Last May we moved from a 2000 square foot home to a 750 square foot apartment. We started seriously thinking about downsizing after simplifying our lives and decluttering our home. Eventually we had too much space. Even though we’ve only been in our small space for 10 months, we’ve learned a few things.
1. Clutter attracts clutter. It’s easy to justify purchases and accumulate stuff. A little clutter attracts more clutter. When we first moved in to our small space, we dedicated a drawer in the kitchen to keep our keys and other things that didn’t have a place. Before long, we had a junk drawer filled with odds and ends. Now we hang our keys in the closet and try to find a place for things as they come in, instead of keeping them in a transitional space like a junk drawer.
2. Less is not nothing. We are living with much less than we had before, but we still have art on the walls and other things that we use and appreciate. The goal is not to live with nothing, but to live with things that have meaning and purpose. And that purpose may be to simply enjoy.
3. You don’t have to fill up all the space. We could have added shelves to the walls and closets or used the space on top of the kitchen cabinets to store or display stuff, but we didn’t need to.
4. Less indoor space provides more time to appreciate the outdoor space. Since we don’t have to clean much, organize, upgrade and fix stuff, we can appreciate the view of the church across the street, enjoy rooftop views, and take hikes overlooking the city.
5. When you need to buy things for your things, it’s time for fewer things. When we start talking about organizational bins or extra storage options, we know it’s time to get rid of stuff instead of accumulating more things to store it.
6. Clutter is more obvious. When you live in a sprawling space, clutter is easier to ignore. In a small space, clutter demands immediate attention.
7. It’s easier to live in the world when you live in a small space. With less to maintain and worry about, it’s easier to work from anywhere, and spend time outside or traveling.
8. The things that make a place feel like home aren’t things. I had some concerns about making a small apartment feel like home, but it isn’t the things on the walls or the countertop that make a place feel like home. It feels like home when I cook a familiar meal, listen to my favorite music, cuddle up with my dog, spend time with my husband and daughter, and when I write.
Small space living has given us the time and space to appreciate all of the things that make a house a home.