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Pros and Cons - Thoughts On Living in a Small Space

We did it.
We sold our big house and moved to a 1000 sq. ft. cottage.
The master bedroom is 10x10.
My kiddos have the upstairs attic for sleeping and that's about 500 sq. ft.
That leaves about 400 sq. ft. for the kitchen and living area doesn't it?

Cons of living in a small space:

You have to eliminate all the stuff you had in the big space. That can be a nightmare, especially if you love your stuff!

Little to no privacy. Two loud kids romping around the house, only one interior door. You do the math!

Less space for entertaining.

Things get messy pretty quickly. You just can't spread out like you do in a large home, you don't have the surfaces to lay everything out on, projects take up the entire living have to be focused on really cleaning up at the end of the day.

No more buying. We consume in the U.S. don't we? I can't run out to Target and spend $100 every week anymore...I still go to Target but I don't buy anything that isn't edible or used more $1 bin junk, no extra shoes just because they're cheap, no hoarding printer paper. It's hard to do, people!!!

Finding space to store what you do use is super important here...and because the house is 70 years old there isn't a lot of built-in storage. Being creative about it is a pro and a con. If you enjoy the process then it's a pro. Negatively, it can cost money, use a lot of brain power, and take up the husband's energy building shelves and sheds etc. It's best to get rid of more stuff than you think.

Lastly, it's still about stuff. I thought I got rid of a lot. But I didn't. Almost none of our furniture fit in the new tiny space. But I still brought it with me and now I have to sell it. Our garage is full and so is the new shed we paid over $1000 for....filled with stuff I'm not even using!

In a small space you have to consider how much you like yourself and your family (or whomever you will be sharing the space with), you will get to know each other much more be prepared for the mental things that will happen too.

Pros of living in a small space;

These are my personal pros, but you could have a totally different view, fyi.

Pay off debt.

Lower monthly bills...lower mortgage, lower utilities, less credit card debt.

Have the ability to afford repairs or renovations, and/or do it yourself because size does matter!

Become closer and more loving with your kids.

Much faster chore time...mopping, dishes, tidying, dusting...everything can be done in a few minutes. I have my kids doing most of the laundry now, so it gets done faster too (since I tend to procrastinate about folding and dispersing).

You will know where everything is. Have a place for everything and you will know where it is, you won't have to dig through closets and drawers or the basement. Think of the time you'll have to sit in the shade and enjoy a coffee!

More outside time. We have a 1/2 acre lot, with a beautiful backyard space. This isn't the best place to hang out because of bugs and humidity, but I'm looking forward to some lovely firepit time, and leaf raking.

Meet with friends away from home. This equals less prepping for people to come over. I don't have room to have hoards of kids over, or dinner parties! Now we just lock the door and meet up at parks, pools, and other people's homes. 

More cash to do things...we can now afford to take trips, join museums/clubs, do more sports activities, eat out if we choose to. I'm still looking for my little camper to take trips in!!!!

You also get a chance to communicate more with those you live with. Try not to yell. LOL.

Are you interested in small living?

I'm currently pondering the social backlash of moving to a small house. I wonder if people think we went bankrupt, or if we're having marriage problems...there are a lot of "rich" folks around here...we don't live up to the status quo anymore, will we still be accepted by society? Will we lose some friends we thought we had? Are we looked down upon now because we've chosen a smaller path?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on tiny living.

I'm considering a new blog idea...on living small...are you living small or transitioning to living small? Let me know!

Downsizing My American Dream

Photo by Scott Cotton

So we finally did it. We bought a "small" house...almost a tiny house. It's tiny compared to what we have been living in the past seven years, and there are limited closets, no storage, no attic or basement storage, and a detached single car garage.

Does that sound like the American Dream to you?

If it doesn't, let me tell you why it's mine.

We have one income and a large mortgage. This means we have less cash at the end of the month to have fun with. So that means we've been using our credit cards to buy things we really  want.  Our income covers the things we need like groceries, insurance, gas, clothes etc. If you boil it down, our lifestyle choices have brought us under, not built us up...we don't have money to retire on, no 401K, no pension.

We've been living in a big house, with a big yard, in a nice upscale neighborhood and enjoying it. Although, hanging over our heads has always been the fact that we can't afford to take care of the big house properly, and we are always worried it will fall into disrepair and then we wouldn't be able to sell it.

You have heard and seen how the tiny house movement is surging...well, I don't want to live in a real tiny house...I would lose my mind in 200 square feet.... But that lifestyle is appealing because you can get out of debt and find yourself.

Then, after going on a trip and traveling light (one suitcase for two weeks), I came home to this huge mountain of laundry, and a huge house to clean, and it struck me that I didn't like how I was living. I was feeling cluttered and uncreative, stressed about bills, and considering going back to work.

As a stay at home mom of three daughters, a homeschooler, a crafter, a home decorator, a chef, a go-fer and many other hat wearer, it was pretty daunting considering giving away my time again to the Man. So I started hatching a dream. Then I told my husband about it.

Living smaller in a big world

My kids love their separate bedrooms and all their toys, and they love running through the house screaming and dancing. So why would I want to give that up and be free?

I want my darling kiddos to learn more than consumerism and the want of more and bigger and better. I want them to have a more experiential life, the one I dreamed of giving them before they were born.

I love having an entire room dedicated to my craft/business. I love my newly remodeled kitchen and bathrooms...

I don't love my 80+ year old neighbors who don't like kids running on their lawns. I don't love rules and regs of how it's all supposed to be done. I guess I'm a rebel. Well, yeah.

It's a funny story, but two years ago I drove by this adorable "english" looking cottage and even toured the inside. So small!!! I thought.  Then it came up for sale and I told my husband lets sell this house!!! I didn't think much more about the cottage because of the lack of space. But then I kept imagining the green space and how close to the park it was, and how low the price would cut our current mortgage in HALF!!!

Okay, so you want to hear the rest of the story? Stay tuned.

I'm going to spill the beans on how much money we have now.

Things To Do Instead of Blogging - Here's Your Free Pass

I tried. 

I really did.

 I wanted to be a good blogger and post for ya'll every day in January. 

Didn't happen did it. 

It's the 15th and I got to about 50%. So I apologize for not accomplishing my goal and I hope it hasn't let you down too much. We can always discuss later right?

Today I'm making a list of all the things I did instead of blogging...does your mind work this way too?  Here's what I've been doing:

  • Tiling my kitchen
  • Dealing with a case of head lice and all it entails (see below)
  • Major housework
  • Major laundry
  • Major everything
  • Teaching my kids (homeschoolers)
  • Teaching other people's kids (homeschool classes)
  • Making ribbons for my Etsy shop
  • Celebrating my daughter's 25th birthday (baking)
  • Helping my mom move house
  • Organizing things
  • Moving furniture/redecorating
  • Beginning prep for moving
  • Searching for a new home
  • Shopping and cooking dinner every night
  • Dealing with food allergies
  • Letting dogs in and out every hour (old dog)
  • Binge-watching The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels while not sleeping
  • More cleaning
  • Cleaning out the garage so we can park in there before it snows
  • Taking furniture and other items to sell to my flea market booth
  • Researching and planning for the Pinterest class I co-teach
  • Breathing, eating, a little sleeping

What have you been doing the past two weeks? Don't envy me...the other half of the time I'm dealing with winter blues...yes, I'm complaining. This So Cal gal does not like winter and lack of sunlight. Anyway!

I just wanted to give you a FREE PASS if you haven't been blogging so far in 2016. 

It's okay. 

In the grand scheme of things, blogging will be there when you get back.

Hope the rest of your month is awesome! 

(Like a trip to Florida or something!)


Day Six - Creating Blog Post Images To Use on Pinterest and Instagram

Tutorial on how to use Picmonkey to make great post images for your blog

When it comes to images on a blog - size matters! If you don't have the correctly sized image then it won't look perfect in its placement. This is one area where you can be perfect and look very professional.

We have a great tutorial to create buttons for it and see if you get some inspiration. If you need tips on sizing your images check the list below.

How to make a button for your blog - tutorial from The Blog Guidebook

You can use this tutorial to make great blog post images that help a reader to click on your image faster, hence getting them to your blog faster.
  • Instagram - 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Pinterest -  735 x 1102 pixels
  • Facebook - 1200 x 628  
  • Twitter - 1024 x 512
In experimenting with the fastest, easiest way to create images we know will work well in most social media feeds, we came across a couple of image sizes that work well: one size for horizontal (landscape) images and one for vertical (portrait) images.
  • Horizontal (landscape) – 1,024 x 512
  • Vertical (portrait) – 800 x 1,200
Changing Image Size - if you don't have access to Photoshop then I suggest PicMonkey (again), sorry for the repeat!  Upload your image, make any changes and then save at the pixel size you require.  If you're starting from scratch on PicMonkey, you can choose a custom image and start with the size you want it to be, then add your image and graphics to that space.

We've also written about how ALT tags can enhance your images being found in a web search. You can do that from Blogger...and it's easy peasy.

After you'd uploaded an image it is easy to add a link to that image, but you should ALT text on the just added image, and a bar of choices will pop up. You've seen them before. Click on Properties.

Then the box below will pop up and you will type your description in the Alt Text box, then click OK.

Usually in the ALT TEXT box I use a good description and where the photo can be found...something like:  "Useful Guidelines To Blogging at The Blog Guidebook". Etc.

Cropping Your Image -
PicMonkey allows you to crop your image pretty much a click away from when you uploaded it.
You can also change image size via HTML in the sidebar if you're using Firefox as your browser. After you've uploaded your image, click Edit HTML and you can drag the image larger or smaller. It's a great trick, but it doesn't work in Chrome (or others).

I know I've thrown this at you very quickly...but you can do it. Don't be afraid to move things around a bit and try new sizes, fonts, colors etc. You can always put it back the way it was.