The most important things in your home are people.” ~ Barbara Johnson

Let me give you a personal example of how a want-it-list can work. I purposely picked a very straightforward one so you can get the hang of how to put these lists together.

When my daughter Gina and I had to move from a house that we’d loved and had lived in for 10 years, I wrote a want list and called it, “What I want for my new place.” I had decided ahead of time what particular items on my must-have list were negotiable (you may decide after you make your list what items are negotiable or not).

Here’s the actual list:

  • Outside – balcony or patio (not negotiable)
  • On the Westside (not negotiable)
  • A place to paint (not negotiable)
  • Lots of light (not negotiable)
  • Monthly lease including everything $1,400 (negotiable)
  • Two-bedroom + something (not negotiable)
  • Washer and dryer inside (negotiable)
  • Good neighborhood – where I can walk to the coffee shop (not negotiable)
  • Safe (not negotiable)
  • Green – must have lots of trees (not negotiable)
  • Felix (our cat) has to be able to go outside (not negotiable)
  • No more than 15 minutes away from Gina’s school (negotiable)
  • Ready to move in for the most part (not negotiable)
  • 1,400+ square feet (negotiable)
  • 2 bathrooms (negotiable)


We leased a newly remodeled two-bedroom, one-bathroom duplex facing the back (toward the garden) with a double garage. It had safe parking and I could use half of the garage as my studio to paint. I had an outside area with a big garden and a patio, with a washer and dryer right outside my kitchen. It was in Culver City, a very up-and-coming neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, and we could walk everywhere including supermarkets, the movies, and the coffee shop. Felix could roam around, it was 20 minutes away from Gina’s school, and it had 1,200 square feet inside with lots of light and cost $1,600 but not inclusive.

When we moved in, we said it was the last rented house we would have before we bought. At that time, I had not even thought about selling my business. We did buy the house we wanted; just a year and a half later.

But we made do – our list showed me what we needed – what was essential – and what we could do without for the moment. Your list can show you such things.

Tell me, have you made lists of things – we’re not at your want-it-all list just yet – where you’ve compromised, knowing that you could move on and find something later? Let me know – your experience in choosing, in negotiating, is important to me, and to all of us on this journey. Thanks so much for sharing.


Image by Michael Albany Photography

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