After a few failed months living with my ex and a couple of weeks couch surfing, I’m moving into my own place. It’ll be the first time in my life living without some sort of roommate, housemate, live-in boyfriend, ex-boyfriend or parent. And, I gotta say, I’m excited.

It’s a small studio – just enough room for me and Cosmo (the adorable white demon that is my cuddly furrball of a cat). It’s definitely going to be a downsize, but it’s also an improvement. That being said, I was nervous to go through my things. I have sort of a reputation for having a lot of stuff.

If I ever had the space and stability to be a pack rat, I might be. Luckily, I’ve tried to curb the desire through self-prescribed purges.

But right now I still have things, including my childhood Mr. Potato Head and a few dozen Barbie dolls, in free/temporary storage in New Jersey and in North Carolina. Some items are safer than others and some items, I admit, I need to let go of. I’m just not there to do it.

Even with all that stuff spread across the East Coast, I just knew I would have a lot to go through on the west side. But when I went back to pack my things, I was wrong.

It’s just books, clothes, and kitchen stuff. OK, maybe there are a lot of clothes, books and kitchen stuff, but still … it’s not like I have big furniture pieces or large mementos I’m hauling around with me. To me, these are the basics.

What does that say about me? Well, for one thing, it’s clear that I’m addicted to thrift shopping. It’s where many of the books and nearly all of the clothes originate from. It is also clear to me that, despite my frequent visits to Taco Bell, I really care about what I eat.

I’ve got a great cookware set, several teapots and a growing collection of fun glasses and mugs. Oh, and too many colorful spatulas. And a lot of tea … that counts as “kitchen.”

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Am I going to be able to fit all these items in my new studio? The verdict is still out, but I sure am going to try. For weeks I’ve been trolling Pinterest looking for ideas on how to fit things into small spaces and how to live minimally. It’s a skill I hope to master in this next year and hope to bring back with me when I eventually sort through my East Coast belongings.

I feel like this new chapter in my life will help me be more well-rounded, more efficient and healthier. Finally I will have full reign over my kitchen – even if it is small and without an oven. I will be able to dance, pace, or even do yoga in any part of the house I want, listening to my Tracey Ullman album on full blast.

It’ll be a new chapter for Cosmo, too. For the last two years, he has had both a companion and an enemy in Rollo – my ex-boyfriend’s dog. Although we both love Rollo, he can be a pain and needs a lot of attention. All that attention now will be back on Cosmo, the king of the realm.

I plan on making my new space a kitty paradise with luxurious climbing things near all the windows and feline-friendly plants all around. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even turn on Tom Jones and make some homemade treats in our new kitchen. The possibilities are endless.

300 square feet of possibilities.

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. Jersey Girl runs every other Sunday. Follow her on Twitter at @RiaSestito or email her at


Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC. S