downsizing... home to apt? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 04-29-2011, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone thinking about or already have moved from a full sized home to an apartment for a simpler life?


we live in a very old two story house and it hasn't been until recently that I am just feeling like it is too much space and stuff (mostly in closets s etc.) which I do want to get rid of a lot this summer but I just have a hankering to move in to a little place to save money and do it while I just have two kids and I wouldn't go insane with too many children in one place. Although we just refinanced our house a few months ago so it probably isn't the best time to try and sell huh?


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#2 of 15 Old 04-29-2011, 06:38 PM
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We didn't move from a big house to an apartment for the sake of downsizing, but because we moved to a high-density area in the UK where space is at a premium. It was shocking to me at first. Tiny rooms, tiny hallways, next to no storage. Now, two years later, I love it. When I go back to the states it suddenly seems like everyone has too MUCH house, and things that were so normal before -- storing ten different sets of bed linens, having a three-month supply of coffee/ketchup/whatever... all of that now seems unnecessary. Not that I mind -- my mother can stockpile ketchup till its coming out of her ears if she wants to -- it's just a different way of life.


The toughest part is making room for the things you absolutely need but wish you didn't. We're constantly rearranging and redesigning the rooms so we can maximize living space (our flat is 777 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 adults and one child, and compared to many of the flats I've seen, our place is actually quite large!). I recommend trying out minimal living by downsizing while you still have the space. And think about what things are really important to you. For instance, I really wish I would have made a garden a priority when we were house-hunting. Then again, other things that I thought were important, like having two bathrooms, I've quickly learned to live without.


Good luck dreaming up your next place -- even if now's not the time to move, at least you'll know what you want when you're finally ready.

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#3 of 15 Old 04-29-2011, 08:40 PM
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We moved from a three floor house with 3 bedrooms and a yard and garage, to a 1000 sq foot 2 bedroom apartment - and the floor plan is twitchy with 2 baths so it feels a lot smaller than 1000.  (We had a 3 bedroom 900 sq foot apt before the house and it seemed enormous.)


The space doesn't bother me, it feels plenty spacious - even though all our furniture right now consists of rugs, beds, a table for the kids to eat at, and bookshelves and other shelves.  I wish we had a couch and a table but it doesn't bother me overly, but we don't anticipate staying long term.  What DOES bother me is:


a)  we have to be super wary of unfriendly neighbors who hate kid noise - and we can't just go outside because we live in a sketchy neighborhood


b) the kids don't do very well sharing a room - they keep each other awake more than necessary


umm... I think that's it, really.


We're now moving into an even smaller space soon - basically two rooms' worth in my mother's house.  Sigh.  But the good news is that our stuff is way pared down now - and the kids will each have a room there and there will be a yard for them to play in.  (Still can't wait to have our own house again, though!!)


If you're moving into an apartment with kids I'd say the BIGGEST concern I'd have, over layout even, is how friendly the apartment is TO KIDS.  There's honestly people who hate kids and even all the throw rugs, carpet padding etc isn't going to block out kid noise (unless your kids are older, I guess).

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#4 of 15 Old 05-26-2011, 12:02 PM
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From a 3 bedroom 2 bath w/ huge yard and 2 car garage to a 1 bedroom/1 bath with a parking spot (even downsized my vehicle) and couldn't be happier. What I have learned is location of the apartment is key. We love to swim, walk and get out and see local attractions. I chose the apartment we are in now for those reasons- there is a HUGE pool, we can walk downtown, there is walking path and is animal friendly. Next, came storage. There is only 1 walk in closet in this place but the kitchen has tall cabinets and a large cabinet in the bathroom. My son uses a lower set for his artstuff and some of his bigger drawing items and his books, I keep my jewelry in another drawer and above my washer/dryer, I keep my cleaning supplies and a few what nots. I turned the other larger cabinet into our pantry and the other large one is used for things like our first aid kit,etc. Our bikes are in the walk in closet, along with our clothes and shoes.  I brought no furniture with me and all we have now is a mattress set (full size), a desk (we both use it), a couch that converts to my DS's bed, 2 large baskets for his loose toys and I am purchasing 2 barstools for the nice counter we have so we can sit and eat dinner at the counter. I own no tv and all the gadgets that go with it. We pop a movie into my laptop and watch it that way or listen to music. I donated a lot to get to where I am but I really don't miss a single thing. The only other thing DS has requested is a floor chair of some sort so he can read and I am going to get one side chair w/ottaman, as I have found the coolest comfiest chair ever but it is small in size but still works. Since I can't paint, the pattern on it is part of the decor. Also, I wanted to create a zen spa feel to the place, so we both feel calm when we come home. I only have 3 large windows, so I have all matching curtains (For privacy and to keep the heat out) and a few added touches like my candle in the glass holder, I bought new comfy towels (4) and 2 bright rugs (1 for the kitchen, 1 for the bathroom). I use shades of red, lime green, turquoise and white in modern shapes.


Forgot to add, I paid more for rent to move to a safer area and I am on the bottom floor and have a quiet neighbor above. I chose a gated community so I would feel safe as a single woman on my own.

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#5 of 15 Old 05-26-2011, 12:09 PM
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Oh more thing or maybe a few. redface.gif


I have a little patio that has my loungechair on it and 2 large pots for some vegetables we are growing. DS LOVES this. I have another small planter with a special plant in it and another larger one that I inherited and actually didn't kill. wink1.gif


I love that I no longer take literally hours to clean and keep up with the house, nevermind the mess that always was around. Even when I moved in, at most, it took me 1 whole weekend to set everything up, unpack and start living. We have a simple routine of getting up on Saturday and cleaning, doing 2 load of laundry and then we are out the door. I work and this has relieved a lot of stress on me.

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#6 of 15 Old 05-26-2011, 02:31 PM
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TX, I'd love to see pictures of your place. :)



we moved from a 1300 sq ft townhouse/condo in PA, USA to a one-bedroom apt in Wellington, NZ. It's been great -- close to work and all the amenities of the city (right in the downtown), and we haven't owned a car for 18 months or so now. It will be another 6 or so months before we do own one. 


We are moving to a beach cottage in a near-by neighborhood. we'll need the bus to get to work, but there's an express, so no worries there. It's a 20 minute ride. The cottage is technically "one bedroom" with the bedroom being open to the lounge and the second bedroom being used as a large closet (1- x 7.5 room). It also has a small back courtyard that has both covered secure storage and a small greenhouse, as well as a little space open to the elements.


These are our furnishings: 1 king size bed (we still bed share), one dresser (tall boy) that fits most of our clothing (the in-season stuff). we have a captain's bed/divan, a bench, two chairs, a table and chairs for dining, and two comfy mid-mod chairs. I need to add some shelving to the place (in the closet end of the bedroom and kitchen).


I'm considering letting go of the divan bed, and bringing in a wardrobe to put shelves in to store DS's toys and such, as well as DH's writing/office things, and so on. we currently have all of that stored in some built-in cubbies, so I think that having a wardrobe with doors will create a good, uncluttered way of managing those items. :)

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#7 of 15 Old 05-26-2011, 04:16 PM
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 Zoebird- I am actually photographing everything we own. I think I am going to start my own blog. Will keep y'all informed. ;)  Thanks for the interest.

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#8 of 15 Old 05-26-2011, 04:57 PM
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I'm starting a blog for our new place, too, which a friend of mine will use to chronicle our decorating. :D

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#9 of 15 Old 05-26-2011, 05:06 PM
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we did this but were only renting the big house- went from 1600 sq ft, 2 car garage etc, to 650 sq ft apartment. it really hasn't been bad at all. i just miss the yard. so we are going back to a small house (just over 1000 sq ft, but a huge yard for growing our own food). i really like living with less.

mama to one '07 and one '09
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#10 of 15 Old 05-26-2011, 07:35 PM
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We moved from a 3BR home that we own to a 1BR apartment that we're renting. We're renting out our house.


I absolutely love the simplicity. We're on the ground floor of a converted brick livery so there are 4 apartments in this building with TONS of land and right next to DS's school. There's much more time spent as a family (I don't feel I'm getting ditched when I have to clean the kitchen and make lunches, 'cause our small kitchen opens up to our living room), it's easy to (read: you HAVE to) keep on top of things. We're lucky that the lady above us is never home and everyone who lives here is super friendly. 


I did find when we were preparing for our move, even purging and getting into simplifying/moving-mode helped. If you're not ready for a move, you can still get into the simplistic mind-set by getting rid of the excess.

Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).


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#11 of 15 Old 05-27-2011, 08:16 AM
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Not to an apartment, but we just moved from a huge (2500 sq. feet) old farmhouse on 3 acres with a barn, to a tiny tract house on a tiny in town lot. We pared down EVERYTHING from clothes to furniture to kitchen and misc. stuff. Been here 2 months, and I don't miss anything yet! Except maybe the chickens. It is something of a relief to have the whole of housework and gardening fit into one afternoon a week. I have planted some veggies in containers and have a postage stamp-sized lawn to mow, but that is really all outdoors. Inside, the dishes need to get washed , but not much else happens between weekend cleaning days. That would have been disasterous in the old place! Our rent is a little less, but the utilities are less than half the old bill so far. I was afraid this house would be too cramped for us, but I am learning that it is really more than we need. If it weren't for the animals (a dog, a cat, and 2 loud parrots) we would have taken an apartment.

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#12 of 15 Old 10-04-2011, 11:53 AM
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I think we are going to have to do this soon. We'll be going from an 1157 sq ft ranch with a full finished basement underneath and a 3 car garage out back to a condo or apartment.

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#13 of 15 Old 10-09-2011, 07:43 AM
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I second the concern over kid noises.... I lived in an apartment with two kids and it was a disaster. Kids are noisy. We then moved into a 500 sq ft house and it worked much better for us.  Due to it being a freestanding house.




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#14 of 15 Old 10-11-2011, 07:56 AM
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and I third it... we live in an apartment and we are constantly having to talk to the manager because the neighbors complain about kids crying or running in the middle of the day. It sucks. I would rather live in a small house. Plus the yard thing, it would be really nice to have a place for the kids to play outside that didn't require driving.

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#15 of 15 Old 10-11-2011, 11:00 AM
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I'm not sure how old your kids are, OP, but if they're currently not sharing a bedroom, you may want to test that out first.  Our 900 sq ft  townhome is plenty of space, but sharing a room has been disasterous for our children; the length and quality of their sleep has suffered, which negatively effects the whole family's daily functioning (and neighbors).  Some kids I'm sure will be fine, but some kids like mine can't even sleep with a mouse ten feet away.

As mentioned, easy access to the outdoors is key for kids in a small space.

For these reasons, we're going to upsize, not in square footage, but into a freestanding house configured differently to allow for another bedroom, and then a yard. 

Sometimes simplifiying or minimizing isn't always about seeing how small of a place you can get into.  Having open space for you and your (few) posessions to breathe can be important too.

Katie,  sahm to two wild and crazy guys banana.gif (8/07) and  bouncy.gif (3/10) and their sweet new baby sister baby.gif (4-1-13) 

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