Do you ever dream of downsizing?

young-gardenerJuly 13, 2012

At 1700 sqft, I've no doubt things will feel cramped once the baby arrives, gear and all. But, today, I found myself dreaming of downsizing.

No, really.

Maybe it's just the renovation exhaustion that leaves me longing for a cheaper place, but I found myself looking at smaller (still) houses on MLS today...thinking how great it would be if our mortgage was even lower still.

DH is going to think I'm NUTS. Downsizing would require getting this place finished (HA!), sold (HA!HA!)....and a whole lot of selling off "extras."

But, it made me wonder. How small do you think you *could* go? What would you have to do in order to make it happen?

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We are at about 1375. Just the two of us no child to consider. BUT if I did not have my studio room we would have plenty of room for a child in this house. My studio room is full of glass and only used by me. Guest room is not large. My studio room would be a good room for a child and still have room for play space. I think it is 10'6" by 13' or so, not counting closet. I do not remember exactly. A large room for a child. I know the guest/sewing room is 9 by 13. Long and narrow.

Just the two of us have lived comfortable in 800 and 864 SQ FT houses. I just prefer a little larger. I want my studio room.

This house is not so large it takes a long time to clean. I do a little all the time so it never really gets all that dirty. Even when the whole place gets dirtier then I like it is not that big of a deal to get through it in one day. Our 1850 SQ FT houses we had could not be cleaned all the way through in one day and if I tried I was exhausted.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:38PM
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there are days already when I'm walking back and forth - thru the LR/DR (13') to the kitchen or back door that I think maybe this is too big.

I'm sure that'll cease a lot when things get settled, put away and I'm not 'walking' things to put them in their new 'home' (or temp home) here.

I'm also forgetting things so then I have to turn around and walk it again... not sure there's help for that problem tho!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Shades- Having a space for creating makes such a difference (at least to me)! My creative space is a tiny dresser top in the guest room, and I find that without a dedicated room, the mess moves around the house. ;) 1850 must've felt so big!

Desert- YES! I do that all the time! If the house was more open, it probably wouldn't be a big deal, but ours is a "one route only" layout. ;)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 3:52PM
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Young- I think the amount of walking is almost more important than the size of the house. If you have a circular flow, it will seem smaller, because you're walking less. If you have to keep going through different rooms, to get from on place to the other...a smaller home can feel huge!

Often, I feel like having a little more space would be great (since so much of our home is now office space) but then it's time to clean...and I think it would be so nice to have less stuff and a smaller home! LOL

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 6:29PM
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I try to convince myself now that it is my 'exercise' since it is so hot out (hey - not today - we had a storm earlier) that I don't spend much time outside, walking the dog or
anything. 9mjdfj jjj9o l,,.++/+++

see that weird stuff above? that's puppy - she typed that with her toy!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 6:48PM
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LOL at Puppy Steph.

YG Before I had my studio I did have projects all over the house and it was always a problem to keep things cleaned up. Now I can just stop in the middle of a project and walk out. I like it this way so much better. Since my art is so much a part of my life we made that room larger just for me. Course it could always have been even larger then it is but I am happy and it is a good working space.

If I had to I could switch to the smaller guest sewing room but I do not have to nor want to.Insert evil grin here.

The larger houses we had had great big bedrooms. I had one totally dedicated to a guest room and used it for nothing else but storage in the closet. A total waste of space for about 350 days, or more, of the year. Here I use the guest sewing room several times a week if for nothing else but to go into with cup of tea and enjoy the view of the court yard and quiet in there away from the TV.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 8:15PM
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"Now I can just stop in the middle of a project and walk out"

that's what I'm looking forward to here. and shut the door behind me! At the other place I mostly had to 'work' on my bed or the computer table. what a pain. If on the bed and I got sick or tired I'd have to move everything to lie down. Then it'd get all messed up.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:33AM
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I actually bought my downsized house. When we bought this home eighteen years ago, I felt that it could be a good house for two people. It is roughly 1800 sq ft and it's a 50's split.
looking back, I would have preferred a more interesting house, but it was what we could afford at the time.
I currently do not feel it is too big and I think even as I get much older, I will be able to navigate six steps at a time. I really don't have to use the tow lower levels and could send my laundry out if I had to!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:41AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I had to laugh when I read the first line of your post. We raised three kids in ap. 1500s.f., but I know what you mean about baby gear. Since the grandson has moved in, some of my closets (new addition built in 2008) are half filled with toys and books, and we have to move the big items to the LR to set up dinner in the new family-dining room. The addition was built so that we wouldn't need to rearrange furniture for every large gathering. We're still rearranging--toys, rather than furniture. :[

What I dream of downsizing are my belongings. I have way too much stuff.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Oh yes, I dream of downsizing all the time, more so now, so you may be right about the stress of construction.

What's funny is that we reared our two girls in 1400 square feet. It wasn't until the oldest was almost grown that we were able to finally start expanding this space, and now we are expanding because the house needs it, not us.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 7:40PM
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How small do you think you *could* go? What would you have to do in order to make it happen?

I could go tiny, tiny very easily. I love to look at the Tumbleweed tiny houses and picture living in one. But then I remember that DH has a lot of stuff. Maybe that's why I dream about tiny houses...all that "stuff" would have to go!

I'm the opposite of a hoarder. ;)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:32PM
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I am constantly changing things around in the house. I am not totally sure why. Maybe too many years of flipping houses and constantly living in a new space.

I do not mind living in a smaller house but I still need space to store my changes of furniture. I am all about small furniture that can be used in many different ways. I just switched a table in my sewing room for a smaller one ,I had in the loft, that holds both my sewing machines when I am not using them because it has a top and shelf below. The side table I was using will either go up in the loft or on the front porch for awhile.

Then the mood will hit me and I will change again. I moved the Hoosier into the kitchen dinning room space when my hands were too painful to lift the small kitchen appliances I use often. Now my hands are better I think I will move the hoosier back to my studio as I am not fond of how it slightly blocks my side ways view out the window.

I do not really want to get rid of the furniture pieces I am not always using because I find myself going back to them often.

Food for thought. Small house with a good storage space is ideal for me.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 4:33PM
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shades- being able to stop and walk out sounds great. I'll have a small desk for projecting in the laundry room, but it will be too visible for such a luxury. one day!! I'm a rearranger like you! It drives DH crazy because I'm constantly moving things, but it keeps me sane. :)

mama- yes, closets are the issue here. we have loads of "floor space," but zero closet space in our old house. That means we need more storage-oriented furniture, which eats up our space. Vicious cycle. :) I dream of downsizing our "stuff," too!! To me, that is TRUE downsizing.

Oldgardener- THREE CHEERS!! Getting rid of everything would feel sooo good.

I'm actually headed to the storage until tomorrow to sort everything into 2 piles: necessities for the attic, remaining items for the yard sale. We've been working on selling all of our nonessential furniture via Craigslist. I CAN'T WAIT to be bare bones!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 10:43PM
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I don't know if I dream about it, but I have used it as an exercise to decide if we are using the space we have, and what a "perfect" house would be for us.

When I was single I had a 1929 2/1 bungalow with about 1,200 square feet. It also had a basement, an attic and a big detached 2-car garage with a storage room in the back. It was perfect for me, with plenty of storage, with the only challenge being hanging room for clothing (I used both bedroom closets). I had the small den set up as my cozy TV room. The only room I didn't use much was the formal DR. When DH came along, he felt very claustrophobic. There wasn't room for all of our clothes, musical instruments, etc. We moved to a house with 2,100 square feet (3/1.5, finished attic) and were comfortable. We then spent time briefly in 2,600 square feet (huge bungalow - only 3/1.5, but huge rooms) and are now back in 2,000 square feet (4/1.5; no attic or basement or garage, all on one floor).

I sometimes think we should be able to make do with less space. But then I think of how we use the house. Of the two large BRs (12' x 17'), one is our master, and the other is our shared office. Of the two small BRs, one (9' x 11.5') is the music room (big rack to store instruments, a keyboard, extra drum set, etc.) and the other tiny 9' x 10') is the spare bedroom. I really don't see how we could do without one of these rooms -- maybe keep all the instruments in the office?

The main great room has the LR, DR, kitchen and garden area. The LR could be a bit bigger, actually. The dining room could be smaller, and the garden isn't necessary, so room could be saved there. So, to complete my exercise, I could excise maybe 350-400 square feet from the house we have and it could still be livable for us. So maybe 1,600 - 1,650 is the workable size for us. But it would have to be laid out Just. So. And as we all know, they're never laid out Just. So.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:35AM
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No! But I have 1172 SF base, and 900 SF finished in walkout basement '64 ranch. The basement is my piano studio, so it's not living space, but work space. I couldn't afford to downsize, as the cost of a nice smaller home in a comparable location and same condition would be way more than what I have in this house, even after 40k in improvements. Then I'd probably have no room for my business & end up renting space. Never plan to move.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:12PM
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We live 2 people and 1 panther type cat in 500sf. If I downsized I will be living in my bathroom !
We are looking into wall beds right now. I think they are the perfect solution.
I will post my escapades regarding this on another thread....

my motto:
keep it small. keep it stress free. but above all keep it affordable.
i.e plenty left over for play

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 4:20PM
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I have too much stuff to downsize to a really small house...but I do like cottages :)

The tiny cottages are cute, but my favorites are the bigger, English cottages you see in old 1940s 'Love Letters' and 'The Enchanted Cottage'. Those were probably movie sets, but still wonderful!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 11:21PM
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EatRealFood- LOVE the motto!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 7:18PM
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jakabedy- You're right about the layout. It makes all the difference. I've told DH several times that if ours was laid out more efficiently, we'd have an abundance of space. I wish they'd allocated more space to storage, but I guess that's the price we pay for buying in the historic district. Just today, I was looking at floorplans under 2000, and it was interesting to see how differently the space was used in all of them. Some felt huge on paper, others quite cramped. Interesting.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 7:22PM
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''Do you ever dream of downsizing?'' YES!!

DH and I have a 2 BR trailer, somewhere between 800-900sf I believe (we kinda measured once, but I forget specifics). It's generally felt perfect. One bedroom for us, one bedroom for office/hobbies/cat box/storage. However, now DH is living in another state while going to school and his apartment is around 500-550sf. I'd love to move down there...but there's all this 'stuff' to deal with, and a dog we'd have to re-home. His apartment seems so peaceful and appealingly minimalist in contrast to our trailer. It makes me realize how weighed down I am by 'things'...even things I think I need that hide in cupboards out of sight. In addition to our square footage, we have a huge garage, and moving out of the garage frightens me...who knows what's lurking in there! A smaller space forces you to pare down and carefully evaluate what things you bring in to your home. It also seems to help with organization; piles become a problem sooner, so they're dealt with sooner, when they're not yet overwhelming. Plus, I love how a small space keeps people close; it can be peaceful to read side by side rather than across the room or in different rooms, and if someone needs space, you're forced to *gasp* go outside and enjoy the great outdoors! ;) Goodness knows I need to get off my rear and breathe in fresh air more often for my mental health.

Eatrealfood has the right idea, too, that smaller often means cheaper (to buy, build, heat, furnish, etc.), so money can go to better things! I'd much rather 'eat real food' and travel than live in a big house. Kids impact things, though, and we'll likely start a family soon, so I do think about floor plans a lot, trying to figure out a balance between cramped and too much space. I posted a link a while back for Ross Chapin Architects that seemed to have pretty efficient lay outs with good attention to detail. If we have a chance to build someday I hope to use one of those plans, or something similar (DH seems to think bigger is better, though, a sign of some strategic discussions might be in order).

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:51AM
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You are so funny ! I discuss this topic with my friends all the time. Since we renovated our apt. I have had to sort through things too(not a garage full though). We put things in BIG moving boxes and stacked the boxes in the living room(which is tiny). As the boxes loomed over my head I, without mercy, went through each box(about 5 boxes). It was a lot less painful than I thought ! Wow did I feel good after finishing. I bagged up everything and tossed it. I usually would donate but in this case I had to get it out NOW. If I hesitated nothing would move and everything would end up in the "I can use that someday" pile. I have seen the show "hoarders" on the internet, that's what happened to them. The next thing to tackle is the small storage room we rented for the renovation...
My neighbor lives in about 500-550sf--2 adults 2 children. He got them bunk beds (they are teens now, one is ready for college). It worked out well because although all of his friends went through foreclosure he is now ready to send his eldest to college...Oh I forgot to mention that his in-laws stay with him 3-4 months a year. He makes it work because he must. Oh and the children were fighting with him recently so he sent them away for the Summer to his home country. Best thing for them IMHO.
What motivated me was the fact that since our walls are now straight with nice simple molding and windowsills throughout (never had windowsills !)and we have a new kitchen I didn't want to destroy the new clean look with any clutter.
I'm so glad to have a roof over my head, a bed, good food and especially my DH and adorable tuxedo cat. When I get frustrated with the small small 8x9' bedroom that's what I say to myself. Then I plan my next trip...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 4:35PM
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'he sent them away for the Summer to his home country'

What's his home country? If I like it, give me his ph# so I can fight with him too!

I think with a growing family you do need some space. You don't need as much as a lot of people think tho. You do need some storage space - be it a garage, a basement or attic. One friend of mine built in a room about 7 x 8 to use for storage. I know she had shelves all along the back wall. Somehow she had a lower step or 2 built in to reach the higher shelves (tho she isn't as short as I am).

Something like that would work well for most people if they'd think about it in advance of building. High shelves for holiday decorations, clothes to handed down to the next kid. A treasure box for the kids etc A shelf for linens, extra blankets/pillow etc - all that STUFF we often do need! It's just where do we stash it?

you could 'carve' out a space like that in a basement also - just enclose it and put a door on it.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 6:03PM
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So true! I think if we had a garage and/or basement, this would make a great forever home for us. Sadly, we lack both. ;)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Eatrealfood, I love your motto! When I sold my big house, I sold almost everything I had, either to the new buyers or at my garage sale. I am now in the process of building a much smaller (1628 sf) house and having so much fun ordering new furniture and I swear that I am not to get anything that will clutter my space and mind.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Eatrealfood, I admire you for throwing things out! DH has told me that without him, I'd end up a crazy cat lady on Hoarders. He could be right. We took two old rugs to the dump last weekend, and it just about killed me. What if someone wanted to buy it? Money for stuff is always nice! What if someone in need would have thought it was a great bargain at Salvation Army? Gah! I hate just throwing things out. But then I remind myself how much junk good will places have to sort through, and I get tougher in my sorting. And having nice new spaces does help! I love seeing my new butcherblock countertops cleared of 'stuff'.

desertsteph is right about planning for storage, though. I love decorating for the seasons...not all out craziness, but little things to make the home feel festive, and things like that take up space. As do fishing and camping gear, tools and gardening stuff...I can live without a garage, but not neatly! Knowing how other cultures and previous generations lived can be a nice reality check, though. My mother shared a room with her sister, and they had to play outside; there wasn't a separate toy/entertainment room. My grandma loved fishing, but she didn't have 12 fishing poles.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 2:14AM
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Jessicaml, next time put it on the curb. There's always someone needing something~ even an old, worn rug on a cold floor in the wintertime feels better, especially if there's a baby just learning to crawl.

"waste not, want not"

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 1:57AM
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Jessicaml, next time put it on the curb. There's always someone needing something~ even an old, worn rug on a cold floor in the wintertime feels better, especially if there's a baby just learning to crawl.

"waste not, want not"

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 2:36AM
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We have the best of both here. Our dump takes the usable things and puts them in an open ended building for any one that wants them. I have found some wonderful things at the Dump Boutique.

In our small town we haul our own garbage to the dump instead of hiring a service to do it. We go right by the place on our way to town so it is simple. We pay to use the dump in our taxes and can dump as much as we want for $40 or 50 a year. I forget how much but certainly reasonable.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:35AM
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No, I dream of UPsizing. Would like more storage and a separate family room. And a bigger kitchen so I don't have to store crock pot, etc. down in the basement. Oh, and wouldn't I love a 2nd bathroom!! But not too big because I wouldn't like all the extra time it would take me to clean a bigger home.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 4:47PM
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