As someone who recently moved to The Sunshine State from the northern panhandle of West Virginia (near Pittsburgh), there was a lot to learn about living in a state 1,000 miles south of our hometown. As frequent visitors of Orlando prior to moving, I thought we had a good grip on the reality of living in Florida. However, there are just some things you need to experience to fully understand. Many of the changes we don’t miss about our transition from the snowy northern states to Central Florida. Learning from our first month as new residents, here are five things we realize northerners should not bring to live in Florida.
Heavy Clothing or Bedding
That heavy winter coat you keep in your closet or the big down comforter you would bust out on the coldest nights won’t do you any good in Florida. At the coldest, some mornings can dip into the 30s in the winter. From there, the day usually gets warmer. If you’re heading to the theme parks on a cold morning, you’re better off dressing in layers that can more easily be removed and stored in a backpack. The same goes for your bedding.
We have found a light quilt with additional light layers to be better than being stuck with a heavy, hot, and thick comforter. It’s fine to keep your jackets and things like gloves because they can be useful on chilly nights. But heavy winter gear will not get enough use to warrant keeping around. Our dogs even gave their winter coats away to dogs in need. You may want some heavier stuff, but you certainly won’t need them to the extent you did in the north.
Ice Scrapers, Snow Shovels, or Anything for Winter Weather
Okay, you may want a small ice scraper, because there was one morning when we noticed some ice on the car. But truthfully, I would rather defrost our car a little longer than store something we will use so little. But you definitely don’t need a snow shovel. Nor do you have any use for keeping a bag of rock salt. It just doesn’t get that cold here. Do yourself a favor and give those items to a friend or family member staying in the north. There is no sense in keeping things that won’t get used. This brings me to my next item…
Most Florida homes are on a concrete slab which means no basement. Most don’t have usable attics either. We have a crawl space attic we don’t want to bother with since I’m sure it’s a hot place to store stuff. Coming from a home with a large finished attic and basement, I thought we would really miss all that storage space. It turns out, we don’t. We purged and purged some more before we moved and realized we didn’t need all that junk hanging around our house. If you haven’t used it in a year or it hasn’t brought you joy in the past year, throw it out, sell it, or give it away. You’ll be surprised how many things you actually don’t need.
Your Sunday Driving
To me, Sunday Driving is a leisurely drive on a day when most people aren’t out and about. I remember how empty the roads were in Wheeling, WV on Sundays as we drove home from church. Don’t move to the Orlando area with that expectation. Sundays are busy and traffic can be tough. Locals are off work and making their way to the theme parks. People are on vacation. It’s busy and expecting a relaxing Sunday ride through Florida is not going to happen. We have found some of the best times to travel are on weekdays in the middle of the day during non-rush-hour times. Even then, it’s still busy but not as bad as it can be.
The Thought of Visiting the Parks Daily
Yes, you’ll live a lot closer to Walt Disney World, Universal, and other theme parks. Yes, you probably moved to be able to visit more often. But now you’ll no longer be a visitor on vacation. You’ll be a resident with a job and responsibilities. These might include getting the kids to school, taking care of your pets, etc. We try to make it to the parks once a week, but sometimes life just gets busy and you decide that day off is more responsibly spent mowing your grass, cleaning your house, and catching up on laundry. Sometimes you trade an evening at Universal for an evening at Target. You’ll get to go to Disney a lot, I promise. But maybe not as consecutively as you are used to.
Join the Conversation
I’m interested to hear your thoughts on living in Florida as a former Northerner. To take part in the conversations on all things related to Moving to Orlando, residing in Florida, and living near theme parks, join our Moving to Orlando Facebook group. Stay tuned to MovingtoOrlando.com to stay up to date on what’s going on in Central Florida.
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