How to Make the Most of Short Term Housing
Well I can hardly believe it, but we are coming to the end of the 2-ish month stretch in our temporary apartment. If you are new around here, we recently sold the townhouse that we had been living in for the past 7 years and are building a new home close by. Our townhouse sold quickly, though, leaving us with a two month span where we needed to find short term housing.
Donnie and I both have awesome parents, and either set would have graciously opened their homes to us. But since we work from home and also have two rambunctious little boys who were out of school for the summer, we decided that it would probably be better to have our own space. After doing some research, we found a little apartment and moved in for the summer.
We truly have enjoyed our time in our little place, but it has definitely also presented some challenges. I thought I’d take some time to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of our temporary living situation because I know others might find themselves in this same position between houses as well!
How to Make the Most of Short Term Housing
1. Go furnished if possible.
This was HUGE for us. Renting a furnished apartment allowed us to pack up all of our stuff in storage pods, just keeping a few suitcases and boxes of essentials. It also saved us from having to move all of our furniture and home items twice, which cut back on the work quite a bit.
Is our apartment exactly my style? Not at all, but it is neutral, functional, and meets our needs, and that’s just what we were looking for in short term housing.
If you are going with a furnished apartment, be sure to ask for an inventory list before you move in. I didn’t do this, but I wish I would have. It would have been easier to plan what to bring with us and what to pack away. For example, our apartment has a very minimal number of dishes. If I would have known that, I probably would have grabbed a few of ours to bring with us so we didn’t have to do dishes constantly. On the other hand, I had brought some towels with us thinking that we would need them, and there were plenty of towels at the apartment, so I could have packed ours up.
2. Think minimal.
Chances are your temporary space will be quite a bit smaller than the living space you’re used to. It was really tempting for me to try to bring all sorts of stuff that I “might need” while we were there, but I knew a small space would start to feel cluttered easily, so I resisted the urge.
the Cs’ shared room in our apartment
I did bring a few “luxury items” like my Silhouette machine that I use often and some office accessories that I use for blog photo shoots, but I really tried to keep the “extras” to a minimum because I knew we would be miserable if our small space felt cluttered and messy all the time.
3. Unpack and organize.
We could have tried to live out of boxes and suitcases since we knew our space was temporary, but I wanted to make our apartment feel as homey as possible, both for my sanity and to make the boys feel at home. So one of the first things I did when we moved in was organize our clothes in the drawers and closets, figure out easy-access (yet hidden) storage for the Cs’ toys, and arrange any toiletries and accessories the way we wanted them.
Since we actually had a decent number of kitchen cabinets, I used some of the lower ones to store (aka hide) some of the boys’ toys.
Not only has this helped us stay as clutter free as possible in a tiny space, but it has also helped us make the space our own, rather than feeling like we’re living in a hotel for a few months.
4. Make a plan for food ahead of time.
This might seem like a totally obvious one, but it’s an area where I majorly failed. I was so focused on packing up our townhouse that I didn’t think through what we’d need at the apartment as carefully as I should have. I didn’t bring any spices or baking items like flour or sugar with me. I use my crock pot often, and I packed it up rather than bringing it with us.
All this meant that I was super limited with what I was capable of cooking in our temporary place. I could have purchased more spices and even another crock pot, but that would have meant we’d have doubles when we got to the new house, and that kind of clutter drives me nuts. (Type A much? 😉 )
We’ve ended up eating a lot of meats that you can purchase pre-seasoned and our meals have been super simple. Admittedly, we’ve also eaten out way more than usual. (which hasn’t been the best scenario for our food budget or our waistlines, lol) If we were going to be in a short term housing situation again, food is definitely an area I would be more intentional about planning for.
5. Location, location, location.
Finally, location is huge. Definitely try to be as close as possible to the places you visit frequently– church, schools, shopping, family, friends, etc. When you’re choosing a temporary housing spot, also take traffic and the busy-ness of the area into consideration. Try driving from the potential living space to places you go often during different times of day to see how long it takes.
I realize this may seem like overkill, but it really is so important. Since we were looking for furnished short-term rentals and couldn’t find any in the school district our kids attend, we opted for a place just one school district over, which seemed like it would still be convenient enough.
The problem was that it was the opposite direction of our boys’ schools and the places we frequent most often. In addition, the road that connects our apartment to everything else in our life, though short mileage wise, is highly congested on a regular basis and they happened to be doing construction on it almost the entire time we have been living in our temporary space. This left us feeling cut off from our normal day-to-day life and somewhat stuck in our apartment complex at times.
Location is everything, people!
If I’m being honest, living in a temporary space has been a little harder than I thought it would be. I miss the feeling of being completely settled, and the creative side of me is longing for some DIY and decorating projects again.
On the other hand, though, I have learned a lot from our more minimal lifestyle over the past few months. Less stuff means less projects, less clutter, and more time to spend as a family. And I’m definitely not complaining about having a pool and on-site fitness center that I don’t have to upkeep myself. 😉 But most of all, I’ve learned that “home” is not as much about the actual space or items in it as it is about who you share it with, and that is a beautiful thing!
For more tips and ideas for helping the house selling/moving process to go more smoothly, see these posts:
32 Simple Ways to Get Your House Ready to Sell
The Art of the Move: Packing Up Like a Pro
5 Things that Surprised Me About Moving into a New House
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!
Fellow temporary living situation while building our house friend here. We’re hoping to be in by Christmas. And we are living in various places; moving about every 5 weeks. I agree furnished is the way to go. I’ve stored our fall/winter clothing at my moms so we can trade out our clothes at the next move. Food and meals has been the hardest adjustment for me as well. I’m so used to buying in bulk, freezer meal cooking, and those just aren’t options right now. I do like having our own linens with us; helps with the feeling of home for us. I’m going to be a pro at this by the time we actually move in to our new house. It’s kind of like playing house every 5 weeks- reorganize, set it up, etc. it’ll all be worth it in the end.
You forgot one thing! A pool! I feel like that was the major perk of this temp apartment! Loved seeing you guys enjoy that! You’re almost home! So exciting!
Lol! Yes, that was certainly a fabulous perk! Loving our first day in our new home! 🙂 Thank you, friend!
I’m so excited you are nearing the end of your temporary living situation, although I’m glad you’ve learned a lot from it. We lived with family (my 80 year old grandmother) for about 6 months while our current home was being renovated (took wayyyyyy longer than expected) and it was super hard. It’s hard feeling like you are a “visitor,” so you were probably very wise to just bite the bullet and get your own space. Thanks for sharing – these are some great tips!
Glad they were helpful for you, Sarah! We have enjoyed our first day in our new home! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week!
In a year this two month stretch will just be a blip on the radar! So glad you learned so much and that you will appreciate your new lovely home even more because of this experience!
You are so right, Katie! We are already loving it! 🙂
Living in temporary situation like this makes you appreciate other things in life that we take for granted otherwise. These are some great points when someone is looking for a place temporarily.
When I read the title of your post, I immediately thought how you must have unpacked your furniture and kitchen items as well. Moving into furnished place is an awesome idea.
Thanks for sharing your moving transition stories. We are vicariously enjoying every moment of it 🙂
Aw, you’re too sweet, Gurki! Thank you! I’m glad you all have been along with us on this crazy journey! Hope you’re having a great week!
Hello Abby.Thank you for sharing your house moving story so we can learn(I’m kinda getting addicted to your blog cos I learn so much).Almost can’t wait for the BIG REVEAL of your new home.Loads of love
Aw, thanks so much! So happy we finally got to get started today! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week!