We are Small House Living!

We made it. Phew. It was a long road filled with a lot of boxes and challenges and red tape and grunting and swearing and some white-knuckle moments, but we made it. We are now officially moved into our townhouse across the city. Built in 1981 and coming in at around 870 square feet of finished living space, it is a lot tinier than our 1600 sq foot rental. Our family has adapted nicely to small-space living! Almost all of our furniture didn’t fit (some, quite literally, couldn’t fit through the door), so was sold to make room (and funds) for new stuff. I promise a full tour later!

My life has been painting walls, unpacking boxes and rearranging all of our things until stuff fits. Before we came, we had a huge garage sale- Izzy and Hunter were a huge help there- and, afterward, took anything that didn’t sell to Value Village for donation. Little did we know….some of the stuff we kept wouldn’t fit anywhere, either. Josh even had to rent a U-Haul to get rid of all of our oversize furniture that wouldn’t sell! Plus, since we have moved in, we have had to sort through the rest of our stuff and get rid of a lot of it, too. I have two medium sized boxes and two huge garbage bags to donate. It’s all stuff we have decided we can’t use; we don’t want it cluttering up our space. Instead of being sad or anxious about it, the whole family feels relieved- both physically and emotionally lighter! I have been especially mindful about where I hang pictures and how many things I gather in one space. I want this home to feel light and homey and clutter-free. I want room to move and to set up games and to lounge…without feeling that we are on top of one another or bumping into things.  So far, so good. If something has no place to be put, out it goes. I have boxed up some sentimental items and put them in the unfinished basement, but I will definitely go through it and pare that down as well.

Right now, the kids share a room. The dream is to finish the small basement area and have a room where one of them can sleep downstairs by the time that they are teens. But, at 9 and 6 years old, it isn’t important to separate them and they have done really well sharing a room. We gave them the massive main bedroom and have set up Izzy’s loft bed with Hunter sleeping underneath. There is room for a small play tipi, an art corner, dresser and a small bookcase. It is a HUGE room. Josh and I took the other bedroom, which fits our queen bed nicely. We set it up so that it feels like a hotel and I’m in heaven. My business and art stuff are in the walk-in closet, along with our clothing. Just enough space for the two of us. It is such a calm space and, because it is really small, it is also really cozy and impossible to clutter up with useless furniture, which I like because I am prone to doing that. If there is space, I try to fill it! Well, that was old me, and new me is starting to feel comfortable with a bit of free space around me. Again, I promise a full picture tour later, once I have time to dig up the camera and take some good shots. My house is all grays and soft blues, with some unexpected pops of colour- I can’t wait to show you.

Before I show you, I would like to share the layout. The townhouse is two finished floors, a main floor and upstairs, with an unfinished basement. The unfinished basement is where I do laundry, the kids play Lego, and some boxes are stored. There isn’t a ton of space there. When you come up from the basement, there is a little half-bath just off the kitchen. You walk into the kitchen, with its huge balcony doors that look onto our small fenced backyard, and then you turn and walk through a small separation (too small to be deemed a hallway) straight into the living room. The main floor is about 480 sq. ft. total, which makes each room about 240 sq. ft.- cozy! And about the size of a tiny house! Haha. The people that move into those tiny houses that are around 200 sq. ft. and take their families, too, have earned my admiration. Even sizing down this much was a lot of work, but I don’t regret a thing. Moving smaller has been our dream since Hunter was born over 6 years ago and I am adoring it so far. Off the living room are some stairs leading upstairs. The bedroom that Josh and I took is first, then our small main bathroom, then the kid’s room. And that’s it!! It’s so cute and cottage-feeling so far. There is less to heat, so when I am cold (*cough* always *cough*), it only takes about a minute to feel warm wherever you are in the house. There is also a lot less to clean, which I love, and less room for clutter. We are dreaming up clever storage ideas and making it work. Since it is key for my kids to have alone time (#introvertproblems), I have the tipi set up in their room and our old couch set up in the basement. Hunter has even requested I find a curtain that matches the “outdoor theme” in their room to separate his bed from the rest of the room so he can have even more alone time! We do love being together, though, and crowding together on our new couch to watch tv, or sitting together and talking is made even easier in this small space.

This will all make a bit more sense when I have time to take pictures, of course.

The kids have been slowly getting used to a new neighbourhood and a new school. It has been really tough on them. Neither one of them wants to feel like “the new kid” anymore. Every Monday they are nervous for school and wish that they could stay at home. Adding to that nervous feeling, they also have to ride the school bus now. Izzy figured out she could take that time to read, so now doesn’t mind it, but Hunter still calls it “that death trap” because it doesn’t have seat belts, so he doesn’t feel safe. I explained that they did tests and seat belts turned out to be more of a liability during a crash, but he doesn’t trust me at my word, I guess. Haha! I offered to find the official studies for him but he told me not to bother, he doesn’t believe anyone. That kid makes me laugh. For the first two weeks of bus riding, Hunter held Izzy’s hand so tight that she had to stretch her fingers afterward and rub off the sweat. Slowly, he is getting less scared of the bus ride. At least they love coming home! They love the layout of this house and the way we have things organized, so far. The kids love that they can easily find me in the house, too, since our fourth-floor walkup used to be such a maze! They also understand that a smaller house means less upkeep, which means more family time and less cleaning time….eventually, once we have unpacked properly. We are sure to be very happy here.

It has not been all sugarplums and rainbows. Josh and I have been thrown into home ownership for sure. There was a home inspection (which we read thoroughly and imagined Mike Holmes patting us on the back), and there was a huge renovation done on the property before we moved in. They caught a LOT of stuff, but not all. Josh got to play handyman and replace the wax seal on the downstairs toilet already, which he did masterfully, thanks to a little internet research on what to do. But there is one problem we can’t fix ourselves- or don’t want to attempt- and that’s our leaky bathtub. When I had my first bath in our new home, the tub created a waterfall into the kitchen through the bulkhead. It was shocking and now it is ugly. We talked to the workers who did the renovation and they didn’t think to check that pipe, so now we are just waiting on a new plumber to take a look. The drywall will have to be fixed as well. I’m sad that it was missed, but we will do it- we can’t not!-  since this will be our forever home (we hope). Fingers crossed we are done with surprises!

Despite that horrible surprise, we are very happy here and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. There is a pride in being a home-owner that I didn’t expect to feel. I’m so thankful that we were able to go through Attainable Homes and start this journey.


Many photos and updates and stories coming soon!

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