Thinking about moving to a new home because your current home isn’t working so well for you? Been there, done that and I’ve got a few tips for you! If you’ve done everything you can to maximize your storage needs and the flow of your home as we have, but it still isn’t working out, I really encourage you to be very mindful about your needs when house hunting. It is super easy to get caught up in the thrill of the hunt or a great deal or because of location (unless that is the key driver in your search).
My moving experience
For us, in our last move, we just needed to get out of our old house – we’d completely outgrown it and were feeling very stressed. A house popped up in the neighborhood we wanted to be in to be close to our daughter’s school and we jumped on it. It is a lovely house but after being in it for a while, we realized that we were drawn in by the big windows and location but hadn’t really considered what our true needs and wishes were if we were going through the trouble of moving. So now I don’t have the large pantry I have always wanted, or a mudroom or even a first floor laundry room. I know, first world problems, but for our next house, I’ve done the following and encourage you to do the same.
1) Make a list of the things that aren’t working for you with your current home. Some of the items on my list: upstairs laundry room (going to be a challenge for aging in place), no mudroom/entry, no place for the cat box (we have 3 cats), and turns out the road we are on is a lot busier than we expected so the road noise can be intrusive.
2) Make a list of the things you absolutely need. My list: walk in pantry (or a pantry that is easily accessed and another space I can use for overflow), first floor laundry – ideally large enough for the cat box (or a place the cat box can live that isn’t in a guest room), mudroom, screen porch (or something that can be screened in), guest room, guest bath, and a quiet, possibly rural, location.
3) Make a list of things that would be really nice but aren’t deal breakers. My list: barn or outbuilding, extra room for a gym and/or library, high ceilings, renovated kitchen.
4) Talk to the family about their requests. Our daughter would love a separate bonus room where she could hang out with her friends, and my husband would love a workshop or shed for his tools
Consider your Functional storage Needs
Obviously the style of the home, the school district, price, square footage, etc. come into play but the thing I see a lot of people (including myself) not pay as much attention to as they should is the space considerations for things that make your home actually function. Too many times people get swayed by a large foyer or a grand living room but don’t pay attention to the size of the storage spaces or functional zones. Really think about where your luggage and holiday items will be stored and a space for when you shop at Costco and come home with a 24 pack of paper towels. What about when it is winter and you’ve got 16 parkas and ice scrapers that need a convenient location near the door, or you want to have a party and you need to access all of your supplies.
Specific areas or zones that often get overlooked, in my experience as a homeowner but also as an organizer, until after people have moved in that make their spaces function – because they don’t:
- Coat closet
- Craft or homework area
- Paper & household management
- Cleaning closet (brooms, mops, etc) and place for the vacuum
- “Costco” overflow
- Pet stuff
You may have other specific requirements but I really encourage you to evaluate your needs for the above (or other) zones or spaces so when you are house hunting – you have these front and center.
And don’t get caught up in the idea that you will add on – this is a huge production that almost never happens which means that what you buy is what you’ll live in for a long, long, time. We all have the best of intentions when we move in but then life happens and, well, things don’t. So having the basic infrastructure in place when you move in is the best case scenario even if cosmetic or minor renovations are in order.
Even the best Realtor isn’t necessarily going to think to discuss these types of things with you – but by creating your parameters for use and storage up front – you’ll hopefully end up with a home that really functions for you and your family. If you need some help figuring out this list, give us a call and we’ll get you on the right road to the home of your dreams!