Living Large in a (Relatively) Small Space

Have y’all caught wind of the Small Living movement that appears to be gaining counter-cultural momentum?

I am constantly inspired/challenged by articles such as this onethis one, and this one, and this one, and this one, especially this one, and even this crazy one. I’m borderline obsessed.

When my family relocated to Bozeman two years ago, we deliberately downsized our housing accommodations. Our home isn’t the smallest, and certainly not the biggest, (it’s all relative) but we are making strides to be more deliberate with what we have, and use, and do, with the aim of living responsibly.

Here are 5 ways that my family comfortably sacrifices on space:

#1) Minimal clutter. We sifted through our belongings, heavily purging the excess, as we prepared for an international move two years ago. The move overseas didn’t pan out, but it forced us to sincerely address whether the articles in our home were true necessities or truly special. We have since discovered that having less stuff makes for a more inviting, relaxing space.

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behind the adorable little stinker is an antique radio, an irreplacable family heirloom passed down from my grandfather– i.e. “truly special”

#2) Multi-Purpose. Just about everything in our home does double duty: Our farm table doubles as our school-room, we have school materials tucked away in pretty baskets nearby, a dry erase board on the adjacent wall, and a tray full of supplies that is swiftly whisked away come dinner time. The garage doubles as a gymnasium during the frigid Montana winter– we utilize shelves to keep it organized and clear, so that by backing the Sexy Minivan into the driveway the kiddos have ample room to scooter, throw balls, and roughhouse. Every person in our home room-shares: Our girls have bunk-beds, and Little Man has claimed the alcove in our master.

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#3) Creative Spaces: Our third bedroom acts as our office/den and houses our only television. Since Little Man’s space was formerly my office area, I now just keep my laptop on a shelf in the side table in the den and do my “work” (ahem, Pinterest, ahem) on the couch. All critical paperwork is filed away in closets. Husband crafted our big girls their own computer desk in the office closet.

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the girls’ hidden computer desk
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little man’s space in our master

#4) The Great Outdoors. During the summer months, our backyard becomes an extension of our open floor plan, the door permanently ajar to our fenced yard beyond. We eat, play, entertain, and do school in the backyard whenever the weather is compliant.

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#5) Maintain order. A small space can feel even smaller when it’s messy… We make it a habit to regularly pick up after ourselves, cleaning up when we leave the house, or even the room. Our home has never been eat-off-the-floor-clean, but it is tidy.

Our previous home was twice the size as our current, and even there we found we lived small…

Our girls had their own bedrooms, but every night after tucking them into their respective beds we’d discover them snuggled up together in one or the other. Though we had a living room, a family room, and a bonus room, each evening we retired to Husband’s cozy den after dinner. Our master bedroom was colossal, a cavernous waste of space best used for tumbling passes of tiny gymnasts. The realization that much of our square footage was largely underutilized made the transition to a smaller home virtually painless.

I recall how we once pursued the purchase of another home that was twice the size our old one– and that was when there was one less human living with us! In my defense, Musical Houses can be a real temptation for a real estate professional who is constantly exposed to bigger and better properties, I liken it to car salesmen that are always coveting the latest & greatest model of vehicle.

My family now dreams of yet another downsize, rather than upgrading to the elusive bigger and better. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12) May it be so.

And now for a few obligatory recent photos, to pacify the grandparents…

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someone was pretty proud of his completed coloring sheet from church on sunday
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star-gazing, hoping to catch sight of the aurora borealis in the big night sky
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apparently he like bagels

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