Eight years ago, living small was just the first step after marriage. Find an apartment, any apartment, and throw a mattress on the floor. Soon, we moved to another apartment which we started to furnish and decorate and then we threw it all to the wind to move across the country. We landed in our new space, which we had rented after seeing four pictures, and realized it was tiny. It was a basement apartment and rather haphazardly designed, but we estimated it to be just under 500 square feet. There was something novel and charming about living in such a small space, but we never intended for it to be long term.
Seven years, several job changes, a baby, and a small renovation later – we’re still in the same apartment. Somewhere along the way we started considering our options. We watched the housing market in our town explode. We watched our friends struggle to purchase their first homes. We debated whether we wanted to give up our financial flexibility for savings and travel to afford a bigger space. The answer was ‘no’.
Part of us always assumed we’d move to a larger home and that had to be reconciled with our new plans. We always leaned towards minimalism, but we purged again and again until our space was comfortable and practical for our family in our current stage of life. Now, we make sure our possessions are an asset to us in the present. If something is no longer useful, we pass it on. We don’t buy or store things for a uncertain future.
While we embrace the decision to live small, we do have dreams that we put on hold. Matt would love a dedicated music studio. I would love an office. Sometimes all three of us would like just a little more space to separate from each other. We love to host friends and family, but our space is limiting. For overnight guests, we have perfected the shuffling of beds and sleeping arrangements, but how convenient a guest room would be!
The truth is, we will never have it all. Not in a small apartment, not in a big house. We always have to evaluate our priorities and right now that is to maintain a low cost of living so we can save and travel. The town we live in is crazy expensive, but to move away we would give up amazing relationships, all the outdoor activities we love, and careers that support our long term goals. We know we will never have it all, but for our family the things we gain from living in a small space far outweigh the sacrifices.
Megan Barnum– “The Truth About Living SMALL” : What does living in a small space look like for a family of 4? Probably not a whole lot different from you.
Little Bungalow– “Less Space, More Happiness” : In a small home, less space doesn’t equal more happiness. Except, of course, when it does.
600 Square Feet and a Baby– “The Truth About Living in a Small Family Home” : Living small as a family of four is sometimes uncomfortable, a bit awkward and never boring. Sharing the awkward and imperfect of living small with 4 humans that you always wanted to know (or maybe you didn’t.)
Shelley Vanderbyl– “Five Things You Don’t Need in a Small Home” : Gatekeeping is about recognizing what things you don’t need or want, and trying to keep those objects from coming into your home.
The Streamlined Life– “The Truth About Living Small: Less Possessions, Greater Value“: Just because you’re a minimalist family doesn’t mean you aren’t sentimental.
The Justice Pirate– “What Small Home Living is Like” : No matter if I lived in a cardboard box or a small home, I just like being with my family, who are my home.
RISING*SHINING– “The Truth About Living in a Small(ish) Family Home” : A smaller home is why we’re able to live such a full life.
Tiny Ass Camper– “I Didn’t Know Tiny Living Was For Me” : My thoughts on the give and take of living tiny.
Family Pedals– “Location Trumps Size” : The truth is, it has been our home’s location–not size–that has determined our happiness in a given space.