In September of last year we moved from a 3400 square foot home to a 500 square foot carriage house, thrusting us into small space living. This was an “eventual” plan of ours, to move to our vacation property full-time, but we put things into fast forward last summer and ditched city living for a slower pace.
It has been a huge season of change, building new relationships, finding a new church, learning to truly enjoy a slow pace, but most importantly learning to let go of stuff and live small.
We are preparing to build our dream home here at the beach, but for now, we are living in a small space, the three of us and our two doodle dogs. You can view our home, which was highlighted on one of my favorite blogs House of Turquoise almost three years ago. It is a small space and I will tell you – it looks pretty much like that even today -with us living in it!
What I have most enjoyed about this season, is realizing that living small is an amazing freedom and I’ve learned a few lessons that are pretty powerful.
Less Indoor Space Means More Time Outdoors
We moved to the beach to slow down and enjoy the little things more. The frantic pace of suburbia and all the traffic was exhausting us. Here at the beach, we spend way more time outside and this includes my seven year old. He’s outside constantly – and he doesn’t mind the wind, rain or clouds at all. We walk the dogs more, we find a reason to go for a bike ride – and really – do you need a reason?
I don’t need 28 sweaters
Moving into a small space meant I needed to clean out my closet – BIG TIME!! I realized I had clothes that I didn’t really love – and too many of them. Truly – how many sweaters do you really need? I have been de-cluttering my closet now for over six months. It is freeing and so empowering. It means less choices in the morning and actually looking forward to getting dressed because the clothes I have I really like wearing!
This is not a new discovery – but I can tell you, having less in my home means I can breathe. Its okay that not every counter or shelf has decor or something placed there. It provides a sense of relief honestly. In a small space you enjoy having less – it provides room to just BE. We must make a decision about whether we are keeping something NOW, not put it aside and wait until another time and then decide after it’s been stuffed in a drawer for five years to purge it.
Less Stuff = Less Stress
Being purposeful about what we have in our home and what we treasure has provided a huge stress relief. The guilt about getting rid of things that I felt I needed to keep has been conquered. This can take a bit of time, believe me – I was having a hard time with old photos and such, but then we decided to scan photos and take pictures of memorabilia instead of keeping the item. We you begin to experience the freedom in parting with things that are in boxes and not enjoyed daily, it begins to be much easier to make decisions for the future.
The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things
I am sure you’ve heard this before, but it is true. I have more time to spend doing activities rather than cleaning, picking up, organizing, storing, purging or doing upkeep. We can visit friends, invite someone over, do an impromptu get together or get out of town at the last minute. When you have a small space with less things, it provides time freedom as well as emotional freedom.
This is a season for us, we will be building a larger home and moving into a bigger space within the next year and a half, but this has been one of the best life lessons I have had – living small and learning how to determine what it really important.
Does living small appeal to you?