About Time: You Planned Your Move to the CountrysideBy Angelica Malin
It’s an amazing dream – living independently, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by open spaces. In reality, not everybody makes such a life change a success, but what makes the difference between those who can and those who can’t? It’s not just about being a certain type of person in the first place, it’s about knowing what to expect, preparing for it and knowing how to make the adjustments that country living requires. Do this successfully and you won’t just fall in love with country life – you’ll love the way it changes you as a person.
Choose hardwearing, fixable solutions
When you’re away from the facilities of the city you need to be a lot more self-sufficient. It’s a good idea to start out by getting to know your neighbors and finding out who you can turn to in an emergency – being ready to help them in return, of course – but what you won’t be able to do is access people like plumbers, locksmiths, painters and decorators at any time you choose. With that in mind, as you set up your new home, you need to think about what you can look after yourself. Choose furniture and fittings that are built to last – even deliveries could cost you extra. Get a good toolset and a sewing machine and learn how to use them.
Cities are, on average, 2.6ºC warmer than the countryside just because of the concentration of buildings producing heat and the insulating effect of pollution. In exposed parts of the country, windchill can make isolated homes especially chilly. In that situation, you really need good insulation. That means a fully insulated roof and well-lagged pipes. It also means filling up cracks in walls, door frames, and window frames as soon as you notice them. It means thick carpets and rugs on the floors or, if you’re determined to have stone or wooden floors, ones with suitable insulation underneath. Windows need thick curtains or that more traditional solution, shutters, which are enjoying something of a revival at present – you can even get shutters for bay windows and they do wonders to reduce heat loss.
Be smart about storage
When you’re living out in the countryside you can’t just pop to the shops whenever you want something. You need to be ready to store a lot more in your home. Kitchen storage is particularly important – you’ll need a good sized pantry and a chest freezer – but it’s not the only thing you need to think about. Every kind of consumable needs to be stored in greater quantities, from cleaning products and toilet paper to children’s craft supplies and materials you use for mending, like thread, staples, screws and duct tape. To deal with all this, you need to be well organized, so think about storage options not just in terms of capacity but also with a view to keeping things in order. Make sure you have reliable transport with enough space inside for large loads of shopping.
Learn about the land
A lot of people move into the country with big dreams about the plants they’re going to grow and the gardens they’re going to create, but in reality, it’s not always that simple. Some areas have poor soil, not very much soil, or exposure to the elements which makes growing anything successfully very difficult. The more you know about the land before you move, the better you will be able to plan your outdoor space and work out whether or not any plants you want to take with you are likely to survive. At the very least, try to establish the soil pH and the drainage conditions.
Learn to live with nature
In the city. everyone thinks about how to protect their homes from potential vandals and burglars, but the countryside brings a different set of experiences. In many places it’s not uncommon to find sheep wandering into your garden or even into your kitchen – and then there are wild animals like deer, foxes, badgers, and rabbits to contend with. You’ll need solid walls or fences to protect your garden plants and it’s a good idea to fit a screen door so you can let in fresh air without letting in any animal neighbors.
Life in the country requires quite an adjustment but if you’re well organized and you plan accordingly, you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort. It will reward you in ways you haven’t yet begun to imagine.