5 Unexpected Things About Moving To Florida

Moving to Florida has been on Greg and I’s TO DO list long before we met each other 30 years ago.

We finally did it!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have already figured that out!

We actually purchased our home five years before the move and rented it for the first two seasons and went down periodically, so we aren’t exactly Florida newbies.

Most people think the thing that would be the most surprising about moving to Florida would be the weather.

Nope.

My family used to vacation down in Florida in the summer, so the heat, humidity, and sudden, unexpected rain were not unexpected.

In fact, I like all of it.

Hurricanes

Also, the first thing you usually hear is “Aren’t you worried about the hurricanes?

Nope.

We rode out Hurricane Irma in a shelter, with my aunt and neighbors. I might worry about that a little more if we were living on the beach…but we’re not. We are off a river, on a canal.

Sure, there are potential severe weather dangers, but nothing worse than living outside of Chicago…just different.

Chicago Weather

We had high winds, high humidity, bitter cold, tornado threats, hail, freezing rain, black ice, and snowstorms to deal with there. Oh, did I mention three months of almost zero sunshine…no thank you!

Everywhere has something. I’ll tell you what, I was way more afraid of slipping on the ice, knocking myself out, and nobody finding me until I was a popsicle.

Snowy courtyard making me want to move to Florida!
Won’t miss the snow for a second!

So let’s get to those 5 Unexpected Things I Learned About Moving To Florida

  • Lack of Storage
  • How Helpful People Are
  • Things Grow Quickly
  • How Many Alligators We See
  • How the Cats Have Adapted

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Lack of Storage

Coming from the north, I grew up with basements. If they were finished, it gave you extra living space and if they weren’t they made amazing storage.

Don’t get me wrong, one level living is THE BEST, but I like my storage too!

Greg and I could not figure out why there were an ungodly amount of self storage places down here and more being built All. The. Time.

Now we know.

Where do I put the Christmas decorations?

How about the games?

Where do you put the extra blankets and 39 pillows I cannot seem to part with? (FYI: 39 is not an exaggeration)

Where do we store the wine and liquor? Much of it came with the house.

We came from a home with a basement. Our basement was not huge, but it had a rec room, bathroom, and large laundry/storage/craft room and there was ample storage, even under the stairs.

WHAT…No foyer closet?!?!

The biggest storage surprise for me was that most homes down here do not have foyer coat closets. It’s something we didn’t originally notice.

Some homes have it, but most do not.

I get that you don’t generally need a winter coat here, but you still need jackets and raincoats. If you are traveling, you might need that heavy down coat that sucks up a lot of precious storage space.

The lack of storage and lack of basement means my craft room is currently in boxes, in the garage, and some more temperature-sensitive items are in the guest room closets.

We really don’t have space for it all in the house and quite frankly, Greg has forbid me to bring the glitter in the house…

…I don’t know why…

We have gone through a whole journey of figuring out a craft room solution and it will come in the form of a she shed…that has been on order for many, many weeks already, but should be here before the end of the year!

Whoohoo!

I will have a post about the she shed soon!

Our home came fully furnished and well done, but the furniture was definitely not purchased with additional storage in mind.

We did add three things (so far) the alleviates some of the storage issues:

A gray storage bench, a white storage bench, and a bar. We had a whole cabinet lost to booze in the kitchen. In order to reclaim it for more kitchen-y items, we bought a bar cabinet.

They have helped considerably!

Anyway, the bottom line about storage is…

Get rid of stuff BEFORE you move…or buy stuff to store it in!

How Helpful People Are

I know we are down south and southern hospitality and all, but most people here are not originally from the south. We had nice neighbors up north, but since moving to Florida, we have found people go the extra mile down here.

From our neighbors offering to come and get our garbage from us when we are going out of town, to neighbors offering to help finish off my she shed once it arrives, and so, so many other little and big things!

Greg and I have also noticed that the governmental agencies, specifically those at the county level are incredibly helpful. No one is ever put out and they always go above and beyond.

That is unheard of where we came from. You could almost hear the eye rolls when you walked into the county building up there!

I think people are just happier with more sunshine.

Things Grow Quickly

I’m used to planting at the end of May and things going downhill fast come September and just call it quits in October.

Here, it’s crazy growing 365 days a year. I’m not complaining, but prior to moving to Florida, I just didn’t realize how much and how fast everything grows.

I remember when we first bought the house, I was worried because Greg gave some bushes a pretty extreme haircut.. to where I thought they might not survive.

Our neighbor came over and said not to worry that you can’t kill anything down here, it’ll be back soon. For the most part, she was right, especially with the weeds that seem to reappear the moment you turn your back.

However, we have found that we have an unfortunate knack for killing avocado trees…three so far.

Sadness…

I keep waiting for that guac crop to come in and all of a sudden, it all goes kaput!

We planted a line of fruit trees along the side of our lot. The lot next to it was not cleared or built on. We went out of town for two months and returned to find the jungle had tried to reclaim the land and our fruit trees.

It was quite the rescue mission to try to find our key lime tree among the vines and overgrowth.

How Many Alligators We See

One of the few things that made me hesitant about moving to Florida was the alligators. I like them. I want to see them. Just don’t really want them strolling through MY yard!

Also, really not so much for me, but I just didn’t want them making a meal out of my cats. With both of Pouffy and Grayson having come to us as strays and being indoor/outdoor cats, I was more than worried about their transition and who might eat them…

…more on them later…

So, how many alligators do we see?

Almost NONE!

Again, I’m okay with them not moseying through my yard. I’m okay when they are at my friends’ houses and I really WANT to see them when we take a boat ride down the river.

I really thought they would be swimming en masse up and down the river for my viewing pleasure.

Nope.

Hard to find, but I get pretty excited when I do!

Alligator sunning itself on the banks of the river

How The Cats Have Adapted

So, my single biggest worry about the move to Florida were the boys, Grayson and Pouffy.

My wild boys that climb trees 20 feet tall, jump up on roofs, and race around like the devil is in hot pursuit.

How was I going to tame that dynamic duo?

Pouffy the black cat and Grayson the tabby can sitting out side on the patio and chair after moving to Florida

I lost some serious sleep over this!

I had visions of:

  • Them tearing up the screens in the lanai because they were going to cut their way with their claws!
  • Jumping out of the car while in transit, which is why we rented an RV, which probably was not the best answer.
  • Crying non-stop to go home.
  • Hating me and shooting daggers at me every day and every night for eternity.
  • Trying to make their escape every time the door opened.

Well, none of those things happened.

  • Nobody has scratched the screen even once that I know of.
  • The ride in the RV was rough, but not because of the cats, the RV sucked. The cats were troopers in their nice new carriers. They came out sometimes and ate and used their litterbox without incident. It was incredible! I definitely didn’t give them enough credit!
  • Grayson was at home within 15 minutes of arriving. Even after he fell in the pool, he was not deterred. Pouffy took a little longer, but not too long at all.
  • They still love me…it might be the shrimp.
  • Not one time have they tried to escape, which is a huge relief. They love being in the screened lanai and it seems to be enough for them. For the last year and a half, we have been planning on building a cat tree and it is currently underway. It’s pretty stinkin’ cool, if I may say so myself. I’ll have a post for that coming up!
Grayson the cat hanging on the cat tree
Grayson hamming it up on the cat tree project!
Grayson the tabby cat sitting in cat tree after moving to Florida
Grayson trying out the cat tree. Not finished, but getting close!! Total sweetness!

While I’m Getting Settled From Moving To Florida…

Once my she shed arrives, gets finished and life gets more settled, I plan on jumping back into crafting!

In the meantime, you can check out these fun projects:

Thanks for stopping by! Remember: Life’s too short not to shimmer, so grab your glue gun and your glitter!™ Stay safe!

Mona

20 thoughts on “5 Unexpected Things About Moving To Florida”

  1. My story same as yours only I am from Pennsylvania 25 miles out of Pittsburgh we moved to Florida this year in May and everything you said I can understand your right on everything I was. The same about why so many storage unit but now I know we moved to Ruskin it’s on the gulf side about 25 miles away from Tampa I love it here visited a lot before the move and I love the sunshine and heat and I am so happy no more freezing weather or ice that sealed the deal for me welcome and enjoy

    Reply
  2. Congrats on the move. Ya won’t miss the snow. I’ve never had a basement. Lived here in Texas all my life. We just paid off our house. Only took less than 20 years. What I’m mad about my credit score went down 83 points! Ya think it would go up! Grrr. Here we don’t have gators but we do have coyotes n cougars. I know that is what got my cat Binks. So now I keep all the boys inside. God Bless n stay safe. Hurry back to help us sparkle.

    Reply
    • Hi Debs – You are right! I definitely will not miss the snow!! I have to go up for 13 days in November, which I am NOT looking forward to! I can’t believe your credit score went down. Doesn’t seem right!!! We have gators, coyotes, bobcats, and panthers. The boys lived with coyotes up north, but the rest would be new to them, so I’m glad they are staying inside! I can sleep better too! Pouffy is uber cautious but Grayson can make some questionable decisions. Better off inside!

      Reply
  3. Hi Mona,
    I’m so glad you were able to finally move. People are definitely nicer in the south. ( In Pa where I currently live. I got a flat tire. I was out of cell service and was healing from hand surgery. After 2 hours of people just driving by and honking and nobody stopped, I ended up doing it myself. Took awhile with my hand in stitches. In Tn I had the good up on my van. Was hooking the battery back up and had 3 people stop in just 5 minutes time to see if I needed help) I am from Pa but lived in Tn for years and unfortunately I’m back in Pa. I miss the warmer weather,the people.
    Can’t wait to see how you organize the she shed. The cat tree project looks interesting. I’m living with my youngest daughter at the moment and she has 9 cats. Maybe a video how you made yours or even a blog would be great. Can’t wait to see what craft projects you will be doing.
    Dawn

    Reply
    • Hi Dawn –
      That sounds terrible, but about right for the north! ☹️ I’m glad you were able to get it done!
      I plan on doing a video/post about the cat tree, which is almost done. Hoping to finish the base tomorrow. It might take a while for me to put it together. Wow! 9 cats!!!
      I will be trying to do the shed process from start to finish…so stay tuned!!

      Reply
  4. Hi Mona…Oh my goodness I will be moving to Clermont maybe the first of next year! I live in North Carolina and both my children are in Clermont. I want to be closer to my grandchildren (5) because I have missed so much of their growing up. I am retiring next week, my mother is very ill and I’m taking care of her. I may be moving the first of next year. I could use all the pointers and tips you can offer.

    Thank you, Dana Hoyle

    Reply
    • Hi Dana –
      I totally understand wanting to be closer to the grandkids. We have four and they are all up north. That was the hardest part. I’m so sorry about your mother. It can take a lot out of you, so be sure to take care of yourself too! I wish you luck on your move and will do a moving post too! ❤️

      Reply
  5. Hi Mona, Before I go any farther I am Barb ( not barn) lol. My husband our 3 furbabies(dogs) and myself packed a truck up to the hilt and gave what didn’t fit away moving to Florida. We live in Homosassa since May 2019. Love the weather. So different from Ohio and it coldness. We have since lost our little ones ,mainly age related. I am a faithful follower of yours. Can’t wait til your shed is up and let’s get to crafting.

    Reply
    • Hi Barb-
      I hope I never called you Barn! Yes, we gave a bunch away too!

      We have been to Homosassa. It is beautiful there! We were visiting friends in the Villages and they took us to Homosassa for the day and we rented a pontoon boat and saw Lu the Homosassa hippo. If I remember, we saw a bunch of manatees too. I’m sorry for your loss of the furbabies. It’s always hard. We lost Spooky a couple of years ago and it still makes me sad.

      Thank you for being a faithful follower all these years! ❤️ I can’t wait to get back to it too!

      Reply
  6. Grew up in Ind, moved to MD then got a job in sunny CA. It’s not home. been here 40 years & still call back east home. Too many people, only know immediate neighbor in same building (back home you knew everyone in the block+). Limited storage (started using my living room as my craft room, moved to my bedroom as craft room, now to a tandem garage, which works for my stained glass addiction & storage, but then no place to park your car except street or alley. I do LOVE the weather. Drove across country with my moving van & towing my car. would I do it again??? YES but to where I don’t know. .It’s an adventure that can’t be repeated but it’s an adventure! Good luck in your new home .

    Reply
    • Thank you, Susie! It is funny. We still call up north home but felt immediately at home here. We have had the opposite experience with people. Up north, you only knew your immediate neighbors, and down here, we know everyone on the block. We hardly saw anyone outside up there either. I imagine California is a little different and much more crowded.

      The storage and craft room situation is an issue. The craft room will be solved but the storage feels like it will be ongoing!

      I hope I’m done with my cross-country moves. It was definitely an adventure!

      Reply
  7. Glad to here you’re both where you want to be. Even though I tend to like fall/winter/snow, I completely understand wanting to move to a warmer, sunnier environment. Winters in the Chicago area are brutal! I’ve experienced it.😕 I love that you’re getting a she shed also. Looking forward to seeing you getting back to crafting. You’ve inspired me over the years to start crafting and I have for a few years now.❤️🙂 Please be careful with all those critters around you, Greg and your cats!😬 Enjoy Florida!❤️🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks, Kayleen! Yup, the Chicago winters are loooong and brutal. I’m anti-winter on all levels. I can appreciate a pretty snowy scene in a picture, I don’t have to feel it!😉 Also, it makes for less laundry, which is also a bonus!

      I’m excited about the shed too. The heater/air conditioner is sitting in our garage and I have a mock up picture hanging in the office that keeps reminding me that it isn’t here yet! I can’t wait to get back to crafting and finally have a dedicated space and hopefully better lighting! Thanks for the compliment that I’ve inspired you to start crafting! ❤️ I hope it brings you joy!

      Reply
  8. congratulations and welcome to Florida. Having moved from Buffalo NY (aka) snow capital of the US, I had a full attic and a full basement..here I walk around in circles with stuff in my arms thinking “where can I put this”?..then we moved from the Tampa area to St. Augustine and the house has a bonus room upstairs, full bath too. so that is my craft room, all mine and my balzillion crafting items and supplies. I love living in Florida..never a regret, except a twinge in the fall

    Reply
    • Thank you, Dorothy! We are happy to be here! I have put away and rearranged everything about 10 times. My craft stuff is in boxes in the garage and some in the attic. I cannot wait to get all of that settled! You definitely scored with the bonus room! Hard to come by! St. Augustine is supposed to be beautiful! It’s on my list of places to visit. I have to go back north in a couple of weeks. I’m dreading it!

      Reply
  9. My cat loved moving to Florida. He went from a skittish angry cat to a mellow guy. We have a screened in porch which my current cat loves. And the Florida room is too hot in summer, but she loves it in the winter. Anoother thing to watch out for are the gray flamingo like birds that walk around like they own the place. and they are LOUD! Cars have to stop for them. And the drivers! Holy Crap! I live in kiissimmee and the main road is demolition derby. And the tourists make right turns from the left lane and vice versa. I only go places on Sunday if possible

    Reply
    • Sandra – I think my boys love it too! Pouffy is still skittish but he had a rough beginning in life. However, he does seem more confident. Grayson is just a chill dude by nature.

      Which birds are you talking about, the sandhill cranes? I haven’t seen many of them down here, but we had them up north in the summer. We have a lot of wood storks down here. I bet up by Kissimmee the tourists are terrible with Disney and everything being so close!

      Reply
  10. Hi! I so enjoyed reading your article! I’m in Ohio and we are getting ready to head to our home on Pine Island for the winter! You are so right about storage! Not to mention we do not have a garage either so that’s a huge game changer! Soon we will be full time residents and I cannot wait!

    Reply

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