23 lessons i have learnt from living in 23 houses

I have lived in 23 houses. Yep. 23 different sets of keys. 22 different streets.* 23 different bedrooms, kitchens, lounge rooms and bathrooms.

My childhood memories have fairly distinct chapters, punctuated by the changing environment. Good, bad, messy. Free, wild, elated, scheming, adventurous, confined, small, stuck.

I am about to end my stay in house number 23 just as my 23rd year draws to a close. 24 years old, 24th house. It has nice synchronicity doesn’t it?

Instead of descending into the panic I usually feel at moving time, I want to reflect on and share some of the lessons I have learned through living in so many houses and with many different people.

23 lessons to be precise. Tell me if you can relate:

1. Living with people is hard. It’s also incredibly rewarding.

2. Things won’t be perfectly fair and equitable. That’s okay.

3. Trust your gut when it comes to houses and housemates.

4. Real estate agents are people too. Be polite, firm if necessary, but never rude. I’m sure they deal with a lot of difficult tenants. Don’t be one. And if your current real estate agent is incorrigible, don’t assume the next one will be.

5. Unpack something pretty first. Set up a vase of flowers. Hang up a bright painting.

6. Light is vital. If there is limited natural light, don’t go there. We humans need light. Just like our chlorophyll filled friends.

7. Warmth is important. No amount of blankets can take away the chill that seeps into your bones from living in a cold house in winter. It’s depressing.

8. Get a plant. Green will ground you.

9. You don’t need much stuff. Rehome it. Or even better, don’t accumulate it in the first place.

10. Forgive. Forgive again. Keep on forgiving. Yourself and others. There is no use in getting nasty about an issue. It’s not worth it.

11. Buy toilet paper and take out the garbage. It’s the little things.

12. It always works out. Don’t stress. Don’t overthink. Just roll with it.

13. Post-it notes and whiteboards are not effective means of communication. Neither are group texts. If there is an issue, written communication is a last resort, or can be used to flag an issue, then come together and discuss.

14. Living with others is being part of a small community. Be present.

15. People are fragile. Handle with care.

16. We’re all strange. Don’t pretend that your habits are more sane than another person’s habits. Just figure out whether your idiosyncrasies are compatible.

17. Be generous. With time, with love, with food and your possessions.

18. Appreciate without attachment. Inhabit a place without tying your identity to it.

19. It will pass. Boredom, anger, pain, fear, stress. All ebb away eventually.

20. There is no point lingering on the past. There is always a new adventure around the corner.

21. Most situations are salvageable if approached with humility and an open heart. If not, learn from it and move on.

22. Money is less important than time.

23. If in doubt, giggle your way through it.

*Not a typo. I lived in one share house and then moved a few hundred metres to another one on the same street 🙂

How many houses have you lived in? Any lessons you’d like to share?