Living Small- Current thoughts

posted on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

After days and days of gray skies the sun decided to show itself today. I didn't realize how much I was missing it until the first few rays started peeking into our living room.  The past week has been cozy.  Lots of jammy and cuddling time.  I for one, am a big fan of gray weather. I love the mood that it sets.  I love that it encourages us to snuggle in and slow down.  I've enjoyed this winter being a little colder than normal.  But I also love a bright and sunny day! I kept finding the kids randomly laying in the sun rays that kept coming through various windows.  It's funny how even as little people they're drawn to the sun too.  :)

A few years ago I did a series called "Thrifty Thoughts".  One of the posts that I wrote was about shopping your pantry to make your groceries stretch.  Since we were home bound most of the week due to the weather, I knew that it would be a good week to shop my pantry.  We have officially gone one week eating primarily what was left in my pantry, fridge and freezer.  I did make a trip to the store for some milk, eggs, loaf of bread, formula and a can of green beans mid way through.  But that's it. Oh and a splurged cup of coffee and some cake pops today from Starbucks;) I honestly can't remember the last time that I truly shopped our pantry/fridge for a full week.  It's so easy to just grab more. Or to go out for a bite to eat.  I've been so convicted lately about how just because we are "living small" with our house I haven't been doing my best to truly "live small."  I have been somewhat careless when it came to my groceries. I would make haphazard grocery lists...always buying more than we needed because it looked good.  This week was an excellent reminder that I need to work on being a better steward with what the Lord has blessed our family with.

I've been thinking a lot about our living situation lately.  I get asked constantly how we do it. And to be honest... I don't really have a great answer.  We just do it because it makes the most sense for us right now.  It makes sense to us that we have a cozy home and there is no need for us to have more at this point.  Our plan is to live in our little two bedroom cottage as long as we can make it work.  If we can live well below our means for a few years then this will only set our family up for financial freedom.  My kids all love to be together anyway.  They move as a little pod.

One of the tricks to living in a smaller space with so many people is that you have to be flexible and okay with changes.  Our home is constantly changing and being rearranged to fit the current needs that we have.  You get creative and get to use that creativity to make each space special.  For example: I knew I needed a little office space for my printer, paper work, bills, etc. So I created a small back closet into a work space.

Living in a smaller space has made us live on less out of necessity.  I do not do well with a cluttered home.  Having toys and things constantly lying all over the floor makes me a little fussy.  So I de-clutter (throw away, donate) constantly.  The kids toys have been cut in half from Christmas.  Half of them are currently in a large bin in the laundry room right now.  In about a month I'll switch out their current toys for the ones in the bin.  As far as clothes go. I've had several people ask where I store hand-me downs.  And here's the kicker. I don't do them.  My boys practically wear the same size...so there's no passing down clothes from Colt to Cade.  It's like dressing twins these days.  And I didn't keep anything of Emma's from five years ago.  I had a feeling that my taste in clothing would change and I more than likely wouldn't like what I kept anyways. And I also didn't want to keep clothes around not knowing if we would ever have another girl.  So we truly are dealing with zero hand me downs over here.  I also don't keep any of their clothes once they've outgrown them.  I either pass them to family members or else sell them and use that money to purchase the next season of clothing.  I do the same with my clothing.  Again, too much of something overwhelms me.  I wear the same clothes most of the time. If I haven't worn it in a few months I will typically donate or sell it in an Instagram sale.

This season of living smaller is one that is just that. A season. And it's one I want to be purposeful with.  My kids won't always be so little. They won't always enjoy sleeping within a foot of each other. And they most certainly will soon enough learn that they're going to want their own privacy.  It's an exciting season to me.  One where we can make the most of this time all squished in together.  Life lessons about sharing, working together, picking up after ourselves and being respectful of other people's space are at the top of our list.  It's an exciting time for us as a couple to work towards financial freedom.  I'm sure most of you have heard of Dave Ramsey.  We went through his course a few years ago. And I love his saying "If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else."

And to really put the whole living in a small home into perspective. On the days where it feels really small... I just remember...that compared to the majority of the world our tiny little cottage is a clean and comfy mansion.  We have clean water, heat/air, cozy beds and blankets, a pantry filled with enough food that we can live a week off it and still have plenty left over. We are TRULY blessed with MORE than enough.

Hope the beginning of your week has been a great one!

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13 comments:

  1. I love this post. It's funny how in tune you can be with someone and not even know it...this week I have literally been "shopping my pantry" just like you described! I honestly have never really done that and for some reason this week seemed to work out where I didn't have the time to get to the store, so I utilized what was in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. It felt good and resourceful! Thank you for sharing your experience with living small. It gives everyone a great perspective that we often forget about.

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  2. Love this! My husband and I also live small. A 400sqft little house in the corner of my inlaws shop! I've learned that 1) houses nowadays have a Ton of wasted space! Our house has a 16ft vaulted ceiling so we took advantage of that and made a little loft and sitting area up top. 2) small is just better. Less cleaning, less stuff and more cozy! We can't wait to build a real house one day but nice and small yet spacious to accommodate for children one day! We will definitely maximize every last inch and not waste space!! I love your blog, thanks for sharing!

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  3. I decided to "shop our pantry" this week too! I really can't remember the last time I did this, but it feels good knowing I'm using food we already have instead of going to the store buying more and spending more. I started this on Sunday so we are on day five now, I think it's going to be a breakfast for dinner type of a meal tonight-pancakes and scrambled eggs:).

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  4. what a great post! i have been trying to live a more minimalistic lifestyle lately too. it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life here in the u.s. and then keeping up with the joneses. so it's great to read things like this as friendly reminders :) i am also a lot like you with decluttering and selling/trading/donating stuff that is not getting much use!

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  5. I normally don't comment on blog posts at all, but I wanted to say I appreciate your living small posts, actually I love and faithfully read all of your posts. Your family is just dear. (And your p.s. comment made me chuckle...some people are just never happy). Thank you for being so transparent. My husband and I currently live in a fairly small cottage type house with our one son. We only have one child so far and sometimes it seems small :) Our kitchen is original, like 1953 original and very small. But we love it and we are so happy here. We fill it with love and our son fills it with joy. I would never trade that for the world! It's hard sometimes to not compare a small tiny house to fancy, large ones that are considered the norm now, but God has blessed us so much and I never want to take for granted what He has so faithfully blessed us with. Thank you for giving me that reminder :)

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  6. Enjoyed this! convicting and encouraging! we have been snowed in here in GA as well and "shopping our pantry" has made us rethink our whole grocery budgeting system!

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  7. Such a great piece! Everytime I read your posts on "Small Living" it always motivates me to donate a little more. I just love these series of posts. Have a great day!!!

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  8. This post reminds me of why I live small and drive small, a KIA Soul which I LOVE. Small and less does keep the family close and more in your wallet. If we had a bigger home, I probably never see my pre-teen. :)

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  9. Hello Ashley, Aunt Faye here. When I was a kid we lived in a basement house. Four rooms-bathroom/laundry, kitchen/dining, living room, & bedroom. The ENTIRE family of 5 slept in the bedroom and I had the bed by the furnace (which was not hidden behind a wall). Never felt poor, deprived or less fortunate. I remember good time that we had, fights and fun.

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  10. I love this. I have been struggling so much lately with "Keeping up with the Joneses"...we are a family of 5, and have about 1300 square feet. We love it, but I feel like such an outcast sometimes. All of our friends can't understand how we could have 3 kids in such a tiny space. Your Living Small series has been inspirational. THANK YOU for sharing, for being honest, and for seeing the "good" in living in small spaces!

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  11. I love this, Ashley! I dislike clutter and want to get rid of so much, but then I'm afraid we'll need it... Sometimes we do, but it's been easy to replace. I just did a devotional with Emma today about our pantry and where we truly are supposed to store up our goods. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, friend. xoxo

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  12. Hey Ashley! I was wondering how you purchased that devo book? it looks great! jillleaming(at)gmail(dot)com

    JS

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