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An Update on Small Space Living – Hope


Several readers expressed interest in how living in a tiny space worked out for us.  I have written a couple of posts about it at my personal blog:

Multi-use Spaces

Sleeping Arrangements

But I thought I would give you a tiny glimpse into how things are going now that we’ve been here for four months. First and foremost, we are still living without a microwave, and frankly I do not miss it at all. The kids have learned to read packages before they buy them on their grocery weeks to make sure there are instructions for stovetop/oven preparation, taking the guesswork out of cooking We are LOVING our electric popcorn maker. All of the kids continue to cook dinner at least one night a week and we continue to strive for a $100 a week food budget with a little flexibility.

Our dogs have developed some challenging behaviors and I’m not sure if it’s because of the move, the new schedule (only outside 3x a day versus whenever they wanted,) or just the temptation of being nearer to trouble (ie trashcans.)  As a result, we are having to be cautious of what we put in trashcans, place our kitchen trash on top of our washing machine when we go out and be more diligent in watching their behaviors. But the coolest thing we are doing as a result of this is that Princess, as part of her homeschooling, is working with a dog trainer in a kind of train the trainer program and then she has daily homework with our dogs.  We are doing it together once a week with a professional dog trainer, two of our dogs and us.  It’s been great mommy/daughter time and she has such a gift/heart for animals that she’s getting alot out of it.  I wasn’t able to barter for this, but after calling around and explaining the situation, we got a GREAT deal.  So for $200 (coming out of kid’s activities) we are getting professional advice on our dogs, a train the trainer program for Princess and we are getting to participate in some classes with trained service animals.  It’s been super cool.

Our dogs just BEGGING for Princess to drop something...this has got to stop!

Our dogs just BEGGING for Princess to drop something…this has got to stop!

My most common phrase these days is “we don’t have room for it.”  Almost every purchase is something that is consumable (food, school supplies, etc.)  We’ve continued to downsize our closests, rearranged furniture and room use 1/2 dozen times and spend the majority of our inside time working on school projects, reading or sleeping.  I’m going to the library three times a week to get in solid, undisturbed work hours, and have an open invitation to the kids if they want to get out.  Nights are spent in front of the TV (Netflix,) computer (games,) or a book.  The little ones and I play lots of board games, but it’s typically under duress that the twins join in (which I understand at this age.)  We received several new board games for Christmas that we LOVE.

It’s really not as bad as it could be, and as most people who know what we are doing think.  I definitely have a challenge in getting solid work hours in, thus the frequent library trips.  And at night, the noise level just seems crazy.  But we are managing, learning to really take care of our stuff (so mom doesn’t trip on it in the middle of the night,) and definitely spending lots of quality family time due to weather and since there is literally no where to get away in our space.  Overall, it’s been a good experience for us all, I believe.  And since our old house bills are finally over, I am really looking forward to moving forward onto what will be the next phase of our lives!



  • Reply Walnut |

    It sounds like you guys are being very positive through the adjustment period. Hopefully spring will be right around the corner so everyone can use the outdoor spaces. I lived without a microwave for awhile in college and really think I probably don’t need one now. Are there any other small appliances that you’ve been able to part with? It seems like the kitchen is where all of my clutter lives.

    • Reply Hope |

      Pretty much the only appliances we have other than refrigerator (with no ice maker, ugh!) stove/oven and dishwasher (which were all provided with apartment,) that we brought and use regularly…blender for smoothies, crockpot, electric tea pot and our new popcorn maker. Except for the popcorn maker, they are all used on a daily basis. Oh, and we do have a hand blender, but it’s only used once in a while so it’s in a closet outside of the kitchen.

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, with 5 of us, eating 3 meals a day plus snacking, the kitchen definitely gets alot of traffic. Everyone is learning to be more responsible for their used items, and putting things where they go. I keep the kitchen super organized, I can’t function otherwise. Hate cooking in clutter!

  • Reply Den |

    You guys are doing great! I bet someday you will all look back on this time with fondness:)

    It all reminds me of college dorm living – without the animals! We certainly learned to do without and/or appreciate the room we did have when we came home for a visit.

    • Reply Hope |

      So true. I always loved apartment living and still do…love that someone comes to fix the things that break, someone takes care of the yard and that it takes about 10 minutes to clean the whole space. I too think we will look back on this time with fondness. But I am ready to be at that place where I can look back…but working on my patience and keeping my eyes on the prize!

      • Reply Walnut |

        It will make a lot of sense to list out the things you love about apartment living and see if you can incorporate any of them into whatever the next chapter of your life might be. Perhaps a larger townhouse or a home in an HOA that covers all or many of these things is in your best interest. Perhaps you are best off renting rather than owning and are best off figuring out a long term deal with a landlord.

  • Reply Joe |

    My wife and I lived in a 300 sq ft apartment for 3 years including my eldest’s first birthday. We focused on what we had rather than what we didn’t and we have such fond memories looking back now. We saved the money for a down payment on a modest house that we live in today, and the great thing is that it feels HUGE. So hang in there, I think you are doing great!

    • Reply Hope |

      I know. I know we felt so tight in our old home, but now we really know what tight means. I often comment about how much we are going to appreciate things when we get more space since we are definitely guilty of taking so much for granted.

So, what do you think ?