So Long 2015

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We had a relatively quiet Christmas and New Year’s at home this year. I took a break from work and the computer entirely for a week.  It was a much needed break.  

It gave me a moment to pause and reflect on a year with many highs and a few lows.  Learning to work and travel for work while trying to be the best mother I could be, brought me to tears more than I would like to admit.  But I am very proud of how our little family has stayed true to our ideal of living small with less things and that we have reached 2.5 years in this space with a toddler.  When we added our Murphy Bed 2 years ago I don’t think we ever thought we would make it this far.

I was reminded of some of the wonderful features we had this year when the Roundup Posts of 2015 came out on Apartment Therapy and Life Edited.  It was a dream to be featured on sites I have admired for years.  Here are the Top 2015 links below…

Top Tours of Tiny Apartments 2015 - Apartment Therapy

Top Posts of 2015 - Life Edited

Why Write about Small Living?

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Lately I’ve received some negative feedback on our choice to live in our small space. Now I realize this feedback is from people who don’t know us, our lifestyle or our space. They just know that 3 people live in 600sqft and assume it must be un-livable. But it’s made me question why, as such a private person I put our life out there on the Internet to be judged. For me it comes back to sharing lessons learned or even lessons in process. In this age where we share so much of our lives online I have been so lucky to follow and learn from others I admire as they became parents. Websites like Cup of Jo, Oh Joy, Hither and Thither helped me navigate pregnancy and new motherhood. Their willingness to share their joys and struggles shed light on modern parenting, that I knew very little about.

When we first thought of living small I read everything I could find about the ups and downs of living small with a baby or toddler. I didn’t know if it would work for us. We are not always the tidiest people and we are not perfect minimalists. Could ordinary imperfect people live in a small space and not go crazy? I don’t pretend to think we are the only family living in a small space and I certainly know there are others living smaller and with more kids. But I thought if I was hunting to see if this way of living was possible then others may be too. Likewise, if I’m expecting people to open their homes and lives so I can understand more then maybe I should expect that from myself. So I decided to start sharing what I live and learn as we share this small space together. I hope our attempts, struggles and small successes to live thoughtfully with less things and less space may help someone else do the same in their own way. I find sharing our small space online pushes me to be better. Like sitting down with a good friend and sharing your goals every year (Hi Tina Lau!). This space on the internet keeps me accountable to myself and my family.  So if you are reading and liking or hating…. Thanks.

Keep it Real

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Trying to keep it real in this virtual world where we all try and put our best aesthetic foot forward.  Small living though wonderful definitely has its trying moments.  In list form below please find the ugly and awkward of our small space:

- After Theo goes to bed there is at least an hour or two where we have no access to our clothes for fear of waking him up because our closet is in his room.

- If we try to pack for a trip at night, we have to rummage around in the dark of Theo’s room trying to find our clothes and suitcases (and risk waking him up)

- Our bathroom often doubles as our laundry room, with our drying rack in the tub

- Our stroller lives in the entry hallway and must be rolled out of the way to either open the hall closet or the pantry closet 

- Our linen closet holds among other things; linens, towels, tools, craft supplies, bags, laundry baskets and our vacuum.  It is the definition of multipurpose and not pretty!

That’s all i have for now but I when I notice more I will share again. 

Promises

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I think that sometimes parenting is about sticking to your guns no matter how tired or overwhelmed you might feel. Our current example of this is Trevor and I promising ourselves and each other that we would take one more long flight trip with Theo before he is 2 (noooooo!!!! It can’t be possible that he is almost 2??!!!!) and still flies for FREE!  We love to travel and it is one of the reasons we stay in our small space, so we can afford to get away more often for long weekends or extended trips.  So, here we find ourselves with the days ticking by until August 2nd with nothing holding us back from fulfilling our promise but the relentlessness of daily life; both of us working full-time demanding jobs, daycare, trying to maintain friendships, and get outside with a very busy toddler.  Life is not going to stop for us, and by all accounts by more seasoned parents than us, it never really slows down.  

So we are going to stop, and book a trip. A trip with a BUSY toddler who leaves us constantly laughing and completely exhausted all at once.  We have found in the past, we are happiest when we travel near the ocean with a small city nearby with great food and a new culture we haven’t experienced, so that’s what we are looking for.

We are dreaming of….

Lisbon, Portugal

Greek Islands

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Guatemala

Bali, Indonesia

And now that I have written this here we are committed.  I’ll let you know where the final destination ends up!

Photo Source // 20x200 by Christian Chaize

Questions

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Thank you for the emails, comments and questions following the Apartment Therapy post.  I thought I would try to answer them all here.  If I’ve missed anything please let me know.

Where did we find our couch?

Our couch was a lucky find on Boxing Day at Scan Design, a local Scandinavian furniture store.  I doubt that is very helpful but we looove it and it is as comfy as it looks. More details on this post 

How is our closet space? Where do we keep all of our clothes and Theo’s?

I promise to take some photos of our closets soon.  But the breakdown is as follows: our clothes closet is still in Theo’s room with floor to ceiling curtains to cover the closet (previous post here).  Theo’s clothes are in a small closet just outside the bedroom.  We also have an entrance closet which holds all our jackets and shoes that is constantly bursting at the seams.  

Where is the armchair in our living room from?

Our armchair was another lucky Craigslist find that I had cushions made for.  It is a classic mid-century design.  My favourite search words on Craigslist for items like this are “mid-century” “mid-century modern” “teak” “walnut".

Is there anything that we really miss having in our small home?

This is a tougher question to answer as I feel like we make a lot of compromises to live in a small space but there is so much good that comes from it that I really try not to focus on what we don’t have and instead on what we gain from living small. BUT…. if I really focus on it, I would love to have a mud room to hold all of coats, shoes, boots and stroller that is not.  Trevor would like a man cave for his turntables, scotch bar and future table top arcade games.  He often references this hypothetical man cave :).

Where did we find our tree growth chart?

Our sweet tree growth chart was made by our friend Sean for Theo for Christmas. Such a thoughtful gift!

How do I reach all the high storage, tall cabinets etc?

I am only 5′2″ so all of our high storage is a struggle.  We have a folding step stool we keep in our pantry closet but I am often climbing on chairs and countertops or begging for Trevor to get things down from high places.

Anyway, can’t thank everyone who asked a question enough for reading about our little family’s daily life in our small space and taking the time to send me a note.  

The Plan

It’s been on my list forever to get a floorplan done of our apartment.  I tried out an app called Magic Plan (link in iTunes here).  I found the app initially tricky because you are better off having clear corners to get precise measurements and in our small space every corner is used.  Once I got the hang of it, things went pretty smoothly and I’ve ended up with a mostly accurate floor plan of our space ( I had to take measurements the old fashioned way to be sure the app worked!).

One of the best features of the app are the furniture and fixtures that you can customize and add to your floor plan.  This feature could come in handy in the future when trying out different layouts or furniture.  See below for the layout of our 600 square foot home.

note: the app was free but you have to pay to get the pdf/jpeg of your floor plan.  My floorplan was $3.99.

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