Back in September 2020, our family moved to a smaller house. In the midst of a global pandemic, carting around two toddlers, we traded a three-bedroom cape cod for a two-bedroom, two-story home. We decreased our square footage and lost a basement. No longer did we have the enormously convenient playroom/guest room/office that was our extremely spacious third bedroom. We lost a garage and a huge storage and laundry space that was half our basement. This is most definitely not what most families aspire to, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about our choice.
But what we received in return has paid itself tenfold.
Our new house is small but efficient. Upon leaving our last home, we donated, sold and trashed a ridiculous amount of personal items and furniture we accumulated over the past four years. Our basement and garage had turned into “the place where things go to die.” It was the easiest and laziest solution to managing things that didn’t have a place or purpose. Mostly, these were items we didn’t want to make a decision about so they sat, serving no one.
In our new home, everything has a place and a purpose. We have a few small closets for things like seasonal decorations or keepsakes or clothing. If an item is not serving a purpose, it makes its way into someone else’s hands be it via friends, family or through donation.
I think we could argue that we have never, in our modern history, been inundated with so much stuff.
For some, this is a minor issue. For me, clutter and things that sit drive me bonkers. By ensuring we have a process for letting things g and a space that supports this, it’s been really great to see how full and intentional our little home has been.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the real reason we chose our home. Nestled in one of the mounts of Cincinnati, we are surrounded by forest, sitting halfway up a huge hill. With a creek at the bottom of our hill and a grassy, open yard on the top, we have been outside as much as we possibly can. Across our street are miles upon miles of woodsy trails. We have been preparing our hen house for the arrival of some chickens, and we’ve also been planning out our garden space. Our home is, at the heart, everything we have wanted. Eventually, we plan to build an addition to our home to better accommodate guests or future children, if we choose. For now, we are happy in our little forest home.
Sometimes in our life, choosing things that can limit us or direct us in ways we want can be really helpful. Things like choosing schools for our kids or who to spend time with or what hobbies to chase can feel overwhelming. Parameters can help us live the life we want to live and prioritize important things.
Though I had reservations about moving to a small home, it’s helped us follow through on what is important to us – being outside, limiting “stuff” in our home, and hosting others (post-pandemic) all in an environment that will allow our kids to live life with people who are different from them. This little home is serving us in big ways and directing our family in the way we want to go.