Small Space Thriving #2

Small spaces.

Some people love them and there is even a major tiny home movement that is becoming all the rage!  In fact, we love watching episodes of Tiny Luxury and other Tiny Home shows.

However, there are also many home shows that feature couples viewing 2,000 square foot homes and referring to them as “small”.

It really depends on the person, I suppose, and probably a lot on what they are accustomed to.

So, what do I LOVE about living in a small space?  Yes, I said “love”.  Not tolerate.  Not appreciate. LOVE.

Of course there are challenges and things that I really don’t enjoy, but I am going to focus on the benefits!

  1. Easy access:  It is usually fairly quick and simple to find anything I need.  I don’t have to go far or reach far for much!
  2. Child safety: There are no stairs, and minimal rooms my children can be in.  They are never far from me and thus we have avoided many of those issues where a child has sneakily destroyed some part of the home! Ha!
  3. Cleaning: I already feel that housework is difficult to keep up with, so I can only imagine how this would be magnified in a larger home.  My cleaning responsibilities are much smaller, which frees me up to do other tasks.
  4. Freedom: Similar to the child safety benefits, I can give my children freedom when they play.  I can hear them from any room in the house.  Now that my older two are almost 5 and 3, I can send them in the yard and hear them from the kitchen/see them from the family room.  Thus, they can play freely, while I tidy up inside or sit on the couch to to my Bible study.
  5. Organization: You would maybe think this would be a difficulty rather than something I love, but being in a small space has forced us to analyze everything we have and how we store everything we have. The extreme organization has freed up a lot of time and removed a lot of stress from our lives.
  6. More outdoor time: Because the space is small, we take full advantage of our yard, which is a wonderful size.  We eat outside when the weather is nice. We have outdoor pets instead of indoor ones.  We keep a small garden.  We have many outdoor activities for the kids: bikes, mud kitchen, sand box, rock wall (to be installed), playhouse, etc.
  7. Tight Knit family:  We are always together.  We can not escape one another, ha ha!  This is one of the reasons why, if we are able to move someday, I do not want an overly large home.  I love that we can be in the same space and be close to each other, even when we are doing different activities!

Small Space Thriving #1

                             (source)

I’m sure you have heard me mention the size of our home.

A mere 816 square feet.

We love watching shows about people who live in Tiny Homes and we are drawn to many minimalist lifestyles as well.

We joke that we basically live in a Tiny Home if you factor in how many people live here.  We also pretend that we are minimalists since if we moved all our stuff into a 1600 square foot home, then it would appear to be a minimal amount of stuff.

All joking aside, we love our little home, but it is not without its challenges.

I posted some tips on purging and digital decluttering the last few months and we have been following those tips diligently. My husband estimates that we have purged, donated, thrown away or sold at least 800 lbs of stuff since January.  This is both exciting and embarrassing (how did we own that much CRAP?!).

Mostly, it is liberating.

Here are some examples of the types of things we have been purging:

  1. Pictures: I went through all my old albums and photos and tossed duplicates, blurry photos, photos I don’t care to save.
  2. Extras: Do we need three plastic ladles?  No!
  3. Papers: We had a bonfire with all our old forms and documents and only saved three years’ worth in small boxes.
  4. Toys: How many stacking toys does one baby need?!
  5. Outdoor Equipment: broken squirt guns, old chairs, superfluous sand pails.
  6. Random Stuff: What does this cord even go to?! Are these batteries new or old?
  7. Art/Decor: Can you say mason jar hoarder?
  8. Clothing: Haven’t worn it recently, can’t wear while pregnant or nursing, looking shabby.
  9. Gift wrap/Party supplies: If the bag says “baby girl” it goes.  Generic gift bags only!
  10. Linens: I always wash and dry our bedding the same day, so extras aren’t necessary.  Threadbare rags are gone. Newborns don’t get bathed very often, so only a few hoodie towels are needed.
  11. All the expired things!

You get the picture.  Pretty much every closet, drawer, and cabinet in our house is being re-evaluated, rearranged, and ransacked!  The garage, shed, and outdoor toy box have begun to be re-evaluated as well.

This is one of the easiest ways to live comfortably in small spaces.  It frees up your space and your time.  Each time I open a drawer or cabinet, everything is easily accessible.  So, if I save 30 seconds each of those times, then gradually I am saving more and more time and stress.  It also allows my children to have more responsibility and to be more helpful as they can easily find and access items that I ask them to fetch for me.

I have created a bit of a monster and I am still obsessing over purging and organizing and rearranging more things!  I’m sure a little bit of nesting is to blame as well!

 

So, let me have it!  What kind of space do you live in?  How do you go about purging and reorganizing?  Any tips or inspiration for me?

{Kitchen Nook Gallery}

It has been awhile since I have posted anything home or decor related and I don’t think I’m any sort of decorating guru.

I mean, my Pinterest Home board is pretty dang sweet, but someone it just doesn’t translate into reality. Hmmm.

However, I figure that if I can maybe inspire just one person who is living in a small space and feels discouraged with decorating then it is worth sharing my home.

Our kitchen is a galley style kitchen (with fantastic brown and more borwn 70’s laminate flooring of course).

The layout is sort of weird because the eating area is tucked into a small spot right where the flow of traffic from the family room enters the kitchen and also where the door to the backyard is located.  We have gone through three tables in this space and our current bench style definitely makes the best use of space. (My parents found the table for free and I sanded, stained and painted it).

(Hey, look!  A crumb on my table! Oops)

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I waited a long time before adding art to this corner as well and I finally gave in and did it.  Sometimes, I try to wait to make it perfect or to do it a certain way, but then I realize that I can’t afford to buy all new shelves and a bunch of frames or prints.  So, instead of waiting for my circumstances to change I made a pretty little wall gallery with what I had and a few dollars here and there.

I know you love the glare on the Mason jar print, but ain’t no way I am taking the time to retake these photos.

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Mason jar print: By Katie Daisy (birthday gift from my brother)

EAT sign: Letters purchased at michael’s and painted with craft paint I had on hand. Wood from free pallets we had.

Chalkboard made from old cabinet door (purchased at the Habitat Restore for $3) and painted with sample paint.

“Love grows best” sign: Wood plaque purchased at Michael’s (with 40% off coupon) and painted with paint we had. Words written with sharpie (for reals).

#5: from Michael’s.  I put it up in September when we found out we were expecting baby #3 and I can’t bring myself to take it down or change it for a 4 yet.

Mason jar vase: Hubby made it with pallet wood and a hose clamp.

Some simple clearance frames and a postcard hung with Washi tape.  That’s it!

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So, there you have it.  Simple, cheap, and pretty.  That’s good enough for me.

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How do you decorate with wall art?  I’d love to have corner shelves here where I lean the pictures against the wall and add knick knacks here and there.  Perhaps, someday.  But, if not, that’s ok too.

{THE FOUNDATION}

I’ve been sick for the past two days and although I haven’t been able to go to bed early, or take naps, I’ve been given rest.

My girls slept for over three hours yesterday during afternoon naps, and are going on three hours today.

I was able to watch a few shows while working online and drinking tea as the wind raged outside.

I often watch home shows in the background as I work. Something about looking at different homes in different locations and done in different styles, fascinates me. However, I am often irritated by the complaints of the home buyers.

“It’s too small” (over 2,000 square feet).

“These appliances are dated” (less than five years old, but white).

“This bathroom has to be gutted!” (1950’s tile).

I often want to grab them and shake them and scream, “Are you kidding me?!”

I want to bring them to my home, my 816 square foot home, and say, “You have so much.  Don’t you see it?”

I want to show them orphans and poverty-stricken nations and just open up their eyes!

Now, I know that they are not bad people because of this. If I could afford a bigger or more updated home, I would buy it as well.

But, more and more I am realizing how unnecessary so many things are.  I am realizing how miraculous it is that I am safe and warm inside our cozy home while the storm rages outside.  I am realizing how much is truly enough.

This home, this phase: it is our reality.  It is our story.  It is going to shape us and shape our children.

As I was reading The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson, the other day I was so touched by what she said when discussing the sacrifices mothers often make to be able to stay home with their children.

“Even though those times were hard, the Lord provided and sustained us. Those lean years turned out to be precious ones, years in which much of my foundation of faith was laid.”

How beautiful.  I pray that I will not squander this time with worry over what is to be or what is not possible or what I want, but that instead the foundation of my faith, and that of my children’s faith, will be laid.

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(source)

{Small Changes}

A tight budget makes it difficult to make home updates.

Small changes are the perfect way to freshen up your home without spending money.

My kitchen is a place that I spend a lot of time in.  Unfortunately, it is a narrow galley style and is completely separated from any other room.  It has the least light and a “retro” (ahem) brown, patterned floor.

So, when I get tired of it, I make small changes by shopping my house or creating something new with things I already own.

We have this area above the stove that has housed wooden spoons, spatulas, and cooking oil.  I found myself not using the oil very often and having to constantly clean off the mason jars that held the spoons.

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I grabbed an old tin tray that I had painted with chalkboard paint a year or so ago.  By placing it on the wire rack and adding some fun blue and yellow accents, I freshened up a boring and stagnant space. It will distract me from the floor . . . for a bit.

Oh, and the new teapot from my mama doesn’t hurt either.

 

I’m sure a few more small changes will need to take place soon!

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{The Saga of the Shed}

When we moved into our little 816 square foot abode, we immediately fell in love with the yard.  We also immediately began to focus the majority of our home improvement efforts on the backyard.

Looking at the uneven, weed-filled front yard with its cracked concrete and faded front door, you would never know that we put in a lawn, grew a garden, made a brick patio, or built a shed in our backyard!

The shed is the most recent project.  The yard came with a giant metal barnesque-looking shed.  However, we wanted something a little more pleasing to the eye and less space-stealing.

Thus began the saga of the shed.  My dad came up with some plans and he and my hubby have been working on the foundation, frames, and raising of the shed on weekends when my parents visit.  This past weekend we put the shed “up”.  They built it in pieces over time and raised it in one day! We still have trim, windows, a door, and a weathervane to add.  Oh, and some window boxes if I bat my eyes at hubby enough.

Here are a few ( read: a lot of) pictures of the process!

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Ready for a performance or two!

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Not a bad view for a shed!

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Raising the Roof!

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My husband can do anything.  I love him.

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Are you doing any major yard renovations or upgrades?  We still have so many plans for back here.

Our list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Ditch the old shed.
  • Build something to hang the free bench swing we scored on from craigslist on.
  • Add another small brick patio under the trees.
  • Landscape.
  • Build a child’s swing.
  • Add some lattice and plants.
  • Paint fences.
  • Redo fences.

Onward we go!

{For Him}

When I decorate, I take my husband into consideration.

I shared this printable with you a few weeks back, and here it is in our kitchen.

I made this little “coffee station” for hubby.

He is the coffee drinker in our family  (I have decaf now and then, but mostly rely on Costco Mocha Mix to see me through the day). He has been using this french press lately, rather than the large coffee maker we own. So, I painted an old frame with some leftover grey paint from a sample paint container.  Then, I popped the printable in and hung it over this galvanized bucket that contains his coffee jar and his french press.

Whenever I decorate, whether it be making new pillows or curtains, purchasing a big piece of furniture, or painting something, I always check in with hubby.  I value his opinion and I also want him to feel at home in this small space we call ours.  I want him to feel comfortable and relaxed.  Maybe that means I can’t plaster my walls in Katie Daisy prints.  Maybe it means that I can’t have a flowery bedspread.  Maybe it means the piano remains unpainted. That’s ok.  This house is ours, not mine.

This little coffee station was a fun opportunity for me to bless my husband with something simple and I love it, too. Win-win!

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How do you decorate?  Is your husband opinionated about home decor?  Mine is not, but often has good suggestions or requests!