In early 2019, unfortunate circumstances found us being evicted from our rental property. We were classed as homeless by the local authority and forced to seek Temporary Accommodation. We moved out of a 3 bedroom house with a garage and into a 2 bedroom top floor flat. It was quite a shock to the system as I had never lived in a flat before, but thankfully that is all in the past now and we are settled into a house we can finally call home. Below I explain what I experienced living in a flat.
The flat was on the second floor, it was four sets of stairs up. It was the hottest 3 days in July 2019 and it was a complete nightmare carrying everything from the cars to the flat, I would get halfway up and have to stop,even if I didn't want a workout those days I had to get on with it. Sweat dripping off us, we headed for cold showers every night. We moved in over 3 days but there was an overwhelming feeling that we had this to do all over again when we moved out (eye roll).
Photo from Unsplash
There was no tumble dryer provided and nor a garden to hang any clean washing out to dry, I remember using all of my radiators plus an airer to get my clothes dry, as you can probably imagine, drying towels and bed sheets was a difficult task, I used to use the doors for these. The one thing I didn't enjoy about that was the stiff bath towels once dried. I put the airer in the bathroom most of the time, thinking when we had showers and baths the hot steam would dry them quicker. It was also moved to the bathroom because the smell of damp washing is quite a lingering one, a smell of musty and damp mixed together. There is nothing quite like bringing in dry, fresh smelling sheets from the line in the garden, I missed that alot.
Not only were the four flights of stairs horrific for moving items of furniture up and down, but other small things proved tough too. For example, food shopping, with heavy bags in both hands I would literally have to give myself a talking too before heading up, like psyching myself up for a marathon or something. I'm not the fittest of people so this was quite a tough adjustment, and another was when you left the block, got to your car and realised you'd forgotten something in the flat, that was very annoying.
There was one annoyance that I guess couldn't be helped, people's doors. Both to their own flats and of those internally. Altogether there were 6 flats, two under me and 3 on the opposite side, you could instantly hear when people were leaving their flats and arriving. There really was no need for it to slam shut, but they didn't care. Unfortunately the hallway was not noise proof, even conversations on the bottom were heard by me up the top, and then you could also hear the doors inside too, it would echo up the building. The couple underneath me used to argue a lot, that was very clear sometimes, and then a couple of their doors would slam shut, vibrating in my flat. There really were no secrets in that building.
This is one thing I can honestly say I miss now being in my house, on the top floor of the building I actually felt so safe. I didn't worry at night and slept very soundly. In the summer I left windows open and even popped out leaving them all opened too. I came back to an aired and well ventilated flat. Now, I leave just the upstairs windows open in the summer but downstairs I can't do that while going out. At night time I envisage being burgled while I'm asleep upstairs, to the point I've had to install a camera for my back garden. In the flat, I wouldn't worry that coming back late in the evening or sometimes staying away for the night, it would be broken into, now I do.
The Flat on the top floor
Storage of items
I have to admit there were two great cupboards in the flat, enough space to hide away the likes of the hoover, ironing board and our dirty washing. However we had no wardrobe space in bedroom two nor extra space in the kitchen. A lot of our massive furniture and quite a lot of boxed stuff had to be put into storage or too many items in the flat would have made it cramped. I believe that living with a minimalistic mind set in a flat is the best way to go.
You remember the lockdown months when everyone was getting through because they were sitting happily in their gardens worshiping the sun? Well not me, I was stuck in my flat. The only time I got out into the open was the hour walk per day around my local woods or popping down to the shop. I was really missing a garden, I'm not a keen gardener at all but there's nothing quite like sitting in your own private space in the sun. And more to the point, it's outdoor space for the kids to be more free too.
I noticed right from the beginning that being on the top floor, the water was not very powerful. To fill a bath up it used to take a good 28 minutes or more (yes I timed it once). Having love my baths, I knew instantly I wouldn't be having one regularly, unless I had hours set aside. This affected the shower and more annoyingly, filling the bowl for daily washing up in the kitchen was also patience testing. I mentioned this to the plumber who came to service the boiler, but there really wasn't anything that could be done. I have to admit it is something I didn't actually think about before experiencing it myself.
As explained already, in the summer the flat was very hot, too hot. And as we know even with windows open there's not much air that flows through. And then in the winter it was pretty cold, there was no one above us so I guess all the heating that was used to warm us escaped quickly. I didn't have any trouble heating the flat, that was fast acting, but keeping the heat was a different story.
It was hard for me to adapt to a flat life. These were obstacles that took a long time to get used to. I was only in it for 16 months and most of these little quirks I just could not accept, but that's just me. I have a close friend who prefers to live in an apartment than a house, everyone is different. This short experience opened my eyes up and made me appreciate small things such as having a home with a garden and better interior layout.
Does your block of flats have a lift? How was your moving-in day?
Would you swap your house for a flat?