Returning to a Small Space

For just over a week we’ve lived in our small little home. Our ‘new’ home, as they would say, but it’s actually over 80 years old. So we’re living in our new-to-us, fixer-upper of a cottage home; once again learning flexibility and patience and making do in a smaller place.

It’s funny the things you don’t need, but always think you do. In our last apartment, we had 1,200 square feet of space – two massive bedrooms, two bathrooms. This home is half the size, with only one bathroom and two, teeny bedrooms that hardly fit a queen size bed. I was anxious at first- sharing a bathroom with Joy sounds stressful and overwhelming, especially since kids come with so much stuff and we probably don’t have room for it all, anyway. But, surprise, we made room – after getting rid of boxes upon boxes of unused, unneeded bathroom stuff. With a little bit of planning and re-thinking and just getting rid of junk, we’re making this small bathroom work. And to be completely honest, it’s not nearly as tight or untidy or as stressful as I imagined.

We’re relearning the small space kind of lifestyle, remembering that it’s really not bad. Actually, it’s quite wonderful. Cozy and intimate and low-key, living close together is comfortable. At least, comfortable for us. Maybe it’s just our personality as a family – since before Joy was born, we liked being together and taking days slow. And even now, with a active two year old and more structured days, slowness and togetherness is a big piece of how we parent and how we interact.

After living two years in larger spaces, I thought maybe I had forgotten how to live small, how to live with less, how to navigate decor in a tight home. But it turns out that downsizing, for me, has been a lot like riding a bike after a long time away – you just get up on it, peddle a bit, and although it’s wobbly at first you find the rhythm. Moving to our new small house hasn’t been perfect by any means, but it has felt like it was always meant to be. It feels like, after years of searching, that I’ve finally found home.

So, this great return of downsizing, of living with less – it’s been refreshing. This small living that I craved early in our marriage and left to pursue other dreams has found its way back to me. Turns out, the things your soul wants can actually be good for it. In a lot of ways, I’m re-learning. I’m relearning to clear the clutter, organize better, choose new things well. I’m relearning to let the small things be and focus on what matters. I’m re-learning to enjoy the little things – washing dishes, sweeping eternally dirty floors, placing things back where they belong. In the midst of this learning there is contentment, in the midst of the growing pains there’s new life sprouting in my soul.

A small space has done this heart good. It’s good to be reconnected to your roots, to be challenged, to let be what can’t be changed. In thankfulness and anticipation, I look forward with what’s to come in this little space, for what is soon to be.

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