Now that we’ve spent two months in our cottage, here are some thoughts on small space living.
I’m starting to write this post this from bed on a Sunday morning just after 7. I can smell everything bagel and hear the crunch of chewing along with the conversation Thomas and Birch are having about grapefruits. A pro or a con!?
We’ve been living in our rental cottage for two months now and I wanted to share some of the thoughts I’ve had around living in closer quarters. We are so grateful for this house during our renovation and it is serving us well.
The minute we moved into this house we thought: “Should we downsize!?” There is so much togetherness. Life is more simple. We have fewer things (here). I find peace in the smaller space. It seriously had me doubting why we are adding square feet to our primary home.
There are absolutely pros and cons to living in a smaller space. Minimalism is a must. There aren’t stairs to climb every time you forget your socks or need to do laundry. You have fewer surfaces and bathrooms to clean. Family time is all the time.
Small Space Living
You can hear everything in a smaller space
The biggest difference I’ve noticed between in a larger house and a smaller house is sound. This is both a pro and a con! I love being closer to everyone and listening to boys’ conversations as they play.
It’s convenient to be in the kitchen and hear them in their bedrooms. Thomas can ask me a question from the kitchen while I’m still in bed. We no longer text each other on different floors – haha.
But sound is also a bit of a con. Mazen is so loud when he talks to his friends and plays video games at the dining room table. He doesn’t always want to be in his room. (At our primary house he’d play in the basement.)
At night, our TV is steps away from Birch’s open door, so we have to be mindful of our voices and the volume so we don’t wake him up (even with white noise). But these are relatively easy things to fix.
Smart storage is a must
This house has great storage for its size. I don’t know the exact square footage, but I would guess about 1300-1500 square feet? There are four closets outside of bedrooms (one houses a stackable laundry) and all of the closets have shelves.
The kitchen has great storage for its size as well. All of the plates, cups, and bowls are hung on the wall.
A built-in cabinet under the TV houses shoes perfectly! And even the closets in the boys rooms have mirrors that make the rooms feel bigger and have tons of space inside the closet.
If we were to live here full-time, I already know where we could add even more storage solutions on open walls with tall furniture (such as on the wall where we have a couch in our bedroom).
The one area that is driving me nuts is our pantry! It’s so unorganized and overflowing. Buying in bulk is impossible and we can barely fit our everyday snacks. If we were to live here long-term, I would be brainstorming ways to make it work. But since we’re only here for a few more months, it’s just a mess!
The problem is always the stuff
Smaller spaces fit humans perfectly. What doesn’t fit perfectly is all the stuff!
I love the flow of rooms and how we live in this house, but the stuff that trickles out of our rooms and into the living room drives me a little nuts after a while. The boys do most of their playing in the living room on the coffee table.
They are pretty good about tidying up after a round, but sometimes the Legos are on the coffee table for days on end.
One Level Living Is GREAT!
There are no stairs to grab a sweatshirt from my closet, to put in a load of laundry, or to go to the backyard. One level living is FABULOUS! I obviously don’t mind stairs because I can easily climb them, but it’s so nice to just walk to the next room.
We are also loving the backyard, which is flat and cozy. We have spent countless hours in this hammock! Mazen and I invented a game we play with a koosh ball where I stay in the hammock and he moves around while we toss it.
Seasonal Things Are A Problem Taking Up Space
It was such a relief when we decided we could send our winter gear back to the other house. All the boots were taking up a lot of space! I’m not sure how one embraces minimalism when things are necessary, like snow boots, scarves, and gloves. But now that we’re 100% in spring/summer clothing season, the house feels a lot lighter.
And when we need grass to play in, there is plenty to find around Charlottesville!
The “Nice To Haves”
Our Peloton, the big desk with our desktop iMac computer, a guest room. They are all “nice to haves” but they are not necessary. I can exercise at the gym or outside (I actually have Peloton paused this summer), I can work on a laptop, and our guests can stay at an Airbnb like my parents did. It’s not as convenient, but it has been fine.
I am learning a lot about what is most important. And I’m taking some lessons from this season of living home with us to our new house. While it has a lot more space overall, we do tend to gather in the rooms that are the heart of the home. I think the space we’ll be glad to have more of in general are bedrooms.
If I could sum up our time with small space living so far in one word, it’s togetherness. I am sure we will look back on this time and remember how cozy it was to be together.
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