a peek inside the fishbowl

19 Apr, 2012

Reno update #21 – using up, moving out

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

Have I mentioned the reno is a go? Yes, it’s a go. A builder fellow has been officially hired and we are BUSY. Well, we are busy when we are not feeling completely and utterly paralyzed by the enormity of the situation.

Here’s the scoop. Our first big problem has been solved. After much web-surfing and phone calling we finally found a nice two-bedroom apartment that is walking distance from where we live.

Important sidebar: I need to send out a HUGE THANK YOU to District Realty. I was so impressed by their service. They went above and beyond the call of duty and found this place for us. If you are looking for a place to rent in Westboro for any length of time do yourselves a favour and call them first! Thank you as well to Peggy Blair (@peggy_blair on Twitter), an Ottawa realtor and mystery writer who held my hand and helped us look for a place too. :)

Anyway, the new place is great and I’m very happy with it. It’s a low-rise apartment that’s being renovated before we move in, which is great… although I don’t know what “renovation” entails exactly. The superintendent, who is very nice, told us that he needed 15-20 days to complete the job, so that could be anytime between May 15 and Friday June 1. The not knowing is going to make hiring movers and getting our internet/phone (we’re ditching cable!) a little tricky.


In the meantime I’m trying very hard to ignore the immense amount of work that is required on our end. In fact, the process of sorting and packing up all of our crap is my idea of hell on earth. What I wouldn’t give to wave a magic wand and have it all be done already.

Here’s my dilemma: we need to sort through every single one of our belongings and place them in one of several piles:

  • the long-term storage pile (subdivided into things we can bring to Mark’s parents place and larger things we can store elsewhere)
  • the destined for the apartment pile – kitchen stuff, clothing, furniture
  • the garage sale pile (or charity donation pile, i’m not sure what to call this one yet)
  • the garbage pile

I’m seriously beginning to wonder if we really need to buy into any secure storage. Mark’s parents have offered up their basement for this purpose and I think we can leave a few things in the house during the reno (like the steel storage shelving in the basement). But there are a couple other things that I wonder if we can farm out somewhere. Anyone want to adopt a sofa bed for 8-months? And maybe a coffee table and a dresser? What about a houseplant or two? (I am not kidding.)

In order to ease my packing and sorting burden for the next few weeks I am launching a strategy that I’m calling USE IT UP. The USE IT UP rule applies to half-empty bottles of salad dressing, bags of brown rice in the back of the cupboard, shampoo bottles, body and skin lotions etc etc. because there’s no way I’m packing and storing or hauling half-empty bottles of anything, anywhere.

Funny thing is, as I was smothering myself with Body Shop stuff this morning, I wondered why I haven’t been using it. What on earth have I been saving this stuff for anyway?

p.s. do you think I should send our builder the link to my “Reno” board on Pinterest yet? Or will I just scare him away? ;)

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9 Responses to "Reno update #21 – using up, moving out"

1 | Judy

April 19th, 2012 at 8:39 am


District Realty was awesome when we moved. They managed our condo and when we found ourselves without a place to stay for five weeks our property manager put us in tough with the manager of a building they manage that is fully furnished (We couldn’t imagine moving our stuff twice, storing some and not others – the movers just came and took it once and brought it to the new house!).

2 | lacoop

April 19th, 2012 at 9:25 am


I like this idea of “distributed storage”….kind of like a “cloud service” for stuff. If it helps, we can store few boxes (and even plants). Probably not a sofa, but a chair is possible. We’re in the ‘hood…contact me offline. If you get enough people to do this, you might save some money :-)

3 | Peggy Blair

April 19th, 2012 at 10:29 am


Thanks for the mention, Andrea! I’ve actually blogged about the synchronicity of meeting you, and thereby being introduced to District Realty myself in my blog, Kiss and Sell (www.peggyblair.wordpress.com). We’re having coffee next week!

4 | Heather

April 19th, 2012 at 12:21 pm


I love the fact that you are using the “Use it UP” principle. It really does work.

5 | sd161

April 19th, 2012 at 2:03 pm


Having survived many moves (including a few international moves) I’m a big fan of the Use-It-Up rule.

Another related rule for us is the Consolidate It rule- I got over how wrong it felt to mix two types of shampoos when each bottle was only 1/3 full pretty quickly…saves space when packing.

6 | JoAnn

April 19th, 2012 at 6:40 pm


My best advice – take a calendar that has a month per page (like those milk calendars etc) and work backwards – (helpful if you do have a firm move date) – we figured out what stuff we could pack right away and then what stuff we had to keep out until the last.
Plus lists – even tape a list on each door for what has to be done in that room :)
Try to keep smiling! It will all come together eventually —

7 | Anne Boys

April 19th, 2012 at 9:58 pm


I LOVE your use-it-up rule. I often wonder what I’m saving all the special soaps, candles, writing paper, etc etc, for. We should use it and make every day special!

8 | BeachMama

April 20th, 2012 at 8:33 am


So glad to hear the renos are a go and that your move is only to move out for the reno :)

As for the ‘Use it Up’ rule, every now and then I try to instill it here, then I find a whole bunch of stuff that has to be used that I don’t necessarily enjoy, so then I go with the give it away to siblings rule :)

9 | Jen Hughes

April 23rd, 2012 at 9:05 pm


Happy to hear it’s all a go!

Trying to think of some way I could help, as I can’t imagine what the next few weeks (months…) will be like for you in terms of organizing, packing, moving, etc.

I live in fear of the eventual day that I want to sell this house and move. I can’t believe the amount of crap we’ve accumulated over the six years we’ve lived here. This house used to seem so big to me when we first bought it (we only had one toddler then, and were moving from a tiny two-bedroom semi in Toronto), and now we seem so crowded. Too bad it takes something like a giant reno or a move to pare down to essentials only.

Good luck!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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