I don’t have to tell anyone that homes, at least here in the US, have grown in size over the years. We think we need bigger and better. The reality is that we aren’t just spending our time and money buying those bigger houses but for all the stuff we want to put in our home.
I spent some time today going through some pictures my brother scanned after the death of my grandparents. They weren’t of much use to me in their current format so I took the time to convert the ones I liked and wanted to keep.
I noticed a something in viewing some of the old pictures, there was very little every day clutter and nick-knacks sitting around. What I found were pictures of people having fun in the spaces of the home, and lots of outdoor and travel photos. By travel photos, I don’t mean what I call “vacation stops” like Disney World but rather the little places that didn’t cost much money to visit.
Our homes weren’t anything you would find in a decorating magazine, but we loved our lives.
Families held on to things, but not in storage lockers. The high chair purchased for me as a baby, along with my crib, were passed on to family from distant cousins, to aunts needing a chair for visiting grand children, until given back to me for my children.
Kathy has a post this week where she shares her experiences when down-sizing. She found the one question asked was whether she and her husband were okay. Really why would anyone sell a large beautiful home with lots of land and a pool unless they were having financial difficulties. Kathy feels it is the terminology that is the problem and maybe we should be calling it “right-sizing” our lives instead. I think she’s right, I hope you will check out her post here.
Rather than thinking about how much space we need for all our things, why not think about how to accommodate the living we want to do in our lives? My grandparents loved to entertain, family and friends came by regularly. There was Friday night card games where the entire kitchen was filled with relatives playing pinochle, and the children who played in the other room. We had cookouts, and neighborhood get-togethers. So the thought that went into the furnishing of their home was focused on enough seating, not how to decorate those rooms to have the most beautiful home. Not that I want to give you the impression they didn’t care about the home, it’s just they used what they had. Dusting must have been a breeze!
I have been introduced to people today who are rethinking where and how they live. Bethany and her family realized they bought a house that was too big for them. To save money in the winter months they move into the basement. This may not work for everyone, but it works for them and gives them the added benefit of being physically close to each other.
The family bed was popular as well. I’m not talking about the family bed we talk about today where the children sleep with the parents, but where several siblings shared the same bed. This continued in our home, when my boys were little and both would spend the night at their grandparents home (They always called it grandma’s home, why is it that it’s always referred to as the woman’s home?).
The boys used to sleep sideways on the full-sized bed to give them more room to toss around while they slept and prevent falling out.
Today, we can find plenty of people who are finding happiness with the same values past generations used to have. Caitlin, at 24, has found she needs very little. She recently posted pictures of her apartment here. Even in a small apartment she has made the room (without a cluttered feel) to pursue her passion of painting. While you are there don’t forget to look for where she keeps her magnetic knife holder. I never would have thought of that!
Carol and her husband wanted to simplify and be closer to the beach. They too found it made their lives so much better, even if some people they know won’t accept their small home. Their home is beautiful and comfortable, much more to what we would expect to see in a magazine. You can see a few pictures of their home here.
Some people think I’ve gone too far in “right-sizing” my life. I would argue that others have found the same 300 sq ft to be perfect for a family of three. Check this out to see how a couple and their teenage son live in the same space I do, you will need to scroll down to view the video tour of their home.
If you want a home of your own, not an apartment like I did, you can see how one person worked around the zoning to build his dream home in Hawaii for cash.
Are you thinking about “right-sizing” (love that phrase Kathy!) then you may want to check out this article How to downsize without losing your mind. Are you attached to your current home with all it’s memories but know it’s too large for you. You may want to read Grief to Happiness. And finally, if you want more inspiration you can take a tour of a small home that may not qualify as small but was the right size for this family of 5. Watch for the storage that blends right in under the stairs, and what boy wouldn’t love that artist done bedroom.
All I want to do is be more like me and less like you ~~Numb by Linkin Park
Did you decide to “right-size” your life? What were the benefits you found as a result?