With its lively culture, rich history, and bustling entertainment industry, it is no wonder New York is often referred to as the greatest city in the world. The Big Apple certainly has a lot to offer. Yet, there is an increasing trend of people moving out of New York, as well as other urban centers, in search of quieter neighborhoods, decreased living expenses, and, of course, more space.
If you have a growing family or four-legged friend, the promise of increased living space can make moving out of the city all the more appealing. Here is what your family and dog can gain from urban flight—along with how to reap some of those benefits without leaving your city.
Increased Interior Space
Moving out of the city can get you a lot more bang for your buck. Suddenly, options like buying instead of renting become feasible. So, not only do you get more room, but you can get a return on your investment.
While the general idea of “more space” is always appealing, you should decide what you and your family would benefit from most. This may include:
Type of space: For example, if you have an elderly dog, a large bungalow with no stairs is more ideal than a 3-story home.
Family-Oriented Rooms: A family room to play games or dining room to eat as a family.
Play Space: A playroom or play corner. These designated play zones can keep toys confined and give your kids their own space to play.
Organization: Extra storage or a garage to help keep things tidy and uncluttered.
Alone Zones: Separate bedrooms for the kids, a dog house, a she shed, or a man cave.
Want to stay in the city?
You might be able to make more room by moving a few blocks over, or even staying right where you are.
- Look for homes in developing neighborhoods. You may have fewer amenities at your fingertips, but often these homes come with more room—and a cheaper price tag. Plus, you can make up for lost conveniences with services like grocery delivery and pet store delivery.
- Declutter your home. You might be surprised how much more space you gain when you start to pare down your belongings.
- Consider self-storage. Great to get things like seasonal decor and recreational equipment out of your main living area.
Homes in the city often lack personal outdoor space to do things like relax, garden, and play. When you move out of an urban center, you may want to jump at the first home with a backyard, but consider a few additions.
For example, for kids and dogs, a fence is always a good idea. This means they can run around with minimal supervision—quite the contrast to city living! You may also want space for a dog house or backyard dog park. And if there is room for a garden, growing your own food can reduce your grocery bill and be an excellent activity for you and your kids. However, if your pup is a digger, you might want to consider fencing the garden off.
Want to stay in the city?
You probably won’t be able to score a place with a huge backyard, but there are many ways to get you and your family outside.
- Go to your local park or find a dog park to stretch your legs and get active.
- Work a lot? Hire a dog walker or find a local doggy daycare. This way, you know your dog is getting out for regular walks.
- Build a container garden. You can do this on a small patio, balcony, or even in front of a sunny window.
Noise & Traffic Reduction
Between the constant traffic and construction projects, the city tends to get loud. While over time you have probably adjusted to these sounds, your dog may be another story. Plus, you have to remember that unlike you, your dog can’t exactly leave the house at leisure to escape these noises.
When searching for a new home outside of the city, look to those tucked away from busy streets. Not only can the lack of traffic reduce noise, but it can be much safer for your pup!
Have kids? Reduced traffic also equates to more space. It isn’t uncommon for kids to be able to safely bike and play on quieter streets. So even if you don’t have a backyard, they can still play outside near your home. Websites like Trulia.com not only assess the level of traffic on a street, but you can also find information on each listing regarding how dog-friendly and kid-friendly neighborhoods are.
Want to stay in the city?
There are a few options to reduce noise:
- Use noise reducing curtains to muffle some of the sounds.
- Get your dog some noise-canceling headphones, such as Mutt Muffs, to put on occasionally.
- Or, you can replace some of the noise with dog music. This holistic approach for dogs can help them destress and reduce overall anxiety. Try music from sources like iCalm. Or, there are even free YouTube playlists for dogs.
- Move to an area that is slightly less central. Depending on the city, this can make a significant impact on the amount of traffic and noise
- Find a place built from brick and plaster instead of drywall and studs. Brick and plaster aren’t common in modern builds, but can often be found in historic buildings. Bonus: This will also dull the noise from any neighbors.
Moving away from the city comes with many benefits. However, if you and your family aren’t quite ready, you can also find ways to enhance your space right where you are. Either way, whether you decide to move or simply make a few adjustments, both your family and dog will thank you for the extra space.
Nancy Zafrani is the general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in NYC. A day-one employee of Oz, she has 25 years of experience in the moving industry. As a New Yorker, Nancy also has lots of experience dealing with small apartments and organizing.