As some of you know. We’ve settled life into a 900 sq.ft. mid century bungalow. While we have loved every minute of the past 4 years spent living small, it has also taught us so many lessons, tricks, and tips that I thought would be fun to share in a new series called “Small Space Living”!
I want to kick off the series with chatting about the how we unintentionally ended up living small and 3 surprising lessons it has taught me!
We didn’t set out on a path to live small. When we were home searching, one of our priorities was the proximity to Ryan’s work. He works long and hard hours and the thought of him sitting in traffic or having to wait an extra hour to see him just wasn’t something I wanted. We set a radius from his hospital and asked our realtor to find us something in that area. Truthfully, we didn’t know what he would come up with. The 5-mile radius included everything from Condos to old homes that had seen better days to homes that had been completely flipped.
But… when we walked into our home, we knew it was perfect. A young family lived here and we could see ourselves starting our family here. It had just the perfect amount of character and charm and it was within our budget and radius. It lacked one important thing that was tough to get past… square footage. After touring close to 15 homes, we sort of knew that a bigger home in our desired neighborhood just wasn’t in our budget… we were left with two choices, commute for a bigger home or live small and be close to Ryan’s work. We decided that location was more important for us. Even though it was one of the smaller homes we looked at, the lot and renovations for the price were such a great deal that we knew we could make it work.
3 Surprising Lessons Learned From Living Small
In the past 4 years, this home has taught us so much. Some lessons we needed and some we didn’t know we needed. It has challenged our mindsets and transformed the way we live and for that we are so grateful.
Let me start by saying that these past 4 years have been a challenge. Ryan has been knee deep into a surgery residency (I get a medal for that too) and we welcomed twins right in the middle of that. We’ve had a lot of life and challenges over the past 4 years which brings me to my first surprising lesson. Communication…
We are terrible communicators. Seriously… I prefer rage texts and Ryan wants to fix all my rage texts right away. We hear each other in ways neither of us intend to and both our words usually come out all wrong. Despite our lack in ability to communicate effectively, living in a small home has taught us that there simply is no other choice. There is no space between us and so staying mad or annoyed at one another really isn’t an option. This has also played a role in our parenting. If we get angry with the babes or upset, we have to speak to them about it. Besides their own room, there really isn’t a place I can send them so I don’t see or hear them. I have to confront the issue and communicate with them. This helps us as a family. They are exposed to our emotions and truly learn from them, for better or worse.
The second surprising lesson learned is that we inadvertently became minimalists. I have ALWAYS LOVED TO PURGE. Even as a young kid, I would get a high off of hosting garage sales with my mom… going through our home and pulling all the unused items out and selling them off to someone who would find them as treasure, it was so relieving. Living small has turned my purge mindset into a less is more mindset. I have less to purge because I don’t own as many things. There is no space for things. Our walls hold memories, not unused stuff and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When you live small, clutter can quickly pile up. It has taken 4 years to teach us that less is truly more. More space to think, more space to move, wiggle, and more space to love each other. With less things distracting us from each other, we are forced to spend time together. We are also forced to truly think about things before we bring them into the home. Where will we put it and what will we do with it when we’re done. Will it have resell value, will it hold up to the abuse of kids so I can resell it. These are all things I contemplate before making purchases now.
The last truly surprising lesson that living small has taught me is appreciation of culture. We chose to live urban because it was close to Ryan’s work, we didn’t really have any other good reasons for wanting to be in a central neighborhood. I had no idea the lessons it would teach me about culture. Because our home is so tiny, the babes and I do a lot of walking around the surrounding neighborhoods and into downtown. We see all walks of life. Those that have nothing but a sleeping bag to those who live in million dollar condos. So much variety in life and I love it. I grew up in a suburban small town and while I loved my childhood, there is something so special about getting to see these different walks of life. Living small forces you to get out of the comfort of your own home which inevitably will expose you to different walks of life and hopefully create an appreciation for different cultures! It certainly has for me.
So there you have it. The first of my new series… I already have some topics I’ve written about to share with you in regards to small spaces and can’t wait to share more! Happy Saturday y’all!