Project Downsize: End Result

We’ve been settling into our new home for about a week and a half now, and so far, we’re really pleased. It already feels so much more like a real home than our townhouse did. The townhouse was spacious and shiny and new, but it lacked warmth and charm. It was exactly what we needed after the antique money pit we’d previously owned, but we always knew it was a short-term place to stay.

We struggled with this home-buying process, due to some mind-changing and some bad luck. We went from looking at 1000sf condos to almost buying a 4000sf luxury behemoth. We found this house by accident, after needing to turn around when we drove past the house we’d come to view. We were worried that we were maybe just settling on this, after having three other houses fall through during negotiations, and after wasting more $$$ than I care to admit living in a hotel. This house didn’t come without its issues either; the appraisal came in low, and we had to deal with the removal of about two dozen bats from the attic (don’t worry – no bats were harmed, and as far as I know, no one became a vampire).

But here we are, living in my home town that I never once imagined I’d move back to. And as it turned out, we ended up downsizing after all. This house is about 1800sf, which seems pretty perfect for two people who both worked mostly from home and need to have separate spaces to do so. The neighbors are so friendly – they’ve brought over cookies and a pound cake, loaned us some tools, introduced us to their dogs, and even surprised us with some free landscaping. We’re close – but not too close – to my parents, which I know will be really helpful as they’re getting older and need our help more often. the town has changed so much in the 20+ years since I graduated from high school. It’s much more diverse, with multiple tech business bringing in a global population. There are tons of new restaurants and places to shop, and the park system is amazing.

At one point during the summer, when we’d gotten bad news on yet another house and I was feeling frustrated, a friend said something along the lines of don’t-worry-everything-happens-for-a-reason. It totally annoyed me and I just laughed. I really don’t believe in that line of thinking, but I do believe in making the best out of things. Finding this house, while not fate or “God’s will” or anything, was absolutely serendipitous. It was a happy accident (so far, at least!). It wasn’t something we ever would have imagined we’d want, but here we are, feeling content, and looking forward to lots of home projects (and hopefully not moving for a good long while).

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It’s Moving Week!

Well, it seems to be official: we are closing on our new home on Thursday and moving out of this hotel on Friday. Finally! It will be a full six weeks since we left the townhouse, and six MONTHS since we started the whole buying/selling/moving process. Along the way, we’ve changed our minds a few times and learned a lot about what we really want. Or at least what we think we want right now 🙂

Since we’ve been under contract and I don’t have any chores (one good thing about hotel living!), I’ve had a lot of time to think about life in our new home. The house is 40 years old and mostly renovated, but there are many projects we’re considering for further updates. We’ll have about half an acre, so that means we can add yard projects too.

I have my goals for 2015, my goals for the second half of the year, my goals for the fall, but I want to add some goals for life in our new home:

  1. Grow stuff. The yard needs a lot of clearing and planning, but I really want to try to get some fall/winter crops planted before it’s too late. It might just be some container gardening a la The Barefoot Budget, but I’m hoping we can grow some lettuces at the very least.
  2. Bake bread. Yes, I’ve been mostly low-carb, and I want to continue that, but I also want to try some new bread recipes and really understand the nuances of bread. I’m excited to try this low carb recipe, as well as this hearty, seedy braided bread on a rainy Sunday morning 🙂
  3. Prep meals. I loooove seeing other people’s posts about meal prep/planning. I’ve dabbled in it a bit in the past, but I want to really commit to it now. It’s just so appealing to think about spending a few hours on the weekend getting myself ready to eat healthfully during the week. Also I really want an excuse to buy these.
  4. Stick to a budget. We’re going to try something different this time. We are quite committed to earning travel rewards via our credit cards (which, yes, we pay off in full each month, like the grown-ups we are try to be), and I don’t want to give up the free flights and hotel stays. Instead, we’re going to use those credit cards to buy gift cards each month. We’ll get them for our usual grocery stores, gas stations, Starbucks, etc, as well as our favorite clothing stores (anyone else obsessed with TJ Maxx/Marshall’s?). Once the gift cards are used up, that’s the end of our ability to spend in that category for the month. I’ll keep y’all updated on our success/failure here 🙂
  5. DIY. Jack and I are the worst about doing-it-ourselves. We will pay anyone for anything. (The one thing I refuse to pay for is house cleaning; it just makes me feel super lazy to not clean up after myself.) But this time around, we’re going to force ourselves to in-source. There’s no reason we can’t learn to tile our own backsplash and fix up our own yard. We’ve done much harder things together and love the sense of accomplishment.

Here’s hoping my motivation and excitement will continue once we’ve actually moved it 🙂