This post feels so last minute, and to be honest, it kind of is — because we move in THREE DAYS. We are moving from Chicago to a town near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, so we’re going back to the East coast where we both grew up (albeit it a different state).
It’s been a whirlwind of a month as we make plans and work to sell things we can’t or don’t want to take with us, but it’ll be done soon and we can start enjoying our new home. I’m breaking it down for you below.
The entire process from decision to arrival will have been about a month. Although I’d like to take credit for the speed, it’s really all Neil. Once we make a decision on something, he does everything immediately. It’s like “ok, we want to move to North Carolina, so why aren’t we living there right now?” He was on the phone with realtors the following morning and getting quotes from movers in the afternoon. He’s a machine.
I think being in quarantine really helped put things in perspective. Our place is small — especially with one person working from home on video calls all day. We don’t have a balcony to sit outside on for some fresh air, so in order for me to get out, I’d have to take the elevator, pack up the baby, and wear a mask at all times. It started to feel claustrophobic.
Miles is still in our room with us. It’s really not too inconvenient, but it’s not sustainable. He wakes up around 5:30 – 6 am, which again isn’t the end of the world since we are morning people, but some days it might be nice to not be woken up by a babbling baby. Since we always knew we would have to move, we’ve been periodically looking at places here and there over the years, but once you start going from one bedroom to two and three, the prices jump exponentially. It just never felt like a practical use of money.
We considered a number of places to move, but kept coming back to North Carolina. Both Neil and I have family there, his parents are actually moving there next month, and I’ll be much closer to my mom than I was here in Chicago. We considered California to be closer to Neil’s brother’s family, but again, things felt too cost-prohibitive. We tossed around other states like Colorado or Michigan, but the biggest draw for us was family, and there we would have none. We don’t really have any family here in Chicago either, which has made things a little difficult sometimes.
Just off the top of my head, here are some of the benefits we discussed of moving to North Carolina:
- Lower cost of living
- More space
- Miles is out of our bedroom
- Our own washer and dryer (!!)
- Great schools
- Closer to family
- No Chicago winter
- Equidistant between the beach and the mountains
- Donut can play outside in the yard (it’s fenced in)
We spent a good amount of time scouring Zillow and researching potential cities where we would want to live. We didn’t want a huge place and we didn’t particularly want new construction because those neighborhoods all tend to look the same and the houses are crammed right next to each other.
We found a cute 2-story, 3-bedroom house in a town right next to Chapel Hill and kept coming back to it when we were searching. It’s cozy, unique, and has plenty of trees around it so we have some privacy from our neighbors. We really loved everything about it, so we asked Neil’s cousin’s family to go look at it in person. We had a FaceTime walkthrough and based on the feedback, we put in an offer. A couple days later it was accepted and we bought a house without ever seeing it in person.
There’s a decent-sized shed in the backyard which we are thinking about converting into a home gym, but will wait until we’re there to get a better feel of the size. There’s also a playground directly behind our backyard, so hopefully Miles will have a place to play in addition to all the new space at home.
I’ll be sure to share our new house on here once we are settled in a bit and if you follow me on Instagram, I’ll likely do some walkthroughs of it on there as well. I’m really excited. 🙂
As I mentioned at the beginning, we move in three days. One of the biggest stress relievers was paying for the movers to pack everything in addition to moving us. I can’t stress how amazing this is if it’s within your budget. We made the same decision when we moved from Virginia to Chicago and it’s life changing. We are packing up essential things like documents, clothes, and things for Miles and Donut, but other than that, they’re going to take care of the rest.
We don’t officially close on our house until June 26, so if you’re doing the math, you realize that we will get to North Carolina before we have a house to live in. We are staying with Neil’s cousin for a week or so until we close and then will decide if we go to stay in our unfurnished home until our stuff arrives or if we continue to camp out with family. We are bringing a toddler and a dog to a home that already has two other dogs, so if we feel like we are over staying our welcome, we’ll go settle in to our house. 🙂
Because of Miles’ meltdown when I took him to Michigan for a couple days, we decided it’s best to make the 13 hour drive in one shot rather than break it up. As I normally do when I take him on long road trips, I’m not having any expectations and will stop as needed to ensure that we all make the best of such a long trip. If you have any traveling with a toddler tips for that long, feel free to let me know!
Feelings about leaving
We have lived in Chicago for 5.5 years. In that amount of time we have done pretty much everything we wanted to do: museums, parks, restaurants, etc. There isn’t really anything that we will regret when we leave, except all the wonderful friends we’ve made. The city has served us well, but I think we are ready to move on to a different stage in our life.
I’m thankful for living in such a digital age, because even though leaving behind people is hard, I know that I can still keep in touch with them all. I have meaningful relationships with so many people on Instagram and thanks to texts and FaceTime, I’m really not losing as many as I may feel I am.
So that’s about it! I’ll be sure to update you when we are settled in, and if you need updates before then, be sure to follow me on Instagram because there will be a lot on there!
Also if you’re interested, here are a couple posts from when we first moved to Chicago. It’s fun for me to look back and see how I felt about things so many years ago.