There’s a lot to be said for Going Smaller. Since January of 2017, we’ve done our best to reduce, re-use, donate, and recycle. We went from a 2200 square foot home with a yard, to a 1500 sq foot apartment (complete with fleas), down to a less than 900 square foot apartment. We’ve learned some important lessons— first and foremost: you can go too small.
900 square feet is SMALL, folks. Especially for three humans, two cats, and a love of cooking and books (and cookbooks--some things don't translate well digitally).
We have learned the optimization of packing: this goes first, this goes last. Linens make great packing materials. Boxes can (and if you think you’re moving in a year, should) be stored. Laundry baskets make a great portage mechanism for local moves, allowing you to carry dishes (and reduce takeout orders), clothing (keep those hangers on and put things directly into their new home!), sheets (always have the beds made as soon as possible), and toys (reduce stress with the kiddo by allowing immediate availability of familiar objects).
This will be our third move in nine months—the last time we have moved prior to 2017 was from our Microsoft adjacent apartment to our 5-bedroom home in Lake Hills (Bellevue, WA)—in 1999. It’s funny how old knowledge resurfaces - and is applied - and yet, even these old dogs can learn new tricks.
What have we learned this time around?
There IS such a thing as too small. When you have a child, the proximity and safety of such things as walkable streets, parks, and recreation is very important. When these don’t exist or are in such limited quantities as to feel non-existent, it has an overall effect on your quality of life. You don’t go out, you don’t go for walks, you don’t leave your space. You feel trapped, claustrophobic, and in a constant state of flight.
It’s impossible to know if you will acclimate to an area without living there (Santa Monica was not our bag, baby). All the research in the world can’t equate to your own experience (e.g., your mileage may vary).
Sometimes, sacrifice is necessary for the right change. We have gambled breaking our lease on our tiny space in Santa Monica for a bigger, brighter space slightly further south. We changed our son’s daycare, in hopes we could find a better life at a more affordable cost. And we rolled the dice on commuting for the one of us who has to drive to work.
We have a lot to share in upcoming posts about how our life has changed, why we made the decisions we did, and how we got to this new place. Including important lessons on not feeling the need to fill up a much bigger place with more furniture just because we can.
What kinds of experiences have you had with a major up-sizing or down-sizing of your living space? Please share them – one of the major things we've learned is there is no one right way to move toward a minimalist lifestyle, no matter how you define that for yourself.