We came over 4 months ago with one backpack and one duffle bag each, and on New Year’s Eve we moved into our own apartment with a lease for 12 months. We have a small two-bedroom place in the center of town where we can walk to everything, (bank, bakery, post office, grocery store, pizza parlor, movie theater, laundry, school, bar/cafe, doctor’s office) freeing up the car for Bryan to work, and surf.
My initial thought on furnishing was to go really bare bones, mattresses on the floor, clothes in bags and backpacks, 4 plates, bowls, sets of silverware. We have gone minimalist, but not as minimal as that. While I could certainly live that way, and Bryan too, I think it’s a bit much for the kids. Through the process I considered necessity, luxury, comfort, and practicality. I wanted to be mindful of our purchases, acquiring only what was necessary to sustain an average existence. 75% of the items purchased came from the local IKEA, found 15 minutes away.
- fridge (we have found that we can easily live with a counter-top version)
- counters (rentals in France come without equipped kitchens)
- coffee maker
- bed frame
- dresser/bookshelf combo for kids
- dressers/nightstand combo for us
- carpets (it’s currently in the 40s and our floor is tile)
- couch that converts to a bed (for visitors)
- table and stools
- 6 small plates, 6 large plates, 6 glasses, set of 6 silverware, coffee cups, salad/fruit/vegetable bowl
- Sheets, duvets, duvet covers, pillows (thanks Mom!)
- Pots, pans, cooking utensils
- towels, shower curtain
Not necessities but makes life easier:
- TV (for language learning)
- TV stand (bought used)
- Wii U (X-mas present for the kids)
- coat racks – the apartment is without closets
- shelving for bathroom
- chair (bought used)
- broom, vacuum, garbage can
Even having to invest in this amount of stuff, we are already living with 50% less than we were in SF, along with paying 80% less for rent, and 60% less for utilities (mobile phones, water, gas, internet). Moving from our vacation rental into our own place saves us 800 Euro a month, which we will recoup starting in April. I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, probably because it’s scary, and while we’re doing fine we’re now out of vacation-thinking and into the day-to-day.
Keep us in your thoughts, and please come visit.