Eureka! People who understand!!

loribee2August 25, 2010

I just stumbled on this forum after spending most of my time on the gardening loops, and hooray! People who get it!

My DH and I lived in a 2,500 sq ft house for 10 years until we sold it and bought a 1,300 home in the same neighborhood. We did it for all the reasons you mention here: Time spent cleaning, the cost of heating and upkeep, NEEDING to have two incomes. We've been here over 2 years and I've never been happier in our little home. (Of course, it helps that we tripled the size of our yard, hence, the gardening forums).

However, some of our family and friends think were nuts! A few, I'm sure, think we moved because we were broke or something. If my mother says, "I miss your big pretty house" one more time I'm going to scream. I am so converted now that my new response is, "How can you stand YOUR house?"

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and express how nice it is to find a forum of people who understand that bigger is not always better. I look forward to catching up on some of your discussions!

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Hi Loribee, Welcome . So glad you found us.
We were just visiting with neighbors yesterday and it turns out they have almost exactly the same house we do only their is quite a bit bigger in living room kitchen area. The rest of the house was about the same. Was fun to see the difference. Then I got to thinking of the added upkeep.UGH

I too have been totally converted. We lived in an 1850 SQ FT house several years ago and I totally freaked to go down to a 1290 SQ FT and now we are in a 1375. Loving it all the way. If I did not do my arts I could have done with smaller still but I needed a space to do my mosaics.

And do share your yard too as most of us also love our yards big and small.

Again Welcome the more the merrier.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 3:15PM
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Thanks, Chris! How ironic--I've just taken up the craft of mosaics and concrete garden art and have been hanging out on the mosaic forum recently. I've got a 10X12 shed in the yard that is my workshop (would have traded my museum living room years ago if I'd known how fun having a workshop can be!).

When we were downsizing, I had my own brand of freak-out. For me, I wasn't stressed about letting go, I was angry that I'd bought so much crap in the first place (we had 4 dining sets!!). I had to go through a long period of kicking myself over all the money we spent filling that big space with stuff. It was especially annoying selling it all on Craig's List for about 20% of what we paid. Dumb dumb dumb! Now I just chalk it up to the fact that I probably wouldn't be as at peace with what I have now if I hadn't experienced the grandeur. If we'd bought this little house from the start, we probably would have spent our lives pining over the big spacious homes. We'd have a heck of a lot more money, though! LOL

And you don't have to ask me twice when it comes to posting yard pictures. My vegetable garden is my crown jewel.

If you don't mind my asking, where are you in Idaho? I ask because I've got family in Hailey.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Loribee, We are in Midvale. About 20 miles from the Oregon Border. Maybe 200 miles from/west of Hailey. Not so far as the crow flies but there are not many roads between here and there. Used to live much closer when we lived in Challis.

Try not to beat yourself up too hard on buying then selling the stuff. Each move we have made I continue to get rid of more AFTER we have moved to the new house.DUMB on me!!

For me I did not buy stuff I already had it. I have as much in this 1375 house as was in the 1850 house. Not sure how I do it but if I want to move one piece of furniture I need to do a whole house up heavel. Makes me crazy. I just can not seem to part with my old funky furniture. So I cram it in. I have gotten rid of just a couple of things though and it has helped. The biggest albatross right now is the gun cabinet at 64 inches long and the base is the size of a casket. LOL WE have it in two parts right now. I would LOVE for it to go away. Father gave it to me for a china cabinet but I do not NEED a third china cabinet. So I have one china cabinet for my china and another for my fabric and sewing stuff.

Anyway We all love pictures.There is also a conversation side to this forum so if you just want to visit about something/anything you can do it on that side. But we are not all that formal.

I must get myself to work. Darn it all.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Welcome Loribee! Not only are small-house people smarter, but we're friendlier, too! This is my favorite forum on GW, and we have a good time here.

We currently live in a 1500 sq ft ranch in the endless 'burbs of west central FL, but we have land in rural upstate SC, and I plan to built a small empty nest in the near future.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 5:16PM
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So you're probably closer to the family I have in Spokane than the ones in Hailey (I'm all over the PNW).

As for furniture, I definitely understand your situation. I have a 100-year-old player piano shoved in a 10 X 10 bedroom because I couldn't part with it....and I almost never play it. LOL

Thanks for the welcomes and I really look forward to chatting with you all more often. I saw the photos of the sheds on another thread and wow, what beautiful things people do with their spaces!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 5:47PM
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hi loribee! I'm new here too and like you, appreciate finding like-minded people who appreciate living in smaller spaces. We are rebuilding our 1200 sq ft home that was lost in a wildfire nearly 3 years ago. We have always chosen location over size of home. Looking forward to chatting more with you!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 6:08PM
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yep, welcome aboard. we do love pics. show us your garden, your house, your furniture, we love it all.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 6:10PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Welcome! You'll find a lot of gardeners here, too.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 6:22PM
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Welcome! Be proud of your small home!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Thanks, Jay! I agree with the friendlier comment. I noticed when lurking the threads there weren't any arguments. I promise not to start any! LOL

Gryane, I was looking at the thread on your new house. I'm so sorry you got stuck in those So Cal fires I know so well (I'm in insurance ;-) ). But your new house is looking beautiful and that view is amazing! I can wait to see the continued progress.

Desertsteph and Mamma_goose, thanks so much for the welcome. I'll put up a few pics soon. Like you, I love seeing what people do with their homes and yards. I saw on one thread someone mentioned disappointment in HGTV. I have to admit that since I've found the gardenweb, I don't watch as much of it anymore either. I'm so much more interested in the things people do on their own without the big checkbooks and professional designers. So much more organic and fun. (Plus, I get to ask questions :-) )

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 7:09PM
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Glory Be, Loribee!!
So pleased to have another gardener and small homer come into the fold!

Welcome welcome!!
If you don't see a thread about something you really want to discuss, by all means, start it.

We also have the Conversation side, for things way off topic,(even though no one is a topic cop on here, so don't worry about it,) and for picturing finished projects so you don't have to wade through all the stuff leading up to the grand finale. That was the idea put forward by Loretta...AKA Idie2live.....and it works for me. Only I have yet to finish any of my projects. Bummer.

We have some guys over here too. We do all sorts of projects. It may seem small time in some of the other forums, but not here. We give even more attention to the small stuff.....because we know you definitely can have everything you want, if you plan on it.

I haven't measured my little cottage here in Mobile AL. but it is growing a little, almost 100 sq feet. It has the distinction of possessing the world's tiniest 3/4 bath...meaning no tub, but a shower/sink/toilet. Just don't sneeze if you are standing at the sink.

For the most part, no one here sweats the small stuff. And so we all get along fine. Our objective is to listen to what a person says their need is, there resources, their objective, and then brainstorm the heck out of it, not critiquing or putting down any ideas until they are all in. One thought leads to another, and who knows which idea will start a firestorm? So we go at it with great enthusiasm.

A few people on here have lost homes in environmental disasters, like forest fires, floods, or hurricanes. A few have traded down in size, gone empty nest, retired, divorced, and who knows what else. Some are looking forward to raising children yet to be born, and some have unexpectedly married late in life. We cover all the bases here!

Hope you stick around. This is a lovely group of folks.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 7:53PM
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Hello Loribee. The welcome wagon trickles in one at a time, we don't all ride together! There are many gardeners here too. I think gardening and living in a right-sized home go hand in hand. It's the simple pleasures that count. When you are straddled with debt and chores that go along with those bigger houses you don't have time to smell the roses, or moonvine, or four o'clocks. I think you will like it here.

In case you don't know about this feature, there is also a "Conversations" area in case we want to go off-topic. And sometimes we do go off topic. Great bunch of people here who love to chat and exchange differing views in a very polite fashion. I've been around for years and only recently discovered the Conversations area. It's just like Cheers, where everyone knows your name!

Hope you become a regular.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 8:18PM
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Welcome - it is indeed a friendly group.

We live in a 1500 sq. ft. two storey which is almost too big for us BUT gives us space to entertain and to welcome our adult children for Christmas, visits, etc.

I have lived in a much bigger home (3,000 sq. ft) and would not go back there for the world!

Like many others on this forum, I am a gardener. Seems to me that having a much smaller (right-sized for us) home leaves me with the time and $$$ to spend on the garden rather than spending it on furnishing, decorating and cleaning (!!!!) a big home. All about choosing one`s own priorities.

Again, welcome.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 9:00PM
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Wow, thanks so much everyone for the warm welcomes! I do look forward to checking out the conversations area. I'm not familiar with it or how it's different from these regular forums, but I'll definitely take a look. LOVE talking to other gardeners and craftspersons and sharing experiences.

As promised, here's a few pics to share. Before we moved into our house, we remodeled the whole kitchen for $11,000. I love hearing on DIY Network that the average kitchen remodel is triple that. Heh.

This is a before and after shot:

We're on an 8,000 sq ft lot which is large for the San Francisco Bay Area. The back yard was all lawn and we're in the process of converting it to something more environmentally friendly. We've only completed the first section which is the sunny side yard. Here's the before (though that giant privot to the right circled the entire fence line):

Here's the area now:

Lots, lots, lots more to do. We've got plans for a bird garden on the other side of the house, a spa, some trees, and a master bath in need of remodeling. My joke is, if I only had $100K I could have the place just the way I want it. LOL But I'm enjoying the process. I LOVE dealing with a smaller house. You can get such better quality and spend less in the end.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 9:50PM
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Hi Again Loribee, Lovely yard and you have a wonderful shed and veggie garden. I think it qualifies for a pottager. There is also a pottager forum here.

There is another person on this board from your area. Who, right this minute escapes me. I will keep thinking on it.

I added the link to the Conversations side of this board if you want to check it out too. We love to hear what you are having for dinner or just life in general. Loving this board and I have a couple of friends here for several years. IRL too.

I am so happy others are joining in here as this is such a fun board and I think we all are passionate about our smaller homes/cottages.


Here is a link that might be useful: Conversations

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 10:48PM
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Welcome loribee! My house is pushing the small house limits, but I'll stay in this forum because it is so friendly and the people here are more about function than form. Like you said, they get it. Small houses have their own set of special needs, such as storage. Even some of my neighbors wonder why we don't enlarge our tiny master bathroom. Why? It meets our needs just fine.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:31PM
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Hi Loribee,

Welcome. I'm pretty new myself, mostly just read the threads. I love reading about how people live small and I LOVE pictures. You have a great garden.

The people here are incredibly kind, you'll love it here I'm sure.



    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:40AM
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Welcome Loribee :-) We have just sold our 1365 sf. Cape Cod in upstate NY and are moving nearby to a 1680 sf. (includes a small front porch) manufactured home in an over 55 park. The layout of the new home is perfect and there are lots of large closets and kitchen cabinets, both of which are lacking in the Cape. Yes, it is larger in sq. footage, but such a great floor plan. An added bonus is that after gardening in all-sunny locations for 20 years, I will have a good amount of shade. Will be starting from scratch, but I'm sure I will be able to get some good soil info from other residents as there are some lovely thriving gardens there.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 4:49AM
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How great to see this forum growing and chatting. We had a dry spell for a while, but are making up for it the last 6 mos. Welcome to our small party.

My favorite part of the forum is when some repurposes their home area or furniture to fit a favorite item or interest/hobby. Oh, the people too. I don't think we have ever had a rude word spoken, unless it was talking to ourselves about something stupid we did personally.

And lots of gardeners, maybe this is in the heart of a small home dweller.

The conversation side gets forgotten. And we answer anything whichever side it is. There really aren't any rules here, just the powers to be and I can't remember anyone having to deal with them.

Love your gardens and how great they have grown. Will enjoy hearing about all you have done.

Letting go is the hardest for all of us. There are probably a half dozen threads on the top in some form. I still have to remind myself "I don't need that". I finally decided that whatever I let go of would be loved by someone else who may not have been able to have something like it without my "letting go".

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 8:14AM
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Thanks for the welcomes, everyone! Wantoretire, your new place sounds great! I'm looking forward to seeing the transformation.

"My favorite part of the forum is when some repurposes their home area or furniture", ooh now that would be interesting.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 8:55AM
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btw Loribee, I wanted to say that your garden is gorgeous! I wish my squash looked like that.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:05AM
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Loribee, I love what your new kitchen looks like, as well as the raised beds in your garden. It could be illustrations from a magazine!

The privet which are so big, seems they are on the proper side of your yard to give privacy but not diminish your sunlight. I have some which are tree size too. As yours would be if left untrimmed at the top. What I've done is limb them up from the bottom, which will give more gardening space under them. And let the tops assume a nice large canopy...or as large as a privet can have anyway. Here is a picture of that area. I use the privet to shade my New Orleans style courtyard, which is bricked.
Note the privet is trimmed high, and it is in bloom here.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:20AM
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Ooh, what a beautiful space! Unfortunately, those hedges are now gone. We paid someome to come in and tear them all out on both sides! But we do have New Zealand Tea Trees along our back fence that we are trying to leave in place and we've done what you mentioned by trimming up the bottom and leaving the canopy. It's a great way to get privacy without losing a huge chunk of your yard, which is always an issue here with our smaller CA lots.

I love how you've got a lot going on but it's all cohesive and doesn't overwhelm. That's one of the things I'm afraid of: Going overboard and not knowing when enough is just right.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:50AM
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Welcome Loribee ~ You'll enjoy visiting here, it's been a nice forum since the beginning when there were just a few of us here. It's nice having more activity these days. DH and I live in a small 50's cottage, roughly 700 sq. ft. We also have a workshop and other out buildings on our 1/4 acre. We've lived here since 1973. Decluttering is something we are still working on.

Oh yes, I also garden, it is my favorite hobby. The summer's are brutal here, so I do what is necessary, saving projects for cooler weather.

I love your garden and your shed, and look forward to seeing more of your home and gardens.


Here is a link that might be useful: FlowerLady's Musings

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 1:32PM
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Loribee, Welcome! Your little home is just lovely, I hope you will stick around. It is just amazing how helpful people are on this forum, it almost seems like there are experts in every category here :) I totally understand about your mom, we haven't even been in our 1,300sqft for a year and she calls me when larger homes come on the market...grrrrr. It's so worth it though, it's so easy to have whatever finishes etc. you want because the space is so small!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 2:15PM
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Add my welcome to the list! You'll find that there is a super group of people on this forum! Whatever you are trying to accomplish will be encouraged.
I love what you did to your side yard. I need to stop making excuses and work on my yard too.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 2:21PM
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Lo, don't tackle that yard until it gets a wee bit cooler. Let the leaves fall, so you can see exactly what you will be trimming. Don't want to lose you now, you know.

And I second what Enigma says about being able to get whatever finishes you like without breaking the bank.
When it comes time to clean, you get it done and have time to sit down and do something fun. It also does not cost as much to paint and repaint your house. Or to replace the roof. The power bill is not as high, the heating bill is more reasonable, your car looks bigger parked in the driveway, you don't spend as much for watering the lawn either.

Maybe kids come around more frequently on Trick or Treat, because houses are closer together, but I always liked Halloween. You can also buy a smaller Christmas tree and hang fewer lights. The smell of apple pie goes further through the house too.

All in all, our mamas need to get over the feeling that we should keep lightly on our planet is the "modern way" and my generation (because I feel I am probably the age of most of your mamas) hasn't gotten the message yet.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 4:39PM
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Welcome loribee! You will love this forum. I, too, have been on the gardening forums, composting forums, and the other building forums. I've pretty much decided not to bother with the others. The tone is getting less and less nice.

However, THIS forum is a jewel.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Thanks, Flowerlady! And I love your blog. I just started one as a journal for my projects and garden, to help keep me organized, remember what I did and if it worked. I really enjoy it. Plus it's easy to hit that Facebook button and share a new project with friends and family. Nice to see others doing it too!

And thanks to the rest of you for the welcomes! Good to know my mother isn't the only occasional pain in the bunch. ;-) For her, it could be the depression era she grew up in left her measuring success by how much stuff you have, where I've been spoiled and don't care so much about my stuff. I don't know--just me playing Freud, which I probably should stay away from. LOL

Moccasin, I love what you said about the benefits of smaller homes and agree completely. I hadn't thought about my car looking bigger in the driveway. That's priceless!

And thank you, Sandy, for mentioning some of the garden forums! They really can get nasty at times, and me being opinionated (and always right hah!) I've gotten sucked in once or twice. I think I'd much rather share my free time with people who don't take everything so seriously all the time (or don't get so irate if someone asks a question that *gasp* has been asked before). After all, this is supposed to be fun, right?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 7:17PM
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Loribee sez:"I'd much rather share my free time with people who don't take everything so seriously all the time (or don't get so irate if someone asks a question that *gasp* has been asked before)."

Over here, I don't think it matters when a SIMILAR question turns up, for several reasons. First, your circumstances are probably unique. It isn't a matter of cut and dried one-answer-fits-all. Our smaller homes all have unique personalities, and the solutions to different things must be shaped accordingly.

We all have kitchens. Some are original, some are redone. Some are tiny, but when given the chance to expand, some choose to put the additional space in the kitchen, and some put it in a bath or maybe a bigger dining/living room. And some are reaching retirement age and want the changes they make to allow them to remain in their homes, not go to some strange place and give up everything they love. Then again, one or two are young and just planning to begin their families. Then we have divorced folks who want room for the kids when they come, and make them feel at home too. So INTENT is a big part of the right answers.

I suppose that is why we look behind the question to get to know the individual asking it. We do not think houses exist in a vacuum, we are much more personal than that. Glad you noticed.

I'd been on the garden side for many years, but now only visit occasionally. Like recently when my azaleas and then the birch tree had pest problems. And then I went to the greenhouse & garden structures forum. I met Jey_L there, and now I think s/he (?) comes over here to visit with us.

Jey said this forum is like a social network all on its own. However, GardenWeb in general is scanned by the web-bots and shows up in a Google search, which is not true of the Facebook or Twitter exchanges. While we think this is just a few folks off in a corner chatting privately, it is not....somewhere out there, other ears/eyes are able to listen in.

I wish more places would give the feeling we get here. It might help if folks remembered an old prayer that is one of my favorites:


(I've debated whether the word SWEET is appropriate now that I am diabetic, and wondered what word to use instead...any ideas appreciated.) :)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 1:28PM
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I like that saying too ML. I'd keep the word "sweet" in there. I have a sugar sensitivity and when I am good and stay off sugar, I find that there are a lot of things that are naturally very sweet - like bananas.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 3:44PM
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LOL, I love the saying. The only other one I could think of was "let my words be tender" maybe? Priceless, either way!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 4:49PM
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