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1200 sq. ft house = simplified life or nightmare? - Page 4

post #61 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I wouldn't do it by choice. I like my space.
Me, too.

I like being able to send kids to another room to play so I can read a book. I like leaving a project on the formal dining room table overnight. I love having some "privacy" space between my bedroom and the kid's bedrooms.
post #62 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Me, too.

I like being able to send kids to another room to play so I can read a book. I like leaving a project on the formal dining room table overnight. I love having some "privacy" space between my bedroom and the kid's bedrooms.
ITA!



i do all those things (1350 sq ft . . . it's 850 plus a finished attic). i send the kids upstairs, or outside, or to go take a bath, lol - or i read in bed. if for some reason i do a project on the dining room table instead of on my big sewing table in my craft space, i can leave it there overnight and we can eat breakfast (and lunch, if need be) on the breakfast bar of our kitchen, or in the car as we run around, or out on the porch. kids' room is upstairs, my bedroom is downstairs - not that i'm sleeping down there yet (still cosleeping upstairs), but when we're ready: hello, privacy!

don't get me wrong, i can think of reasons i'd enjoy a bigger house. size matters, but layout matters more! . . . i love my small (or imo normal) house, and i'm glad you love your big house. it just struck me as funny because all those things are totally doable for me too!
post #63 of 89
We live in an 800 sq. ft, 2 story, 2 bdrm duplex. I hate it. I was really excited about moving in, b/c I too wanted to declutter and simplify, but I was being overly optimistic. The worst part is the kitchen which is tiny and has no counter space (the dryer in the corner doesn't help either). You cant open the fridge all the way w/o hitting the counter. I got a kitchen cart, but its not enough. I feel closed in all the time. We also don't have but 2 closets-- one downstairs that houses the mini washing machine and the big one upstairs that you literally have to crawl into. It feels impossible to organize, b/c everytime I need anything I have to dig through everything else. Dd's room (which had no bed b/c we co-sleep, but had all her toys etc) is now the home office for xp, so the living room and other bedroom are littered with toys. I wish I had designated spaces to put things, but theres just no storage. I feels like cluttered chaos all the time and we don't have that much stuff.

I think wanting to downsize is noble, but you have to be really honest with yourself about what you need-- if you don't think you'll be able to deal with the small, storage-less kitchen, you won't.
post #64 of 89
Congratulations on being under contract!

I'm curious, since you're interested in making the most of the space, why you'd be storing furniture in your basement? You said you plan to stay in the house about five years, so it's furniture you won't use for five years? Why store it?
post #65 of 89
We are a family of 5 living in a 1300sf home right now.
We moved here from a beautiful, new home that had 2100sf finished plus and unfinished basement (completely usable for storage and play) and an unfinished upstairs (we never used.)
Sometimes I miss the space. But I don't miss the constantly cleaning. Constant.

I'm still unpacking here but so far I can really see that this smaller space (we lived here before and just moved back...so I did know what I was getting into) takes about 60% less of my time. So I can spend more time with my children and with cooking and with knitting.

We have a tiny 1 car garage that will be used for some storage but mostly for dh's home office. Then we have a storage shed for things that can be stored long-term that are not temperature-sensitive. And we have a huge, fenced yard. Without the yard we would be in trouble. The house feels too small for so much kid-energy but because we can open the door and let them FREE it takes care of that.

The thing with smaller spaces is: declutter viciously

Before we moved back home I spent a month decluttering. We got rid of about 30% of our furniture (donations, freecycle, friends) and about 60% of our non-furniture stuff. I cannot count how many trips we took to the thrift store to donate or had friends over to go through stuff and choose what they could use.

There are very few things that I am sentimental enough about to keep moving them cross state lines.

So I cleared out. Even if a thing was useful, it didn't mean that I needed to own it. I could give it to someone who really needed it...so I did.

Decluttering also made the move more sane. We were able to fit everything in to the moving truck with room to spare. We were able to load the truck and unload the truck without killing ourselves. And less stuff just makes me feel more at peace.

I believe that our children need more of US then they need the stuff we fill our houses with. So if I can spend less time picking up, cleaning, reorganizing...that's a very good thing.
post #66 of 89
I wish all I had was 1200 square feet to manage.

Any more than that is too much.
post #67 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama2Xander View Post
We're a family of 5 in 650 sq ft and feel like we have plenty of space

I think you'd be fine We have an extremely skewed perspective in this part of the world about how much space and stuff we "need".
we have somewhere around 1500 sq ft. and i have no problem with it. we may put an addition on later, but we'll see. i have no problem with the space at all. when we had been her 1 motnh we had dd2's b-day with about 40 people (adults and kids) and it was no problem.

we do have a skewed idea of how much space we need. have you ever seen the books, not so big house?
the idea is quality over quantity. and, really, a great way to live green is to not take up so much space. really think about what we *need* as opposed to what we want. we are super consumers as americans, and our ideas about houses just fall into that.
post #68 of 89
I have to say that personality is a big factor here too. Dp & I are both introverts who like our space, but we have a dd1 who is an anxious extrovert. So even if we had a mansion with 400 rooms, she will ALWAYS want to be close to us, lol, preferably on our lap or on the same piece of furniture! So it doesn't seem to matter if we have a beautiful play space in another part of the house, she will rarely play there alone.
That being said, I think we also really like having separate bedrooms with walls, so that noise doesn't become a big factor. Same reason we are fans of multi-storey houses rather than bungalows or apartments--psychologically, we both like having the separate spaces.

We are still very excited about decluttering, simplifying & living in a smaller space. But I'll come back and update in 3 weeks after we've moved into our new house--maybe I'll have changed my mind
post #69 of 89
Thread Starter 
OP here. SubliminalDarkness and maybe a few others commented on storing furniture in the basement. Most of our furniture has come from parents and grandparents (some of whom have died), so a lot of the pieces have memories attached. That's why I need to lurk around here -- I need help letting go of "things" that I feel guilty getting rid of. I mean, I know it's ridiculous to keep an old pie crust table that is not practical to have with 2 young children, but it was my grandmother's! And I could go on and on with just about everything we own! And the frugal/poor side of me thinks why donate this perfectly useful dresser when we might need it in 5 years. HELP!

As others have said -- I am ok with moving to a smaller space. It has always been important to us to not buy new construction (and this is our 4th home purchase). That's not a judgement on anyone else, just how we feel! I like being with DD, 3, and DS, 1. We're always in the same room. I expect as they get older, things will change, but for now -- I'm excited!

But any inspiration for letting go of family (old/antique) furniture would be appreciated!
post #70 of 89
I grew up in a house that has 1800sf (and no garage, basement, or attic) and it always felt large (family of 4).

I was living in 860sf with my DH and 2 kiddos, and we are about to move (for 1-2 years) into a 550sf apartment. So, I think 1200 sounds big!

I have personally VICIOUSLY purged with this move. I am worried about living in 550sf, but I think we'll make it work. While kids are young, I've found they want to be around me anyway.

I'm with others- don't store stuff you won't use. Give it away to someone who will really love and appreciate it. Or sell it and use the money in 5 years to buy new furniture.
post #71 of 89
Do you have an actual living family member who is putting pressure on you to keep the furniture, or is it all internal pressure?
post #72 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishpony View Post
OP here. SubliminalDarkness and maybe a few others commented on storing furniture in the basement. Most of our furniture has come from parents and grandparents (some of whom have died), so a lot of the pieces have memories attached. That's why I need to lurk around here -- I need help letting go of "things" that I feel guilty getting rid of. I mean, I know it's ridiculous to keep an old pie crust table that is not practical to have with 2 young children, but it was my grandmother's! And I could go on and on with just about everything we own! And the frugal/poor side of me thinks why donate this perfectly useful dresser when we might need it in 5 years. HELP!

As others have said -- I am ok with moving to a smaller space. It has always been important to us to not buy new construction (and this is our 4th home purchase). That's not a judgement on anyone else, just how we feel! I like being with DD, 3, and DS, 1. We're always in the same room. I expect as they get older, things will change, but for now -- I'm excited!

But any inspiration for letting go of family (old/antique) furniture would be appreciated!
Take pictures for your sentimental side and sell on Craigslist for your poor/frugal side And in five years when you need a dresser, check out Craigslist again because someone is bound to be selling a nice used one at a great price In other words, you can bless someone else's life right now by providing some lovely furniture that they really need, and later, you'll be blessed the same way. And you can honor your relatives and their generosity by keeping pictures and many good memories!
post #73 of 89
If you find a space you love, no matter. the size, it will work for you. I know people who live in anywhere from 450 to 4500 and they each have their own issues and loves. Find what works for you. I have found in a smaller space with 3, I am forced to keep it decluttered and it does make my life easier. Just the other day, my boss told me she was stopping by to drop off some work related products and I had about 2 hours notice. I did a quick dusting, vacuum and cleaned up the bathroom and VOILA!! THe house was sparkling because I wasn't worried about stuff and not having enough time to clean ALL that space (which used to be a huge problem for me). You can make a space work if you love it to begin with. If it's other people's opinions that are causing you the angst, dig a little deeper to recognize how YOU feel. Good luck and keep us posted. : )
post #74 of 89
We just move from 1800 + unfinished basement (but fine for playing and lots and lots of storage) to 1400 square feet, no basement, teeny attic (aout 100 sq feet) for storage.

so far (it's been a month), it's good. We have 3 littles, 4 months, 2, and 4, and like someone said, it's not like they've ever been more than 2 feet away from me anyway, so I don't have that to compare to. They've always been right up in my pocket. We plan to live here 5-7 years, and I expect by then, I'll want more space, but for right now, this works well for us. In many ways, it lives a lot bigger than our old house.
post #75 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishpony View Post

But any inspiration for letting go of family (old/antique) furniture would be appreciated!
If you love it, keep it and put it to use. If you love it and have no use for it, pass it along to someone else who will love it and use it. If you don't love it, sell it and enjoy the money now or put it into savings. I can say that it sometimes hurts to part with these treasures at first, but over time, you'll be glad for the release.
post #76 of 89
I personally would have to give stuff to people I didn't know, because I have perfectionist issues and would be upset if it was being treated badly But I'm happy at the idea of someone else loving and taking care of it. Just out of my sight
post #77 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishpony View Post
And the frugal/poor side of me thinks why donate this perfectly useful dresser when we might need it in 5 years. HELP!
When you factor in the inconvenience of storing it for five years, it isn't much of a bargain to keep it. Especially when the excess stuff causes you to wonder if you can live in a smaller house.

If it is a perfectly useful dresser, you can get a little bit of money for it on Craigslist, and in the event that you actually find yourself NEEDING a dresser in five years, just keep an eye out and someone will be selling a similar dresser eventually. Just price it reasonable.

Sometimes we watch the "wanted" list on Craigslist to see if anyone NEEDS the extra stuff we have. We just got rid of a perfectly nice, comfortable but a bit worn recliner. It was clean, but older and slightly miscolored in a few spots. A woman with fibromyalgia posted asking if anyone had an affordable recliner for cheap (she couldn't sit upright anymore or something) She was so very very happy that we would sell it to her for 40 bucks. Yes, that was cheap but because of the miscoloring, I couldn't really charge a high price. This lady was so completely ecstatic, you could tell it was such a relief for her to get this recliner! And it was something that was just taking up space in our house.

We used to try and keep everything, but after a cross country move where we had to pare down our stuff, we realized how liberating it is to only have what you need in your daily life. All the furniture in our house has a place and a purpose and every room gets used regularly. If we get something new, something old has to go.

It feels good to find new homes for things that we cannot use, or do not have room for. It is very rare that I find myself needing something I rehomed, but we have little storage area in our house, and I quite often appreciate that all areas of our house are fully used, are relatively uncluttered, and we are not tripping over things that we are keep for some potential need that may never even occur.
post #78 of 89
We just recently downsized from just under 1600 sq foot to about 1,100 sq foot. So far there are a couple of quirks that I am not in love with (my kitchenaid mixer doesn't fit under the cabinets so it's in a pantry/closet area and I have to get it out when I use it. The one bathroom is tiny. Tiny enough that it's hard for me to get ready in even if it's just me). We also gave up our King bed which we really haven't missed (to both DH and I suprise).

It does have a very generous kitchen for a house of it size. I actually think I have more cabinets. While it doesn't have a huge lot it has a larger sort of common area that the neighborhood kids play in that I can see from the window.

Anyway we are a family of the same size, but a bit older (our kids are 5 and 8) and we are very happy in our current space. Good luck from somebody who could never live with her MIL as long as you did.
post #79 of 89

It is doable. Before you even move boxes and stuff in, take an inventory of your space. Reconfigure the closests with double hanging or double shelves/closet organization, or invest in storage boxes/shelves/cubbies that sit in the closet floor. Utilize those door hanging organizers for stuff too (not just shoes! I flound a cool one for books and toys in a children's catalog) Utilize under bed drawers/garment boxes for storing out of season clothes and other seldom used items. In the kitchen, get those wire racks, dividers, etc that will maximize the cupboard space. Maybe think of getting new (or thrift sotre) dishes. If you have stonewear, they are kindof bulky, Look for thin correl (corell?) take up about half the space. In the bathroom (if you don't have a linen closet or something) definately get an etagiere or shelves or cupboard over the back of the toilet. If you have a dining room, consider getting a corner shaped cabinet for storing linens, entertaining dishes, or other things. Get all your storage places in order while they are empty, it is easier!  Have a coffee table? Make it 2 levels so you can store baskets underneath, or make it a 'chest' so you can store stuff inside. Put hooks on doors (if they are solid) for haning stuff. Put on kid height hooks too!

 

As you unpack, now is the time to purge!

post #80 of 89

We're a family of 4 (2 adults, 4 yr old and a 1 yr old) in 1000 sq ft. apartment.  There are 3 bedrooms 2 baths.  I actually wish we had a smaller place.  It is very hard to keep everything clean and I think we would do better with less stuff in a smaller space to clean.  I think you'll be fine and you'll find all kinds of ways to create more storage : )

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