Thursday, July 5, 2018

A year in Review of Small house living

We are nearing one year in this house......and I thought I would do a recap for you of the things we have loved about living in a smaller house (all 1300sq. ft. of it!) and the challenges we've faced. So many times on the web, it can feel like things are very black and white, amazing or awful, perfect or bad. Really though, most of life is in the in-between. 
(Where we love to entertain most days:)
First of all, I should start out saying- we LOVE our house. I still get the feeling of "I get to live here?!" whenever I drive home, and it's also the first home that I've told Connor "I don't want to ever leave". When we bought our first house in Indiana, it was purely mechanical- I did not love it (though I loved things about it), but it made a lot of sense, and Connor and I had peace that it was the right thing to do. After that, I never expected to have a different house buying experience (especially considering the prices in Boston and our smaller budget). So, I was completely taken aback by the blessing that is our current home. Does that mean it's perfect? No, but I am completely in love with it- imperfections and all.

So, let's start with the good. Because we have a small home, the outdoors has basically become a part of our living space. Weather providing, we are outside a ton. Thankfully, our yard has a ton of old trees which provide a lot of shade, so it's even comfortable outside on hot days. I love that our kids get to spend so much time outside in nature like I did as a kid. We also entertain outdoors a lot. It's a work in progress (lots of future plans), but my goal is to make our outdoor space as comfortable and fun as possible (for adults and kids) so that everyone wants to hang out there.

Other things I love about having a small home:
  1. It's easy to clean and keep up......I can almost vacuum each floor without having to move the plug to another electrical outlet.
  2. I'm less prone to make impulse purchases or shop out of boredom (because there's no space for things that we don't need)
  3. I'm surrounded by my favorite things (because there's not room for "filler" items), and having a small home has helped me distinguish what I love from what is simply popular/trendy.
  4. There is no wasted space. Everything must be practical and optimally serve more than one purpose- the practical and minimal side of me loves this.  
  5. Imaginative play for my kids has taken off. Because there's even less room for big entertaining toys in this house than our last one, I have watched my girls spend hours pretending and creating....and I love this!  
  6. House projects are less overwhelming. Sure I still get overwhelmed by the long list of things I want to do, but it's less overwhelming since I'm not working with a huge amount of square footage that I need to fill up with furniture and then transform. 
  7. Togetherness. I love my little family, and that we are all together all the time.
(Our "adorable" master closet:)
The challenges with having a small home:
  1.  Entertaining. This has been the number one challenge for me if I'm honest. I can get over the other hurdles fairly easily, but I've had to work harder to get through this one. Day to day, I love living in our smaller home, but when I want to invite friends over I can struggle. I'm the type of person that wants everyone to be having fun and for everyone to be comfortable, so I had to make a decision to not apologize about the size of our home when we entertain friends indoors. I also had to make the decision to not let the size of our home keep us from entertaining. 
  2. Just as a small house is easy to clean- it gets messy super fast. I vacuum almost daily, and have had to learn to let things go on days where the kids are having fun in the living room and therefore the entire house feels like a disaster.
  3. Closet space. In our last home near downtown Boston, we learned real quick to be fine with switching out our summer/winter clothes, and with Connor taking over the coat closet for his clothes. We have done this again, and store our coats in a makeshift closet in the unfinished basement. We also have plans for adding more shelving in our powder room and living room (more on those later), to help with storage.
  4. Togetherness. The flip side of this seemingly good coin is that there isn't really a quiet space to retreat to. If Connor or I are taking work calls at home, it can make things difficult........and I'm definitely planning on a sound machine for when the baby comes. 
To summarize, the love we have for our little home far outweighs any challenges we've had to figure out. It has really helped that little old houses are very much a part of the norm here in New England. Everyone seems to have a "no big deal, just make it work" mentality,  and I've really enjoyed being surrounded by that positive way of thinking.