I was desperate to move.
Because our house is relatively small, just a tad over 1,600 square feet, and we have a lot of small children in this space, it doesn't take much time for our home to become completely overrun with kid stuff and turn in to a disorderly disaster. And when our house is a disorderly disaster, it causes me great physical pain and emotional turmoil.
The fact is, I don't function well when my living space is cluttered. I'll slip in to a deep depression and feel out of sorts. My diet will deteriorate from
I just can't.
Last year at this time, I was feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff that we had packed in to this house - the toys, clothes, shoes and miscellaneous supplies which seemed to be shoved in to every square inch of available space. I was feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of where four children would sleep and where oh, where I would put anything new that came in.
We have one small closet for the kids - and it was packed to the brink.
Toys were breeding in the corners - flowing out across the rooms.
Books were falling off of bookshelves - pictures were falling out of albums.
Dressers were packed with clothes and there were little shoes everywhere.
Pots and pans and appliances were shoved in to cabinets. Linens were stuffed on to shelves. If I tried to get one thing out from the top of a closet - I had to hold my other hand up to prevent everything else from falling squarely on my head.
I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out almost nonstop.
And there were more things coming in, daily.
New clothes and toys and food for our children who were growing faster than I could have imagined.
I was convinced that we needed a much larger house. I honestly didn't see how it would be possible to raise four children in a three bedroom (one room is actually a den and devoid of a closet), two bathroom home that lacks a basement and attic (to speak of) and whose garage is occupied with a large, shedding, poop-eating dog.
After several months of talking and thinking non-stop about moving, I was finally dragged kicking and screaming, back to my senses. To sell our house and move to a bigger house would be a huge expense. And unless we were prepared to liquidate our retirement accounts, put our children in daycare, or hire a full-time nanny, so that we could both return to work full-time, we would not be able to cover our monthly expenses in the new pad.
Something had to give.
Ultimately, I went through every square inch of our house and made a determination of what we needed and what we didn't. I reorganized our home from top to bottom and side to side and in doing so, have maximized our usable space tenfold. I also discovered that in order to make living in a small space enjoyable (or at least tolerable), you must:
1) Possess the ability to get rid of stuff that you are no longer using or absolutely love.
2) Possess the ability to get organized and embrace the love that is a label maker.
3) Maximize your space and find creative ways of storing things.
These days, I can honestly say that I am throughly embracing our small space and I thank my lucky stars (and all of you that told me I was nuts for entertaining such thoughts) that we didn't sell this house - move to a larger house - and take on a monster mortgage. I am thankful that I am not responsible for cleaning a space that would be twice as large and trying to keep track of a baby that is constantly on the move. But mostly, I am thankful that we are able to afford our lifestyle and I am able to spend every waking moment with our children.
* twitch* twitch *
For the next few days, provided I'm not distracted, I am going to write about some of the big (and small) changes that we made and how we have simplified and organized our small home.
Tomorrow, I'm tackling toys.