Some people look at me like I have two heads when I tell them we moved to a smaller house. Yup, smaller. On purpose. We've gone from 2.29 acres and 2500 square feet, to just over 1500 in the main house, with two smaller out buildings - a studio for Steve and a "guest cabin"on 0.66 acres. Two bathrooms to one bathroom. The boys rooms are smaller. There's no linen closet, no dining room (our dining room table is on the sun porch.) There's no dryer, there's currently not a washer (although that's coming) and we've gotten rid of about 1/4 of our stuff.
This whole move, this whole shift that our lives have taken recently, have been about living simpler, with less stuff. When you have a limited amount of space, suddenly prioritizing what you need and what you don't need becomes easier. I have two shelves in my closet in my bedroom dedicated to linens. Anything that doesn't fit on those shelves goes out the door. So what's important? How many towels, pillowcases (two things which I seem to have an over-abundance of!) does one family really need?
Similarly, I have one shelf in one cupboard for glasses, one for mugs. They each fit about 9 pieces. Wanna get a 10th mug? Well then I have to decide which one of the other 9 get the boot. Or if I decide I really need 10 mugs, then say adios to one of my 9 glasses. Because there is only so much space. Besides, when is the last time you had ten people at your house drinking coffee at once? (I'm also a little bit clever, and many of my glasses are actually stout mason jars that can double as mugs should I need them. And if someone has a problem drinking their coffee out of a glass mason jar? Then they probably shouldn't come to my house!)
I was thinking yesterday as I added another few empty plastic bins to my pile of empty storage containers that I have growing on the sun porch - there has been such a growing emphasis on "storage solutions" over the past few years. Smart containers, pretty boxes, plastic bins. All to fill with stuff, and then hide it away. I don't remember "storage solutions" being so popular before. But maybe we don't need more storage solutions. Maybe the solution is that we actually need to have less stuff.
We've been working very hard on unpacking our boxes, and finding a home for in our home, for every single thing that we own. Because if it doesn't have a place to go, then it doesn't belong in our home. Now I'm not saying that we have to get rid of every single thing extraneous thing that we own. We do have a little bit of attic storage above the master bedroom, for thing that need to be put away for a rainy day (like hand-me-down clothes from Griffin that Corben isn't quite ready to wear yet) and seasonal stuff like skis, Christmas decorations (which I will be quelling ruthlessly when the season arises) and camping gear. There is also room up there for a box of sentimental treasures, and a few little pieces of this and that that I'm not quite ready to let go of. It's about deciding what is most important. And realizing that whatever space you have, you will fill it!
I'm also planning a major toy quelling. Honestly, the boys have hardly touched their toys since we've been here. There has been so much going on, and so much coming out of boxes, that toys have been an afterthought. One thing that I do have a TON of that I'm not willing to get rid of is blankets. Quilts, warm fuzzy blankets, picnic blankets, baby blankets, most of them have found a spot in the living room (we're guessing we might need them come winter.) And pillows. Who knew I had so many throw pillows? But I do, and they're also all in the living room. Do you know how many hours of fun simple pillows and blankets can be. The answer is hours and hours and hours! Throw in a few empty cardboard boxes (and we obviously have lots of those) then who needs toys. We actually haven't even opened Griffin's Lego. There are a few stray bits, but the big boxes are still sealed shut!
We have also been making a concerted effort to spend way more time outside than before. And why not? There are woods, there is a perfect yard, not to mention a treehouse in that yard (once I take the snow tires out of it...I haven't found a place for those yet!) There is a slide and a swingset in a little park just down the path next door to our house. There are creepy crawlies all over the place to observe and make homes for. And there is the river.
Ah, the river! I can hear it bubbling from where I sit, out the front window. Of all the things that I love about this place, the river might be one of the things that I love the most.
I've had lots and lots of folks asking for more pictures. I've been
holding off, waiting to get it all unpacked a perfect, until I realized
that it'll never be perfect. Even though everything will have a place
eventually, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's all going to BE
there. Already I fold about 12 blankets back up each night. Put the
throw pillow back on the couch. Collect books and clothes. And so on and so forth. But enough with the waiting - I'm going
to show you pictures anyway, and you're going to pretend to see the
finished thing, m'kay?
Living room into the kitchen:
Living room, overlooking the river. Pretend that we found our very tall ladder and finished the painting all around the stained glass window and the ceiling trim, and did a second coat of paint up there. See, now doesn't that look better? (Good pretending!)
It is safe to say that I am smitten!
(P.S. Outdoor pictures to come, I haven't got that far!)