Four months ago we decided to move to Georgia.
When it was time to leave California and drive across the country, those bare essentials were packed in the cars.
Two months ago we moved into a one bedroom apartment with those bare essentials.
As of this writing, our moving truck has still not been delivered and those bare essentials make up the majority of the items in our one bedroom apartment.
Yes, my husband, myself and our two kids have been living in a one bedroom apartment since we moved to Georgia.
The apartment has a loft, one bathroom and size-wise it’s only 50 square feet or so smaller than the townhouse we rented in California. Except there’s no furniture, and the only doors inside are to the kids room, the bathroom and to the laundry room, where we keep our trash and root vegetables.
Why We Chose to Live in a One Bedroom Apartment
We looked at homes in Georgia before we left California and in general, we thought housing was extremely affordable. For example, the going rate for our 3 bedroom townhouse in California was $1725/month when we left. Last week I saw a 3 bedroom house in Georgia that was 200 square feet bigger than the townhouse for $1100/month.
That’s quite the difference for sure.
My husband had been to Georgia often as a child, but neither one of us had ever been as an adult, seeing the area through adult eyes that consider neighborhood safety, the quality of schools and the proximity of the grocery store. Because of this, we decided to rent before buying a home.
We really wanted to rent a house. We’ve shared walls with neighbors for 8 ½ of the 9 ½ years we’ve been married and we were finally in a position where we could afford to rent a home that DIDN’T share walls with anyone.
The catch was, renting a house meant signing a one-year lease. This directly conflicted our goal of buying a house after moving to Georgia.
So we looked at alternatives and finally decided on renting an apartment for 3 months. This would allow us to get to know the area we were moving to before buying a house and committing to something we weren’t sure of. After all, photos on MLS can be very misleading.
While rent in general is very affordable in Georgia, not signing a one-year lease comes with a premium. Take any of the rent prices you see and add about 20%. That was the cost of a short-term lease.
Knowing the monthly rent would be higher and that there would be unforeseen moving costs, we chose to live in the smallest unit available that met our needs so we could continue to save our money each month. That is the one-bedroom apartment we’re in right now.
Why We Chose to Delay the Moving Truck Delivery
In the first draft of our plan, Mr. Crumbs would arrive in Georgia late on a Saturday night. He started work on Monday and we would have the moving truck deliver our things the following weekend. He had packed everything he needed for work in his car, so there wasn’t a concern there.
Then Mr. Crumbs was told he had to go to California for training. He would leave the following weekend – the same weekend we planned the moving truck to arrive. Since he wasn’t going to be home to unpack and use what was in the moving truck anyway, we decided to postpone delivery for one week and schedule it to arrive the day after the kids and I got to Georgia.
And then we started thinking… once the kids and I arrived in Georgia, we’d be together as a family for 2 weeks before packing up and spending the Christmas holidays in Delaware with Mr. Crumbs’ family.
By the time we got back, we’d have only 8 weeks left on our short 3-month lease. If we had already gone 4 weeks without our stuff, surely we could go another 8, right?
Besides, our apartment was on the 3rd floor. The moving company will deliver our stuff up those 2 flights of stairs, but when we’re ready to move again, we would be the ones taking it all back down 2 flights of stairs.
So we postponed the delivery of our truck until we had a more permanent living arrangement established.
Where We Are As of Today
We both honestly thought we’d be living in a house by now. After seeing how affordable homes were online last fall, we thought we’d find one within a few weeks of moving here, have the realtor start the paperwork as we left for Christmas vacation and we’d close after we got back home.
This white picket fence couldn’t have been further from reality.
We have looked at no less than 40 houses. I have driven by at least another 15. We’ve put in offers on 5 different homes, and for one reason or another, they didn’t work out.
What we’re finding is this: There only a handful of homes on the market at the moment and there is a good-sized pool of people wanting to buy. Demand is higher than supply, and asking prices are above the estimated value of the home. In order to buy a house, you have to be the highest bidder.
As much as we want to FINALLY own a home, we’re just not comfortable buying a house under these circumstances. So once again, we’re choosing to rent.
Our apartment lease is up next week, and we signed a lease over the weekend to rent a home in this area for the next year.
Is it ideal? No. We had our hearts set on being homeowners. On planting roots and feeling settled and being able to paint the walls whatever color we wanted to.
But like many of you know, God’s plan is not our plan.
We knew moving to Georgia was the right thing to do from the start. God had given us peace in our hearts, in our discussions and ultimately in our decision.
God hasn’t given us that peace with buying a home, and with 5 offers that didn’t work out, I’m taking that as a sign that it’s not what we should be doing at the moment.
So instead we’re just finding a place to live. It’ll be a roof over our heads to call home for now, where we can invite new friends over for a meal around a table and send the kids to get dirty outside in the backyard.
We still hope to own a home one day, but it’s just not right now.
Q&A: Our Living Situation
So many of you have asked questions about our living situation for one reason or another, that I thought it would be easier to just write it all out here in one spot. If you have a question that’s not answered here, let me know in the comments!
What “bare essentials” did you pack in the cars?
I detailed everything I packed for the kitchen in this post. Beyond that, we have:
- our computers and TV (we thought they’d be safer in the cars rather than the moving truck)
- a comforter (used to cover what Mr. Crumbs packed in the back SUV)
- two throw blankets (for the kids comfort during the road trip)
- 3 bath towels
- 1 hand towel
- 2 washcloths
- 10 days worth of clothes for the kids and myself
There are other random things too, like the printer (although the cables are in the moving truck), our bicycles (but no one rides in the winter!), crayons and coloring books and such. If I’ve missed anything, it’s likely unimportant.
What did you buy when you arrived in Georgia?
- 10 pack of hangers
- shower curtain & rings
- 2 ½ quart Dutch oven
- 1 mixing bowl
- 4 plates & 4 bowls (after seeing the cost of disposables add up so quickly)
- air mattresses (more on this below)
- laundry basket
What are you sleeping on?
We’re all sleeping on air mattresses – Mr. Crumbs and I are in the loft and the kids are in the bedroom.
The kids also have their sleeping bags, while Mr. Crumbs and I have our comforter and a few smaller blankets.
Do we have other furniture, like a couch?
No. There’s no other furniture in the apartment!
We’re using a suitcase as a nightstand and have our clothes neatly stacked in piles on the floor.
For dinner, we spread a blanket on the floor and eat on that as a family. At breakfast, the kids sit on the kitchen counter and eat while I make their lunches.
How do you make your small space work for bulk shopping and batch cooking?
I don’t! Right now I’m cooking and looking ahead only to the next few days. I don’t have storage to keep whatever I make in bulk, and I don’t have multiple bowls for multiple recipes at a time.
The biggest “batch” cooking session I’ve done is making a pot of French onion soup right after we finished a pot. My saucepan is 2 ½ quarts big, so anything I make is done in succession (like two batches of soup) rather than one big batch.
Do you have any kitchen appliances?
We have two: a coffee pot and a slow cooker that a local friend is graciously letting us borrow until the moving truck is delivered.
Looking back, packing the immersion blender would have been handy for numerous reasons, but blended soup and homemade smoothies come to mind first.
What are you eating with?
We brought plastic utensils with us from California, so we’ve been washing and re-using those. Two weeks into moving here we realized disposable plates were going to add up fast, so we bought 4 plates and 4 bowls.
What are you cooking with?
The 2 ½ quart saucepan and slow cooker I mentioned earlier, plus a cast iron skillet and a ceramic cookie sheet.
I also have a spatula, flipper, can opener, vegetable peeler, measuring cups, measuring spoons and two small steak knives we brought from California.
Do you have a pantry?
I have cabinets to store food, but if you mean a well-stocked pantry with plenty of items to make plenty of meals, then no – I don’t have a pantry.
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