Today is the big day! Either you were asked (AKA Told) to move out of your home, or it was a decision that you made. It does not matter, you're moving out and that means you need to find a new place to live.
For most of us, me included, this was a stressful and uncertain time for me. The last time I had my own apartment I was nearly 20 years younger, had a roommate and in a nutshell, I lived a very different lifestyle than I do today. I consider myself to me a more responsible person than I was in my late 20's and its not just about me anymore. I now have a business, I have kids and I expect to live better than I did back then. Before I was married I could have an old, ugly couch and a beer lamp on the wall but not any more.
When my day came to begin my apartment hunt I felt demoralized and lost. How do I do this? What do I need? Where should I go? I realized something that day. I realized that I had depended upon my wife to handle almost all of the domestic requirements of running a household. Sure, I bought in the money but she paid the bills, chose the service providers, took care of budgeting and scheduling and so much more. I did not know how to do these things! I was focused upon bringing in the money and she kept the accounts in order.
Another thing, when I went about looking for an apartment I had no idea what my search criteria should include. Like I said earlier, it was not just about me any longer. My new place needed to accommodate my work and hopefully a social life, but it also needed to be a creative space where I could re-discover myself in a constructive and empowering way. This meant I needed a place that would be uncluttered, clean and peaceful.With this in mind, I limited my search to buildings less than five years old. A more modern floor plan, soundproofed walls and newer appliances would all advance my cause.
The neighborhood was another big question mark. I spent time thinking about what I need to be near, such as groceries, coffee shops and so forth, to what I would like to be near such restaurants and entertainment. Setting down roots is expensive, disruptive and trying on ones nerves. Getting this part right is critical to your happiness in the long run. Too much seclusion is not good, but neither is too much chaos. Find your particular balance.
I also have children now. When I considered their needs I opted for a secured building with amenities that the kids and I could use together. A club house, a pool, and exercise room, all things we can enjoy together. The obvious benefit of these features was evident right from the start. My kids love spending time at my place, and that's extremely important to me. The hidden benefit of these amenities was a bit counter intuitive.
An apartment which supplies all of these attributes will be more expensive than one which does not. For those of us going through a divorce, finances can be a very real issue. While I had an idea or how much I wanted to spend on rent, after looking extensively and analyzing what I learned I went with a unit which was slightly more than I had planned on and I'm glad I did. The amenities included with my apartment mean that I do not need a gym membership. I also have a kitchen which is so nice I have taken up cooking which saves a huge amount of money for me. My kids have so much to do at my complex that we spend less money on outside activities and have higher quality time together. All in all, spending a little more has been an investment which has paid off for me very well.
If you are getting ready to look for that first “Post-Divorce” apartment and you're feeling at a loss, that's normal. Take a few minutes to sit yourself down, maybe at a local coffee shop and write down what you want, what you need, who else is involved and what will be most likely to bring out your happiness and creativity. Getting this part of your life in order is foundational to getting the rest in order. You can do it if you analyze your wants and needs, make a plan and then act with purpose. I know this because I did it, and so can you!