Choosing to love our small home

by Decemberbaby

Our house is small; I’ve mentioned that many times before.

I’ve also mentioned that we’re unsure of whether we should renovate or move when this house becomes too cramped for us.

After a lot of research, hours of discussion, and many spreadsheets (my husband is an engineer. Every major decision gets its own spreadsheet,) we have decided to take the third option. We have decided to stay put.

It sounds odd, but there it is. When we asked the question, “what problem are we trying to solve?” the answer was that our house feels crowded and cramped, and that there isn’t room for our stuff. Our STUFF. Not “there’s no room for our kids to play” or “we don’t have space to entertain the way we’d like.” We have plenty of space for the people… but not for the stuff. Am I the only person who thinks that’s a really sickening reason to move? Talk about first world problems.

We know that we have too much stuff. We have so much stuff that we don’t even know what most of it is. During the summer Mr. December and I spent a couple of days clearing space in our basement rec room, and we unearthed most of Mr. December’s life as a bachelor as well as much of our early married life; quirky cocktail shakers, a once-prized alcohol dispenser, an entire box of things to re-gift, even dishes that came from his student hovel. All that stuff made its way to the curb economy. Whatever remained went in the garbage. And we still have more stuff.

Our house isn’t like an episode of Hoarders. We’re more like the people who call Hoarders and offer themselves up only to be told that they’re nowhere near as cluttered as the TV show’s guidelines require. But there’s stuff everywhere, and when we remove it there’s more stuff, and it’s just too much. It’s enough to make me think – fleetingly – of how nice it would be to start from absolute scratch the way people do after a natural disaster. Not that I would ever, EVER wish for any kind of disaster to befall us (or anyone); it’s just the thought of being able to have only exactly what we need without having to dig through boxes and piles of our old stuff.

Anyhow, as I was saying… that’s not a reason to move. We love our home, and we’ve invested so much of ourselves (also our money, but moreso our time, sweat, and creative energy) in making this house work for us. We don’t want to leave, and that’s that.

And since we’ve decided to stay put, something has to give. Our new plan is to get rid of all the junk over the next few months, and then make small modifications to the house that will enable us to stay here as long as possible. It’ll be a great winter for DIY projects (did I mention I got a great deal on a circular saw and a table saw? $100 for both!)

Someday, hopefully soon, I’d like to take you all on a photo tour of my house so that you can see why we love it so much. In the meantime, tell me: do you move frequently, or do you like to stay in one home for a long time? Do you find moving easy? Difficult? I want to know.

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4 Comments to “Choosing to love our small home”

  1. applause applause!!! I used to move frequently – would get bored of the space I was in or sick of my cigarette smoking neighbours and head to a new place, often with my close friend and best room-mate! as a result, my life was pared down and moving was not a huge deal. Then I hooked up with sariel and we bought a house. a big house (supposed to be filled with kids….but this is your blog, not mine!!!). instead of kids, we filled it with stuff. lots of stuff. cool stuff. crappy stuff. all kinds of stuff. last summer we decided that we had too much stuff and the house was too big for two people. we purged and purged and purged some more. sold stuff, gave it away and, sadly, lots went to the garbage (why were we keeping this stuff???). we bought a condo and have a LOT LESS STUFF!!! less room too but, most importantly, less stuff!!!! And we love it. I could even see downsizing some more at some point (we’re in a two bedroom right now) not that we need to.

    Good luck with your projects – your place is special and wonderful and your neighbourhood is great!!

    peace
    shlomit

  2. We stay put. I expect to stay in our current home until we are too old to maintain it, or our health requires us to be nearer necessary facilities. It is a farm so there’s a different tie to it than a house in the city. We’ve got a goat cheese business and invested a lot of money into the on-farm processing facility so moving wouldn’t just be a new house, it would mean giving up a business and a lifestyle.
    Our house is older, parts of it were built in the 40s, and bits have been added on since then. It’s 1.5 stories, and under 900sqft on the main floor. I think it’s closer to 800sqft but I’m not sure. When we first moved here we had big plans to put on an addition but we were basing those dreams on the income we had at the time. Since I quit my city planning job to become an at-home cheese-maker/mom that income has dropped substantially. We’ve come to realize that the house we have meets almost all our current needs. The one thing we do intend to change is the bathroom situation. We have one bathroom. It’s on the main floor directly off of the kitchen. It’s also the laundry room. We can’t really change the location of it, but we do plan to put a second bathroom in the basement. Our bedroom is on the main floor. The the upstairs half-story has three bedrooms that aren’t huge, but aren’t cramped either. We have two children at the moment and are hoping to have at least one, possibly two, more. It’s not going to hurt any of them to share rooms.
    We’ve spent a fair amount of time upgrading things like heating (electric to geothermal) and adding insulation to the outside. We pulled down some drywall (and the plaster & lathe underneath) to reinsulate the walls. We’ve had people ask us why we didn’t just tear this house down and start new, but that seemed wasteful to us.

  3. We love our home too, the first we have owned, and have been here 8 years. Prior to that we rented and moved frequently due to work/study/etc circumstances. At one point my aim in life was to maintain one postal address for more than 2 years! Our home is small by local standards, although larger than some we’ve lived in. It’s on a small inner suburban block with a tin-roofed, weatherboard “character” house about 100 years old, with only one bathroom and no garage, our car is just parked on the street. We are also hoarders of the moderate kind. Plus we have a child (need I say more?) We saved the day by having our roof space turned into a usable storage attic, with a retractable ladder. This has enabled me to keep a lot of *ahem* essential craft stash items that would take up too much space in the house, plus things like our sukkah, the cushions we only use for Pesach, etc. As nice as it might be to have a second bathroom or somewhere to house the car, we love this house so much I can’t imagine leaving it. There are massive, wonderful trees in the little backyard, stained glass around the front door, a beautiful pressed metal ceiling in our lounge, and we are close to almost everything, which means we can walk to school, shops, cycle to work, take public transport into the city etc. Plus, as a result of knowing we had a permanent home, we now own at least 500% more stuff than we arrived with, and I do NOT fancy packing and moving it!!!

  4. I am comforted that two of my favorite bloggers have small, cluttered houses they are nonetheless loathe to leave. I hear you, I am one of you. Trying to cut down the clutter is an ongoing thing. I am certain that if we added on to the house or moved to a bigger one, I would instantly fill the new spaces with more clutter.
    Some sort of law of physics, I’m sure.

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