In the past five years, I’ve moved four times, and in a few weeks, I’m about to make it five.
I moved from home in 2010 into residence at Whitney Hall for my first year. After that, I moved into my first apartment in Harbord Village, where I stayed for three years. Last summer, I moved into an apartment in Chinatown where I was subletting for four months, before I moved into my current place in the Village. Next year, I’m heading back to the West End.
Moving is a lot of fun in the long run – you get to see what it’s like living in new neighbourhoods. You try out new coffee shops and grocery stores and recalibrate your existence around a new centre in the city. Plus, in my case, I’ve lived with lots of different people over the years, so I’ve gotten to experience different types of roommates and make new friends through the people I’ve lived with.
But moving is definitely not all fun and games! The move itself is stressful, between packing and figuring out how you’re going to transport your stuff from point A to point B. Plus, once you move into the new place, you and your roommates need to sort out stuff like house rules, bedrooms, and shared expenses.
For my last move, my roommates and I decided to book a mover together to save money and reduce stress. Since two of us were living together and one wasn’t, we arranged with the mover to do two stops.
Before moving in, we met up to take inventory of what we had for the kitchen and common spaces, what we still needed, and who would be responsible for getting things. We also talked about our schedules and cleaning habits so that nothing would be too surprising when we moved in.
Moving day was crazy, but we decided on rooms beforehand so there would be no tension on the day of. Once all the furniture was moved in, we had another meeting to talk about what we still needed after the move, and set some house rules. We also made a chore schedule. We tried to institute monthly roommate meetings, but it wasn’t always possible with our busy schedules. Especially if you’re living with more than two people, you should try to meet as roommates regularly to check in and make sure everyone is comfortable.
In my experience, there are always problems in every roommate relationship. Someone doesn’t do their dishes, or doesn’t replace the toilet paper roll, or takes a shower at the time that you take a shower every day. Someone leaves bad food in the fridge or comes home late at night and isn’t subtle about it.
It’s not easy living with other people – but it can be really fun if you keep the lines of communication open and, most importantly, if you don’t sweat the small stuff. In the moment, it may seem like a huge deal that someone left their dishes in the living space – again – but ultimately, they probably weren’t trying to offend you, and if you feel strongly that you need to live with other people whose habits are better suited to yours, you can always move out at the end of the lease. Living with people is all about compromises – you have to decide which ones you’re willing to make and which ones you’re not.
The pay-off is worth it – if you and your roommates can work out a system that keeps everyone happy, you wind up with a cozy little family to come home to in the city.
Got questions about moving? Talk to me in the comments below or on twitter at @lifeatuoft. Plus, join me on twitter on August 19 at 7pm for our #ASKMeUofT twitter chat about housing! Check out more details on the Facebook event.