge, the place you'll want to be more than any other.
For me, a comfortable bed and beautiful bedlinen would be a must. A pile of books beside the bed: old favourites and books that you want to read. Some lovely, fluffy towels. A CD player, or ipod or something to play your favourite music on. An Internet connection and a telephone, as well as your mobile, to keep you connected. Some really good tea or coffee, if you like them. Some foods/ treats that you really like. Photos of people that you love and that love you.
Last, but by no means least, your children, friends and family. Even if you don't feel like it, have a housewarming party and drink a toast to a new beginning.
Endings are very sad, but there is hope in beginnings, there really is. People are very supportive if you give them a chance to show it.
Lots of people are rooting for you, hang in there, everything will work out.

Fat Controller said...

A corkscrew and bottle opener.

Anonymous said...

The biggest jar of Nutella you can find (assuming that you like Nutella, of course).
To eat in spoonfuls on cold days, to keep you warm.

Sewmouse said...

Soap. Toothpaste. Toothbrush(es). Washing-up liquid (not everything can go in the dishwasher). Laundry basket/hamper. A nice set of laundry machines (washer and dryer) is a nice luxury. Paper and pens. Candles for when the electric goes out. Weepette food dish. One or two very nice fry pans. Matches or a lighter to light the candles when the electric goes out. A broom. A mop. A bucket. A Hoover if you have carpets. A vase for flowers.
Sheets, pillowcases, blankets.

MargotLeadbetter said...

Get nothing else. Soon enough you'll find you need odd bits and bobs...and then before you know it you'll have houseful of crap you don't know what to do with.

Anonymous said...

Can opener, large pot, pasta drainer.

Mrs Trefusis... said...

Blimey: these lovely people are so organised. I concur with the Fat Controller. All you need's a corkscrew. When you realise you're missing something truly essential, have another drink. I think you'll soon discover it wasn't quite so essential after all.

Juci said...

Angora foot warmers. The uglier the better. A good feather duster. And for some help in trying to cope with the housework and all, check out this link. The idea behind it is that you can do 15 minutes of housework any given day without trying to reach perfection; even those fifteen minutes will produce more results than if you just let it all get worse because you know you don't have the time or the energy to straighten everything out. It is VERY American, all hugs and positivity, but I think it might really work, I'm just starting with it myself.

Bath bun said...

English tea bags and a kennel. The kennel can fill any large empty space and act as a sort of male wendy house - the boys will be happy to set up home in it - meanwhile you can drink tea in the armchair.

katyboo1 said...

Derek Jarman once put a greenhouse in his loft bedroom and slept in it. I always thought this was a very good idea for keeping warm without having to work out how to put the heating on.

If you don't fancy that I recommend a hot water bottle.

Also some good knives, tea towels and a decent chopping board.

Bookshelves are useful, especially deep ones, because then you can store all kinds of other crap on them as well.

The other thing I think you'll find is essential is a housekeeper. In fact, scrap all the other advice and just get a housekeeper and she/he can do all the other bits.

L. said...

Well, I would approach it like I do packing for a trip. I get pen and paper and imagine a typical day, writing down needed items as I go. So: get up (out of bed, but you have that covered already. alarm clock? cell phone may serve though). Take shower (soap, a shower curtain possibly, etc.). Feed children breakfast (where will they eat, off what, etc.).

Agreed, though--it will be nice to have ornamentations to make it more homey. At the same time it might be nice to shed some detritus--all that stuff that comes to live in the junk drawer for instance--and start afresh.

I suppose the most important things I can think of are a knife or scissors (for opening boxes), toilet paper, soap, and linens (sheets, blankets, towels). Furniture for the spawn. And hardly essential but perhaps a television if you expect to be home alone. It can be comforting. Might help occupy the spawn when they're around too. (I am such an American.)

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago in my divorce I had to leave with absolutely nothing, so starting from there, I would only go with the garbage cans and a mattress for yourself. That's all you really need to start out with what you have, and it will be less overwhelming.

It'll be ok! I went through this and my daughter's in a BETTER and happier home because we split up.

M. said...

Ibuprofen, and toilet paper. Everything else can wait.

indigo16 said...

I too walked away from my marriage with nothing but a wadrobe (essential) and a sofa bed. The rest I picked up as and when.
I find a corkscrew superfluous as I currently only drink cheap wine from screw tops so thats pared it down a bit.
I am quite frankly just a little jealous of your fabulous art collection and your Neisha Crosland chair, both of which should add and air of much needed insouciant glamour.

Following your previous post I would like to thank you for confessing your fear of all communications with your bank. I too get physically sick with fear when confronted with my financial dire straits. It is a relief not to be alone on this one.

Anonymous said...

Fridge?, electric heater, electric blanket?, light bulbs, small step ladder, tv stand, bedside table, carpet stain remover, name of good carpet cleaner (if you have carpets), smallish safe, new dvds - movies you've missed, good file holder, coffee table or side table for couch, things to clean kitchen bench, toilet, and mirrors, heated lap throw/blanket, envelopes and stamps, G&T, double adapter or power board, spare batteries, spare key, first aid kit, small fire hydrant,rugs,flowers, soap powder and mags.

Soda and Candy said...

Ooh this is tough, we had to pare down and then build back up when we moved countries. I'm shit at this stuff, and I think you already have more than I do, so I can't think of anything... maybe a television to look after the children?

Electra said...

I agree with everyone else who said a corkscrew.

I'd add a torch for when the electricity gets cut off, Belgacom is bitch to deal with

And maybe some spoons. Did you say you had spoons?

So Lovely said...

The essentials: wine and some sort of fun medication to take the edge off. Also a steady supply of chocolate biscuits. Wishing you well.

The Divorcee said...

Speaking as one who lived in France (at the behest of gallic whimsy and unspeakable TV scheduling) for 10 years with young spawn, little love and no social life/friends to speak of, could I suggest a satellite dish aimed at the UK?

Oystergirl said...

Electric tea kettle
Favourite tea
Stovetop espresso maker for the really tough mornings
Good duvet
Good bed linens
Good towels
Books (you have that)
Art to soothe the soul(you have that)
Wine glasses & Martini glasses & water glasses
Bottle of Averna ( one shot of this is good for upset stomachs)
Large pot for making pasta, seafood
Two frying pans for everything else
One medium size pot
Cutlery, wooden stirring spoons, spatula,tongs, Bread knife and large cutting knife, scissors, small cutting board or bread board
Large plates, small plates, small & large bowls
Garbage/wastepaper bins so your house won't feel like you just moved in forever
Plants to make the house feel full of life (does not matter if you kill them- they can easily be replaced)
Candles for destressing
Japanese incense to dispel bad energy and bring about positive energy (chi), also good to help you relax
A comfy sofa and throw
A good bed
Microwave in order to save yourself time
Buy your own toolbox and slowly fill it with the new tools that you will buy- every project in the beginning will probably need new tools-the basics are good to have to start- hammer, two types of screwdriver, electric drill.
Corkscrew (natch)
Something to play music on (second the music in the kitchen theory)
Acquire one totally superfluous piece that is absolutely unnecessary yet makes you insanely happy every time that you look at it- you'll know it when you see it. Even better if it's something that the CFO would not have approved of.
The Weepette evidemment.

Courage et bonne chance! I have all the faith in the world in you that you will be able to handle this.

JPM said...

maybe 3 or 4 hammocks would be useful. and a roll of duct tape.

Margaret said...

Forks, knives, spoons
Drinking glasses that can serve for water and wine
Nonstick pan
Pot for boiling pasta
Wooden spoons for stirring pasta
Pot holders for picking up pasta pot
Dish towels for wiping up spilled pasta water
Microwave for heating up frozen dinner after pasta disaster
Can opener, corkscrew

Beds for everyone (sheets, pillowcases, comforters, pillows)
Dining table and chairs
Coffee table
Big quilt from Anthropologie to throw over the delicate loveseat
Bookcases
Bureaus for socks and unmentionables
Lamps

Towels
Bathtub step-out mat
Shower curtain
Small trash can
Toilet plunger

Philips-head screwdriver
Flathead screwdriver
Rubber mallet for banging together all those Ikea things that you’re not supposed to hammer
Duct tape
Flashlight (torch?) for every room
What’s the electricity system? Fuses or circuit breakers? If the former, go out and buy extra and figure out how to change them before the lights go out.

Cleaning supplies: broom, mop, vacuum cleaner, scouring powder, spray cleaner

Do you have an iPod? Maybe get a little stereo that you can plug it into for music. A TV.

On moving day: Pack a roll of toilet paper and a box cutter in your purse. First thing you do at the new place, set up and make your bed and supply the bathroom with toothbrush, paste, soap, shampoo and towels. I’ve moved six times in the last six years, and these are key to not going insane your first day or two in a new place. If your bedroom and bathroom are reasonably comfortable, everything else is manageable. Also, if there’s no dishwasher, I always bring a supply of paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery for the first week. Nothing makes my cry faster than a sinkful of dirty dishes when I have a hundred boxes to unpack, fifty of which are marked “MISC.”.

More than Just a Mother said...

Right, I have clearly been absent for far too long, because something horrendous appears to have happened in my absence. I will attempt to catch up in a moment...

In the meantime, surround yourself with beautiful things that YOU love, even if they are useless to you.

Could we all send you one thing each for your new life? Oh please, I'd love to! Send me your address immediately...

Layla said...

1) corkscrew.

2) HUGE comfy sofa big enough to accommodate you, the spawn & the Weepette. Even better get two. I can recommend the IKEA 3 seater Ektorp, which fulfils these criteria and is also cheap, very sturdy, with washable covers, and doesn't have to be assembled. I brought most of my furniture over from England, but not sofas, and bought four of these - 2 for the house, 2 for the camel barn, and they're wonderful. In England I had much, much more expensive sofas which were not as big, as comfy, or as nice.

Ektorp in camel barn http://tinyurl.com/lnkq2o

these are sofas you can lie on all day, and all night, if necessary or desired. Possibly with a friend.
We call it 'Ektorping'. As in, I'm going to home now and Ektorp for a while' or (on answering phone) 'What am I doing? Just Ektorping with some crime fiction and the cats...'

Sorry to sound like an Ikea advert, but if you generally like to be horizontal when not forced to stand up and do something/go somewhere, then the Ektorp really is THE BUSINESS.

3) big snuggly throw for Ektorping with.

Of course, there will be lots of other important stuff, but these are for instant, and constant, comfort and consolation.

oh - & if you email me your new address, I will attempt to send you exotic Turkish housewarming present. Not another dog, I promise.

C xxxx

Cakeface said...

Bookshelves, urgently, and then arrange your books according to colours or imprint. Some cheap leafy plants to stand on top. Large bottle of Rescue Remedy (tip into every glass of water you drink for comforting sedation). Bedside lamp and pile of new books and lovely new bedding (and bedside bottle of Rescue Remedy if necessary).

And I second the housewarming gift suggestion. Can you set up an email address that we can write to to get a address for you (not yours necessarily, to preserve the veil of anonymity) so we can all send you something for the new house?

JONATHAN LETHBRIDGE said...

Rubbish bins? You'll regret it. get some Leicas, they are superb.

fountain pen sue said...

I have rewritten this comment 7 times. You will need:
a kettle
alcohol
sheets and towels
a smattering of food for F&L
and an IKEA catalogue.

Fuck everything else. Do not buy shit til you really know you need it because it will be a big effing apocalyptic mistake and you will spend more time trying to get rid of it than you did choosing it. Also the Ektorp as Layla has quite rightly pointed out is the business. I have one in in the child's playroom. I presume you have a spare room for the ppl who want to build your flat packs. Me and Juci are dying to come and play.

emily said...

i cant think of anything to add that no one else has mentioned except possibly the necessity for happy music, to give you energy and lift your mood.

I definitely agree with the idea of us all sending you presents....or you could create a wishlist, so we dont send you things that you think are hideous!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Would recommend torch, candles and matches - In case of any emergencies, or just for comfort...

Defo the Rescue Remedy plus a corkscrew, but never taken together...

Beds, duvets, throws, a small breakfast table and chairs for the children and Weepette...

Housework - Pah!

Loo Rolls and kitchen/tea towels - Kettle, basic cutlery and wine glasses... Curtains for privacy - Or wrap yourself in the orange towelling curtains if all else fails...

Telephone numbers from friends and neighbours of 'Men Who Can'...for all eventualities.

Bonne chance, ma cherie - Bonne courage - And I despise the bastardos bankos manageros too... A little like having to see the Headteacher all over again... Ahem! Hugs x

Layla said...

Incroyable!

I forgot to say a v.large supply of Nurofen Plus. Hmm, maybe I could send you some of my special Turkish stuff: Apranax Opium Fort

Anonymous said...

Your children? Or did you leave them behind?

Anonymous said...

Oh fuck off anonymous.
From the first anon.

Layla said...

D'you think it might be time to start colour-coding all the Anonymouses?

It gets quite confusing trying to distinguish between them, especially when fighting breaks out...

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Well number one is a toilet plunger. Just in case.

But after that, music is important. Do you have a radio or something? (Radio?? Am I from 1944?)

westendmum said...

Oh God babe, you've done it. Well done.

WEM xx

Um, go forth and prosper...

Z said...

When I've been on my own working in an empty flat, too tired even to go downstairs to the pub next door to have a drink, all I missed was a comfortable chair - the inflatable mattress didn't cut the mustard. If, however, at least one of your chairs is already comfortable, I suggest a comforting cashmere wrap to snuggle into, lots of candles and a radio. I'd also get a hot water bottle.

I'd want a fridge and a screwdriver, an iron and a spare light bulb, but then I'd wait and see,

Thank you, Anonymous. Hell's bloody bells!
*Passes carrot cake*

smackcrumplebang said...

my god - you have 44 comments.

Now you have 45! that is alot, and alas your aim for capsule living is unlikely to succeed with all these recommendations.

Bunting, its all you need - and give the weepette a collection of encyclopaedia britannica to chew up, once weepetted you can use it as a nest! When you get cold you can burn it! And erm - cavity wall insulation? ooh and you can go to parties DRESSED AS ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA which would be a totally awesome icebreaker.

Scary isn't it how many people want to make sure you have all the necessaries... :-)

Wafflebebe x

Alison said...

Photos of the people you love and who love you - and a beautiful handbag to keep them in.

A great big metaphorical skip for dumping people into who are bold enough to make judgements but only behind the protective shield of anonymity.

Juci said...

JW, are you kidding? My son weighs 13 kilos and I lift him at least a hundred times a day. I am strong as an ox (and getting as big as one, too). No IKEA furniture is too big a challenge (unless you want to build a kitchen, in which case I am useless).
For the transport, you can actually rent a minivan for 5€ an hour, or use the taxi service for 30-40€ which is probably better if you're not so hot on driving, or just leave all the crap there and they'll deliver it for you. They also do the assembly for 15% du prix d’achat, avec un montant minimum de 150 €, TVA comprise. Check here and here.
Steam Me Up, Kid: it is a little known but very sad fact that you cannot buy a decent toilet plunger in Belgium. They only have the red ones which are useless, the rubber is not rigid enough or something, it just flops around in your loo and does not create any suction. Proper black plungers must be imported.

fishes said...

This time last year I bundled all my stuff into storage and moved to Japan. I promised myself that anything I missed desperately I could have and would ship only things I couldn't live without. I have lived with 2 saucepans, 2 pans, chopsticks, a wooden spoon, 2 bowls and 2 knives. I missed and replaced my white mugs and a proper expresso maker and a lemon squeezer. That's it! There are things I will keep on return but feel no need to 'have'. I think Socrates said something about having too much stuff and he was right - I have never been so happy or felt so free. Sometimes its good to clear out to let new things in. That's a bit smug but it does work... live without for a bit and see

Jaywalker said...

Oh god, you're all so lovely, yes even you "Children" Anonymous. (I'm not talking about them at the moment because they don't know yet and it's actually TORTURE, but thanks for reminding me they exist). I am getting a bit teary, which is unfortunate because I'm in Macdonalds and the humming tramp on the next table can probably sense my weakness.

Thank you so much for all your suggestions and support, practical, moral, emotional. You can all come to my housewarming, where I will dress as a giant toilet plunger if you so desire.

Jaywalker said...

Oh, also, for the avoidance of doubt, I'm not actually in there yet. I get the keys next week because although they already have my money, the landlords have correctly identified me as a mug and are doing unspecified "travaux" (for which read: removing all light fittings and door knobs, probably).

Chantal said...

Oh! Blogger ate my comment from earlier.

I was going to say that this comment thread reminds me of the end of Labyrinth, where Sarah thinks she is alone but then she spies Hoggle in the mirror and he tells her that she isn't really ever alone, because should she need him, and all the rest of her newly-made friends, then they'll be there.

Then they have a massive party.

I have nothing helpful to add to the list of things for your new house (although I like the Fat Controller's suggestion) but I love that your virtual friends here are not only helping you with moving in but would also come lickety split to a housewarming,virtual or otherwise.

I hope the move goes really well xx

N.B. If you've never seen Labyrinth this will make NO sense.

livesbythewoods said...

Gah moving house is shite.

But, hurrah, you have loads of lovely happy-memory mood-lifting stuff to take with you, and clearly, a raft of mates(virtual and otherwise) who are wishing you well, and willing to come and help out if required. So that's a good thing.

Practical suggestions: When I left home to go to college the single biggest comfort I acquired was a huge bean bag. It was large enough to sleep on, to have two (and sometimes three) people all curled up on it to watch tv, or just to collapse in on my own and drink tea and listen to loud music. So, get a bean bag.

And give me a shout when you're in London and I'll buy you a weird cocktail. Go on. You know you want to.

Anonymous said...

- scented candle

- white cotton bed linen (2 sets due to high rotation in washing basket caused by weepette shedding/chocolate stains/red wine spills etc)

-white Kartel stackable round storage units as bedsides (very useful as they hold a huge amount of clutter whilst looking sleek)

- white orchid on bedside

- and finally, a tv/dvd player in bedroom to distract self during pesky middle of the night, panic- induced insomnia (more 'trailer park decor' than 'Vogue Living', admittedly, but hey, whatever gets you through the night...) This does come with a health warning regarding the impact of late night tv on dream content, though.

I happened across your blog during a recent period of feeling isolated and overwhelmed, and it actually made me snort- laugh, loudly and with delight. Thank you and best wishes for this next stage. I hope you love your new home.
ps oh, & a corkscrew...

Anonymous said...

Use all the books to create furniture which can double up as objets d'art. Spend the money you save on Gin x

magpie said...

White company catalogue, Argos catalogue, Ikea Catalogue and then a whole assortment of thing you will only ever need when you can't remember where you put them.

Hänni said...

A wine glass! And some strong Cabernet.

Indigo said...

Lavatory brush, nothing is more than depressing than a skid-marked bog when you're feeling low.

Indigo said...

Oh, and some bleach. Other peoples' dirt stops the house feeling like it's yours. Wipe out the kitchen drawers before you put anything in them. That always makes me feel better about it. Five moves in 8 years, one due to a divorce, I know what you're feeling like. Get it warm and as clean as you can.(Even if you never clean it again, start off with it all being your dirt!) xx

bevchen said...

You can never have too many books!

Umm, for the first month I was in my flat all I had was a bed, fridge, oven and kitchen stuff. I STILL don't have a washing machine, so you're ahesd of me on that one.
Definitely get a table and chairs... sitting on the bed to eat drives you crazy after a whike (ie. about 2 weeks)

Anonymous said...

And.....

just to make it 60.

Fran

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