Journeys into Household Set Up Part I

Ok, let’s do this.

After seeing a dozen cottages and apartments, and about half a dozen house shares, I’ve finally settled on a cute little two bedroom cottage in the northeastern suburb of Melbourne called Northcote (pronounced “north kit”). It has a sweet picket fence, loads of storage, and a beautiful open kitchen/lounge room that open out to a gorgeous, north-facing garden.

I have been so excited about setting up my own household ever since I realised I might actually be able to afford it in Melbourne. I’ve been researching plant pot painting schemes, making Pinterest boards for beautifying your rental, and looking at art on Etsy non-stop.

Amongst my research, I’ve discovered, I probably don’t have the money for my dream home or dream contents for that home (which would basically be a house I build myself and fill with stuff from awesome indie designer/makers), but I think I can make something magical happen anyway. My plan is to decorate mostly with plants, buy most things second hand and DIY the hell outta them, and possibly spend a chunk of money on either a big rug or a big piece of art.

I move in on Friday and I’m happy to say, I feel like I’m well on my way! I’ve already bought a dozen indoor plants (all at good prices I might add!) and I’ve got several appointments over the weekend to pick up furniture and decor from my gumtree scouring. I’ve also rented a car for the weekend so I can hit up the vintage markets and possibly sneak in a trip to Ikea if I must.

Ok, so where’s the “but” right? Weeeell, truth be known, after three days of solid research and logistics in every spare moment around work, I hit a bit of a wall tonight looking at towels. Does the list of things I need to buy ever end?? It feels like for everything I tick off (sofa, dining room table, plants), another thing gets added on (hand towels, mop, trash can).

Let’s buy some more stuff.

I forgot just how much stuff you need to set up a household (oh, so this is why you give newlyweds all those presents!). It’s kind of frightening how cheap is can be. K-Mart offers plates for $2 a piece (AUD) and a 25 piece cook set for less than $60. Who is making this stuff? And who is buying it? Are that many people really setting up their kitchen every year? Do we actually need all this stuff? How many hand towels are you supposed to have? I’ve found the intense bout of consumerism I’m in right now a bit dizzying. 

While I’m trying to balance ethics with my own budget, I’m also lost amongst how many subtle aesthetic choices there are implicit in those purchases (what colour scheme should my bathroom follow???).

I think I will have to do this in stages. Stage one is absolute minimum: fridge, one plate, plants. Next weekend, I’ll think about the finish on the trashcan.

What’s your advice for setting up a new household?