Given the title, you might expect today’s post to examine falling real estate values or the number of homeowners defaulting on their mortgages. But no – rather than discussing such heavy-hitting issues, I’m simply writing about the fact that my husband and I have to vacate our flat in four days and have no place to live.
The backstory is long and complicated, but to summarize: DH left his job, we gave up our flat (thinking we’d be leaving the UK), DH found another job, we now need a new one. Unfortunately, this turn of events transpired just weeks before our lease was set to expire, prompting a frantic search for accommodation in the expensive and competitive rental market that is London. (We were told by an agent that it’s the tightest market they’ve seen in years.)
And by competitive, I mean that any new listing that’s in decent shape, and a decent location, is immediately pounced upon by some equally desperate soul. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard, “That was let 30 minutes ago,” or “That one lasted just a few hours.” In a particularly heartbreaking instance: we found the “perfect” flat, and made a full-price offer on the spot. By the time our agent drove the 10 minutes back to his office to submit it, the couple who had seen the place just before us had arrived to put a deposit on it. It feels like we’ve been one step behind the entire time.
However, I’m not writing this post just to whine about our spectacular failure to secure new accommodations; I actually have a point to make regarding minimalist living.
The point is, we are not in a panic. Why? Because we don’t have a lot of stuff. Yes, we now have more than the two duffel bags with which we moved last summer (it’s hard to live without any furniture, plates, pots and pans, and cleaning supplies). But the amount is so little, and the value so low, that we’re not too worried about it. We can stash it in a small storage unit, or a kind soul’s garage, until we sort things out. To be honest, I wouldn’t lose that much sleep if we had to leave it on the street (I am frugal, though, so I’d prefer to avoid replacing the necessities).
If we had a house full of designer décor and furniture, I’m sure I’d feel differently. I’d be spending this week arranging movers, stressing over an appropriate storage solution, and paying untold sums of money to protect and transport our precious stuff. I’d be lying awake at night wondering if our sofa, or our art, or our vases would be secure from theft and safe from damage. Furthermore, I’d have to worry about finding a new home large enough to hold it all.
In a few days, our two chairs, coffee table, mattress, and handful of boxes (in addition to DH and I) will be adrift on the streets of London. Okay, that’s a little too dramatic: the stuff will probably be in storage somewhere, and we will be in a hotel. But instead of letting the situation cause distress and disruption in our lives, we will go with the flow, take each day as it comes, and be grateful that we live lightly enough to weather our own little housing crisis.
I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: life is infinitely easier when you have less stuff!