Holy Crap--Can we do this? (Downsizing) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 04-01-2008, 12:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone,

I've been reading this forum obsessively for a couple of weeks now, but this is my first post. My DH and I are contemplating a move cross-country, which sparked an interest in purging. I'm making progress on that (about 15-20 boxes in the garage for a yard sale next month) , but still have quite a bit more junk to get through.

We moved to our current home four years ago and embarked on a HUGE remodel (only one wall didn't move) which resulted in the house of my dreams--at an enormous cost . Unfortunately, my job hasn't worked out well and we're now thinking about moving. We will lose our shirts on this house, which I'm not happy about, but I'm not willing to stay here just for a house.

I'm freaked out about how much money we will owe, so DH and I have come up with the idea that we could move to a tiny (600-700 sq ft) home and hopefully be out of debt in five or so years.

I think we could do it--I've been inspired by many of you amazing mdc'ers--but I'm scared. Our current home is 2500 sq ft, and, while not crammed with stuff, certainly not spare. We have a 2 year old, and are expecting kiddo #2 this summer. Would we kill each other? Would we kill the kids?

I love the idea of a simpler life, with the emphasis on the really important things. But again, I'm freaking out--can we do this?!?
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#2 of 26 Old 04-01-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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I have no words of wisdom other than- YES YOU CAN!

Proud Catholic (30) and mama to V (10)
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#3 of 26 Old 04-01-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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I think you can do it, as long as you're both really committed to it! A shed at your new tiny home for seasonal items could be a lifesaver- you definitely don't want to pay for a storage unit!!
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#4 of 26 Old 04-01-2008, 09:04 AM
 
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Yes, you can!

We spent years living in a smallish apartment (700 sq ft)...until my oldest was 14, in fact...and managed quite well. At one point our apartment held DH and I, both boys, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 2 guinea pigs, and a tank full of Japanese firebellied toads. That was a bit much. But before the pet take-over it worked well.

It was easier when the kids were small. Bigger boys just take up more room...towards the end, we found ourselves renting a small storage unit for things like camping equipment, xmas decorations, outgrown clothes. But when they were smaller, it was easy to manage.

We spend so much more money now that we have a house (1783 sq feet)...not just our mortgage, but utilities, maintenance, lawncare, etc. It is nice for the boys to have their own rooms, and we all LOOOOOOVE not having to walk the dogs first thing in the morning, but frequently I really miss the ease of my small home. Not the dog-walking and the laundromat, but the speed of cleaning and the "togetherness" we had as a family.

So...I'm 43 and pregnant with #3 - how'd that happen?  

 

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#5 of 26 Old 04-01-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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I think it would be huge change for you but, being debt free would be so worth it in my opinion.

good luck on your journey, keep us posted.

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#6 of 26 Old 04-01-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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You can do it! Come join the April de-cluttering thread, lots of motivation there.
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#7 of 26 Old 04-01-2008, 07:25 PM
 
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It is fully possible, but it is tricky at times. We live in an apartment that is around 7-800sq feet, two adults, an almost four year old and a one year old. I'm starting to feel pretty cramped now, but having a full sized second bedroom instead of a box room would make a big difference. I can't honestly say I wouldn't want more room, but it does work for now while the kids are small.

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#8 of 26 Old 05-03-2008, 11:50 PM
 
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Yes it can be done. We will be 6 living in 1000 sqft.

hearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gif A house full of girls, but for dad and one brother bikenew.gif
"Be careful how you speak to your children. One day it will become their inner voice." ~ Peggy O' Mara
Cloth diapering, babywearing and co-sleeping has been a way of life for almost a decade now partners.gif
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#9 of 26 Old 05-03-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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We live in a 700 sq foot house. I don't know how I would manage in a equally sized apt without a yard. Having some outdoor space makes a big difference for me.
I have 2 kids they share a room (the master) and I took the smaller for myself. The master is 10x11, the smaller 8x10. When DD was a newborn, she and I shared the larger room, now she shares with her sister. It's definitely cheaper with utilities and not having so many things is nice and keeps things cleaner.
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#10 of 26 Old 05-04-2008, 05:34 AM
 
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we spent 6 years in a 900 sq ft apt. (2 bedrooms/2bathrooms) with THREE kids and a DOG

for the same reason

we paid off 100K in debt (school loans, credit cards, paid off the 35K car and saved up to move/buy our own home/downpayment 15K)
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#11 of 26 Old 05-04-2008, 11:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BunniMummi View Post
It is fully possible, but it is tricky at times. We live in an apartment that is around 7-800sq feet, two adults, an almost four year old and a one year old. I'm starting to feel pretty cramped now, but having a full sized second bedroom instead of a box room would make a big difference. I can't honestly say I wouldn't want more room, but it does work for now while the kids are small.
Yes. It's doable. We downsized tremendously as well. (Traded house for land). My kids are older, and two of them (15 and 19) are adult sized, with adult-sized shoes and clothing etc (meaning I can't throw their Robeez in a little basket on a shelf). It takes some doing, and sometimes we are cramped. And we don't have an extra room that we need to foster. (Which we were planning to do). But I love our land. If I didn't have the land, it would be much harder for me emotionally.
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#12 of 26 Old 05-04-2008, 11:38 AM
 
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just to let you know that it should be quite manageable! We live in 950ft second floor apartment (2 big bedrooms and one bathroom as big as a cupboard (4ftx7ft) and one walk in closet a tiny bit smaller than bathroom). There are 2 adults, 2 children, 2 cats and 2 - 75gallon fishtanks - will be just one soon though) I feel we have loads of room all the rooms and the kitchen are very spacious with big windows and lots of natural light, which makes all the difference. We have a shared garden/drying green out back as well. Good luck - it will be lovely to be debt free!

I have been a lurker here for ages so hello to everyone now!
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#13 of 26 Old 05-04-2008, 01:04 PM
 
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yes! yes! yes!

i suppose some of it must depend on temperment, but i say-- if it appeals to you, not only can you make it work, but it will change your life, your perspective, your health.... and based on my own experience, i think you might find you'll grow CLOSER as a family, rather than have issues. i'm trying to remember at the beginning... it wasnt "easy"... there were times of-- omg, stop stepping on me! (esp in the one bathroom... we had, what, like 4 bathrooms in our old house..gak! the insanity!) but now, i just cant imagine going back. we'll actually be moving again sometime in the next couple years, and i just dont want to look! i'm scared i wont be able to find a space *small* enough. heh. so in otherwords-- yes! do it!
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#14 of 26 Old 05-04-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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We also were a family of 4 living in a 900 sq. foot townhouse. It was very managable. Our townhouse was really nice though. We had a basement, main floor, and upstairs. The upstairs was two bedrooms, a teeny little linen closet in the hall and a small bathroom...think of about bathtub length by length...maybe 6x6. The mainfloor was a living room and then a kitchen with a little eating area on the other side. We had both a front door and a back door...that as awesome! The basement was unfinished, and we were renting but we had our laundry and storage down there as well as half of the space we put carpet and hung sheets as dividers. We used this side for a playroom/tv room. I loved this place!! Trust me...you have to use EVERY square inch. It costs a little bit to get organized, but you will save SO much in the end.

You can do it! If you want some...how to hide everything in the closet advice, let me know!
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#15 of 26 Old 05-04-2008, 09:41 PM
 
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We have 8 people living in a 1600 sq ft house. Two parents, five kids and an elderly uncle. Plus a cat, a parrot and a 55 gal fish tank.

Our living and dining rooms act as one room and the kitchen is an eat in. There is one full bath and a downstairs powder room. We have four bedrooms, right now everyone is scattered, but eventually it will be parents in the master, boys in one room, girls in another, and uncle in the smallest (where he already is).

The only thing I'd change is storage. Decorations and clothes are okay - I just need a nice sized, easily accessible closet (or some other functional storage solution) for my picture albums and scrapbooking stuff. Otherwise, we fit just right.
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#16 of 26 Old 05-04-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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We just bought a house a little over a month ago. 676 sq feet and there are 5 of us now and 1 more to be joining us in september. We are going to make it 3 bedrooms eventually. But I actually like that its small easier to take care of. Now i know we havent lived here long but the house we rented for 6 months before this was just like 730 sq feet so it wasnt much bigger. Before that we had 2200 sq feet and most of it seemed like wasted space to me. I like how the house we are in seems much more efficient use of space.

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#17 of 26 Old 05-05-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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we live in a 650sq ft home - 2 adults, a 3.5yo and a 17mo. and my kids are not the type that sit down to play - they are all over the place.

we also have a small backyard and a "double" garage (so not a double garage) which is just packed with dh's project car and car parts and tools (small and very large). there is absolutely NO household stuff there, which means i've managed to keep everything that is for the house whether it is used day-to-day or for storage (like christmas stuff), *in* the actual house. so even though we do have it, i don't consider that part of our land as usable as its holding nothing that is used in or around the house.

it is totally, totally, totally doable to be living in a small home with two kids. my only wish in our home is just that the second bedroom is bigger. if it was, and we didn't live on such a crappy road i wouldn't move.. the smallness of a home can be very cozy, and a blessing in disguise.
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#18 of 26 Old 05-05-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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oh i was going to say that the key to keeping a small home organized, efficient and de-cluttered, is a very good storage system and furniture that works for small homes. thats about it...
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#19 of 26 Old 05-05-2008, 11:17 AM
 
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Yes yes yes! This is us: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/s...-studio-047040

so we don't have private outdoor space even! We have great playgrounds, parks, and museums though. Looking around last night, I tried to figure out what exactly people who said we needed more space for kids thought was missing; I do OAMC, regular playdates with 4-5 kids, dinner parties for up to 8 adults, WAH, overnight guests about 1/month... we can't host parties of 12 kids and their parents, thats about it.

We have space for a sewing machine, TV/Tivo/playstation; we could practically have a preschool in here-puzzles, dress up, toy kitchen, playmobil, musical instruments, board games, fish tank, art area, baby toys, play mat, computer with kid games, books books books; storage for christmas ornaments, bicycle with baby seat, tricycle, stroller... we do keep camping gear in a storage locker, along with baby clothes/toys for the next child. but the locker is 10x10x5, not huge, and it also houses inventory from my toy business.

Either dh and I stumbled upon an apartment with Harry Potter type enlargement charms on it (which it sometimes feels like), or we just don't need the Precious Moments/baseball cards/50 million tupperware and small appliance/plastic toys that do one thing each/enough dishes to serve 100/enough clothes to go a month without washing/etc that were once upon a time eating up our living space. I giggle when I watch house hunters and people complain that the walk in closet is only big enough for the woman's stuff, or even worse, for her shoes! Dude. I own 5 pairs of shoes. Total including winter boots. I have staple, basic clothes, and I get new "hip" stuff periodically, but I don't keep the last 20 season's worth of hip stuff too.

You can do it!!!

You can do it!!!

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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#20 of 26 Old 05-06-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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oops wrong thread

sharing life with | 10 yo ds | 8 yo dd | dh (since 2012)
"I am not what happened to me...I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung
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#21 of 26 Old 05-08-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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Yes yes yes! This is us: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/s...-studio-047040

so we don't have private outdoor space even! We have great playgrounds, parks, and museums though. Looking around last night, I tried to figure out what exactly people who said we needed more space for kids thought was missing; I do OAMC, regular playdates with 4-5 kids, dinner parties for up to 8 adults, WAH, overnight guests about 1/month... we can't host parties of 12 kids and their parents, thats about it.

We have space for a sewing machine, TV/Tivo/playstation; we could practically have a preschool in here-puzzles, dress up, toy kitchen, playmobil, musical instruments, board games, fish tank, art area, baby toys, play mat, computer with kid games, books books books; storage for christmas ornaments, bicycle with baby seat, tricycle, stroller... we do keep camping gear in a storage locker, along with baby clothes/toys for the next child. but the locker is 10x10x5, not huge, and it also houses inventory from my toy business.

Either dh and I stumbled upon an apartment with Harry Potter type enlargement charms on it (which it sometimes feels like), or we just don't need the Precious Moments/baseball cards/50 million tupperware and small appliance/plastic toys that do one thing each/enough dishes to serve 100/enough clothes to go a month without washing/etc that were once upon a time eating up our living space. I giggle when I watch house hunters and people complain that the walk in closet is only big enough for the woman's stuff, or even worse, for her shoes! Dude. I own 5 pairs of shoes. Total including winter boots. I have staple, basic clothes, and I get new "hip" stuff periodically, but I don't keep the last 20 season's worth of hip stuff too.

You can do it!!!

You can do it!!!
wow totally inspiring!

we are also looking to "downsize in a way"
we live in a 2200 sq ft house right now but the layout it poor and we are expecting #3 now and I want us all to sleep on the same floor so we are looking for colonials with all the bedrooms up and a smaller first floor.
as I am getting our home ready for sale it amazes me how much stuff we have aquired over 5 yrs. So many things are wasted and not ever touched.
I feel like you can make any space work as long as you are willing to be true to yourseld of what you really really NEED to keep in your home
Good Luck!

Shelly, Mom to Sophia 5 Nicholas 3 & 2 Angels
Its a GIRL! Alyssa Ann 6/29/10 7lbs 5 oz
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#22 of 26 Old 05-09-2008, 01:42 AM
 
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we live in 750 sq ft with a toddler and a baby.

The kicker for us is the big bulky kid things, like the yooga ball for bouncing the baby, the baby seat, the bouncy chair, the exersaucer, the mattress on the floor in the second bedroom/study for bad nights of sleep.

Once our youngest is a toddler we'll be laughing.

...won't we?
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#23 of 26 Old 05-09-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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Way Cool. Impressive and inspiring!! We are gearing up to buy our first house--sometime within the next year and I am torn between thinking that we need loads of space, and thinking that we just need to get rid of stuff and think about maximizing what we do have.

Not sure how we can do it: dh is a woodworker, I am a painter (both high volume "stuff" professions), we both are cyclists (five bikes, each serving a diff purpose), we have four guitars (each serves diff purpose), we windsurf (wetsuits, sails, boards, booms, etc--), we camp & backpack, dh is a flyfisherman, etc. etc. the list goes on.

Oh, and we both teach—- so there are books, paperwork, etc. that go with the artist/academic life. eeeks!

Not to mention avid cooks and all the home stuff and kid stuff.

Sigh....off to scrounge the forum...
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#24 of 26 Old 05-09-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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we both are cyclists (five bikes, each serving a diff purpose), we have four guitars (each serves diff purpose), we windsurf (wetsuits, sails, boards, booms, etc--), we camp & backpack, dh is a flyfisherman, etc. etc. the list goes on.
Maybe what you really need is a really really good rack system for your vehicle?
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#25 of 26 Old 05-10-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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Maybe what you really need is a really really good rack system for your vehicle?
Definitely need that. But it's another thing to buy!!! stop the madness!!
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#26 of 26 Old 05-10-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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Definitely need that. But it's another thing to buy!!! stop the madness!!
But it'll save you like 200sqft in house space. That's like $10,000 less in mortgage--it's a bargain!

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