Apartment hunting is a whole lot more challenging than it would seem. Google apartment listings. Visit a few units. Choose your favorite. Move in.
Not so much. First of all, the town we are moving to is an adorable little village, but because of its small size there aren't any listings on apartments.com and other search sites. This limits us to Craigslist and some not-so-descriptive-Google/YellowPage-listings.
Thankfully, we've been blessed beyond belief to have a new friend in our new town at our new church going above and beyond to find us the perfect place. She's been exhausting her list of contacts, stopping by places that might be for rent, and making more phone calls than I could count. On Monday, we drove to her home and the three of us hit the ground running.
Throughout the next 6 hours we visited 9 different apartments all across town. All of the units are portions of a large home. Many beautiful Victorian style mansions have been remodeled into 5 or 6 apartments and quite a few houses are used as duplexes or "half houses." We didn't look at a one stereotypical apartment complex because they're all but non-existent.
I love the idea of having a place that's unique and aesthetically pleasing like some of the mansion remixes can offer. The problem with the top candidate on our list is its size. This apartment is itty bitty--especially when you consider we've lived in a 4 bedroom 2000 square foot house for the past three years. Yes, we've accumulated lots and lots of stuff to fill our spacious home. And yes, we've sold most everything we don't need. (i.e. We don't need 3 different dining room sets or 8 different comfy chairs.) It was hard to say goodbye to our things. But this particular apartment will probably only accommodate 1/3 of our remaining possessions.
Here's the thing--Kevin and I have come to believe this process of downsizing is a form of spiritual discipline. God is calling us to refocus and reassess our priorities and our possessions. This is a good thing. Living in a smaller, more cost-effective place will be a good thing. But I believe the Lord also values our passions, such as playing and teaching piano, playing guitar, keeping a beautiful collection of our favorite books, baking up a storm and hosting lots of parties, maintaining good records by using my organized desk space, keeping a large collection of dvds, having space for extra linens and towels in order to be a welcoming home for guests, scrapbooking and jewelry making, not to mention crocheting and knitting, and storing an exorbitant number of gorgeous (yet cheap!) purses. :)
There is still room to cut corners, of course (the purses for example.) And we've come to realize we simply will NOT have room for our stand-up freezer, our Christmas decorations or our camping supplies. But we're praying the impossible. God can handle our specific needs and desires in a new place. We want to make a home for ourselves.
Will you pray with us--for clarity, that God would reveal the place He wants us to be, that we would have wisdom on how long to wait for a new option to appear or when to decide on what we've seen already.