I was asked to write about this topic quite a while ago, but I didn’t feel like I had any information/experience at the time to write a detailed post. Now, at over a year of living in our “big” house after living in our 900 sq. ft. home for the last 7 years… well I’ve got some thoughts.
Before we begin, some caveats on my usage of the words “big” and “small.” Everyone quantifies these words differently so here’s my definition. For me, “living big” refers to our 1600 square foot home we live in now, with three floors, three bathrooms as well as a basement. And “small” refers to our previous home, which was an 900 square foot home with two bedrooms and one bath.
So here are my observations:
I STILL CRAVE SMALL
This is perhaps my biggest “ah-ha” over the last year. With lots of space and rooms in our current house, I find myself gravitating towards the smallest spaces in the house. It’s soothing and it makes it feel more like home. After the boys go to bed and I need a little time to unwind, I’m often in the guest room, which is our smallest bedroom. When I’m in the kitchen, I tend to still stick to the small corner nook between the fridge and the oven, despite the big island for prep. Close walls are comforting, likely because it’s what I’ve been used to for much of my adult life!
EVERYTHING IS SO FAR AWAY
Before, if I needed Chapstick or some lotion while in the living room, I could reach back from my spot on the couch and grab it off my bedroom dresser. I’m laughing as I’m writing this because this may just turn into a Confessions of a Lazy Person post ha. In this new house, I’m constantly at battle with the stairs… up/down, up/down… as I make my way through the house grabbing what I need. And in the morning, when I’m late trying to get out the door with work, there’s always something upstairs that I’ve forgotten.
OUR GUESTS CAN GET COMFORTABLE
In our old house, having people over could get awkward. There wasn’t much space to mingle (my living room furniture set-up was also at fault) and most of the time we’d all end up huddled together in the kitchen. Which would have been fine, but there was only seating for 3-4 comfortably. And overnight guests? Forget it. We had a few, but the tight sleeping arrangements plus the bathroom situation (jack and jill between the guest bedroom and our “master”) was always really tough. Now, they’ve got their own space, their own bathroom, etc.
MORE TIME, MORE MONEY, MORE EFFORT
Time, money and effort all saw a huge increase when we moved to the bigger place. Before, I could deep clean our little house in about two hours. Now? Well first, there is no deep cleaning happening these days (no way!) but a standard cleaning takes days! Floors one day, bathrooms the next, etc. It’s just a lot of work.
Dealing with the size of our home really hit me in the Fall when the leaves had finally fell off the trees. This is usually the time where we’re up on a ladder cleaning gutters. At our old place, which was just one level, this was an easy task I could do myself with a standard ladder. But now? I would have to have a death wish to clean out our gutters. We had to pay someone to do it! To the tune of $200. Yeesh.
I DON’T KNOW WHERE ANYTHING IS
In the smaller house, we did not have the luxury of storage. Everything was designed and organized perfectly to fit a small space. For example, nearly all of the cords, markers, envelopes and typical oddball things had a home in the under-desk set of drawers in our office/bedroom. So obviously, it was easy to find everything. Today, our crap is all over the house in random storage spots. We’ve got the junk drawer in the kitchen (never had one of those before!), the drawers in the bathrooms, the shelves in the closets…. there is just random stuff everywhere. Getting organized, re-streamlining and defining spots for each thing is a big goal for 2016. I’d rather avoid going into a Hulk rage over an iPad charger again. Sigh.
WE GET TO STRETCH OUR LEGS
I’m not saying that literally, but you know what I mean. It has been so nice to have the flexibility of more space. If I want to work on some sewing, but I don’t want to muck up the kitchen table, I can set up a little workstation elsewhere. Just the other day I had a Skype interview and I needed a quiet spot to chat and focus, so I headed up to our third floor. In the old house, I would have had to leave or take the interview at a coffee shop. It’s been nice to spread out a bit.
THERE’S A PLACE FOR OUR COATS
I’m thinking back and I cannot for the life of me remember where we hung our winter coats and scarves every day at the old house. Certainly I did not allow them to lay around. But I know there was not a physical place for them to go. And granted, in the current house, some hooks over the basement stairs isn’t the perfect solution (fixing that in 2016!) but it’s so much better than having to look at coats and winter accessories out in the open. My mind cannot handle that visual chaos. Dramatic I know, but true.
What about you? Have you done a similar move? What do you like/dislike about moving to a bigger place?
I’m not sure if we’ll always live “big”. In fact, I can see us returning to our small roots when the kids are grown. Those shipping container houses look pretty cool. 😉
p/s: My boys turned 10 months old yesterday. Eeeeeee!!! They are so fun and basically I’m having the time of my life (minus the teething part).