This month marks our 5th anniversary in this house. It seemed great at first but about 2 years ago, I realized we never did, and never will, need this much space.
We moved out of a cute little townhouse of about 1300 sqft. There wasn’t anything special about it-totally typical 2 bed 2 1/2 bath place built in 2006. By the end of our third year there we were screaming about how small it was and how we needed a bigger house with a yard for our dogs. Hysterical notion looking back.
When we moved into our new place that was built during the same time period at double the size on a quarter acre lot, we rejoiced. The space we needed! And the same payment!
Then reality set in. We didn’t have enough room. I figured we just collected more stuff so a thorough cleaning out was in order. So we donated a lot of stuff to Goodwill. Helped, but the house was still a mess. I totally got how our old closet was overflowing, but the new closet was twice the size. There was no reason for this! So I set out on a mission to better utilize the space we had.
Lesson 1: Proper storage is key.
I got some of those adjustable Rubbermaid systems for our closet. I was totally guessing on the layout when I started but when I was done, we were able to move out dressers into the closet. And it was tidy. And it mostly stays that way except for laundry day. I was even able to roll my sewing station in there. That was the day I realized our house was too big.
Lesson 2: One person cannot cook, clean and maintain this size house when other people and pets live there.
At least, not while working a full time job with 2 hours of commute time a day. Maintaining this property is a full time job. I spend every evening cleaning and most of my weekend either fixing something or keeping up the yard to HOA standards. Rare is the moment I can relax and enjoy the space around me. Where’s the fun in that?
Lesson 3: People just wanna have fun.
Nobody wants to spend all their days and nights living in a mess or toiling away their lives working on their living space (at least the sane people). Yes, I enjoy it to a degree which is why I’m always waiste deep in DIY projects, but this is just ridiculous. If I miss a day of scrubbing something then I’m already 2 days behind. I want to read a new book. I want to take my dogs to the park. I want to be able to get sick and not have to spend a week trying to put my surroundings back in order. (Let the universe please note that I do not want to get sick and that this was merely and example!)
Lesson 4: Nobody needs as much space as they think they do.
We need less stuff and less space than we think. I went all Konmari and cleaned out a lot of things and that helped. There are empty drawers and empty shelves in our cabinets in our kitchen. The space is all wrong for what we kept, but that goes back to Lesson 1. I’m working on a (DIY) plan for accommodating the awkward items. And yes, I’ll definitely share that project with you!
The bottom line is I now know that the quality of the space we have is better than having lots of space. Awkward shaped rooms, long hallways and poor storage choices waste a lot of the house and keeping things simple and small allow for freedom of your time and money. Often,m when upsizing, we taking into consideration the mortgage and tax and utility increases in our budget, but not other things such as double the house means double the cleaning supplies and time to maintain it. If we choose multifunctional spaces instead of lots of individual rooms, we can live larger on less. And that is exactly what I plan to do in our next home.