Hello, world. It’s been awhile. In the past month-ish, we closed on our first condo, I left one job, started another, we moved, and Andy has been to Denver and San Francisco. Whew!
The house search process was, I have to say, relatively painless for us. I think the key factor is that we were open-minded and ready to be satisfied. The most important element for us was location. We had a fairly small radius of where we were willing to live, and it was of the utmost importance that we be within walking distance to a MARTA station (Atlanta’s public transportation) or the Beltline. We also wanted at least a certain number of square feet with two bedrooms. (We were open to either 1 or 2 bathrooms.) We didn’t want a single-family home because neither of us really wants to take care of a yard. So all that being said, there was only so much inventory even available to look at!
We looked at around a dozen properties in the span of about a week. The condo we ended up buying was listed on a Tuesday and we went to look at it that evening. We had seen enough at that point to know that it was the best thing for our needs that we were likely to find on the market. Plus, when we walked in, we both said WOW, and the realtor said, “I haven’t heard that from you yet!” We had liked a unit across the street so we were familiar with the comps and knew the price was reasonable. We basically knew it was “the one,” and we put in an offer that night.
Since we were only moving a couple of miles across town, we decided to move most of our stuff piecemeal via car and then hire movers at the very end to get the big stuff. The big advantage to this is that you can prioritize what you move and when so that you don’t have to go without things you need or want for hardly any time at all. The downside to this is that I drive a Honda Civic, so it takes a lot of carloads to move even a one-bedroom apartment. We did three loads together on one Sunday, and then Andy flew to Denver, and I tried to do at least one load every evening. (I did one in the wee hours of the morning one day as well and then went straight to work.) It was pretty exhausting. This approach to moving makes it feel like it’s never going to be done. But I powered through! The worst part to me is once the furniture is moved and you go back to the old place “one last time” and then the amount of miscellaneous crap you still have to shove in the car is somewhat overwhelming. The last few bags and boxes we packed were very, very random.
I’m in awe of the fact that we had all of this same stuff in our much smaller apartment, because our condo by no means feels empty. However, I think our stuff is more accessible now. Whereas a lot of it was stored before in out-of-the-way, hard-to-reach spots, it’s now all pretty easy to get to.
A friend of mine asked me what my favorite thing about being in our new place is, and I have to say I think it’s the little things: the pot rack that the previous owner installed and left here, the pop containers I finally bought and labeled for my baking supplies, the more powerful microwave, the bigger freezer. We have a little patch of dirt to call our own that my mom helped us plant, and our patio can actually accommodate full-size chairs, rather than the folding plastic ones we had on our old balcony. It’s really pleasant to sit out there. I guess maybe I’m subconsciously more willing to invest in the details because it’s our place and we know we’re intending to stay for awhile.
One piece of advice I would offer is to be patient on ordering furniture, especially when it comes to storage. I was all convinced we needed some sort of shelf or cabinet for the master bathroom until I actually unpacked all of our stuff into the numerous drawers and realized that we needed another shelf like a hole in the head. But on the flip side, I would encourage you NOT to unpack some things that you know will need a new home. We lost some of the cabinets we were accustomed to having in the old kitchen in favor of an open island, so I’m using what used to be storage for extra dishes as a pantry. I ordered a shelf unit to serve as the bar and hold glasses and servingware as well, but it hasn’t been delivered yet. So, I haven’t unpacked the boxes with those items in them because…why should I, when I have nowhere to put the stuff?
And my final observation is that, for goodness sake, it’s worth it to buy some moving “equipment.” Andy ordered some boxes from Amazon, and, while I didn’t think we needed them, there’s something to be said for uniformity and sturdiness. My favorite moving paraphernalia is the dish saver kit from U-haul. It’s a not-too-big box that comes with dividers and foam pouches for various sizes of dishes. I had saved one from when we moved before, and I went and bought a second one, and boy was it worth it. For one thing it helps you feel like your dishes are secure and won’t break. And for another, it keeps you from over-packing a box of fragile items to where it’s so heavy no one can lift it. I also spent like ten bucks on a roll of packing paper at Lowe’s that I really appreciated. It doesn’t have ink on it like newspaper, so you don’t end up with your hands smeared all black. And yes, I am anal enough that I smoothed it all out and saved it as I unpacked at our new place. But that won’t stop me from buying more the next time we move if I think we need it! I repeat: it’s worth it.
The only casualty of our move was a bottle of red wine vinegar that rolled off the top of a box literally as I was trying to wrap it so that it wouldn’t break on its trip across town. Well, and now that I think about it, I have yet to discover where my hairbrush is. (Don’t worry, I normally use a comb! I haven’t been unkempt.) All in all, I’d count that as a success.