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Five years ago today, I moved into my condo. It was the first home that I purchased. Not only did I have a new home, but I had gained some hard-won knowledge along with a river view.
Start planning your new space before you move in. I blithely thought that since the condo was plenty expenditure enough, I would simply turn off the spending spigot and use everything from my former rental apartment. Well, the different dimensions, light, and room configurations gave my old things a new cast that sometimes just didn’t work. Exactly one year after moving in, the last new item—a side table for a corner that had the best view in the apartment—was delivered. Next time, I’d start budgeting and browsing (and maybe purchasing if I came across great sales) before the moving van arrived.
Prepare a spreadsheet to use at closing. My lawyer had explained the various costs that I should anticipate at closing, and I had a good handle on them. Then, at closing, the total dollar amount was in the ballpark, but some expenses had slightly different names and were broken out in differently named categories. My lawyer’s approach varied from that of the title company, mortgage insurer, and various other players that prepared the final paperwork. It was hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison on the spot. A spreadsheet designed for the closing appointment could have helped make sense of the sea of numbers, with columns for budgeted and actual costs.
Keep extra bags on hand for moving day. I had packed up my old apartment to force myself to edit down my possessions. I systematically boxed up the surviving items in numbered boxes. Yet despite these measures, tote bags, shopping bags, and sundry containers got pressed into service on moving day for odds and ends. If you’re not having the moving company box your possessions up, keep extra bags and boxes on hand for stray items.
There is an expert for every impossible-space problem. Even after winnowing down my possessions, storage still presented challenges in my new home. The closets topped the list. I interviewed five closet planning companies and I heard no end of concern over the difficulties stemming from the two closets’ narrow width. But the company I selected triumphed over this limitation, making full use of the closets’ height, and I’ve not overgrown my closet space yet.
Soundproofing is a good investment. My new condo was quiet, but my old rental by comparison was silent. It was in the back of a building on a side street. The modest street noise in my new place seemed disconcerting at first. Putting in a second window in the bedroom was a terrific investment, one which helped make the street noise into white noise.