Just Go Left

Just Go Left Goes West: Planning the Move

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Thank you to my brilliant friend Rachel Walker for coming up with the title to this series. 

Thank you to my brilliant friend Rachel Walker for coming up with the title to this series. 

Catch up on our move to California here.

From the moment we started planning this move, I knew I wanted to write a series about it for Just Go Left. Kyle and I learned so much as we went through the process and hope to give you some helpful insight and maybe a few tips and tricks as you plan your own move, big or small.

I'm going to break this into different parts, to make it easier. Today, we tackle planning....aka my favorite thing to do in the whole world. 

Spoiler alert: planning a cross country move is way harder than planning a dinner party. Much to my dismay. 

Here are a few ways we planned for our move to California:


When Kyle moved to Atlanta in March of 2015, we thought we would stay in the South for 2-3 years. We knew we didn't want to live in Atlanta forever, but figured 2-3 years would give us ample time to save money for a home, take a few big vacations and then we would relocate back to California. 

Remember this post? Yeah, God was clearly laughing at us as we made these plans.

As Kyle and I were researching places to live in Atlanta, we were surprised to find that the cost of a two bedroom apartment in the area we wanted to live in was about the same as a one bedroom in California. We were also surprised to learn that Atlanta is now the #3 film destination for movies/television in the U.S. (#1: Los Angeles, #2 New York) which played a big part in the increased cost of living, especially in the city. This started our discussions of "should we just move back to California now?" We did a lot of comparing rent costs in several different areas and the general cost of living in both sates. Once we realized the differences between the two were not that significant we starting talking about moving to California sooner. To us, spending the money on a one bedroom near friends and family made more sense than getting a two bedroom that cost the same amount, hoping people would visit. 

Our advice: The more you know, the better equipped you are to make decisions for your future. Take the time you need to educate yourself on your options. It took us 3 months to settle on moving back to California but we knew exactly what we were getting into!


Originally, Kyle and I were looking at getting our own place in the fall of 2015. We started researching the idea of moving back to California in the summer of 2015, but knew it was not going to be realistic to move across the country in 2-3 months. So, we put together a more realistic timeline: 10 months to save, purchase the necessary items for our apartment, and get ready to move. We picked a date and started working towards it with a monthly savings plan. (More about that later) 

Our advice: Give yourself grace. Moving (especially across the country) takes time, effort and a shit ton of money. Be patient. it won't happen overnight and that's okay!


Since this would be Kyle and my FIRST place together (we lived with my roommate Tessa for the 10 months prior to moving), we started planning our move by figuring out what items we owned and what we would need to buy. We realized that since we both lived with roommates for years, we didn't have a lot of the big items we needed (like a couch). Once we knew what we had, we factored what we needed to buy into our overall budget and timeline. It was also really fun buying things together for OUR place!

Our advice: Make Pinterest your best friend. We printed off a checklist of items needed for an apartment (this is the one we used), and made a plan to purchase one item we needed every month (more about this later). We also created boards for each room in our place for ideas and a general vision of our desired aesthetic. It was a lifesaver.


Throughout our 10 months of planning and saving, Kyle and I constantly asked ourselves "what is more important?" We chose moving over new clothes, a few vacations and some nights out. We decided to downgrade on a lot of things (i.e.: cell phone bills)  and opted to save the extra money for our move. We knew that being home, that being back with family and friends would be our reward for giving up a few nights out. Plus, we watched ALL of 30 Rock together every night and Liz Lemon > going out.

Our advice: All this being said, still allow yourself to have fun. We still went on dates, took vacations and enjoyed life, but AFTER we put aside what we needed for our move. It's all about balance.


Moving is hard. I don't care if you're moving 3 miles or 3,000: it's never easy and it never goes according to plan. And waiting 10 months for a move can be even worse. In moments when I felt stressed and broke, or when I thought we would never be able to make this move happen, Kyle and I would take Gatsby on a long walk where we would talk about all the good things coming our way. Not only did it relieve tension but it reminded me what was truly important: building a life with Kyle and Gatsby and community.

Our advice: Choose joy.  

Coming next week: How we budgeted for our move.