Stick or twist?
April 9, 2010 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter, help me decide whether to move flat. (Sorry if this gets long.)

(NB - this is anon on the small chance my current flatmate sees this and gets pissed off.)

OK. I currently live in a shared flat, as a lodger. I've been there for two years or so, and decided the best thing to do would be to stay there until I move in with my SO. This could be a year or so away, as he needs to sort out some things first.

However, there are a few reasons why I've felt less keen to stay in the past while.

- It's very small - about 4.5 sq. m or 48 (?) sq. ft. I have to fit almost all my stuff in this space, which means it's very cluttered. I have a lot of stuff, admittedly, but it's hard to sort this out in such a small space. It also means some of my things have to stay boxed up, or I can't do some projects because I don't have space unless I can use the living room, which isn't always convenient for others.
- Keeping all my stuff in my room and not being able to put posters up leaves me feeling like a teenager - though unless I got a place on my own or moved in with SO, I realise that other shared places would involve only having my room as 'my space'.
- It's £500, plus bills, per month. Potentially, I could get somewhere slightly bigger for less, or at least inclusive of bills. (This month for both cost me £650.)
- My flatmate has started seeing someone which - it's hard to explain because I know her intention is not to have me feeling left out - makes me feel like I'm intruding on their space. When my SO comes round we very much try and include her in our conversations etc. if we're about in the living room, and share the wine. When hers does, they kind of take over the place and I feel a bit like a maiden aunt. Perhaps because the dynamic of being a lodger is a bit different to sharing a flat. It's just silly things like him using my toiletries, him putting the subtitles on whenever we're watching TV, or just feeling a bit like a gooseberry when he;s over. I've been feeling a bit guilty about feeling this way, perhaps it's unfair of me.
- The flat next door has their living room directly facing my bedroom. At evenings or weekends, I often have the choice between feeling like I'm spying on them or keeping my blinds down.

- I like my flatmate, most of the time.
- It's not a 'party house' with sixteen people and we're pretty respectful of each other's space, which has been lacking where I've lived before.
- I like the area.

Now, I actually went to see a room in a share house this week. It's in a similar area, but a different enough part to feel like a change of scene. It's sharing with two other people, and the room is bigger, and it's £480 including bills which would save me at least £50 a month. I have to wait for them to get back to me after seeing their last viewer so the issue could be academic, but the question is: should I leave where I'm sort of happy now and go through the stress and annoyance of moving when I don't really need to, and is the extra space and less money enough?

NB: I can just about afford to do so, but the thought of packing up my place after two years is intimidating. I know where everything goes here!
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Can you tell us what area you're in? That might help us to say how likely it is you could get a better place.

But from the info in your post, I'd say move. Personally I think having a congenial living space with enough room to work and a setup that you like is one of the most important things you can arrange for yourself, and for what you're paying, I think you could easily find somewhere better even in London. FWIW, although we were unusually lucky to get it, I live with two flatmates in a gigantic flat in North London for £400/month exc. bills. If you keep looking, you could get a lucky find like that; even if not, I think it would be easy to do better than what you have.

And maybe give some thought to the advantages of moving, too. Sure, it's a hassle, but I find it can really re-invigorate your life to be in a new place, with the opportunity to set it up how you like, and being exposed to new things. It would make it much easier to do projects, to spend pleasant time with your SO, and not to feel you're intruding on your flatmates or neighbours.
posted by Drexen at 5:28 AM on April 9, 2010

You haven't given any good reasons NOT to move.

Well, actually you have given reasons:

the thought of packing up my place after two years is intimidating. I know where everything goes here!

You also say above that you have lots of stuff still in boxes. So, this just sounds like cold feet.

(NB - this is anon on the small chance my current flatmate sees this and gets pissed off.)

You've been there a couple years. Flatmates move on. It is expected. Everyone has their own life to lead. If this is whats keeping you back, this is not a good reason. If what you're really asking is: How can I move on and stay friends with my flatmate, then that should have been your question.
posted by vacapinta at 5:43 AM on April 9, 2010

What vacapinta said. I'd be looking for a better situation too, and it sounds like you've found one. Take the opportunity!
posted by ixohoxi at 6:43 AM on April 9, 2010

Move. Even in London (which is I assume where you are) £650 is a huge amount of money.

You've got time on your side so you can afford to shop around. I found my current place via Gumtree, but also had luck with flatmating-specific sites. Meet some people you get on with and move in with them.

Living as a lodger is always difficult because one person has so much more 'say' in how the house is run and who uses what room for what. Living in a shared house (and there's no need for there to be 16 people! just two or three!) is much more democratic and you might be happier in yourself.
posted by citands at 7:01 AM on April 9, 2010

I'm seconding citands. I lodged in a friend's attic for about a year. We had a great six months until she started seeing someone seriously. We all got on but she became increasingly (and unconsciously) territorial - limerance creates it's own exclusion zone, and I started to feel somewhat marginalised so I moved to share a two-bed rented house with one other person and it was great to have that freedom again. Me and new flatmate both had SOs but it was much easier to share the space. Ex-flatmate/landlady and I are still great friends so it all worked out.

Moving is a pain, but if all your stuff is already in boxes it's really no big deal, clear out any stuff you don't need, get some friends to help move the rest and you'll be done in a weekend. If you're aiming to live with your SO soon you'll have pared down your belongings ready to go whenever s/he's in a position to make the move with you. Win/win!
posted by freya_lamb at 8:11 AM on April 9, 2010

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