I'm going to share pictures, snaps, and videos of the new apartment with all our stuff moved in soon, but for now, here's the new place pre-Kar and Toffel. We love it. I already forgot we lived in the 7ème! Because this flat came furnished (most Paris rentals these days do), moving was easy. Previously, I helped friends move who didn't want to pay for boxes- they draped sheets over their furniture and tied washcloths or towels to the feet and arms before sticking them in the truck :)
Instead of using boxes or packing material, I wrapped breakables in clothing, towels, socks, and rags before putting them in our suitcases, my husband's backpack, or my wicker shopping cart. Our books fit in one suitcase, our plates filled the silver suitcase, and my garment bag carried all my clothes, with shoes in the cart. I moved things little by little over the course of a few days, walking to our new place or taking the Métro when I knew I'd be in the area anyway. Nothing broke, even when I dropped a suitcase while carrying it up seven flights of stairs! This is the same method we used when moving overseas- all our belongings fit in seven bags with only clothes / linens as cushioning. Lemon Coco by Marline did a wonderful post on minimalist moving and Emma + John had the brilliant idea of using a cute vintage wagon to move their belongings instead of renting a car or truck, perfect for walkable cities.
If you don't have enough luggage, old trunks, or reusable Rubbermaid-type containers to pack your things, you can always find boxes on Craigslist or Freecycle. Liquor stores are usually willing to give their discarded boxes for packing. Fold the flaps closed or use paper tape, twine, or rope to secure boxes instead of plastic tape, and reuse or relist afterwards. Services like Rent a Green Box and Carton Plein offer eco-friendly packing materials and relocation by bicycle, a great option if you don't have all week to move things. I wanted to book their bike move, and I can't get into why we didn't (it's really cost effective), but let's just say, once we were all unpacked, my husband turned the TV on to see a program featuring Carton Plein and said, "Ariana, have you seen this? This is what we should have done."
The first thing I do whenever I move is clean the apartment from top to bottom. I threw the windows open, scrubbed with Aleppo soap and a stack of flour sack towels, and disinfected with vinegar. I wasn't crazy about the tomette floors before we moved, but fell in love with their patina and easy care- sweep and wash weekly with vinegar and water. To remove hard water stains, buff with a soft cloth. I took all the landlord's glasses, dishes, and silverware from the cupboards and filled the dishwasher, cleaning the cabinets with vinegar before replacing items. Then I threw the curtains, sheets, duvet, and pillows in the washer before airdrying in the sun.
Once satisfied, I moved our own stuff in. I immediately put books in the shelves and replaced the wall art with our posters and photos. When organizing, I arrange items according to where I instinctively reach for them, storing like with like. We sold all our furniture (except the Kartell Componbili and Eames rocker) and appliances before moving, so there wasn't much to transport. Whereas the old apartment seemed empty, this one showed how much stuff we really had- it suddenly felt cluttered and overwhelming. I had to put all the owners' stuff that I didn't like in the side closet, because I was afraid to go in the cave (a storage space included with some Paris apartments). Even then, we decided to pare down a bit more. Oh, and the cats felt at home right away. They love leaping from shelf to shelf in the closet, jumping on the doors, climbing the curtains, and running around the mezzanine. The tile floors are really nice on hot days for them to stretch out and cool down.