My husband and I have moved a lot in our 14 years together. The first four years together, we lived in about 11 different places. Since then, we’ve still moved more than most people. We bought what we thought was our “dream house” in 2009, but it was 90 years old and, while incredibly charming, ended up being a nightmare. We were thrilled when we were able to sell it four years later. We then bought a lovely, large, almost-new townhouse. We generally make our home choices based on it being the opposite of where we’ve been living: intown loft >>> suburban apartment; historic home >>> cookie-cutter townhouse (with a ton of closets).
Anyway, we do love our townhouse. It’s spacious and has been problem-free. And while the purchase price was nearly twice that of our previous home, the fact that we aren’t constantly pouring money into it means we’re pretty much paying the same thing to live here that we did to live in our little bungalow.
So it’s not like we’re dying to leave here or anything like that. We really like it here, but we’ve come to realize it’s a waste of money and space for us. We don’t need so many bedrooms, and we certainly don’t need four toilets for two people! It was important for us to experience this, living in a nice home in a nice neighborhood with all our fancy neighbors. We’ve really enjoyed it here. But we’re done keeping up with the Joneses. This conversation started with wanting to buy a small mountain home. We began to look for a condo-and-cabin combination that would end up costing just a bit more than our current mortgage. I’ve long wanted to live in a more walkable area. I’d love to be able to walk to buy groceries, to get coffee, to grab a couple of drinks with my husband. Plus it’s been bothering us both that we’ve accumulated SO MUCH STUFF.
Downsizing will mean some sacrifices, we know. We’ll lose the luxury of all this space. We’ll be forced to get rid of more than we’re probably comfortable with. We won’t have an office, and a guest room, and workout space, and a garage. We won’t have a bajillion kitchen cabinets and so many closets that some are empty.
But it will also be wonderful. We’ll only keep what matters to us, what we really need and use on a regular basis. We won’t buy things just because a space looks empty and “needs something there.” After the spending frenzy that was 2014, it will feel cathartic to sell stuff and donate stuff and just throw stuff away.
And then there’s the walkability factor. I’m very excited about this. When we travel, my favorite thing is exploring a new place by foot. I always come home with the renewed desire to have this on a daily basis. The first place I lived on my own was New York City, and I think the day-to-day aspect of living there was ingrained in me. I love just having enough in the fridge to eat that day, and to be able to run out and get what I want right then. I love walking as transportation, because I don’t have to worry about traffic or anyone else’s slowness/rudeness/stupidity. Atlanta is a tough city for this kind of lifestyle, which really limits our options. But I’m committed to making it happen, even if it means sacrificing an extra closet 🙂
Obviously, we need to sell our townhouse. Since it’s not like we’re miserable here, we don’t have the same motivation we did when selling our old house, We have three dogs, which makes showing the place a little more challenging. We’re considering moving into corporate housing for a couple of months, but I’m not sure if the extra expense is worth it. This is up for debate. I think our first step is being diligent about going through our closets, the attic, the cabinets, the garage, and selling as much of our stuff as we can. We plan to spend the next few weekends doing this. Not much fun, but since we’re not going out and we’re pretty much not drinking, I don’t think it will be the worst thing in the world.