My New Apartment! Now with Absolutely Nothing!

September 16, 2013


You guys, I have an apartment!

I’ve actually had an apartment for about three weeks now, but I wasn’t able to move in until last week. Apparently, in Michigan, unlike in certain other parts of the world, you can’t just hand someone a big wad of cash and expect to move in the same day. This technique totally worked in Thailand, so I’m not entirely sure what Michigan’s deal is. I guess the apartments here just like to play hard to get or something.

My new apartment is not all that remarkable. It didn’t come with a kick-ass couch like my apartment in China. And it’s not in a barn like my apartment in Buffalo.

But it’s mine.

At least for the next twelve months.

So I kind of want to show it off to all of you.

You know, give you a little photo tour of the place like they do on those fancy home design blogs. Even though there’s not really much to see at the moment.

Like, I don’t actually have any furniture yet. Unless plastic packing boxes count as furniture. In that case, my apartment is basically Ethan Allen meets Rubbermaid. I’m calling it Storage Bin Chic.

Eat your heart out, Design Sponge.

My bedroom “furniture.” And pink fluffy slippers. Because of course.

So what if I don’t have anything to show off just yet? I’ve never really let a little thing like not having something to brag about prevent me from bragging before, so let’s do this thing, why don’t we?

The Un-Furnished New Apartment Tour

First, you’re going to need to walk down the hallway. Because that’s how apartments work, you guys.

It’s kind of like a metaphor for life. You got to walk down some hallways to get to your destination. Sometimes the hallways are boring and dull and have walls the color of hospital scrubs.


But then as you’re walking down that hallway, thinking to yourself, “Wow, this sure is a boring hallway. When am I going to get to the apartment already?” you notice some pictures on the wall, and you think to yourself, “Oh look, it’s a picture of a French chalet. How charming! And there’s a… holy crap, IS THAT A SPARKLY PINK VAGINA? BECAUSE I’M PRETTY SURE THAT’S A SPARKLY PINK VAGINA.”


That’s probably a metaphor for life, too. Like, sometimes, life hands you French chalets. And sometimes it hands you sparkly, pink vaginas. And sometimes you get both.

You can come into my apartment now.

You know, now that I’ve used the word vagina on my blog enough times to make everyone feel really uncomfortable (sorry, Grandma!).

Probably the first thing you’ll notice is the lovely hardwood floor. That’s the first thing I noticed when I came to look at the apartment.


I do love me some hardwood floors.

Or I did.

Before I spent a week sitting on them.

You guys, there’s a reason these floors are called hardwood and not just, you know, wood floors. Because they’re freaking hard, okay?

It doesn’t even matter if you have a yoga mat to sit on like I do.

Not nearly as comfy as it looks. And it doesn't really look that comfy, does it?

Not nearly as comfy as it looks. And it doesn’t really look that comfy, does it?

After eating almost every single meal on the floor, my butt has been rendered completely numb.

And every time I need to stand up, I have to do this thing where I rock myself on to my knees and then slowly heave myself upward while holding on to the wall. I look like a toddler who’s just learning how to walk. But a really, really large toddler. Like a Guinness Book of World Records toddler.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing I have blinds on my windows.

Probably the second thing you’ll notice when you enter my apartment is the kitchen.

Or lack thereof.


Ta-da! The kitchen! Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

You see, my kitchen is basically just a closet with some appliances in it.

And it’s AWESOME.

You guys, I can cook an entire meal, eat it above the sink and do all the dishes and never have to move my feet!  It’s basically my dream kitchen.

The only drawback is that I’m pretty sure the stove is calling me fat.

Who you calling "caloric," stove?

Who you calling “caloric,” stove?

Speaking of kitchens the size of closets, have I mentioned my closets yet?

Yes, I said closets with an “s” at the end. As in more than one! Two closets to be exact.

Which means I get to have a shirt and sweater closet:


And a pants, skirts and dresses closet:


Because you really shouldn’t have your tops and bottoms in the same closet or bad things will happen. Like you’ll start thinking you have too many clothes. That’s what I used to think back when I had to cram all my clothes into one, measly closet.

When really the problem was that I simply didn’t have enough closets.

I’m glad that problem has been solved.

But I’ve jumped ahead of myself, haven’t I?

I forgot to show you my new office:


Notice there is no desk or office chair yet, but I’m pretty sure those plastic bins are ergonomic.

And here’s my entertainment center. Which, for the most part, has not been particularly entertaining.


You see, in addition to being furniture-less, I was also Internet-less for almost all of last week.

It probably says a lot about me that I found it a lot more difficult to live without Internet than furniture. I was forced to do all this annoying stuff like unpack and read books and think deep thoughts to keep myself busy.

I don’t even know how I survived you guys.

Luckily, I got the Internets on Saturday, and life is suddenly worth living again.

Dinner, wine and Project Runway. As it should be.

Dinner, wine and Project Runway. As it should be.

Then there’s my bathroom.

Which looks pretty much like your standard bathroom with your standard bathroom stuff.


Until you look into the mirror and realize YOU ARE A HIDEOUS MONSTER WITH PORES THE SIZE OF TOKYO.

You see, right next to the mirror are these crazy bright light bulbs.


These are not the kind of light bulbs you want next to your bathroom mirror. Unless you like staring at the mirror, wondering how stuff doesn’t get lost in all the HUGE HIDEOUS MONSTER HOLES in your HUGE HIDEOUS MONSTER FACE.

Can we get out of the bathroom already? Because THE HUGE HIDEOUS MONSTER FACE IS STARING AT ME!!!

Notice I am holding the camera very far away from my face so as to avoid it being sucked up by my pores.

Notice I am holding the camera very far away from my face so as to avoid it being sucked up by my pores.


Where were we again?

Oh yes, I was just about to show you the bedroom!

Where, in fact, I do have a bed!

Or, a bed-like thing.

It’s actually just an air mattress, but you probably can’t even tell, right? Look at how well I’ve disguised it with beige!


Ooo, beige!

Surprisingly, it’s pretty comfortable — considering the fact that it’s made out of plastic and air. It’s definitely more comfortable than my yoga mat and hardwood floor.

So don’t mind me while I take a little nap. After all, this tour-giving thing can be exhausting.

I trust you can show yourself out, right?

Just turn left outside of my door and the exit is right by the sparkly pink vagina.

Have you ever had to live without furniture? How did you survive?

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On September 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm Penguinlady said:

    When we moved from California to Alberta, Canada, a paperwork snafu rendered all of our stuff impounded by customs. We lived for 3 weeks in an empty apartment as the Canadian govt went through every box and item. After only 5 days, I demanded action and made my husband buy a futon to sleep on. We have 3 cats, you see, with claws. And had been sleeping on air mattresses. We’d go to sleep fully inflated and wake up on the floor. I was also working from home at that time and my set up was a lawn chair and 2 milk crates; one for the monitor and one for the mouse. My keyboard was on my lap. It was not a very productive environment nd I was very glad to get my stuff back!

  2. On September 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm ChinaMatt said:

    I always end up with second-hand furniture and whatnot. My parents and their friends gave me stuff when I moved to CO and more when I moved back here to NJ. You should’ve swung down my way–I’m leaving for Asia again and need to get rid of some furniture.
    ChinaMatt recently posted..Car-Free Life

  3. On September 16, 2013 at 11:26 pm Marie said:

    I can’t stand stoves that talk smack. Still, I guess it’s a good reminder not to eat too many doughnuts (in the kitchen. Go in the bedroom for that.). Welcome to your new furnitureless abode which looks alarming like 90% of my living experiences so far. But, hey, now I own a fridge AND a bed! I was more nervous about buying those things than becoming a mother.
    Marie recently posted..I Love…

  4. On September 17, 2013 at 12:13 am Priya said:

    Grab that yoga mat and come to Chicago.
    Priya recently posted..Traveler-Wannabe: Not Fitting In

  5. On September 17, 2013 at 2:11 am Jonathan Look, Jr. said:

    Thank you for the tour.Looks like a trip to Ikea, or better yet, the Salvation Army or Goodwill store might be in order.
    Jonathan Look, Jr. recently posted..My Life Extension Plan

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm Sally said:

      Actually, I have a furniture — it’s just still in Buffalo! Luckily, my parents are supposed to be coming in a few weeks to drop it off. It’s just that I don’t know if I can put up with sitting on a yoga mat for that long!

  6. On September 17, 2013 at 2:42 am Janice said:

    I once moved into an apartment with only a an air mattress (like the kind you take to the beach) and a cast-iron frying pan, which served in the kitchen during the day, and as a burglar defence device at night. =)
    Janice recently posted..Adventures in Grocery Guesses

  7. On September 17, 2013 at 4:24 am Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    There wasn’t nearly enough mention of sparkly pink vaginas in this post. You should find similar paintings of different colours and write a post about Sparkly Vagina Paintings. And then cringe when you see the Google search terms that bring people to the post. Shudder.

    I’ve never moved into an unfurnished apartment before. Largely because the prospect absolutely terrifies me. I mean, the only things I own are clothes, toiletries and documents, and I’m pretty sure you can’t sit on any of those. Well maybe clothes, but then I’d have nothing to wear because everything would be all wrinkly.

    Anyway, have fun in your new apartment. I expect to see a, ‘This Is My New Couch’ or, ‘I Went to China and Reclaimed My Old Couch’-centric post soon.

    p.s. your stove is a bitch.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..A Town Called Bender

  8. On September 17, 2013 at 7:14 am Sid said:

    I lived without a fridge for a couple of days … weeks? Do you know what that’s like? Do you know what I learnt that summer? That JAM goes off. It kinda bubbles and becomes something completely different in the heat.
    Sid recently posted..Yoga

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm Sally said:

      Yikes. That’s frightening. Luckily, I have all the kitchen appliances I could need — I even splurged on a microwave after discovering that reheating pasta on the stove is NOT fun.

  9. On September 17, 2013 at 7:28 am Deb Kerns said:

    Love the tour of your new place. Laughed out loud…you’re too funny! Looking forward to seeing what you do with your blank canvas rooms. What an opportunity for alchemy! Have fun!

  10. On September 17, 2013 at 9:25 am Colleen Brynn said:

    I have briefly lived without furniture, but pretty much went to the store and stocked up the next day. I hated the air mattress I had to sleep on, granted it was with one other person at the time, and if you shift even slightly, or he does, it’s like being launched off a trampoline.
    And I’m glad you covered vaginas in this post because in my last post, I covered penises. There.

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm Sally said:

      I’ve actually been kind of impressed by my air mattress. Probably because my previous experience with air mattresses was always pretty miserable. But this one’s comfy. It helps that I don’t have to share it, though.

  11. On September 17, 2013 at 11:41 am Jan Ross said:

    I agree with the commenter who suggested Goodwill and the Salvation Army; it’s amazing what you can find there. We also have a Habitat for Humanity store here that is fabulous. And IKEA is always a good idea! Keep us updated as you furnish!!
    Jan Ross recently posted..Girlfriend Getaway to Asheville, North Carolina

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm Sally said:

      Ikea’s is a bit of a drive away — the closest one is in Illinois about 2 hours away. But I’ll definitely be checking out some thrift shops this weekend!

  12. On September 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm Kerry said:

    Hahaha oh apartments. I rented a tiny bedsit once that was unfurnished and had one teeny toaster oven and metered electricity. I drank a lot of cheap wine in that room, let me tell you what. I also moved out after six weeks…I hope you stick with yours a little longer!
    Kerry recently posted..Yom Kippur and the Lightning Child

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm Sally said:

      Well, I’d better stick with it — my lease is for a year! Luckily there’s no shortage of alcohol — in fact, the local brewery is within walking distance to my new place. So I’m coping pretty well!

  13. On September 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm Deb said:

    We lived without furniture for almost a month after our move from IL to MN. Our stuff was packed up in 3 different containers and we didn’t know what order they were being delivered in. We did buy a new bed, so I had that delivered immediately. But our living room consisted of a few white folding chairs and a white folding table. Very little of anything else.
    Fast foward a year later – we are now going through all those boxes that ended up in storage and are making a ton of donations to our local agencies as well as offering things up through Freecycle and Craigslist. I suggest checking your local freecycle community for items. You can find some great stuff that way.

    Good luck!

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm Sally said:

      Thanks for the tip on Freecycle. My parents are actually supposed to be bringing up the furniture that I had in Buffalo — but I’m not sure how much stuff will fit in their car. Plus, they may not be able to get here for a few more weeks, so maybe I’ll Freecycle some stuff before they get here.

  14. On September 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm Sarah Somewhere said:

    Love the new apartment!!! A shiny new pad to hang your sparkly vagina in 🙂 Thank you for the hilarious tour!!!
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..The Fire That Burns

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm Sally said:

      Maybe I can find the artist who made the sparkly pink vagina and commission some wall art. Who needs furniture when you have a vagina mural taking up your entire living room wall?

  15. On September 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm Deedee said:

    I’ve spent more than a few nights on makeshift furniture upon moving into new places. When I first moved to Chicago we didn’t have a bed. Or, rather, we had a bed but no mattresses. We didn’t have a full-size sofa, either. We had one of those flip-chair thingies, which was long but really, really narrow, and a loveseat, which was comfy but not particularly large. So my boyfriend (who was rather tall, making the arrangement that much more uncomfortable) and I took turns. One night I’d take the loveseat and he’d take the flip chair, and then we’d switch the next night. We did this for about three months until we saved up enough money for a mattress and box spring.

    When my mom moved out after my parents split up, she had only what she could carry in a couple of trips in her Chevette. So her first apartment had lawn chairs and a small TV on a stand that was so old I think she’d had it since before I was born. That was an interesting arrangement, but hey – it worked! You do what you can with what you have, and eventually you’ll get something better!
    Deedee recently posted..Perspective and Perceptions: The Debbie Downer Edition

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm Sally said:

      I was actually looking to see if any of the stores like Walmart or Target sold those flip chairs — I thought it small enough to cram into my car and could come in handy. But I don’t think anyone sells them anymore. I can’t imagine why not. I mean, they’re so classy.

  16. On September 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm jacquie said:

    for more than 1 year i have not had furniture. the floor is pretty much the desk, table and anything else it needs to be. kitchen is also a “closet” but with no door. two closets and cartons on the floor for the few remaining clothes i have. and two large dogs to share the space. how does one do it? well when one doesn’t have any options one tries to do the best one can.

    good luck with your new place.

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:29 pm Sally said:

      For ONE WHOLE year? Seriously? I don’t know if I can wait another week, my butt’s so numb from sitting on the floor. You are a much stronger woman than I — that’s for sure!

      • On September 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm jacquie said:

        don’t confuse no options with strength. I simply do not have a choice. and yes there are consequences – health, being cold and a sore butt/lower back with that. however that is the reality of my situation.

  17. On September 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm Brittany @ Paws for Beer said:

    Storage bin chic – too funny! I have been lucky I guess each time I move my furniture comes along with me… but I have always lived in the same town – maybe one day I’ll venture off and leave the furniture behind!
    Brittany @ Paws for Beer recently posted..The next brewing order

    • On September 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm Sally said:

      Well, technically, my furniture is supposed to come with me. Eventually! It just wouldn’t fit in my car on the way here — plus, I didn’t have a place & wasn’t sure what I would need. My parents are now supposed to make a trip with everything but they don’t seem too concerned. Probably because they’re not the ones using a yoga mat as their dining room chair!

  18. On September 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm Sue B said:

    Think how cozy you could make your apartment if you moved the air mattress into the kitchen.

  19. On September 17, 2013 at 11:53 pm nicole said:

    awww, that’s so great! The fun part is decorating! I love your office. It’s ummm….minimalist design. =D
    nicole recently posted..A Patio Rocking Chair Memory of Prague

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm Sally said:

      Yeah, I can’t wait until my artwork and other fun stuff gets here so I can decorate. It’s been a while since I’ve had my own place to make all cute.

  20. On September 18, 2013 at 1:38 am Madhu Bhardwaj said:

    I love the floor in your new apartment. Why don’t you sit on the air mattress to work on your laptop and/or to eat?
    It would beat the hard floor.
    We have moved n number of times and been in houses without furniture many times. The wooden boxes and steel trunks have served as chairs, tables, kitchen platform and divan.
    Right now we have too much furniture and just don’t know what to do with it. It occupies more space than we do.
    I am a hoarder and can’t throw away anything.
    Best of luck!
    Madhu Bhardwaj recently posted..Mayonnaise: Home made

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm Sally said:

      I don’t really like the idea of eating in bed — mostly because I’m a messy eater so I only own one pair of sheets. Luckily, I bought a bed, so now the air mattress has been moved out to my living room and is being used for seating. I even bought a small table. I feel so civilized now!

  21. On September 18, 2013 at 2:29 am Carmel said:

    Not yet, but we will upon our return. Actually, we’ll have a kitchen table and chairs. That helps.

    That painting reminded me of this clip from Portlandia….

    Love the new place!
    Carmel recently posted..GRATITUDE

  22. On September 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm Jen said:

    I’ve had to do this and was miserable. During my last move after all the furniture disappeared.. this chair saved my life (well, not really but it sure made me happy to not sit on the floor all the time). Bonus is these types of chairs are 1) super cheap and 2) fold up and store in a closet.

    I think they were less than $20 at Target (and there are 2 in Kalamazoo!).

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm Sally said:

      Thanks for the tip, but I actually bought a bed, so I was able to move the air mattress into the living room & use it as my couch/chair/whatever-it-needs-to-be-until-my-furniture-gets-here.

  23. On September 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm Beth said:

    Living without furniture is easy! Living without internet on the other hand… near impossible! I found we quickly went to locations with free WiFi
    Beth recently posted..Capture the Color 2013 #CTC13

  24. On September 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm Sean Mars said:

    When I did an internship last year out west (thank you for giving me the guts just to go to work and come back to my apartment to netsurf) all I took was whatever could fit into an small exhibition crate I had shipped ahead. It was mainly computer gear, an air mattress and a director’s chair. There were things for the kitchen and bathroom, but when summer was over I has a okay place.

    It helps to use milkcrates, they can be your friends home accents wise. At first you can use them as a seat, then coffee table, finally bookshelves.

    Milkcrate chic?! Anyone? Plz?

  25. On September 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm Rebecca said:

    If you are going to continue moving around, you may want to look into more portable solutions. Given your past, that shouldn’t be too difficult.:)

    My goal was to to be able to fit everything I owned into a small SUV. Hence, when my sister and I moved into a tiny apartment recently, my double height air mattress with built in pump came in very handy. And they are less than $50 on Amazon with free shipping these days.

    I’m also a huge fan of folding furniture, and you’d be surprised how many very cute and useful things are in that category. My sister has this really nice bamboo looking tiny metal table and two chairs that fold flat, and it really looks great with a couple of colorful place mats, plus inexpensive cushions to make the chairs comfortable for longer sessions. Because we often sit there using the laptop or our phones and tablets. It sits in a window, so it’s a pleasant place to work.

    Another largish tray table acts as a dedicated desk. I found a pretty silver one that matches my desk accessories, and added a little plastic folding shelf under it for the printer. I don’t mind getting an inexpensive desk chair for a year, then giving it away. It’s worth it for the necessary comfort during long serious work sessions.

    I did make do with an inflatable sofa for a few years, but I splurged on pretty velour sofa covers for it. It still needed more padding, though, so I added a folded bed pad. Now I think a better solution is getting one from a thrift store, then Freecycling it when I’m done.

    I like knowing that I can move myself in and out of places without needing to hire or ask friends to help. I also like knowing I can travel with everything I need from one place to another. However, my sister hasn’t come completely on board with that approach yet, so while we live together there is still a lot more stuff to haul around. Most people would probably think it’s not very much at all, but I would really prefer to go back to my simpler ways. But it’s a process, and she has certainly come a long way.

    It’s hard to describe, though, what a sense of freedom there is in knowing you can move so easily yet still have a cozy home with some of your favorite things. I know it’s not for everyone, and I also enjoyed having a nice home filled with lovely furniture and knick knacks. But, as I’m sure you already know, there can be real joy in not having a lot of stuff to worry about.

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm Sally said:

      Honestly, I think I’m in Michigan to stay — at least for a little while. So I’d like a bit more permanent furniture situation. Luckily, my mother redoes furniture and has agreed to set me up with a whole bunch of stuff — I just have to wait until she can visit. Until then, I’ll be hanging out on my yoga mat!

  26. On September 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm Vivian Morelli said:

    I love your new place!! It will look great. I lived without furniture so many times when I moved around Japan…. a few nights sleeping right on the floor (no futon). I still eat on the floor sometimes, and it’s not even tatami. I need to grow up!

  27. On September 21, 2013 at 11:40 pm Jess said:

    I would be soo tempted to skid all over that hardwood floor in my socks while playing air guitar.

    This is probably why no one lets me have hardwood floors.
    Jess recently posted..When Fall Comes to Denali

  28. On September 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm choi kum fook said:

    Beside the absence of a set of furniture, your apartment is considered to be the first class standard! Lovely in kitchen, comfort in bed room and everything in good condition! Miss Sally, I hope can stay on it in comfort and happy! Have good dream every night! Ha! Ha!

  29. On September 29, 2013 at 10:20 am detalle said:

    Hey, thanks to open your home for your readers, its gorgeous enjoy it! hugs

  30. On October 1, 2013 at 5:33 am Ceri said:

    I lived without furniture for the whole year after I graduated university. The only thing that was in my room was a bed … so books just stayed in boxes, my clothes just hung on a pathetic railing, my PC (yup, *PC*, not laptop) was on the floor, and my double bed had single bedding.

    I ended up moving back in with my parents after that. Boy, that was a fun year. 😛

    But I love your apartment! 😀 Mine wasn’t anything as fancy as yours (as you can probably tell).
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in September

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm Sally said:

      I can’t believe you lived like this for an entire year. I lasted a month without a table and finally broke down yesterday and bought a cheapo TV-tray table. So worth it.

  31. On October 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm Heather said:

    Fortunately, my husbands job is such that we get to move into places that are already furnished. Otherwise, I’d probably still be sleeping on the floor! But what I really want to know is what piece of artwork is so bad that it has to hide under the sparkly, pink vagina?
    Heather recently posted..Afternoon Tea at the Puli Hotel, Shanghai

  32. On June 11, 2015 at 9:35 am Meghan said:

    The apartment looks lovely! I am moving next month to my first own apartment and I am really excited! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂

  33. On May 11, 2016 at 12:58 pm Rachel said:

    I can hardly believe I found you! I just moved into a new apartment closer to work (2 blocks!) after having lived in a furnished apartment; not even the TV was mine! I’ve got no furniture at all. My stuff’s all in bags everywhere, just brought a folding chair from the neighborhood discount store the other day, so I’d have something to sit on. I’m going to buy an air mattress today to sleep on for now until I get actual furniture.

    • On May 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm Sally said:

      Congrats on the new move! And only two blocks from work? That’s awesome. I’m now a little bit farther from work (a mile and a half) which somehow seems an impossible distance to walk in the morning. But I’m hoping to start riding my bike into work once it warms up a bit.
      And good luck with getting new furniture!


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