One Month after Selling our House and Moving into an Apartment

We sold our house and moved into an apartment one month ago.  We were aiming to simplify our lives while saving time and money.  A month in and things are going well.

The Good and the Bad

I find myself missing something unexpected about living in our house – the sound of rain falling on the roof.  That sound is so soothing and always felt happy to me.  Now we’re on the first floor of a three story apartment building, and I hardly noticed the downpour yesterday.

The 15 minute drive to work has been fantastic.  I’m barely using half a tank of gas per week compared to the two tanks a week I had been using.  That is a huge savings in time and money.

The maintenance aspect of apartment living has been great too.  We had the pest control come by once to take care of some ants.  We just had a few meandering about, but since pest control is included we took advantage of it.

Even better is that we had an air conditioning problem that we didn’t even know about.  Normally that would be a bad thing, but the maintenance guy was checking another A/C unit and noticed a problem with ours.  Apparently the outside unit was running all the time, even when our inside unit was off.  They ended up replacing the outside unit with a more efficient model.  The air conditioner was something we always worried about in the house.  It was only a matter of time before it broke completely and needed to be replaced to the tune of $4000.  Here in our apartment it was done at no extra cost to us.

I’m sure not all apartments are the same, so we consider ourselves fortunate to have one with good management and a great staff.

Cooking vs. Eating Out

The first couple of weeks we were eating out a lot as we got settled in.  The cost of dining out can really add up quickly, so we are paying attention to that.  We live just minutes away from dozens of restaurants, so it’s easy to slip into a habit of eating out.   Now we are back in the groove of cooking meals.  It was really nice to get back to home cooking, those few weeks of eating out got old, and I was really craving some home cooking.

Unpacking

We managed to get most of our boxes unpacked in the first week.  We had about five boxes that took a little longer.  The lack of storage is noticeable as we try to make all our stuff fit.  We purged a ton of stuff before we moved, but we still ended up getting rid of even more stuff as we unpacked.

We ended up buying some plastic storage drawers to put in our closet.  These are housing our office supplies and our daughter’s art supplies.  We also bought a tall skinny bookcase which we put in our bedroom.  It is holding our daughter’s books, the few books that I kept, and a basket to stash my collection of cables.

Now we are down to one box of stuff that need a home. It is full of kid type stuff.  Things like puzzles, flash cards, and coloring books.  We hoped to put some of that stuff in the bookcase, but we ran out of space.

I also have a few things that I’m trying to sell on craigslist, and I’ll be happy when they are sold and no longer taking up space.  One is a subwoofer that went with the speakers that we sold with the house.  The speakers were mounted to the walls and the buyer asked to buy them.  I was going to replace them when we moved into the apartment, but we decided we didn’t really need them, so now I have an unused subwoofer.  I also have two LCD computer monitors that I don’t need anymore since I’m working from my laptop on the kitchen table.  The last items is some old amps from a car stereo I had several cars ago.  I hung onto them in case I ever wanted to build up another car stereo system, but I’m really not planning to do that, so it’s time to sell them.

Clutter and cleaning

I find that the smaller space gets cluttered much faster.  There is less space for things to accumulate, so it’s more noticeable when it does.  On the plus side, it’s also faster to clean up.

Overall, things are going well.  I’m looking forward to summer when the evening grow longer and we have more time for outdoor evening activities.

Comments

  1. says

    It sounds like it’s going great! Do you hear a lot of stomping/moving about from the upstairs neighbors? Do you miss having a yard for playing? We actually purchased our house about 2 years ago because we hated apartment living so, so much! I keep finding that I’d actually prefer less house and more yard (we have 1200 sq ft of indoor space and decent for our area yard). I have to give you SO much credit because I just don’t think we could go that route again unless forced into it. Where would we put the 12′ trampoline, the most used item we have?! ;)

    • says

      Hi Megyn,
      Thanks for the kind words. Yes, things are going great. I’m not sure if the apartments we are in are built really good, or if we just have quiet upstairs neighbors, but we rarely hear them at all. The only noise we hear is the upstairs shower when it first turns on, the occasional cabinet door slamming shut, and people talking or closing doors in the hallway. Overall it’s really pretty quiet.

      I can relate to having a big yard. The yard was great, but I actually miss the driveway and sidewalk more than I miss the yard. We used to spend time in front of the house, coloring on sidewalks with chalk, and riding scooters and bikes.

      Funny that you mention a trampoline. Faith’s grandmother just bought one at Christmas time for all the grandkids to use. We used to live an hour away from grandma, and now we are a very short ten minute drive. Faith has been getting lots of time in on that trampoline lately. I think those kids would bounce on that thing all day long if they could.

  2. says

    Just today I was thinking about the advantages of apartment living (we live in our own home) and others doing the maintenance was high on the positives list. While I enjoy my garden, it does take up time and expense. I would most likely miss the garden though if I didn’t have it.
    Willow´s last blog post ..Two weeks worth

    • says

      We didn’t have a garden, but we did spruce up the landscaping, especially in the spring. I always liked the smell of the fresh pine bark mulch.

      I saw a documentary not long ago. It was filmed outside the United States, and showed a guy planting his garden. Instead of on his own lot though, it was in a public area set aside for gardening, and everyone had a small plot on which they could plant whatever they wanted. It seemed like a neat idea to have a community area for gardening.

  3. Ang says

    You are living my dream! I came to the same conclusions about the american dream (nightmare) about a year ago. Currently, my 4 bed, three bath house is on the market and I am downsizing like a mad-woman. It is so liberating to get rid of the stuff and focus on what makes me truely happy! Until I find my own rental apartment, I will live vicariously through you!! Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Ang,
      Welcome. I’m excited to hear that you are embarking on a similar journey. Doesn’t it feel great to get rid of all that stuff. That downsizing and decluttering is a good first step. For us it made things more bearable until we were able to finally sell the house. Good luck with the house sale and apartment hunt.

  4. says

    Our family has just decided this last weekend to embark on a similar journey. We are just about to start the de-cluttering process. We are all excited to be in your same position, once we are able to dump our money gobbler of a home.
    Sandy´s last blog post ..Goodmail Days I Have Seen

    • says

      Awesome!!! We really enjoyed the decluttering process. It’s amazing how good it feels to get rid of stuff. Each item that leave your home frees up a tiny bit of your time and attention. Keep us posted as your journey progresses. :)

  5. Leslie says

    Congrats! I am doing the same thing at age 55. I’ve owned a home for 24 yrs and am shortly moving to a 2BR apartment. I am looking forward to it and have some trepidation, at the same time. I am getting rid of tons and tons of stuff: books, CDs, photographs, dishes, linens…you name it. I want to go back to those times when I had very little other than my clothes and a few pieces of furniture. I was actually forced into this move by having too much debt, but I think it is a blessing in disguise. When my house closes, I will be 100% debt free, have money in the bank, no kids at home and only the stuff I use. I sense a whole new adventure awaiting me!

    • says

      Hi Leslie,
      Overall we’ve been enjoying apartment living. I love not having to mess with any maintenance. No maintenance really frees up a lot of time.

      Check back in once in a while and let us know how things are going.

  6. Pat says

    After living in houses most of my life, I rented out my 4 BR, 2 BA home and moved into a 2 BR, 2 BA apartment. I love it! What a relief to get out from under the burden of all that overhead. My rent is now 1/2 of what the cost was per month in my house. And now I can call management to fix things, free of cost. I can come and go without someone noticing my every move (like they did at my house). I feel much more secure, living on the 2nd floor with only one entrance to the apartment. There were doors and windows everywhere in my house. My neighbors are really quiet here, and I have a beautiful waterfall and pond right outside my balcony. I could not be happier.

    • says

      Hi Pat,

      I am happy that you made the choice to sell your house. I want to get out of my house why it is still fairly new. I hate the thought of the overhead cost. The first year in my house was great as I enjoyed gardening most of all. Then, when the winter came and most of my plants and flowers died, it became a burden not to mention expensive to redo it again the next year. What I miss most is the luxury of calling maintenance for repairs. As a homeowner, it”s all your responsibility. Congrats once again.
      Angela´s last blog post ..An Update of My Crazy Ideas

  7. Nicole says

    I stumbled on this link wondering if I was doing the right thing. I’m near closing on the sale of my home in Los Angeles and am having some weird feelings. I’m happy but sort of sad to go. I don’t really care for the neighbors and the area and had only owned this home for 3 years. I was burglarized when I first bought the place. I guess I never really adjusted after that. I cant leave town without worrying. It’s not fun anymore. Every since then I decided life was much simpler when I rented. I’m profiting from the sale so I guess it’s not the end of the world. Can’t wait to see where life takes me.

    • says

      Hi Nicole,
      It sounds like you know deep down that you are doing the right thing, it’s just scary to make such a big change. We had that fear too when we sold our house, wondering if we were doing the right thing. I’d love to hear back from you after you move to see how things went.

  8. PK2 says

    Freedom, I am really enjoying your post…I am not alone.

    I am too in the same place as others who have written. I am in the process of de-cluttering and preparing to downsize. I am moving into an apartment while the selling process plays itself out. I have not told a lot of people I am selling yet. To be honest with you I am ready for a range of responses from delight to disappointment. I am not sure why such a broad range….I think family and friends mostly hold on to home ownership and the mark of success in life despite other things. For me, they make think I have given up on marriage and kids. My reply to all of the “I want you to have a big house…and complain about bills” people is this….”I am over it.” I am a single woman in a my early 40′s living in a 4br house. This makes no sense…nine years ago when I bought the house I did dream of a husband and children, and everyone running around in the big back yard….hasn’t happened yet. And I did have the curiosity of peeking inside the American dream to see what it was like. I found that its not all about the house, you can start a family in a apartment, owning a home is expensive and you can dream in that same apartment.
    Ok, I am over it. I am leaving behind the adventures of owning a home for now including maintenance issues inside and out, sky high electricity bills at least six months a year, grass cutting, house washing, tons of Christmas decorations, a mini Sam’s club storage in the garage—and club membership, homeowner association fees, and many other things. Don’t mention the stress of selling a house.
    With that said it was a great experience…now it’s time to just live and be happy….just buying what I need when I need it. All the best for your adventure.

    P.S. I am downsizing to a 1br apartment.

    • says

      Awesome! I love to hear from people that are downsizing. I think you are on the right track and am excited for you and your future potential.

  9. Frank says

    Well, here I sit the day after our moving sale and less than a week til we leave our 4br house for a 2br apartment. My wife and I and our 14yo daughter and our Boston have decided that we no longer want to be a slave to th mentally I am. Have lots more to pack up before the movers come on Friday.

    I must say that I am excited that immediately we will recognize a cash flow increase by getting out and renting. The thought of actually being able to enjoy life rather than working 80 hours a week to just cover the mortgage is liberating. That’s no way to live.

    All but a few of our friends and family think we are nuts. A few actually get it. But others can’t believe we are giving up our home.

    My wife started in December wanting out. I didnt want to hear it. Then in April, I think God intervened, and I went to my wife and said call the realtor. She did. We listed it. Had a contract in 10 days and will close on Thursday. God wants us out of here. Who am I to disagree. I hope I don’t offend anyone mentioning God, but I believe that He puts us where we need to be when we need to be there.

    Our moving sale happened yesterday. Hoards of folks showed up and within 3 hours everything that was for sale was sold save a couple boxes bound for goodwill.

    As I watched one family cart off my possessions on a trailer, I realized how junky and old our stuff was. Not that everything on the trailer wasn’t useful, it just had seen better days. And I felt liberated!! Why do we feel the need to keep so many things!!!

    I don’t believe downsizing is for everyone. If you have unlimited money that you can continually sink into repairs and upgrades, then maybe it isn’t for you. But if you are a Slave to your house and are one missed paycheck away from losing it or are one broken AC repair away from not being able to afford repair then get out now.

    I sold while everything was working. I’m out. We will probably look to buying or building again after dust settles. But we are going to catch our breath.

    All this being said, I want to say that your blog has helped me keep my sanity through this journey.

    Hopefully I can post great news about apartment living in a month.

  10. says

    I am so happy to have found this forum. Frank congratulations to you and your family for making such a bold move. I would also like to extend congrats to everyone else who has taken a similar journey to selling your house and moving into an apartment. I closed on my house in Mar 2012 and here it is June 2014 and I feel that buying a house was a big mistake. I have a 3 bdrm/2 bth, 1890 sq ft and it’s just me and my 2 puppies. I have a 23 yr old daughter who does not live with me. I think I bought my house because other people felt that I should own a home instead of paying rent. I can honestly say that I do not feel that I am living the American dream of being a homeowner. To be honest, I believe that home-ownership is overrated. Yes, my mortgage is about $300 more than I was paying in rent, but now I have many additional expenses such as :gas bill, higher water bill in the summer due to lawn care, higher electric bill in both the summer and winter, paid lawn service, home security, HOA, property taxes, and not to mention the small things such as replacement air and refrigerator filters. The one thing that bothers me the most about selling my house is the cost to make the house ready for listing. Although the house is under 3 yrs old, I will still need to make some minor repairs, due to normal wear and tear. I agree with Frank as for as some people don’t understand why I want to give up my house. Well, all I can say is that I am a single woman and I would much rather prefer the simpler life of apartment living. I know there will be a trade-off and I’m willing to make the trade. I would rather pay rent and be free from the thought of repair costs. I hope that I will be able to sell my house and make this transition within the next year, if not sooner. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this topic. It feels good knowing that I am not the only one who wants to sell and revert to renting.

  11. Laura says

    My house of 22 years, where my 2, children were raised and I essentially grew up too is going on the market in 2 days. I’m planning on moving to a 2BR 2 BA with my 22 year old.son until he goes to grad school. Scared because of the sentimental value and emotional investment over the last 22 years. I took my best friends and children to my new, sparkly downtown apartment to little fan fare. My excitement was quickly diminished by their critiques of how small it was, how much it was like a fancy hotel etc… They have all enjoyed my home for years but none know the costs I, as a single mother incurred. The wave of possible repairs coming my way… New driveway, furnace, hot water heater, trim painted, new windows… Grant it, my house is in fantastic shape due to my hard work maintaining it, but I’m ready to not have that anxiety and workload over my head anymore.

    Ever since then, I have been second guessing my decision to simplify and try city living, which I has intrigued me for years.

    I’m so glad I ran across your blog during my search of how to downsize from.a house to an apartment. I see the anxiety I am going through has been experienced by just about everyone that has commented here.

    Wish me luck on a my new journey!!

    • says

      One of the things I love about our apartment is that it’s like a fancy hotel. It looks to me like you gave this a lot of thought and made a sound decision based on your circumstances. Good luck on your journey, I think you are going to really like your new path.

  12. Tracy says

    I’m so glad to have found this blog! My husband got laid off when we found out we were expecting our now 1.5 yr old daughter. He went back to his old career in the tech field which doesn’t pay as much and benefits aren’t great so I went back to work. Long story short – working 70 hour weeks and trying to take care of a toddler is not for me. We are actually selling our home and buying a double – the upstairs rent will pay our mortgage – so I won’t have to work. Pretty anxious about it though – surprisingly everyone we know thinks it’s great!

    Thanks for all the stories everyone – hope you are all getting on well!

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