The phrase “lock and leave lifestyle” started popping up about ten years ago. It describes the growing trend of people who want to leave their large homes and all the headaches and costs associated with maintaining them, in favor of a home they can lock up and leave as they take advantage of travel and leisure opportunities.
Apartment buildings and condominium developments not only allow people to live free of worries of all the leaky attics, musty basements, back-breaking chores and “bank-breaking” expenses associated with home maintenance. Many also provide amenities ranging from concierge services and coffee bars to pools and workout facilities.
Having downsized from two lovely, spacious homes in Georgia (one in Atlanta and one two hours away on Hartwell Lake), with a total of five yards, into a 1225-square-foot apartment was an enormous challenge, from many perspectives. The thought of having to get rid of ALL THAT GREAT STUFF, most of which had interesting stories associated with it and most of which I truly LOVED, was gut-wrenching.
And when I first looked at the building where my husband and I were going to live, I was nauseous. Neither the move nor the downsizing was my idea. My husband started a business in Arlington, Virginia, in 2010 and after four long years of commuting every week between Atlanta and Arlington, we made the decision that it was time to actually live together again.
After selecting our favorite items from both houses, and after the estate sale in Atlanta and basically giving away furniture and fabulous accessories to the buyers of the lake house, we moved into the apartment, which seemed tiny in comparison but is rather large by urban-living standards in a market like Arlington.
We were determined NOT to rent storage space because of the associated costs – and also because we wanted to be free to pick up and move again when the time was right. (However, when YOU are deciding if you should downsize, renting storage space is often a great idea – especially if you’re not sure exactly where you want to settle.)
Downsizing was a long an arduous process (more on that in another post), but after a year of settling in, we could not be happier in our lock-and-leave living arrangement. Among the advantages of doing this now, while we “young-ish” (62 and 63), are the following:
- We’ve revinvented ourselves! My husband’s company is thriving (he learned technology at a ripe old age) and my own reinvention is an energizing work in progress.
- The number of fun new people we’ve met is impressive. We’re kind of the oldsters in many respects, but people love us!
- We walk to restaurants, shops, farmers’ markets and yoga studios.
- Our monthly utility bills are 20% of what we used to pay.
- When storms come rolling in, I don’t worry about trees crashing through the roof or water seeping into the basement.
- Bike trails circle this area and the Capital Bikeshare program is amazing. We use both almost all year long.
- The parks, riverside walks, nature trails, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware coast, and the Shenandoah Mountains and Valley are amazing! We are both active and love the outdoors.
- “The DMV” has been extremely interesting to explore. The museums! The galleries! The history!
I can go on and on about all the positive aspects of downsizing and moving into a lock-and-leave building (and I can also let you in on some of the negative), but I’ll save that for another day.
In the meantime, contact us to share your downsizing story or to ask questions about the best way to start the process. We can refer you to lots of local resources to guide you during every step of your journey toward a simpler life.