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That Walk-Up Life

In April of last year Dean and I moved from a ground floor place into a three-storey walk-up. It wasn’t a move we thought we’d be making. We knew for sure we wanted to get out of our old place, which was just not a good fit for us, but we honestly thought we’d end up in a simple ground floor unit, something small and easy to maintain. So, we house hunted, looking for appropriate rent, a decent outlook, and bedrooms that didn’t look out over staircases (for some reason, these were not an architectural anomaly).

We found nothing.

As our anticipated moving day grew closer (we were even packing boxes, but with nowhere to go) we started to expand our search parameters. We looked at all kinds of places, some that I never would have considered living in… ever.

Then, on a private advertisement, as a kind of last-ditch day of searching about 5 days before we were supposed to move out of our old place, we had a look at a third floor unit. It was my idea, even though the pictures didn’t really do anything for me, because the location was perfect. As we were parking, Dean was already saying: “There’s no way I’m going to live on the third floor. There’s just no way.

But I just told him I wanted to have a look at it, something I repeated in my head as I climbed flight after flight of stairs, zig-zagging to the top. The landlord unlocked the door, and we stepped inside.

Dean turned to me, eyebrows raised. My expression mirrored his. This was going to be our apartment. We just knew it.

It’s been nearly a year since we moved in, and I think both of us have adjusted to the life of a third-floor walk-up. Still, we’ve learned a few things, which I thought I’d share with anyone thinking of moving into a walk-up.

Get Professional Movers

When we moved into our place, we didn’t get professional movers. Our landlord gently suggested it, but we shrugged him off. Don’t worry about it, I said, I have seven brothers. Then, absolutely zero of those aforementioned brothers were available. Still, we reasoned, we didn’t own that much stuff so it shouldn’t be a problem. It took us all day to move our things up the stairs. The little stuff was easy. Then it got progressively harder with the bed, the office stuff, the super-heavy wooden couch. When it came time to move the fridge and washing machine, we were absolutely exhausted. Using a trolley we essentially hauled, pushed and swore it up those stairs, making a massive racket. The washer did not survive that experience, but we did pay someone to move it down for us. I was not going through that again.

Get Used To The Stairs

Every time my parents come to visit me, which isn’t that often as they’re getting on in their years, they complain about the stairs. A year into this walk-up experiment, I can breezily say Oh, I’ve gotten used to them. But it wasn’t like that at first. Every single trip would leave me literally breathless at our front door. Then I realised I was focusing too much on each step. Now when I climb the stairs I send my brain somewhere else for a few minutes, and before I know it I’m at the top.

No Such Thing As Two Trips

This is actually Dean’s rule and not mine, but I’ve come to stand by it. Whenever we do any kind of shopping, grocery or for home stuff, he absolutely refuses to take two trips up the stairs. That man will load himself up like he’s heading out into the desert, stagger up the stairs, and probably pull muscles all over his body just to stop him making the trip twice. Our neighbours probably think we’re crazy when they see us, just two people, attempting to carry 10 days worth of food shopping up six flights of stairs in one go, but that’s just hour style.

You’ll Always Forget Something

One of the most difficult things to get used to about living in a walk-up is that, no matter how much you try, you’ll always forget something at the worst moment. It’s going to be when you’re rushing out the door, and you get to the bottom of the stairs only to realise you haven’t got your thing. Decision time! Is it worth running up the stairs, or can you just do without it? Believe me when I tell you, I’ve gone without a few times 😉 .

Delivery Is Your Best Friend

The town we live in is not particularly big, so new-fangled things like home delivery are not as widely spread as perhaps they should be. But, where that option is available, I urge you to consider it. When we broke our washing machine hauling it up the stairs the first time, I knew I wasn’t doing that again. Instead I had a delivery guy with a hydraulic stair lift get it up to the apartment for me. Absolutely worth it. Sometimes, if I’m sick or feeling particularly lazy, I get my shopping delivered too! Talk about the high life!

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