Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Reasons I Already Love Living in a House vs. an Apartment (+ a few drawbacks)


I know we've only lived in our new house for a grand total of about 72 hours, but there are already sooooo many things I'm loving about living in a house vs. living in an apartment.

It's funny, because Matt and I had not planned on buying a home this early on---we'd planned to stay in an apartment for another two or three years or so to save up more money for a down payment and figure out what our next "big" move in life was going to be. But one day, when I sat down and actually figured out how much we'd paid in rent over the last six years (never do this to yourself) and also talked with Matt about how our plans as of now consisted of us staying put for at least the next five years, we decided that it actually made more sense to buy rather than rent.

And now here we are, in our first place---and even though there is still a delirious amount of boxes to unpack and put away and untold decisions to be made about where this stack of binders should go or this set of brushes, I am still really appreciating already some aspects of home ownership.

 Who knew that our garage would be one of my favorite things about the house?

Here are a few things I'm currently digging on:

1. Our garage

When we made a list of priorities we had when it came to looking for a house, a garage was a "want" but not a "deal breaker" if the place didn't have one.

Now that we have one, I'll probably never be able to go back.

Not only is it great to have an outdoor place that shelters our cars from the elements (I'll be loving the garage even more come winter! No more scraping snow every time we want to leave!), but I've loved having an extension of our house that's still outside where Raven can zoom around on her tricycle without actually being out in the full sun or too close to the street.

The biggest reason I love the garage though is for the storage.

Before, whenever we had huge items (from a storage shed we'd bought at auction or just pieces of furniture that were for "later," like a twin-size bed for Raven when she transitioned out of her crib), we just stuck them in our second room (aka, Raven's room). We almost always had SO much stuff in that room that she could never even play in there, and I just had gotten used to the idea that there are rooms in your house where the closets won't hold the big things so they're just doomed to sit out in plain view and clutter everything up.

But now! Now we have a magical place called a garage that can store the crib we just broke down so that Raven can transition into that twin bed we'd saved in her other room for so long, and we have shelves and shelves of space for our outdoor tools and flower pots and bins of girl clothes that Raven hasn't grown into (or has grown out of).

It's basically amazing.

2. The basement

While the basement gives us extra square footage (which is a huge bonus in and of itself), it's also waaaay cooler than the upstairs (without the need for constant A/C), so it's a great place to hang out when you want to escape the heat.

Also, one of those "bonus" rooms we got downstairs has been converted into a playroom for Raven, which is fabulous--all of her toys can stay contained to one specific place in the house, and there is actually room for her to pull out all the little chairs that go with her table (rather than having them too squished against the wall to get out easily), as well as ample room for us to one day add a little bookshelf to create her own little reading nook.

Before, I always had to watch Raven pretty closely because her toys were located next to things like our t.v. and piano and bookshelves, but now that she has a designated playroom with only child-safe stuff in there, I feel fine going down the hall to be in our office (another bonus room!) while she plays or even going upstairs to work for awhile.

 The current chaos of our kitchen. But what I really want to appreciate about this view is that, someday, if we wanted, we could actually CHANGE stuff about this place. Like, replace that range that has the gas knobs at the perfect place for Raven to play with them and maybe even add a backsplash or something. NUTSO!

3. The fact we can actually customize everything.

I'd lived in an apartment of some sort or other for about 12 years previous to now, and so I just got into the thinking pattern that walls are always white and can't be changed and that we have to be super paranoid about every last nail hole and ding we make because it will likely come out of our deposit later.

One thing I've actually liked (in retrospect) was that we had to/chose to change some of the paint colors before moving in, which immediately made the space feel so much more like "ours" and also totally changed the feel and look of several rooms of the house, which has been really fun to see. I've always been a sucker for a good makeover, so it's fun that we can actually really do some of our own now (even if they won't be that drastic or fancy because our budget is still pretty limited).

4. All the storage space

In our new house, we have five bedrooms, and in each of those five bedrooms, there are two closets. Additionally, we have a laundry closet, a coat closet, a linen closet, and a big space under the stairs (not to mention that blessed garage!). Before, I felt like even though I'd purged a ton of stuff, I always had a hard time keeping things looking really neat and tidy and uncluttered because there simply wasn't a place to put everything.

Now, we have ample space to put everything we currently own, and some of our closets are still basically empty. It's a good feeling!

5. The yard

I always knew I was going to be excited about having a yard, but now that we have one, my enthusiasm has only grown. I find myself planning out flowerbeds in my head and the future layout of a particularly large section in our side yard that is basically just a big bed of bark at this point.

I know that this eagerness will likely fade a bit over time, but I find that I'm excited to weed and plant things and pick the ripe raspberries on our bushes and prune back the rosebushes and apple trees. I've always loved the idea of gardening (and really didn't mind weeding or planting or mowing the lawn as a kid), but now I can actually put all that natural affinity for it to good use.

6. The area + neighborhood

We still haven't had a chance to meet hardly any of our neighbors, but we've already had a few people come by to welcome us to the area, and everyone we've talked to so far has seemed to really like living here.

Additionally, our neighborhood is SO QUIET compared to where we were in the city. Sure, there are still loads of kids and teenagers around playing or biking outside, but whenever I go outside, I can basically just hear the sounds of the breeze blowing down from the canyon and the birds chirping from our trees. There are hardly any cars driving by at any given time, and the whole place is just pretty tranquil.  (Plus, we're right by the canyon, so there are opportunities galore for future picnics and hiking opportunities.)

Also, when I was going out to get the mail today, I had every single person who passed by me (whether on foot, in a car, or even driving a bus) wave at me and/or say hello. Coming from a place where that happened maybe about a third of the time with people you didn't know, I like this area already!

 I've got big plans for this side yard---think more fruit trees, raised beds for vegetables and herbs, and a sandbox for Raven!

But, as with all things, not everything can just be roses and friendly neighbors and fresh paint on the walls.

Some of the drawbacks to having our own house:

1. The never-ending list of projects

Right now, this list pretty much just excites me, but I know that in later seasons of my life when things get more busy, I will probably be pretty stressed about how there always seems to be something that needs fixing or updating or replacing or changing.

2. When something breaks, we're in charge.

Yesterday, while rearranging our fridge, one of the shelves on our door completely broke (not just got pulled out---broke).  In the past, things breaking just meant a call to the property manager, who would come over and fix it within a day or two. Now, any repairs means time and effort and money on our part, which are not always in full supply.

So far, with just a minor broken shelf, I'm not too worried, but this is one aspect of home ownership I'm not so much looking forward to.

3. Distance from "the city"

Although Logan is not considered a big city by many standards, it still is big enough to have plenty of restaurants and shopping centers and big-name stores and things to do. Here, where we moved, we have four places to eat (two of which are fast food and none of which is a real formal sit-down place) and just one local grocery store, whose prices are not nearly as budget-friendly as the places over in Logan. Because of this, I will likely save the local grocery shopping for "emergencies" (like when we run out of a critical ingredient or just need bread late one Thursday night or something), and do most of my grocery shopping over in Logan every week or two.

4. The initial cleaning we had to do upon moving in

One glorious thing about apartment living (if the apartments are run by responsible, good managers anyway) is that when you move in, the apartment is usually pretty spotless. Although the former tenants here had done a decent job of getting every last bit of their stuff out and vacuuming floors and such, there was still a lot of stuff that wasn't done, such as none of the cupboards or shelves in any of the house being wiped down or dusted (and some really, really needed it). So, on Saturday, I not only had to bust out some major elbow grease to thoroughly scour our old place, but I also was unable to really start putting things away here because I had to clean everything first.

Overall though, we are loving the new place, and I'm excited to start sharing some more "finished" pictures with you (though we're not at all close to that yet!).

Just a nice view of one of the many projects on our to-do-soon list: stripping the paint off the front door and repainting it and the shutters.

5 comments:

  1. It is a beautiful house! And so far I am with you on all your pros and cons. Having to pay to fix the A/C has a sting to it, but being able to paint, knowing I can replace the nasty linoleum and parking in a shady garage? worth every penny.

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  2. I'm so happy & excited for you.
    I love that window in the kitchen - natural light is so lovely.
    Yep - I work out in my basement & its the best because its so much cooler.
    Keep this list... because once you've been there awhile, you're going to get frustrated. Keep these new shiny memories so you can reflect why you love it there.

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  3. garages are sooooooooooooooo amazing. what do we miss most about our west bountiful house? the brand new oversized THREE car garage we had just built :( :( :( seriously, if we could've somehow picked it up and moved it with us.... i can't wait to come visit!!

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  4. Yay! Congrats on being in for 72 hours! I can totally see how there would be so many benefits, but also down-sides. I think about the "if it breaks you have to fix it" thing a lot. And there would no-doubt be a lot of projects on my mind too. :) This is inspiring as we are still in the saving stage! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  5. Okay, it's totally going to get old, but I totally relate to everything on both these lists. Our garage door spring broke on Sunday (like snapped or something, and we almost didn't make it to church because we couldn't get the car out of the garage). When it happened, my husband and I just sort of looked at each other like, "What are we supposed to do now? How do you fix a garage door? Where's the property manager?" Yeah, definitely a downside to home ownership.

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