For almost two years now I have been living in a 400 SF adorable studio. It was perfect for a single gal and then when Ryan moved in after the wedding it has remained perfect for us but offers a few more organizational challenges. Most people we talk to about our space are amazed that we can fit and not want to kill each other. Most of the time it works. We have to choose to live more simply and are learning great lessons in the process (acquire less stuff. organization is key for a restful space. spend time with each other above things)
Small space living hasn’t been without its growing pains. As a girl closet space is a premium (and always a struggle to balance the wants and needs). We have a wardrobe for Ryan’s clothes, but have still needed the main closest to keep pantry and kitchen items (and utilize all space under the couch and bed). Overall we make it work but there are still moments when we can get overwhelmed by the tight space. We want to be in a larger home, with maybe a few more walls, but that’s just not where we’re at right now. We are choosing to live in a smaller space for the sake of other dreams we’re pursuing first. Us first (relationship, education/career), then the house will come.
I LOVE free Kindle books. I mean, who doesn’t love free things delivered right to them? And it helps support a simple lifestyle (fewer books to clutter the space and less money spent). At some point I came across a book entitled “Simple Living- 30 Days to Less Stuff and More life” by Lorilee Lippincott ( Simple Living Website). I decided to take this one day at a time in January and see what tips and hints she would bestow on me.
In reading the “Simple Living- 30 Days to Less Stuff and More life” there were a few simple tricks that I’ve learned are key to my choosing joy in our circumstances, or were helpful to think about including in our small space life. Check out her book for more tips and detail if you’re interested.
Here are some of my thoughts:
1. The first day/challenge was all about dreaming. Dream about what you want your life to look/feel/be like! So important! Must dream and see where you want to go before you get there (and don’t let things hinder your getting there…) I feel that Ryan and I are still in this phase.
2. Clean surfaces (counters, floors): Encourages you to look at your horizontal space and clear it up. Get things off the counters, eliminate as much as you can at first and then can add back what you want (Hard in a small space because we use the counters to store items that don’t fit elsewhere). Clear off the floor. We try to do this in our small space which helps it to feel more open and less cluttered.
3. Looking at our incoming and outgoing items: BIG one. Look at the mail that you get. Unsubscribe from as much mail and email and junk as you can! Also, look at what you’re buying. (uhhh…as a girl this can be a challenge). And go through what you have and get rid of what you’re not using any more (I go to Goodwill at least 4 times a year).
4. Dead Plants: This day was good and not just about plants. Here she encourages you to look at the things you’re keeping because you think you SHOULD have them. Plants are good, right? Well yeah but not if you can’t keep them alive. OR you have the huge container of [ fill in blank for craft/project item that you promise you’re going to learn but it has been taking up space for xxx months??] For me: I have been loosely attempting to learn to knit for a few months now. I have my yarn and needles sitting next to the couch waiting to be knitting into something amazing. I haven’t gotten to it yet and I blame it on being left-handed. If I don’t pick this up soon I’m going to chalk it up to being a ‘dead plant’ and move on to the next thing.
5. Quiet time: Find some time in your day to reflect and be quiet. When you’re going and busy and don’t take time to reflect/pray/process things can run away from you quickly. I have the ability to start my days with a cup of coffee and some reading/processing time. I also throw some of this time in on evenings when I can. It helps. You don’t want to see me when I don’t get this time. Scary. 🙂 But I’m an introvert who needs a lot of quiet time to process and you might not need as much time but it’s still important.
So, are you all ready to move into a 400 SF studio? Nah, don’t blame you! BUT choosing to live more simply, slow it down, and really value the relationships in life is amazing. I guarantee you’ll feel more satisfied with the few things you have than if you acquired your whole bucket of wish list items. Still a work in progress with this but when I let go and stop trying I see the value in the little things.