This week, we moved into a new house. Well, compared to our “old house,” this one is actually an old house. And it’s a small house, too. It’s our first experience of living in an old home- it was built in the fifties and has all kind of character and quirks it’s gained over the years. Our last home was built in 1998- so there’s definitely a big difference.
But the biggest difference is the size.
We moved from a home with four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and a large, open concept family room/ kitchen and dining area to an every-room-is-small, two bedroom home.
This has been the biggest adjustment. Why a family of two that became a family of three needed four bedrooms, I can’t tell you. But we found a way to fill all four rooms. And even after going through a huge overhaul and purge of our entire home, we still moved to our much smaller home with a whole lot of stuff.
Each day I catch myself wishing I just had an extra room to put things in. Or a bigger kitchen (yes, always wishing that one). But when it comes down to it, this home is way cozier than our last one. Every room is used and filled with what we need. Any more than the essentials will crowd us out.
It’s not like we chose this home without seeing it first. We knew how small it was. We intentionally made the choice to choose a two bedroom home- just enough space for us right now, with room to expand if we need to. But it still feels like an odd choice at times, since we’re downsizing from a bigger home.
We live in a culture of excess- one where bigger is better. One where you climb the ladder and make more money and buy the bigger home.
We live in a culture where downsizing means moving backwards.
But what if it isn’t? What if, sometimes, staying home to raise a baby is the choice you make instead of climbing the ladder. What if ending a career is exactly what you feel called to do...at 27 years old?
And what if downsizing is a part of that- and it’s also a part of a new value system where more and bigger is not better?
Less is the way we are moving.
Sometimes, it’s an uphill battle. It’s a battle against my mindset. The one where I think a shiny, open, new kitchen would be better than a less functional, but cozy (aka small) one. The one where I worry about what people will think of us choosing a two bedroom house. The mindset where I still believe I need more stuff, and therefore I need more places to put the stuff. The mindset I’m trying to rid myself of.
I’m not trying to change my mindset because I want to be foreword thinking and on trend. Not because it’s the cool thing to do. I’m changing it because I have to. Because I can’t do this life as a mom when I’m completely anxious and overwhelmed all the time.
I found that my anxiety and overwhelm had a lot to do with all I had to manage- and so much of that was my home, and all of the stuff in it.
So I’m continuing to reach for less, for simple, for minimizing until it almost hurts. Because I know that what I need is so much less than what I think I need. And I know that letting go of my mindset of excess takes some bending and breaking in the process.
This small home, this is an essential step in our minimalist journey.
Here’s why it’s a good idea for us, and why we’ve chosen a smaller home:
1. Less space is forcing us to have less stuff.
Either minimize our stuff, or face a completely cluttered home every day. Our bedrooms are small. Our bathrooms are small. Our kitchen is tiny, and our dining room is, too. Are you sensing a theme here? In each room, every inch of space counts. If we don’t want to feel crowded in our home, we have to boil our stuff down to only what is essential. And that’s what we’re doing.
2. We’re figuring out what is truly needed and truly loved.
When it comes to possessions, we tend to have a whole lot of them. And only some are necessary, useful, or bring us joy in some way. We are getting rid of so much more than we did even in our initial purge. I am learning more about myself, and reminding myself what I actually need in the kitchen (not what everyone says I need). This goes for every room in the house. What is necessary? What is beautiful? What do we love? Everything else has to go.
3. It fits our lifestyle better.
The home we were in before had room to grow- but it also got hard to make ends meet when I decided I wanted to be home with my baby. Staying home with Gemma is extremely important to me. Having a large home is not nearly as important. So we chose a home that fit well in our budget. Downsizing is helping me be able to stay home with Gemma. And I’m forever grateful for that.
4. A small home means we’re closer together.
The first night in our home, we had a ton of family over. A small home, to me, doesn’t mean I can’t fit a million people in it. I’ve got a big family, and we’re used to all crowding into a tiny home- we’ve been doing it for years. And I plan for my home to be the next small home to crowd a bunch of us into. And when it comes to immediate family, a small home means we can’t just go in another room, far away, and hide from one another. Less space keeps us closer. It makes it so we can’t stay mad at each other because we’re constantly sharing space.
5. It simply feels cozy.
The smaller rooms feel sweet and simple. Though we did love our Virginia home, the big open rooms sometimes felt a little cold. The warmth of this home, even in our current, half-unpacked state, is undeniable.
I’ll admit that downsizing has been harder than I expected. The idea of a smaller home was much more exciting than actually getting in it and getting down to the minimizing, purging, and learning to live well in the space.
But this small, sweet house is becoming our home. With each day, it’s growing on me. It’s becoming the home that I love. And it’s growing me into the person I want to become- the one that doesn’t need bigger and more to be happy. The person that isn’t overwhelmed by the clutter in her home, because it simply doesn’t exist. The mom that has time to enjoy her daughter, and even do the things she loves to do, because her home and stuff doesn’t overtake her and take up her time.
This is who I want to be. I want to simplify. I want to be a small-home person. And I’m becoming her more and more with each day.
Stay tuned for pictures of the house (I can’t take them yet because boxes are still kinda everyhere) & tips on small home living. Sign up for my weekly 5 things email so you don’t miss a post!
Feel like a life of less might be your thing, too? Check out my free resource to help you get started decluttering & learn what minimalism can look like for moms (or anyone, really!) It’s realistic minimalism- and it’s life changing. Because less overwhelm and less cleaning are always good things, right?!