Thursday, July 18, 2013

Against the Grain.

The mighty Bow River. Canmore, Alberta. Aug '12.

Earlier in the week, I went out to dinner with a friend who was in town from Chicago.  Since she and I both have 15-month old's (her son, Max, was Alice's first boyfriend!), we were talking about our kids and this guy overhead our conversation and then the three of us swapped stories about the crazy-and-emotional toddler stage we are all currently experiencing.  I mentioned that we're moving home and talked about our plans to live in a small space with Alice.  His eyes grew wide and then he said...

"You are going to live in how many square feet with a kid?!?"

When I told him the size of our loft and our plans to create a functional living space for our family of three he started shaking his head and said that his 5,000 square-foot house felt small with his wife and three young sons and that we wouldn't last in our loft for more than a year.

Anyone in my family will tell you that I am not one to back down when someone challenges me.  So his scoffing of our plan was my invitation to challenge him on why he thinks he needs so much space.  I told him my thoughts on how I believe a bigger house leads to owning more stuff, most of which sits in a closet or a room somewhere collecting dust.  Surprisingly he agreed with me and then even confided that he had a gym put into his house a few years ago which now rarely gets used.  And then I said...  

"Case in point, buddy."       

As I've gotten older I've started to care less about what society expects me to do.  Our wedding was an example of this.  And now our plans for small space living with children will be, too.  Go against the grain of what society expects.  Do what makes sense for you and yours.  And, most importantly, do what makes you happy.

All within reason (and the law!), of course. 

P.S.  If you need a little more inspiration to live small and own less stuff, check out this story.


  1. So it doesn't work for him, doesn't mean it wont work for you. We prefer smaller spaces. As you said, less room for collecting things we don't need and less rooms to clean, it's win, win x

  2. I just moved from California to Colorado and when my husband and I went house hunting the first thing that struck us was how BIG all the houses are out here. In the Bay Area, if you could get 1500 square feet in a desirable location, that would cost a pretty penny. Although we were tempted to go for the 5000/6000 square foot home with 5 bedrooms (we don't need 5 bedrooms -- we have one child) with finished basement, etc., etc. we opted for a much more modest home. Our Colorado home is still bigger than our California home, and I'm STILL working on getting rid of the stuff we never use. My personal goal is to get my closet down to a handful of favorite items (ever notice how the sample closets at the Container Store look so beautiful and only have 5 tops, 5 skirts, and 5 pants hanging in them?!)...which is a difficult goal with "fast fashion" and the influence media has on me (personally) to make me think there is always something I need as a consumer.

  3. Living here is a great example of this. You don't NEED an SUV or a Minivan just because you have two or three kids.

    We needed a SUV at one time, because we move often and my husband has a motorcycle that he won't let the movers crate, so we used a trailer.

    My neighbor has a small car (think Jetta) with three children. It can work.

    All I need is a good yard for my big dog and crazy toddler. The house size is negotiable.

  4. Your small space will work just fine. If you do need to expand, look for a home with a small yard, so you can grow some of your own veggies. Or there are community garden lots in SLC, to use, not sure if you have to 'rent' them. Something to check out when you move to back to Utah.

  5. Just what I needed to hear, I am burned-out at my job( social/wellness worker)and have been feeling like I'm missing out on my second sons development (13 month old). All this has been on my mind for so long. My biggest concerns are how do we pay our bills and what the reaction will be in my closest circle of friends and family. I've been thinking too much about what will people say or think that I lost track of why I would minimize my working hours in the first place. I need to start thinking more like you so that I can make the changes I need to make in order to be truly happy.

    PS We live in a small ( but very cute!) house,1000 square feet, with two small kids and a dog! We love our small home and it feels just right for us :)


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