The Good and Bad of Small Living
Our main reason for living in a less than 500 square foot apartment for nearly five years is financial.
We have been so fortunate because even for it’s size the cost of the rent is below market rates. Because of this along with our budgeting and spending habits, we have been able to save nearly 100% of my salary and live solely off of my husbands, still saving some of that. We don’t separate any of our finances and don’t think of our money as his or hers, but for perspective it’s helpful to frame it as saving an entire salary. This is insane! We had always been tempted to move but the benefits of saving so much at this stage in our life always outweighed the drawbacks.
Though money was our main motivation in deciding to live in our place, we’ve found some other benefits along the way. One is that there is less to clean and organize. You do have to stay on top of the cleaning more because if one thing is out of place it looks cluttered, but with less space, there is obviously less to keep clean and I am all about less cleaning. Because of this, we’ve found that cleaning and tidying as we go is the best way for us to keep the place in shape. We are still working on being disciplined in this but I like it way better than doing a huge clean all at once. And to be honest a huge clean in a three room apartment doesn’t take that long when the two of us are tackling it together.
I love that we have learned to be really intentional about keeping our possessions minimal.
There isn't space for lots of kitchen gadgets, clothes and baby stuff, so decisions on what is kept are made very thoughtfully. I’m sure plenty of people have this mindset no matter what the square footage of their home is, but I am so grateful that we learned it young in our first tiny place because I know we will cary this ideal wherever we live.
Obviously there are some drawbacks to a small space, and for me the biggest is the lack of space for having people over. I would love to have a guest bedroom, and a kitchen table that seats more than two. The majority of our family lives out of state and it would be so nice to host them comfortably. Especially because we live in a beautiful seaside town that we love to share! We have had people sleep over couple times and do have friends come by for dinner and it works, but it’s tight.
Another challenge has been the lack of counter space and storage. I love to cook and currently only work with a couple of feet of counter space. I’ve found things that help like putting dishes away or in the compost as I go, but it can be hard to cook anything that requires more than one pot or pan. We also have smoothies every day and I kid you not- blend them on the living room floor. That is truly the best place to do it, believe me I’ve tried everything. Again, we make it work, but having even extra space would be so helpful.
So earlier I said that the biggest drawback of our place is space for more people. That makes me sound way more selfless than I am. I had forgotten about the lack of laundry in unit. Which became the biggest drawback when we brought sweet little Graham home from the hospital. There is more laundry and less flexibility as to when it can be done. I did mention in my kitchen tour that we have a functioning drier. It’s apartment size and extremely slow, but it is nice to have. We hang dry a lot too, so we only do wash at the mat, could be worse.
Though we have some challenges I don’t want to dwell on what seems to be missing from our home.
The truth is there is always going to be something that is missing. Humans literally have insatiable desires! I want to be intentional about being thankful where I am now. Still - I'm praying we move before Graham starts walking around!