It’s been almost four weeks since my significant other and I moved into our first house. We’ve had a steep learning curve. We were coming from a high-rise apartment building; the house is about 80 years old and mostly unrenovated, except for some basics like wiring.
So far, we’ve faced more logistics than we would’ve thought possible, which has been exhausting…but we’ve also fallen in love with our new neighbourhood (while not forgetting the old) and we’re still glad we moved.
Things I’ve learned so far:
1. Number your boxes. I numbered off the rooms in the new house, then numbered each box as I packed it: Room 1, Box 1, short description of contents. Boxes with higher numbers got packed later, so I knew the items in them were used more often and therefore they should be unpacked first. Bonus: the movers knew which room to put each box in. We’ve had almost no trouble finding anything. (We also haven’t unpacked everything — but that’s a post for another time.)
2. Be flexible. Our freestanding wardrobe wouldn’t fit up the stairs. It has now been repurposed as a pantry, supplementing our kitchen storage. I did have to mourn the loss of it in our bedroom, as well as come to terms with the way it dominated the kitchen, but I have to admit that it’s very useful in its new home.
3. Learn to DIY. This will be an ongoing saga and I’ll probably blog more about it later. Neither one of us is handy in the least, but so far we’ve replaced the lock on the front door (backwards, so the knob is horizontal when the deadbolt is unlocked, but hey, it works), fixed the fence, and started a garden, and none of those things has turned into a disaster. (Knock wood!)
4. Expect trouble… We bought the house knowing it belonged to an elderly woman, so the appliances were old and some amenities were lacking (such as wiring that was up to code). We did not expect to have to call in a plumber and a fridge repair person within the first few weeks. And the fridge is actually the newest of the large appliances by far. I’m still not sure we can get away with continuing to use the aging washer and dryer.
5. …but don’t give up… Dealing with logistics like the ones I’ve mentioned above is incredibly time-consuming, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing, you have to research everything, and you’re working full-time and juggling some other major projects. As a result, we’ve kind of stagnated at a level of organization that’s livable but not pretty. We still haven’t bought a replacement for the wardrobe, so half our clothes are in suitcases; the yard is a mess of weeds; we haven’t really done any decorating. I’d love to get beyond this state of affairs, but it’s just not happening yet.
6. …and above all, don’t lose sight of why you chose this house. I am still in love with the things I mentioned in an earlier post — the hardwood floors, the light, the sunny second-floor room that is now my office. I love the heavy wood bannisters, the clawfoot iron tub, the vintage doorknobs, the new lighting fixtures we picked. I love how our furniture looks in these spaces, even if some rooms are a little sparse yet. It’s a house full of challenges…but worth every one.
Your turn. If you’re a homeowner or an experienced mover, what have you learned?