I was determined to move into my new condo like a grown-up: In an orderly fashion with no boxes that break during transition or any clothes stashed into garbage bags that drag and fall apart on my way to the front door of my new digs (you can read all about why I decided to make the switch from my house to a condo here). The extra steps and bigger budget I took to make this move entirely manageable truly kept my sanity in check. P.S. Any companies or brands I mention didn’t pay me. I just really liked them.
- Pay for more time. If your wallet can manage it, hold onto your existing home (whether you rent or own it) while you move into your new space. Last spring, I only gave myself a few days between closing the house and moving into our temporary apartment and felt the stress of removing every last piece of our existence within a tight deadline. This time, we kept our rental for a month after we took possession of our new condo so we could move in phases: First I brought over everything we needed in the kitchen, then the bathrooms, followed by my daughter’s bedroom etc. To bring down the cost of our move, we brought over a few boxes every day in our car and only hired movers to take care of our furniture and those fragile things that require extra muscle or padding during transition (full-length framed mirrors, TV’s, exercise machines etc).
- Ditch cardboard boxes. Making them and breaking them down takes up valuable time when you’re trying to set up house for your family. I know I could have movers do all the packing but I had already purged and there wasn’t a lot to get through, plus a lot of our stuff was still professionally packed up from our move last year. Enter City Boxes. They rent large plastic boxes that fit almost every odd and end that I can’t live without. Twenty boxes for one month, along with some packing paper and bubble wrap, cost me $200 minus the hassle of putting on and taking off packing tape. Brillz.
- Save the curb for walking. We had quite a bit of household goods and gently used furniture that didn’t have a place in our new home. Instead of clogging up the sidewalk, I contacted furniturebank.org. For a fee, they picked up our stuff that was still in good condition and passes them on to those in need. Plus, I received a charitable receipt for the cost of the pickup, along with the value of the goods I’m donating.
- Keep it in the kitchen. It’s so easy while you’re in transition to reach for UberEats, stop at a drive-thru or go out to eat. However I was determined to keep our diet fresh and homemade whenever possible. I tried chefsplate.com and trust, it’s a game-changer. We chowed down on steak and miso butter with garlic rice and roasted vegetables and seared chicken and smashed sunchokes when all I had in the kitchen was a frying pan, a sauce pan, some salt, pepper, olive oil and a rubber spatula. They send you every ingredient in pre-measured servings along with step-by-step instructions. I’m still taking deliveries for a couple of reasons: It introduces new flavours to our regular rotation and since I already enjoy cooking, it provides me with fresh ideas to bring into my usual menu plan.
- Make the first night fresh. Before we moved in I bought new sheets and washed them in our new washer and dryer. As soon as our beds were delivered, I fitted them with our freshly-scented kits so we could rest our exhausted bods in a touch of luxury.
Now I’m in my concrete box with plain white walls and I couldn’t be happier. I know there’s the traditional thinking that a house with its pitched roof and front yard equals success and stature, which is so true if you enjoy caring for a house and lovingly attend to its needs (so many of my friends are happy homeowners). However, a charming life building fences, mowing lawns and planting flower beds is a pain in the ass to me. Having spent almost 10 years living in a one-hundred-year-old house, its well-worn history always felt more like the upside down to me…there’s the threat of the unknown crawling behind the walls, underneath the roof or below the basement floor. Let’s remember too, neither my husband or I are handy or possess a green thumb, hence why we were always on edge that there was something looming beyond our control like a burst pipe, a flooded basement or gasp, termites (note, we survived 2 flooded basements of which one was our own doing and the other was a plumbing company’s fault).
Back in a condo, I’m admittedly getting reacquainted with the headaches of living in a building like lugging my groceries to the elevator, across the hallway and finally into my home. Or not enough storage. And booking the elevator for any kind of delivery that will take longer than the 60 second window those sliding steel doors normally gift me with before they start beeping and calling me out for hogging the lift. Then there are the random fire alarm checks that blare while I’m trying to take a work call and no stairs that physically and mentally separately me from the buzz of the main living area. However, the peace of mind that my four walls are within my control makes the necessary pitfalls so worth it for me.
The view from the dining room…
Facing the entrance way….
A close-up of the kitchen and my 9′ kitchen island (I didn’t even have this luxury in my house).
Admittedly the dining room and entrance way don’t benefit from the south-facing natural light that streams in through the living room…
Another view of the dining area…
We’re only on the second floor. Surprisingly, our view of rooftops and trees makes it feel like we’re living in a house.
That dark space will be the playroom. It’s without much natural light like any playroom in the basement of a house, so no biggie.
The kid’s 90 square foot oasis…
This bedroom hallway was a selling point. Unlike a lot of new floor plans, both bedrooms and the main bathroom do not exit out into the living room….
The master bedroom is ordinary but it has one thing we were desperate for in our house: An ensuite bathroom (you can’t see it here) plus we score a walkout to the balcony…
Our outdoor space is roomy enough for our gas BBQ, a dining set, a couple of comfy chairs and of course there’s wiggle room for cartwheels (a prerequisite of my daughter’s).