From the Blog

Wanting Some Space

This is sort of like Chapter Two of the post I wrote the other day about Wanting to Settle. We are in a period of big transitions and interesting opportunities. In addition to being excited, and trying to keep a lid on my freakoutishness, I have been trying to observe what thoughts are popping into my head, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s always interesting to see what shakes out internally when I’m not just operating on autopilot, under the bland fog of routine.

I have mentioned a number if times, that my husband Dave and I are sharing a 533 square foot apartment. I know, I can’t shut up about it. To be able to fit in that amount of space, we got rid of a lot of stuff. I can’t shut up about that either. It’s still a tight squeeze between the two of us, and all our clothes, the books and boxes we kept, the camping gear, and a stinky butt cat.

We got rid of a lot of stuff to fit into a space like this. It was our deliberate intention to live in a place this small. I actually wouldn’t mind getting rid of yet more stuff. But here is where the recent observations about my brain come in.

I have been dreaming about stuff. Of good stuff. Old stuff. Quality stuff. Not the light, cheap, mass produced particleboard stuff that we currently have a lot of. I’m thinking about a vintage bedside table that I could refurbish and make my own. I’m thinking about a rustic leather club chair with a camp blanket to curl up and read in. I’m dreaming about making a headboard for our bed out of an old door. I really, totally, deeply want to do this. It would make me fricken happy.

But. It is stuff. It is stuff we’d have to move. And move again. And move some more. I dream about curating some quality pieces that we can use for years. But then reality hits and I realize, I don’t know where we’ll be in a year, never mind years.

To say nothing of the space. Space costs something. However, lack of space costs something also. We have been fairly comfortable in our tiny little apartment. We’ve been making it work. But I do realize I wish for a dedicated work area, instead of slumping for hours on the couch. We realize we both need private time to tap away at our computers. Sometimes we work in the same room, slumped on the couch together. Sometimes we are separated by time. He works better in the morning, while I am still sleeping. I work better at night, after he has gone to bed. We are romantic.

I’ve come to realize that space is important. We have a couple more months in our current place. And then we move again. I know we can make small spaces work, and our next place will likely be quite small also. We may look for different divisions of space, or creative ways to carve out work areas. Maybe with a nice desk and a good chair. Staying small reduces our rent. And now we really need to be more conscientious of our budget.

Dave put in his notice at his job this week, which is very exciting. Remember I said I’m trying to keep a lid on my freakoutishness? I quit my job a couple of months ago. We will both be working from home, building blogs and websites. We are taking the flying leap. It’s not as scary as it sounds. I keep telling myself that. And my dad, too.

It’s exciting. Quitting our jobs is part of it. We have another exciting stuff planned also. We have smiles on our faces. I’ll tell you about that soon.

No, I’m not pregnant.


  1. Having a dedicated work space (Ikea desk top and separate legs you put together yourself) definitely helps with where to work, it’s a “work space,” and totally worth the $60-$80 and playing tetris with your trunk. Make the head board. Don’t stifle the creativity when it comes on, encourage it. This would be something you see everyday, something you made and can appreciate. You’ve shut out the creative energy for years. See where it goes this time…

  2. My husband, our 4 birds and I have lived in 232 square feet together for 18 months, working from home doing our own business as well: he’s a web developer and I’m a graphic designer. We are building a house (no mortgage) and while designing it, we had to accommodate a 1400sf minimum. But you know what I learned? Living small and light is fine, but there’s no investment in it. What is there to create, work on, to enjoy the fruits of if you can’t keep them around to look at them. When you have children and grandchildren, where will you put them, or will they be forced to buy a hotel room? Buying smaller quantities is more costly. You can’t grow your own food, because where would you put it? We ended up with a 1700 sf plan we designed from scratch. Because I swear, if I have to move something to get something behind/under/inside it, or squeeze past my husband, or put up with a cabin-crazy parrot’s mess IN my personal space for much longer, I’m going to go nuts. Men have a much easier time dealing with this than women. Women are hard-wired to NEST. Don’t feel bad if you eventually decide to do what we did. We live on less than $1000/month including a $400 land note. Once we get into our house, We’ll be living on about $1200 only because of the increased costs of heating/cooling and the increased amount we’re putting toward our garden — because I will be dedicating almost 100 sf to our pantry. Living simply doesn’t have to mean totally cramped forever and ever! Remember the concept and carry it through!

    PS – I just finished making a toy box for my newborn grandson. I feel your pain, wanting to make quality stuff for the house. I am sick to death of mass merchandised stuff! Guess where the toy box lives until I can get it to her? My car. There’s LITERALLY no place to put it in the house.

  3. 232 square feet! I need to stop my own whining. Holy wow.

    That is just the balance I’m thinking. Living simply, but with enough space to breathe and create. Not as much stuff, but good, quality pieces that are functional and lovely.

    Congrats and good luck on building your house! What a journey. If you’re not blogging it Janet, you should. I’d love to follow your story.

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