Do you like your apartment, or do you like like it? When you're living in modest digs with modest means, you're likely always going to think about whether the grass would be greener or the carpet would be cleaner if you moved to a new place. But deciding whether to renew or re-locate shouldn't be a daydream decision. There are real, solid strategies you can start to think about as you near the end of your lease.
It's all about making an honest appraisal of two things: Your current space, and the potential spaces you could be moving into.
1. Start a List
Walk through the apartment once and make notes about things that stand out. Do you love the windows? Hate the carpet? Get these initial appraisals down on paper, then keep the notepad handy day to day in order to jot down more good and bad things as you come across them. At the end of the day (or week, or month...) you should have a list of proven pros and cons about your apartment.
2. Get a Second Opinion
Step two is about adjusting and adding to your pros and cons list by seeing your space through a different pair of eyes. Invite a trusted friend over and ask for their candid opinion about where you live. Their third-party opinion might force you to notice the nice things you take for granted about where you already live ("It's actually really bright, compared to most of our friends' apartments." "Having that BBQ joint downstairs is SO CLUTCH, Taryn.") and help you to gain a new appreciation for your current situation.
3. Scope Out the Scene
It's most people's step one, but this is the thing you should actually do last. Once you have a long (and well-researched) list, begin to seek out and visit potential new spaces in your budget, comparing them against your list of what you've noticed and learned about your current spot.
With your new-found (but hard-fought) clarity, the decision at this point should be a no-brainer.
How do you decide when it's time to move on to a new apartment?