I am blessed…I got married this year which is by far one of my biggest life events to date. Everyone says things change when you get married. I was skeptical because we had been living together for about a year and a half before actually walking down the isle, but they were all some what correct! Our living situation before we got married has been pretty dramatic and stressful. We had opted to rent a neutral apartment uptown in Charlotte for a 10 month lease to test run our willingness to stick together and do this whole life thing without making huge financial compromises like selling our houses. So we rented out our houses, signed a lease and moved uptown. It was by far the fastest 10 months of my life. Also living uptown while you are trying to save money for a new house is not the most fun time of life to live up there. Stuck in a tiny apartment while the city is moving and grooving was a touch of torture, but we made it through and learned how to live together in a small space and make it work.
Then, we accidentally fell in love with a house that was in budget and had no live offers. It needed a ton of work but hit all of the key features we were looking for! We decided to sell both of our individually owned houses and put an offer in on our dream house. While that sounds pretty simple, you must remember that at this point we had two fully furnished houses (we left both that way for Airbnb at my house and the renters at Shawn’s) as well as a furnished apartment. So, on closing day almost a year ago we set into motion a plan to move everything…all the while we also had a renovation plan and every inch of our house had to be painted. We also had to peel wallpaper and move some walls, pipes and gas lines. And let me tell you…if you want to truly test the strength of your relationship…enter into a 6 month renovation and see what side you come out on!
I guess that I ruined the ending by telling you that we got married, but there are so many layers and lessons in between that I want to break this into a few different posts that I am affectionately calling “A House Divided”! Stay tuned for the juicy details of how to play a game of telephone with a contractor and your partner…where you are the shoestring cord in between. But first here are my key take aways from the first part of this story…
- Do not be afraid to go for it! We had no idea what we were doing owning three houses and a rental payment. But we went for it and it worked out pretty nicely! I know that is not always the case but I am glad that we were not afraid to just go for it!
- Where you live can totally affect your mood. I thought I was going to LOVE living uptown. It was always a regret that I didn’t do it when I was single. And that is when I should have done it! Living uptown later in life while on a tight budget was like the worst tease of my life. I wanted to go to all the things, but alas most of the nights we were cooking in our kitchen at home listening to all the young energy-and highly disposable income- go by.
- Trying out living together before we got married was the right things for us and our relationship. My parent’s probably would not appreciate this but for us it was the right thing to do- for us and only us. We had to push all the judgement aside, even internal judgements, and do what was right for us. I said I would never move in with someone until I was engaged. Well, it turns out that was not what was planned for me. And I am glad I trusted my gut and saw it through.
- Living in a small space it is easier to keep clean but harder to feel clean. If one thing was askew (husband’s boxers on the bathroom floor 5 days in a row for example) the whole place felt like it was a mess. It was less square feet to keep clean but when it was messy, boy did it feel messy. There was no getting away from it.
- Too many belongings weigh you down. I love my things, I love my clothes, I love to shop. So, combining three houses brought with it the realization that we had about 50,000 lbs of stuff we didn’t need. I know I have done at least 20 trips to donate stuff. Combining it all and cleaning out was super cleansing. We really love the things we kept and we are really happy to be free from a lot of it. A good purge after 5-10 years is very freeing.
More to come on how we are making this life work in a house divided!