One of the benefits of moving from a house into an apartment is the realization that real happiness is not dependent on the things you possess. From the first time we climbed three flights of stairs to our new domicile in South Carolina there was an inkling at the back of my mind that we had discovered something important.
The apartment itself wasn’t anything special. Two bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and enough room to move around. Situated on the third floor, the main benefit was not having neighbors living above you and typically the only people who trudged up all of those steps were the people living in the apartments next to us. Most of the time it was quiet and serene with the occasional 1 am party that spilled into the hallways of the apartments below us.
If anything broke, say the refrigerator, a quick call to the apartment office was all that was needed to get a new one installed – and without us spending a dime. There was no mowing of grass, no shoveling of snow, and the grounds were well kept most of the time. It was nice taking the time I would have normally spent maintaining a home and using that towards things I enjoyed such as travelling, watching baseball, or just reading a book out on the balcony. I was content and secretly had no intention of ever moving out.
Rent is a funny thing. You pay someone else for the privilege to live in a space you’ll never own. You can’t make changes to anything and you have little control over pricing. For us that meant the price of rent increasing every year we lived in the apartment. While new additions to the pool area were nice, it wasn’t as if we were gaining any more square footage or extra amenities. From the time we had moved into the apartment to the time we moved out our rent jumped up an extra $300 per month.
It was then we decided it was time to purchase a home of our own. However, we thankfully had learned some great lessons from our first home buying experience. We had a much better idea of what was a necessity (a good size pantry, open concept, small yard) and what things we good live without if needed (such as a garage). We also agreed that we needed a far smaller house than our first one. A smaller house equals a smaller mortgage, less time maintaining, and when you want to make changes you do not have to spend as much as you would with a larger house. This also equals less stress and the ability to enjoy your home.
As much as I would have loved to experiment with a tiny house, I knew there was no way my wife would agree to such a thing. So as a concession we purchased a house that met our needs for today. It isn’t large as compared to the average U.S. home but has space in all the areas we spend the most time in. And because we live in South Carolina there is the ability to spend a great amount of time outdoors.
Our ‘tiny house’ has been a huge blessing to us but now we are fighting the inevitable creep of ‘stuff’ that is finding its way into our home. Next week I’ll discuss some of the ways we fight back to keep our space free from the tyranny of things.