Simplifying by moving to a BIGGER house??? UPDATE #24, 32 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 01:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there a way to simplify by moving into a bigger house?

Right now, we're living in a 900sqft, 2 bedroom house. We have a postage stamp yard. No room to do DH's gardening, and no room for the baby to have his own room (when he decides to leave our bed, that is ). The layout is less than stellar, because while 900sqft is enough room for us, the kitchen has too much wasted space (with no counters - riddle me THAT) and the living room has no good wall space (long and thin, with lots of obstructions).

We (well, honestly just me right now) want to have more kids someday, and it won't be happening in this house with the layout we have. Also, we want to homestead (DH's dream), and not only do we have no land for it, the city doesn't allow us to have goats or poultry.

So. We're looking to move.

The problem is that the houses on the land we're looking for (1+ acres - not a lot) tend to be 2000sqft or more and 3-5 bedrooms. That's a LOT of house. It's more to clean and more space to fill with junk we don't need. Now, the converse of that is that we can afford to have a bedroom for DS when he wants one, and we can have a music/office room (DH and I are both musicians by trade). We're also planning on homeschooling, so there will be space for projects and a playroom that won't be all over the house.

Best of all - LAND.

But we're worried about having SO much space. Is it possible to stay simple in that much square footage? Anyone with experience?

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#2 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 02:34 AM
 
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We are a family of 6 and moved from a 3 bd apartment (less than 1k sq ft) to a 5 bd house (3k sq ft) and I definitely feel less cluttered now. Before, we were crammed into that space, even with a garage sized storage shed (off site). I always felt like we just had too much stuff and were not well organized. When we moved, we got rid of a lot of things we really didn't need in an effort to make packing/unpacking easier. Then when we moved stuff into our new house, we did it slowly by having all of our belongings in the 3 car garage to start with. This meant we could find a place for things one by one and get better organized.

I think if we were to buy, buy, buy and fill our house up with a bunch of "stuff" I'd feel like it was cluttered again, and that it's a lot harder to clean a larger home. But as it is now, I don't mind the cleaning near as much because there is plenty of room to put things away, move stuff around, etc., so I don't get as overwhelmed with de-cluttering enough just to clean, ya know?

In all honesty, we don't use the upstairs much at all -at this point. Often the kids don't even want to sleep in their own rooms, but they are still little and are used to sharing. Same with one side of our downstairs (formal living and dining room). We don't even have enough furniture yet. But I love having the extra space, it's much more comfortable.

We were happy to simplify, downsize, de-clutter and have a bigger home all at the same time. worked for us.

If it has the land you want, I wouldn't worry about having extra space in your home. I really think my kids will come to love having their own room and a place to get away from one another in the years to come.

oh, and we went from a 2nd floor tiny cement balcony over the apartment parking lot to half an acre of land.

DH is also a musician and has a room for his drums on the main level. It's meant to be an office but right now it houses his drums. (though, in the near future it will by our home gym to workout in )

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#3 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 03:38 AM
 
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Yep, I'm with Katie. More room feels so much more open and so less cramped. It feels calm and peaceful.

I don't even think it takes longer to clean because in our very first home (4 people - less than 700 sq ft), you couldn't clean it. You could pick up and move items around but it never felt clean. I hated it. I love having a place for everything, not a "thing" for every place.

Now we're still 4 but in 2500 sq ft (5 bedrooms) and we don't have much stuff, really. We have the basics - furniture, decor, toys, clothes, books, etc. but I don't feel a need to fill our house up just because I can. That is so wasteful, unnecessary and makes me feel Claustrophobic just thinking about it.

I like having bare areas, room to breathe. Right now we have a completely empty room (it will eventually be made into a 'play room' for DH and I but there's no rush) and tons of empty cabinets, drawers and space.

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#4 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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I agree with the other. I've just moved to my 1st house. Before that I have lived with Dh in a studio apt, a 1br with Dh and dd, and have just been in a small 2br apartment for the past 4yrs with Dh and dd.

My house is more "simplified" than any of the past apartments.

We've done pretty well in not buying more stuff. I've "fluffed" out most of our stuff, so the density is much less (less furniture in each room). This makes cleaning so much easier. Plus each surface/floor is used less and stays cleaner longer.

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#5 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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Now, the responses in this thread are dramatically different to that of what I got when I posted my thread...

when I posted about feeling cramped (frugality and finances and here) people basically said to redo my space, streamline and declutter.

The question is, do you have a lot of stuff that you don't use? That can definitely make you feel cramped.

My issue is mainly storage. The problem is, the things I'm storing are things either that I'm using or I'm going to use (as in our beds, which right now for cosleeping we have mattress on the floor).

But, it too is VERY expensive to move. I figured it out here, it would be 10-12K per year more to move to only a 1000 sq foot larger home. I can think of a lot of things I'd do with that money....

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#6 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by phatchristy View Post
Now, the responses in this thread are dramatically different to that of what I got when I posted my thread...

when I posted about feeling cramped (frugality and finances and here) people basically said to redo my space, streamline and declutter.

The question is, do you have a lot of stuff that you don't use? That can definitely make you feel cramped.

My issue is mainly storage. The problem is, the things I'm storing are things either that I'm using or I'm going to use (as in our beds, which right now for cosleeping we have mattress on the floor).

But, it too is VERY expensive to move. I figured it out here, it would be 10-12K per year more to move to only a 1000 sq foot larger home. I can think of a lot of things I'd do with that money....
Yeah, I've thought that out, too.

We've massively decluttered. Except for clothing, we have nothing that we don't use in the house. NOTHING. We have more closet space than we need (mostly because it's only in really awkward places). I also run a music studio out of the house PT, and I've been doing it in the living room - not the best place for distracted kids.

I know how expensive it is to move, and have more house. Right now, because of the layout, though, we're essentially in a 1br house with an almost unusable second room. And with more kids? Forget it.

And, of course, we want the land.

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#7 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Yes, just avoid filling up that space with STUFF, and you're good to go! Sure, there's more cleaning to be done, but if there isn't STUFF everywhere to pick up and move around and sort through, cleaning is a simply (even enjoyable?) task.

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#8 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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It's very possible to stay simple in that much square footage. We moved from a 900 sq ft 2 bedroom apartment into a 3200 sq ft 5 bedroom house and it greatly simplified our life.

For starters everything has a place now so clutter is not a problem anymore (except in the garage but I'm working on that and like SAHDS, I find it much easier to clean a less cramped space. I'm not knocking into things to try and maneuver a vacuum or mop anymore. We tend to be very minimalist in our approach to "stuff" and furniture.

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#9 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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We've massively decluttered. Except for clothing, we have nothing that we don't use in the house. NOTHING. We have more closet space than we need (mostly because it's only in really awkward places). I also run a music studio out of the house PT, and I've been doing it in the living room - not the best place for distracted kids.

I know how expensive it is to move, and have more house. Right now, because of the layout, though, we're essentially in a 1br house with an almost unusable second room. And with more kids? Forget it.

And, of course, we want the land.
Yeah, part of me feels the same way (with the exception of land). I'm starting to feel like I need to live like I'm going camping or something. With the bare minimums. I'm going to investigate selling some things on ebay/craig's list (if it's worth it, otherwise donate).

Though I might have to sell/donate things, I do realize that in reality with the less stuff there really is less to maintain and a feeling of less weight on the shoulders. I don't know how many more kids I could fit in here though...

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#10 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 12:29 PM
 
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We're sort of in the same boat. Our house is roughly 1,100 sq ft with 2 beds and we're busting at the seams!! I think if we moved up to even a 1,500 or 1,700 sq ft house that would make a HUGE difference. If you think about the square footage factor and what just 20 sq feet is - like a closet, that makes the storage opps that much greater and you won't feel as cramped!

Good luck with your house hunting!
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#11 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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In a bigger space I feel like it's less futile so I'm more careful. When I'm in a space where I just can't win (two houses, one with no storage whatsoever, one that our family had outgrown) I know I'll never beat clutter because the basics are cluttering us so I feel less inclined to even try. The house we're in now is so big that we have one room for craft and junk only and the rest of the house is beautifully clear of junk.

I don't really think in terms of square footage, more along the lines of what spaces we need - living/eating/kitchen/computer space, bedroom, child's room, craft/book/junk/storage room.
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#12 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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We just moved from a 1100 sq ft 3 bedroom to one that is (I think) about 2400 sq ft. I have boxes of things to get rid of despite the giant leap in amount of living space. You know what helped? Living for months with a huge amount of our stuff in storage. We realized how much crap we had that we do not need. I feel cluttered and overwhelmed with it all in our house again, and I can't wait to purge it. So my answer is absolutely, you can simplify by moving to a bigger house. I do not feel any need or desire to fill up the extra space with more stuff. I feel the opposite way. I want my space to be space!
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#13 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by phatchristy View Post
Now, the responses in this thread are dramatically different to that of what I got when I posted my thread...

when I posted about feeling cramped (frugality and finances and here) people basically said to redo my space, streamline and declutter.

The question is, do you have a lot of stuff that you don't use? That can definitely make you feel cramped.

My issue is mainly storage. The problem is, the things I'm storing are things either that I'm using or I'm going to use (as in our beds, which right now for cosleeping we have mattress on the floor).

But, it too is VERY expensive to move. I figured it out here, it would be 10-12K per year more to move to only a 1000 sq foot larger home. I can think of a lot of things I'd do with that money....
Well, your house is 2X bigger! Also, your starting position was that you *didn't* want to move to a bigger house and lose your neighborhood, easy commute, etc., plus spend an extra 10-12K a year, if I remember right. This OP is talking about gaining land, homesteading, getting poultry and goats, and seems to just want reassurance that moving into a bigger house won't throw her household into bigger chaos. All the re-organizing in the world won't make room for a garden or a chicken coop!

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#14 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 01:36 PM
 
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I can honestly say that I am in the same boat as a lot of the previous posters. We went from a small old house with a lot of unusable space and very little storage to a larger newer home with more storage and it feels great. I love having open space where I am not tripping over things. In the old house I was constantly cleaning and picking up and it never looked or felt clean. In the new house, I spend about the same amount of time cleaning and it always looks good.

I had to buy some new furniture for a couple of the spaces, but it is not cluttered at all and I am not filling up storage space with unnecessary things. It takes a bit of discipline to not buy a bunch of stuff since I have the space, but it is really is so nice not to feel cramped.

In the end, because our old house was very old and not insulated well, we spend less on electricity and very slightly more on heat. We sold during a boom here so we made over double what we bought the house for and we able to pay off a vehicle loan and an equity loan (from remodel) and our payment is about the same as our old payments together. It was very worth it for us.

I think it really just depends on what you want from your house. I love to entertain and let my son have friends over so we needed the space. If you spend a lot of time at home and you are unhappy with the home, maybe it has done for you what it needed to do and it may be time to move on. If your DH loves to garden, it would be wonderful to have land to do so.

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#15 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 01:47 PM
 
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Yep, I'm with Katie. More room feels so much more open and so less cramped. It feels calm and peaceful.

I don't even think it takes longer to clean because in our very first home (4 people - less than 700 sq ft), you couldn't clean it. You could pick up and move items around but it never felt clean. I hated it. I love having a place for everything, not a "thing" for every place.
Wow this was us, 4 people less than 700 sq feet, I couldn't breath, there is only so much you can get rid of, and it was never clean stuff just kept getting moved around.


We now have 2300 square feet and .5 acres (no yard before) and it's heavenly, we have more stuff now (yard stuff, garage stuff), but we also have animals and added an extra kid. I like having the room to breath both inside and out. Just because you have floor space doesn't mean it has to be full of stuff.

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#16 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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when we moved into our house 9 years ago we came from a roughly 900 sq. ft. duplex.....dh, i and our 2 kids (then almost 3 years old and 8 mos. old). we were super cramped. the kids shared a room (which was too small and impractical for a 2 year old girl and an 8 mo. old boy). this is our first house and it's fine for us. we have roughly 2000 sq.ft. of above ground living space and another 1200 sq. ft. in the basement. so about 3200 sq.ft. total.

now that dd is almost 12 and ds is almost 10, it *does* feel smaller here though.....although we have no plans to move until they have flown the nest.

also, our house is an old house (built in 1935).....which i personally love! so the space isn't an "open concept" space like in a newer house. but i wouldn't trade it for anything right now! i LOVE that everything has a "home" here and cleaning is a total breeze. we also have a small garden and patio area out back.....we live in the city so our lot isn't real big, but big enough for ample outdoor space.

i simply can't imagine living in that 900 sq.ft. duplex with my now older kids! definitely worth the move!

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#17 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Well, your house is 2X bigger! Also, your starting position was that you *didn't* want to move to a bigger house and lose your neighborhood, easy commute, etc., plus spend an extra 10-12K a year, if I remember right. This OP is talking about gaining land, homesteading, getting poultry and goats, and seems to just want reassurance that moving into a bigger house won't throw her household into bigger chaos. All the re-organizing in the world won't make room for a garden or a chicken coop!

If it's her dream to have poultry and goats and lives someplace she can't do it then yeah. Like us...we live in a deed restricted community and no livestock allowed. Though I do definitely know people who have chickens in yards our size (and our yard is NOT big).

When I was responding though I think I was basically talking about what the responders said (not the OP) about having more space making it easier. That when the home was smaller they were tripping over stuff, spending more time cleaning, etc. how moving to a new place eliminated that and they went from cluttered to uncluttered and it stayed that way. I didn't really have anyone say anything about that when I had my thread.

And, I think there has to be *some* reasonable point where someone purchases a larger house. How many kids do I have to have before even decluttered it is too small. I think part of my problem is that I'm used to having a very open, minimalist environment (I should upload some pics of our home about 4 years ago) and now it's just not there. I don't like visual chaos. It feels like I *have* visual chaos. Some of these feelings I just need to let go of, because part of that is just as aspect of having children.

I definitely have mixed feelings. Our place was VERY streamlined and uncluttered for the vast majority of the time we've been here. As the kids have gotten older and we've had more of them it's definitely less so.

I'm definitely dealing with the fact that I'm going to have to get rid of/sell things that I definitely would keep (that I use and love) if I had a larger home. I have already given my sister some things.

Anyhow, I totally do not want to hijack her thread. I was just surprised that basically nobody said...'if you can afford it, and can get a good deal that it's a reasonable thing to do'. I'm just a mass of internal conflict over all of it. But, I have to say I'm overall a very happy person, even in the midst of all of this LOL. Just my attitude (and probably helped out by breastfeeding hormones).

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#18 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If it's her dream to have poultry and goats and lives someplace she can't do it then yeah.
I think this is the big one. We're moving for the land - and there happens to be a bigger house than we expected on it. We could live in a 900sqft house if it had the land, but our house has a 10x10 yard in front and 10x35 in back. And we have a dog - so no gardening on the property. Poor thing barely has enough room to run as it is. The city of Lancaster also won't allow any livestock or poultry on property within the city limits. :

Honestly, that's why we've been looking for property - not a new house. Another bedroom would be nice, but if it was a 2br house on an acre, we'd be looking hard at that too.

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#19 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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I find it is so much easier to put away your belongings when you have the space to put them away. Yes, after my recent renovations, I pared down. But I also gained two new closets and a laundry room. My house has a very nice uncluttered feel now that it didn't have before.

For the record, my house was 1800 sq feet and now has 2400 square feet. We are a family of four but have frequent guests. The new guest room has made life so much easier.
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#20 of 41 Old 02-19-2009, 04:19 PM
 
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I think this is the big one. We're moving for the land - and there happens to be a bigger house than we expected on it. We could live in a 900sqft house if it had the land, but our house has a 10x10 yard in front and 10x35 in back. And we have a dog - so no gardening on the property. Poor thing barely has enough room to run as it is. The city of Lancaster also won't allow any livestock or poultry on property within the city limits. :
Well, absolutely I agree with that one. If you're passionate about having land, chickens, goats, etc. then that makes sense. Sorry you can't have chickens at least in the city limits! We could, except for our homeowner's association as we're not in the city, but the county. (not by you though--we're in FL) I do think that having goats, chickens is more of a lifestyle choice...my friend who does it tells me for what she has that it actually would be cheaper for her to just buy organic free range eggs...but she doesn't mind the upkeep/work and she likes knowing that her eggs are fresh and clean! I think you absolutely have to have the passion to keep you going.

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#21 of 41 Old 02-20-2009, 12:42 AM
 
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You won't necessarily need to go bigger to simplify. We went from 1200+garage to 950 and because the layout is better we make better use of all the space.

Since you've got a specific space need--dc having own space--that can't be addressed by remodeling, and you need a decent-sized yard, I'd go ahead and look for a new place.
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#22 of 41 Old 02-21-2009, 03:14 AM
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We just moved and doubled space as well (about 900 ft to 1800 ft for a family of three), and I was also worried that it would create more clutter, but so far it has been much less and I have felt WAY better about being able to clean and put things away. IME as long as you don't feel a need to fill the space (which is sounds like you don't, OP) then it's a good thing.

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#23 of 41 Old 02-21-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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We were 4 people in 900sf and moved to a ~1400 sf house - it was *astonishing* how roomy it felt. We ended up with more stuff, sigh, but part of that was because when we moved in ds was a baby and when we moved out he was 4, so his toys and dd's toys increased in size and number.

But the ability to have tidy, peaceful adult space while the kids have creative, toy-friendly kid space is really nice. In our old place there was no way to leave a project out for later or have an ongoing game with stuffed animals or anything like that without it totally dominating our central living space.

Our current house is another story altogether...

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#24 of 41 Old 02-21-2009, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, we put a bid in! We're writing up a contract tomorrow evening with our realtor. The house is in fair condition, and I have lots of pictures. It needs a new roof and windows, and the current owner is replacing the chimney at his expense.

I'm going to tag projects and improvements. Be back when that's done.

We may get our land and farmhouse!! :

ETA: Done! Make sure you move your cursor over the pics and see my commentary.

Sara caffix.gif, Keith 2whistle.gif, Toby 6/08superhero.gif, Nomi 4/10blahblah.gif, Mona 1/12 hammer.gif

 

Mama of three, lover, student rabbi, spoonie, friend, musician, narcoleptic, space muffin, pretty much a dragon. Crunchy like matzoh.

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#25 of 41 Old 02-22-2009, 09:37 AM
 
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Cool house but it sure needs A LOT of work.
it has cool sinks,i love them!!

We looked at one very similar here when we were buying but they wanted 600K for it!!!it needed at least another 100k in repairs/updates.
What did you pay for this if you don't mind me asking.I am always interested how the prices differ across the country.

Natasha,Mum to many.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
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#26 of 41 Old 02-22-2009, 02:41 PM
 
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Cool house!! Are those asbestos tiles on the outside walls?
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#27 of 41 Old 02-22-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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We're in the process of moving from a 1000ish squrefoot three bedroom apartment with a teeny yard/patio to a 2500 ish sqft 4 br,2.5 bath, +office/den, small playroom, and a yard. I really, really feel like we'll be less cluttered and be able to live more simply there. Right now, like some of the other moms, I'm really overwhelmed by cleaning because there's just not enough room to do it properly without knocking into things. I'm homescooling two of my three kids, and there's never room to do the projects we want to do properly, no space to leave things out that are currently in process, etc. I feel like every inch of space is taken up by something, and we've done major decluttering. Bot - I don't have a real didning room here, just an area off the tiny kitchen that fits a table that's not even big enough for us to all sit at at the same time, and also holds our washer and dryer and our dishwasher. It's just really overwhelming to see STUFF everywhere I look. I'm setting up the new house just like I like it and, while we've gotten some new furniture, it's not extra furniture, just replacing furniture we're not taking with us. Just the yard itself is a huge improvement. I was out at the new house yesterday actually playing outside with my kids. I can't do that here because our patio is so small that if the kids are out there, I can't be out there, too. The bonus to it all is that since I'm moving to another country (currently in San Diego, moving to Mexico just south of the border), it's $300 a month cheaper, and I'll be able to afford a housekeeper if I get overwhelmed with cleaning a bigger house.
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#28 of 41 Old 02-22-2009, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minimunklemama View Post
Cool house but it sure needs A LOT of work.
it has cool sinks,i love them!!

We looked at one very similar here when we were buying but they wanted 600K for it!!!it needed at least another 100k in repairs/updates.
What did you pay for this if you don't mind me asking.I am always interested how the prices differ across the country.
The house sold at auction 2mos ago for $53k. It was last assessed for $211k. The seller is trying to sell it for $115k now. We're offering $115 if he fixes the roof and chimney. He's still making buttloads on it, so we hope he takes the offer.

We haven't bought it yet - we're writing up our contract in an hour or so with our realtor, and yes, it needs lots of work. This will be our forever house, though, so we're excited to have the land and the house that can fit our family (no matter how many kids or extended family/friends we decide to house ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hillymum View Post
Cool house!! Are those asbestos tiles on the outside walls?
Yup. They're actually in spectacularly good condition - we were surprised.

Sara caffix.gif, Keith 2whistle.gif, Toby 6/08superhero.gif, Nomi 4/10blahblah.gif, Mona 1/12 hammer.gif

 

Mama of three, lover, student rabbi, spoonie, friend, musician, narcoleptic, space muffin, pretty much a dragon. Crunchy like matzoh.

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#29 of 41 Old 02-22-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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that house has some serious potential to be awesome! but wow, it's going to be A LOT of work! : i would be replacing just about everything but those amazing sinks! what a great find! let us know if you get it!

: : vicki ~ wife & mom of 2 amazing kids
live well ~ laugh often ~ love much
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#30 of 41 Old 02-22-2009, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, we probably will be replacing just about everything but the bones of the house, little by little. I'm very fond of the house itself, though. It was built in the 1830s! How cool would it be to have a lovely, restored 19th century farmhouse???? It'll take us years, but we LOVE home improvement projects.

Here's a bit of the work we did on the kitchen in the place we're in now:
Before
Before
Taking off the wallpaper
Removing 8 layers of linoleum

After:
http://picasaweb.google.com/smola04/...71286873522290
http://picasaweb.google.com/smola04/...71720665219298
http://picasaweb.google.com/smola04/...72648378155458
http://picasaweb.google.com/smola04/...74181681480498

Sara caffix.gif, Keith 2whistle.gif, Toby 6/08superhero.gif, Nomi 4/10blahblah.gif, Mona 1/12 hammer.gif

 

Mama of three, lover, student rabbi, spoonie, friend, musician, narcoleptic, space muffin, pretty much a dragon. Crunchy like matzoh.

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