How to Know When It's Time to Leave (Your Apartment, Your City)

How to Know When It's Time to Leave (Your Apartment, Your City)

Adrienne Breaux
Mar 7, 2015

There's an old saying that goes something like "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." And then there's the thought, "Wherever you go, there you are." When applied to the idea of home and (very) loosely interpreted, those two sayings could be taken as "if you're home is alright, stick with it" and "if you want to move to run away from your troubles, they'll follow you." Both good wisdom to consider. But not the final word. Have you been having an itch to move from your home or your city? Read on.

Contemplating a move, whether from one apartment to the next, one type of home to another or from one city to somewhere else — is never easy. Rife with "what-ifs," the decision can be stressful. But sometimes it can be stressful because you don't have to move. Why leave a perfectly decent place that you're living now for the scary unknown of a new place? It's a reasonable question, but one that forgets a very important fact: The unknown can hold improvements and good surprises as much as it can hold unpleasant negatives, too.

But how do you know if you're making the right decision to leave and try out a new home, or if you're just been bit by the restless bug? If you have an urge to move that's just not going away, look to the list below. It might help you determine whether it's time to go or time to stay put for a little while longer.

The reasons why you'd stay are a little weak (or someone else's)

If you've been having the urge to move for awhile, look to your list of reasons for staying. Is it a long list of really great positives about the place? Do any of the reasons have the word "should" in front of them? Wanting to stay in an apartment because it's an affordable price is a perfectly great reason to stick around. So are things like loving the neighborhood or loving the short commute to work.

But as you recite that list to yourself, if you say things like "I should stay because it's a great price," you might be confusing really great characteristics of a home with characteristics that work with you. See, you might have different priorities in a home than others. And just because cheap rent is a great reason to stay in a home, doesn't mean it's a really great reason for you. Examine your own home priorities to see where your current home's positives overlap with your home priorities. If there's not a huge overlap, you might be ready to move to find one that does.

You can pinpoint exactly what it is you don't love (and it's not fixable)

It's not ambiguous reasons you don't love where you live — there are specific things that just don't work for you. And worse, they're not things you can fix. Compare a list like that to the things about your home that you do like, and then look to see what on the "like" list can be found somewhere else. In other words, if you hate the fact that it's too small but you love the natural light, you might consider moving, since it won't be impossible to find natural light in a future home. If you hate the fact that it's on the first floor but love the fact that it's next door to your only sister, you should take in account that you've only got one sister. If the things that are bothering you about your home aren't fixable and the things you like about your home can be found somewhere new, it might be time to make a move.

You've made tweaks and it just doesn't help

A large bulk of our posts here on Apartment Therapy have to do with making adjustments to your home (especially a rental). And many of them are perfectly acceptable ways to make compromises with the stuff about your home you don't love. But if you've put a ton of time, energy and effort into improving a home that still isn't bringing you joy (and you're not a negative Nancy), it might be time to search out a home that will.

You understand that it's not about about where you live, but your perspective

If you understand that a new home won't magically fix everything in your life, you might be ready to move. It's when you catch yourself saying things like "when I just get that apartment that has _____, then I'll be happy..." you should be worried. Because of course, if you can't find at least a little happiness wherever you are, you might not find happiness anywhere you go. But if you've got the means and the money, don't squash your desire to find a new place if any of the above relate to your situation!

How have you known when it was time to search out a new home? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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