Can I Be Content to Rent?

So after three attempts at buying a house:
the first we were just plain sick over because it came with a whole lot more letdown than just a house,
the second fell through we got jipped out of about $3000 and
the third we just decided ‘meh’ and walked on…
we’ve decided to stay right where we are and sign our lives over as renters for at least another year.

It’s weird because since we moved to Asheville over a year and a half ago, all I’ve thought about, obsessed about, fretted about was a house. I just wanted a house to call my own. In my mind, that would fix everything. Our kids’ lives would be fulfilled. They would begin to make these great memories and love their childhoods. The swing set we put up would complete them and I’d be inside the house busting out walls with sledge hammers while they were out playing on it.
So much of our lives…here or back in South Dakota…we’ve been waiting. Waiting to be done with college, waiting for the next job the better job, waiting to buy a house, waiting waiting waiting….
But here’s the problem with always waiting…..

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…there’s a whole lot of living that needs to be done in that waiting time and usually, if you’re like me…you miss it because you’re waiting for the next {bigger, better} thing. I don’t want to do that anymore. Because I realized what that waiting actually means…
Now sometimes I have issues with people saying, “just be content with what you have”….”just be content with your situation.” I have issues sometimes because sometimes I think there’s a reason for our discontent because something in our life really really needs to change. And I’m a firm believer in “if you want something to change than change something.
Sometimes life calls for an overhaul and a big change, but other times we just need to be content.
I have not felt content for at least a year and a half while we’ve lived in this townhouse.
That’s not gonna be me anymore.

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After the deal on our first house here in Asheville fell through and we lost a bucket of money we went back on the hunt again. I’m not gonna lie…there’s not much to choose from here unless you’re willing to spend a half a mill…which we’re not.
We narrowed our slim choices down to two houses…one in a neighborhood I couldn’t even begin to see us in and another we just felt so-so about. We made the offer on the so-so house. After some back and fourth dealings, they finally accepted.  But the funny part was that during the back and fourth dealings with them I had a break through….
…first I thought about how much our monthly living expense would go up for a house that we just felt so-so about. Then I revisited the realization that we’re still so unsure about whether or not Asheville is the city we’ll make our final resting place…that is something we’re really unsure about. Then I looked around at the things here in this townhouse that really did work for us; the large family room on the lower level, the pool, the large bedrooms and closets. Then I rediscovered The Nester’s blog and she sealed the deal for me.
If you don’t know Ms. Nester, you should. Her and her family have rented for a lot of their lives and she just plain embraces it. She changes her rental homes to make them suit her style. Her home has been in magazines multiple times…can you even imagine!? A rental home in a magazine!? Well, she knows how to work it and I’m going to learn from her. 

I’ve decided to embrace the same mindset…I’m going to make this townhouse ours. I’m going to paint, change things, organize, and rearrange. I’m going to be content here. It’s going to be so good.
One thing that’s not working for us here is the garage. It’s so full of stuff!! Stuff that we don’t want to get rid of…just stuff. Yard stuff, Christmas, kitchen, homeschool…just a lot of stuff.

See figure below….

…yaaaa…it’s a problem.
SO tomorrow is the day. We’ve got a storage unit and we’re clearing out the stuff we don’t need right here and beginning to live like we normally would live. Because if we owned this townhouse, we would never live like this. I hate clutter….hate it. We’re wrapping our arms around this current state and owning it. This is our house. Our home. Just because our names aren’t on the mortgage, its still ours. And we’re taking back the ways we love to live…without all this clutter and with better paint colors. 

I’ve struggled so much over the last year about renting, wanting to just be settled and know where we’re going to be.  But my mind has flipped a switch and I realized that life does not begin with a mortgage.  All along I’ve been telling myself that it has, but it doesn’t. My kids’ happiness does not hinge on whether or not there’s a swing set in the yard. And these are the thoughts I’m taking captive…

because my contentment right now is my peace and I need it.

There are some questions I can’t answer, like:
Why do my favorite singers keep getting voted off The Voice?
Why do my bangs grow out so much faster than the rest of my hair?
And why do margaritas have so many carbs?

But there is the question of the day: can I be content to rent? And my answer is yes. Yes I can.


  1. I can't not even tell you how much I needed to read your post today. I stumbled on your site from a pinned art project on indian corn. Who would have knew. I have been fighting myself on discontentment for awhile. We rent. We sold our home a few years ago to go bigger. God has really showed us in the last 3 rentals we need to be content. We are going on rental #3 in 3 years. The first one, the family's job out of state didn't work out and asked us to leave in the middle, by law we didn't need too, however, the owners made it hard when they wouldn't fix a few major things, forcing us to make a decision to leave a few months early. The we currently are living in what was our dream rental, estate townhouse (3000 sq. ft.) on the ocean in south florida where we reside. Every amenity is here, Well this past week our landlord after 18 mos. tells us it is being foreclosed in 14 days! What? Where was our money going? 14 days notice? So, after reading your post, I am taking away that it's okay I am not in my dream home I owe for now, but there is hope to be content. Thank you for your post and your blogging from the heart!

  2. I know this is an older post, but I have been perusing your blog for the past 15 and finally decided to comment. 😉 I love your writing and decor style!! I am so glad you commented on my 31 days project so I could find your sweet blog.

    PS. I always thought that I couldn't wait to have my "dream" home, and now that we do, I feel trapped. The possibilities that come with house hunting are over. You still have that to look forward to!!! 🙂

  3. Great post! My childhood was spent in rentals, and I remember it so fondly! You're creating wonderful memories with your little lovelies; blessings to your sweet family as you embark on finding the right place for YOU!

  4. You are wise beyond your years. Where was this post fifteen years ago when I needed it? It seemed we were always living out of boxes, and I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, to get transferred. Again. Nineteen years later we're still in Birmingham (surprisingly) but I did waste a lot of time fretting over what-ifs.

    BTW one of my best blogging buddies has rented for years in Denver because they know that they don't want to live there forever. They're in an apartment in the best school district, and my friend is very active in the school's PTA. I admire her so much, and she is truly enjoying Denver. They do all kinds of educational activities with the kids, and since they don't have to do yard work, they have more time to enjoy.

    LOVE this post.

  5. This was just so wonderful to read! We were renters for many years and I was always dreaming about how perfect our life would be once we had our own home. Fast forward several years and we do have our own home. It's a great house and fits us perfectly, however, I look back on renting with fond memories. Know what's awesome about renting? You don't have to worry about things like septic system repairs, the cost of a new AC unit, finding the time to call the insurance company to get a claim filed to replace your roof after hail damage. I didn't realize how good I had it when we were renting. So, yes, there are wonderful things about owning your own home. There are also wonderful things about renting. I think you hit the nail on the head when you decided to not let where you live define how you live your life. In the long run it really doesn't matter. 🙂

  6. Your home looks beautiful and cozy…rental or not. I recently read an article about owning vs renting…over a lifetime it seems that you actually are better off financially by renting when you factor in taxes, maintenance etc. Sounds like you have the right attitude no matter what.

  7. I love your new mindset. It's okay to rent. I am glad you can be happy there, at least for now, and make it your own. You're right, your kids' memories are already being created, and they don't care if their home is rented or owned. And I know your home is filled with love, and that's what really matters!

  8. If Eric were to be
    transferred now, we
    would definitely rent.
    The economy is still
    so shaky and uncertain,
    we feel it would be a
    risky time to buy. So
    there's some advice
    from a businessman
    and a retired business
    woman {whose last
    job was in financial
    services}. Consider it
    a blessing that the home
    sales didn't work out!

    As Carrissa points out,
    a mortgage can also
    feel like a yoke. Think
    about this time as FREE
    TIME, without the yoke!

    And, I think you already
    give Nester a run for the
    money. Seriously.

    Love & Hugs,

  9. I so needed to read this today. We have rented our whole marriage (almost 8 years) and the whole time all I've wanted was to own a house because like you said, in my mind, somehow would change things and we could start living. But I know deep down renting is what is right for us. I've been clearing out and decluttering and it feels so good!Can't wait to see what you've been up to.

  10. We've rented almost our whole married lives now. With a stay at home mommy and a one income of a pastor family, I don't see that changing! Renting has its privileges. 🙂 Home is where you guys are! Glad you are settling my friend! xoxo

  11. I needed to hear that today. About the waiting and the contentment. I needed a prod, so thank you. You know, we rented our house for years and we made it our own because that's where we were in life at the time. One day, when we were least expecting it, but at a fortuitous time, the owner decided to sell and we bought it. Your home always looks lovely but I know it's all about what you feel inside and not what other people say. Enjoy your contentment, you very much deserve it.

  12. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We just signed our second year lease on an apartment here in Dallas. I struggled with it, for the same reasons you mention here. It's hard. And I've had all these ideas for how to decorate and just haven't had the heart, thinking "This isn't our HOME, so why try?" But that doesn't make me happy either. We (myself, my daughter, my husband) need a HOME…and we HAVE that. I just have to "nest" it a little. Your words of encouragement mean so much to me today. Blessings to you!

  13. A to the MEN. We have a mortgage and all I want is to
    get rid of it. It's a big fat burden. Our house is on the market and then, honestly, I want to rent for the rest of our life. So, here we are… You and me… You with a rental, me with a mortgage, and we want the opposite. Proof that contentment is a heart matter not a situational one. I love this post, your heart in it, and I really think God will bless you with contentment. Xoxo. Also! Your rental is so lovely and I never knew that about The Nester!

  14. Kudos to you, living in the here and now!!! I've been through the "waiting game" and it doesn't end with buying a house…I found myself waiting for "when the kitchen is remodeled", "when we can afford to get the gals their own bedroom", "when we get the yard cleared"….you're so right, living in the present is a state of mind, we can still find ourselves waiting even while paying a mortgage if we are not mindful.

  15. girl! i love this.
    every little bit.
    before we moved to our 'dream' farm, i was SO discontented in our home in our tiny town.
    all i wanted was a house in the country and everything would be SO.MUCH.BETTER.
    well, i finally just told the Lord that i would be happy right where we were, and a few days later, we accepted an offer on our house!
    BUT! when we moved to the country, guess what?
    our kids were sad. they missed their friends, and they even still miss that house!
    we eventually lost the farm and ended up here….the last house i would ever pick, but I LOVE IT!
    you are a blessing and encouragement to me, sister.
    super excited to see what you do!
    i wish i could pop over and bring you a house warming gift. 🙂
    love you.

    ps. our garage AND basement look way worse than that and we've been here for three years(did i just admit that?) 🙂

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