Why I wanted a lifestyle change
I have lived in both the city and the country, and was always happiest in my childhood country homes. As a kid, I think I reaped the most benefits from the country lifestyle – I was outside as much as possible playing with pets, breathing in the fresh air, riding horses, climbing trees, feeding chickens, making mud pies, exploring the woods, and just in general having a blast. I loved that life and believe it’s the best possible lifestyle for a family to live. My experience tells me it is a life worth living.
It all comes down to this: I really love the country, and dislike the city. No contest. I am just bored out of my mind in the city! I don’t like the pace or the materialism or the lack of privacy or the noise or the smell. So for me, making the decision to move out of my small-town-but-practically-on-the-highway house was a no-brainer.
For the last ten years and since the beginning of my marriage, I have either lived in apartments or an inconveniently located (and therefore more affordably priced) house in a small town. During this time, I had two beautiful children, started this blog, and kept myself busy being crafty, raising my kids, and staying involved in my church. It wasn’t my dream life, but I loved my family and went along with what my husband wanted – to live in town close to his work.
Then one day, my husband told me he was leaving me for someone he met at work. Well obviously I didn’t immediately jump for joy at this declaration, but I won’t go into all that. I just need you to know that my life changed immediately and over the next few months, I had some serious decision-making ahead of me. Decisions had been made for me in the past, but now I needed to think about what I really wanted and what was best for my family. It was a tragedy at the time, but I made the best of what I could and decided it was time to move in a direction I had desired to go for a long time. Our lives were about to change for the better!
How I made it happen
First, I started saving what money I had and what was gifted to me. I became a tightwad, looked for ways to make more money, and began selling things I didn’t really need. A garage sale would have been awesome, but it was dead of winter when all this happened. Still, I used Craigslist and local selling groups on Facebook to sell some things in the house I didn’t truly need. Some of these things were:
- My heavy, solid wood queen bed frame – I knew I could find a cheaper, smaller alterative and I am currently very comfortable sleeping on a full mattress on the floor.
- A way-too-big TV – We use the Kindle Fire and a laptop to watch movies. It is actually very refreshing not having a TV in the living room!
- Random pieces of furniture – I didn’t have a lot of nice furniture, but I had some inexpensive pieces I got $10-15 here and there for.
- My digital piano – This was sad, but I decided that it could never sound as amazing as a real piano anyway.
- Kid/Baby items that I had been saving “just in case” but would never use.
Pretty much everything was in danger of being sold. The furniture cringed under my narrowed eyes and sweeping gaze as I strode through the house in search of anything that might bring in some money. I was on a mission and we were ready for a new life. I didn’t want my couch, so I freecycled it and was given a cream faux leather loveseat instead. I like it much better! I was constantly trying to clean that other couch and it was a pain. Faux leather just wipes clean. One more step toward a simpler life.
Finding our home
I began scouring Craigslist for country homes for rent. This was the only option I had at that time, but if you can find a piece of property with a fixer-upper on it to purchase, that would be ideal! I plan to do this someday after I have saved up some money. But for now, I focused on finding an immediate place to live – I didn’t have time to save money anymore. I expanded my search to include surrounding areas in my state and researched which places were the cheapest to live, then saved those searches and checked them multiple times every day. The good places go fast, I discovered that right away. Listings disappeared within hours.
I also called real estate and property management companies in the towns nearest the areas I wanted to live, and made sure that friends and family knew to watch out for a house for rent in my price range with a more country setting. Facebook is awesome for this kind of word of mouth!
This could have been time-consuming and spendy if I had had to do a lot of driving around looking at houses, but it really ended up being straightforward for me. I found a wonderful manufactured home on a completely fenced acre that was everything I wanted, looked at it, met the owners, and applied to rent it. I hardly wanted to hope that I would get this place, it was perfect and I had an immediate sense of relaxation and “home” when I walked around outside.
When I didn’t hear back in the next couple days, I was a bit worried. I didn’t want to let this place slip through my fingers without letting them know how much I wanted to live there, so I sent them an email. I was completely honest with them about my situation and my goals and to my joy was able to negotiate with them and rent the property! This is very important – if I hadn’t sent an email and shared my heart and how much I loved the place with them, they might not have chosen me out of the applicants. As it was, they were looking for a certain type of tenant to care for their country place so my reaching out to them and sharing who I was really made a difference.
So we had our home! Now came the hardest part. Purging and moving.
Click here to read part two, where I share how I prepared for a simpler life
and purged half of our stuff!