I have both. I like the look of sand better, but in small tanks that are not cycled, I would definitely go with gravel. It'll make water changes easier. But sand is gorgeous. And yeah, I don't get what you mean about starting over. Personally, I would clean a 1 gallon 100% water change twice a week.
And Olympia- I'm not totally sure about stirring. I don't really with mine (as my pleco does it for me, haha) It will compact more over time though. You could get trumpet snails. They dig in the sand and aerate it for you. And sand kind of gets sucked up in a siphon. The trick is to keep it a inch or so away so it picks up the waste and not the sand. Not hard to do at all :)