Monday, February 25, 2013

On Downsizing

Well we are back from our apartment hunting trip to Charlotte.  The word that sums up my apartment hunting experience is downsizing. I knew going into this weekend that I would likely have to rent a smaller space as rent is really high in the area close to Charlotte's Uptown (even though this city is allegedly supposed to have a lower cost of living). So I am losing about 450 square feet so that my rent can decrease to a level that will allow me to save money for plane tickets home. From a net perspective I am actually not saving all that much because of the difference in the utilities I have to pay in Charlotte. But I am saving as much as I can while still living in a place I can be ok with calling home.

My head has been spinning since Saturday as I try to figure out how to get my possession to fit into my new space. Here are some things I am doing to prepare for my move to a smaller space:

- See you later, piano. Considering the fact that I am struggling to fit some small bookshelves in my new home, it was out of the question to try to bring my piano. Luckily my former boss is going to keep it for me while I am gone. He wants his kids to take lessons so it works well for them to take it off my hands. Plus I know they will take good care of it.

- Adios furniture. I put a loveseat and over-sized chair on Craigslist as they most definitely won't fit in the new place. Fingers crossed someone buys them so I can get that aspect of the move over with.

- Bah humbug. My Christmas decorations won't be making the move either. I got spoiled by having storage units the last 8 years that I have lived in privately owned condo buildings. Commercially owned buildings will only provide storage for a fee, and I don't think it's worth it for me to pay a fee just so I can have access to my Christmas tree (my tree/decorations wouldn't fit in the storage available in the unit). Plus I am not sure a tree would even fit in my apt. I know I will be coming home for Christmas so I will just soak up the Christmas decorations at my parents lake home.

- Climate considerations. I'm looking hard at my wardrobe and boxing up things to store at my parents. I'm asking myself: do I need 4 winter coats in this warmer climate? No. Do I need snowpants? Not a chance. Snow boots? Nope. I know it will get into the 20-30s so I will bring some coats but I don't need a closet full of winter coats in North Carolina.

But my 6 bookshelves? Those are coming with me. I have to draw the line somewhere! Fingers crossed they fit. If they don't I guess I will just sell them when I arrive in Charlotte.

So there you have it.  Sorry this isn't a 'I fell in love with Charlotte post.' I really was hoping to come back feeling better about this move, but such is life. It's a step forward for my career and I am sure I will find things I like about my new neighborhood once I settle in.

On a positive note, I did have a really good time with my mom and it was fun showing her the trading floor where I will work. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming so I think she feels better knowing I will work with some nice people. And in general, the people in Charlotte were extremely friendly. Way friendlier than people you would encounter in the Midwest honestly. So Charlotte has that going for it.

 At the end of the day, I am reminding myself that it's only a year and I can come back at the end of that year (assuming I find a job) if I am totally miserable.

Have you ever moved to a place that required you to significantly downsize?

28 comments:

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I'm sad that you have to get rid of your piano temporarily, but I love that it will be a great home where some kids will get introduced to the joys of the piano :) That's at least positive. Plus, if you are only there a year, at least you won't have to move as much stuff back haha.

abbi said...

I haven't downsized yet but we are actually looking forward to it, which may sound odd. We've accumulated so much unnecessary stuff to fill our house and half of it could really go. Priorities definitely shift in life! Your bookshelves are needed :)

Becky said...

It sounds like you have a good handle on what you're downsizing so that's good! Did you sign a lease this weekend? So glad you had your mom with you!

J said...

I really hope this move goes well for you and the year flies by! Good thing you are bringing the books/bookshelves, I probably would have done the same thing!

missris said...

Our Chicago apartment was 900 sq ft with 2 closets and a storage unit. Our first Pittsburgh apartment was about 450 sq ft with one small closet and a basement area that we later learned flooded and ruined anything in it. We got rid of a lot of things and furniture and were still really stuffed into that apartment. It ended up being a good thing though, because we were able to downsize to things we only really wanted. Now that we're in a bigger apartment (with 2 closets) we have much more space!

Marlys said...

I was so pleased to go on this weekend trip with you and it warms my heart to see where you will live and work, and to repeat, "The people in Charlotte were so, so friendly"! Downsizing is not easy but I think it is good for everyone to do once in awhile! I am praying for a good experience for you, but I have a feeling it will be a positive one!

Leigh said...

Glad that you were able to find an apartment even if it's not everything you are hoping for. Things can always be replaced, yes it would be a pain though. At least you got to have a weekend with your mom :)

Nora said...

I wish we lived near you as we just bought a loveseat and oversized chair for our house and were looking for one via CraigsList! Stuff here seems to move really fast on CL so hopefully you have the same experience.

My first three apartments were really tiny (seriously so.tiny) so I left (and still have) a lot of things at my parents house and had to sell some of my other stuff, too. I also got rid of a lot of stuff before moving in with Knight in the Great North as there wasn't enough room for all of my stuff.

So glad that your former boss will hold onto the piano for you; that's awesome!

Amber said...

I'm so glad everyone was super friendly - what a huge plus, you will have a circle of friends down there in no time :)

I 'downsized' once when I moved from mine and Eric's 2-bedroom condo to a small basement suite for a year. I didn't sell any stuff though just sent it all up to my dads to store since I knew we'd be in a bigger space eventually. Every once in awhile we still like to downsize different rooms in our house and sell some furniture. I really like living with less in general but I know it sucks that you've had this forced on you and HAVE to downsize. I'm so glad you don't have to permanently get rid of your piano though!!

Stephany said...

My mom and I had to downsize a lot when we moved from a really spacious 2-bedroom apartment to a cramped 1-bedroom apartment to save money while I was in school. That was a really tough move for us.

I'm sad you have to downsize so much and the cost of living is higher. That sucks. But at least things are slowly falling into place. And it's good that you have friendly coworkers. That should be a big help in getting accustomed to life in Charlotte.

Abby said...

I am sorry that you have to downsize - but am glad you have someone you trust to keep the piano with while you're away. And yes, keep remembering that this is totally not permanent. You have the option to return at the end of all this.

Glad you had Mom there with you. I can't imagine done that alone. I'm glad that the people you will be working with are so supportive and nice!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I'm glad you found a place to call home, even if it's not exactly ideal in size. Maybe it will encourage you to get out and explore Charlotte more ... missing the Christmas decorations of home, go find a Charlotte neighborhood that's decorated to the nines! But, I'm glad your move has some more knowns rather than unknowns to it ... and I'm glad your mom got to see where you'll be working and experience some of that southern charm.

Linda said...

So many growing pains you're going through right now, Lisa! You are doing swell with rolling with the waves.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

That's great that the people you'll be working with daily are nice! Definitely makes a difference. Hopefully, although you're downsizing, you can find small ways to make it still feel cozy and you. And around the holidays maybe just put up a mini tree or little decorations. I know that stuff always helps, especially during those special times of the year. When I lived in a house with guys after college, I would hang Christmas balls with ribbon along my window just to have my own little version of festivity. Anyway, glad you found a place that will work!

Cherry Blossoms said...

That is really good to hear that your work environment will be a positive and I am sure they will do a great job of making you feel welcome. I know I can honestly say we have never met nicer people than we have here in Texas and the amount of friends we have made in the 6months of moving vs what we had in AZ is amazing. Friendliest is def a strength in the south.

Carolina John said...

We're looking at downsizing some things now. When we moved here, we went from 2800 sq ft down to 1800 sq ft, now I'm trying to figure out how we could fit into 1500. takes a big chainsaw.

tammy said...

I would take my book shelves too! I used to live in TN and people always seem so polite down south. Good Luck!

Alli said...

Having lived in 250 square feet for nearly 5 years now, I'm an expert on fitting things in to a small space so I'm here to offer tips if you need them. I'm very glad that the people were at least nice.

Journey Authentically said...

Yes--and honestly I loved it. Sometimes we accumulate so much "stuff" and its sort of nice to be forced to weed out and see what really represents us now. What we have to have and what we can live without. Although if you were really in love with that chair and loveseat--that would be a total bummer. Glad to hear that the piano will be utilized however! And don't discount ALL your cold weather outdoor gear---a trip to the NC mountains might be just what you need come winter! :) But for the most part--yep, you'll survive on much less in terms of clothes and it'll make weekend trips home easy travel wise if you have some heavier stuff at your parents :) Still praying for you---I KNOW there is a silver lining here. I don't know how I know, but seriously I've just got this feeling.....

Melissa said...

My bookshelves would move with me too, that's for SURE! They make my room the wonderful place that it is, so I understand you refusing to give those up. Sounds like you're being very realistic though, and despite it not being some kind of eye opening amazing kind of weekend, you're still getting your things in order which is most important!

Gracie said...

These are tough decisions, ones that I faced when I got married. Our apartment is not only small, it has almost no storage. Plus we were combining two households. So a lot had to go. I actually like this way of life, though. We never collect clutter because we CAN'T. We just can't So we never get overrun with things.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I never moved to a place that caused me to downsize, but I did have to give up my piano for good :-( It was in my family for over 100 years, and my great grandma used to play it when she was a pianist for silent movies. She passed it down to my grandma, who passed it to my dad, and then it came to me. It wouldn't fit in the front or back door and into the house (wouldn't turn the corner). I don't plan on moving ... maybe ever, so the piano had to go. I was very sad.

Barb Geier said...

The less you take, the less you have to move back!!!! I can imagine your head is spinning. I am glad Marlys was able to go with you. Her company must have been so welcome!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Yeah, you can't get rid of your bookshelves! I seem to remember your shelves being short; at worst you may have to switch to a taller one, which will hold the same amount of books with less floor space, but I am all for keeping all the books!

I am the queen of downsizing. Living out of a hotel all the time, I realized what I really NEED is very little. Even now, I haven't really moved very much of my stuff, since I never thought I would be here very long and I didn't want to move stuff around a bunch of times.

Anonymous said...

Ugh I hated it!

I went from a 3 bedroom huge living room, den, and big kitchen to 450sq ft, (one closet and a pantry) but at the time, it was what I could comfortably afford so I got creative with storage, bed risers and arrangement!

Good luck.

BakingSuit said...

Ugh I hated it!

I went from a 3 bedroom huge living room, den, and big kitchen to 450sq ft, (one closet and a pantry) but at the time, it was what I could comfortably afford so I got creative with storage, bed risers and arrangement!

Good luck.

Jeanie said...

Yikes. Glad you found a good temp home for your piano. That's too much of a treasure to lose. About Christmas -- do your parents have room to store your ornaments and favorites? It would be a shame to lose the start of a collection. As for a tree and taking some, here's my two cents (since Christmas is my thing, so tell me to mind my own business!) You can always get a small table top tree down there and maybe you can take some of your favorites -- what might fit in the crevices of your suitcase, your shoe tips, maybe a plastic shoe box. These will remind you of your home, help center you during your first Christmas away. It doesn't need to be a lot of them (and you can always add) but enough to remind you of home. Or, pick up some if you go home for TG. I just worry about a drab holiday. But like I said, that's me.

And downsizing -- I haven't had to yet, but one of my first retirement projects will be four bins -- sell, donate, save and trash. And I'm not looking forward to that.

Marisa A. said...

I'm sorry you have to leave your piano behind. I know that would pain me too. I've been begging for a piano for a long time now. But we need a bigger place to house one. Hopefully soon :)