9.22.2011

space to move

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"Six hundred forty-four!"

This is what I say to my children every time when they ask to bring home a toy.  It's also what I say to my husband when he wants a new toy (or tool).  It's what I tell myself when I see a pretty knick-knack or think I should bring home that antique rocking chair.

Six hundred forty-four is the square footage of my house.

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Can you feel my stone cold heart through the internet?  I've had to make it so to stop things from taking over my home.  I've become hardened to the pleas of children (and a certain man).  We have a rule: one things comes in, one thing goes out.  Since we've decluttered to the point where everything inside the house is precious to us, hardly anything new comes in lately.

This is good.

Six hundred forty-four is the reason why I have shifted my focus from making stuff to doing stuff.  Making stuff is great.  But right now I don't need anymore stuff.  What I need is a bit of fun, some exercise and a place to go that is a little bit bigger than six hundred forty-four square feet.

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Lucky for us, no matter the size of our house, the world is still big and beautiful.

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I know many of you come to Indietutes looking for inspiration to make stuff. I like that. But while I have you here, I'm going to see if I can inspire you to do stuff too. Because it's fun and healthy and gets you outdoors.

While I know my kids will not remember every experience, the same as they will not remember every toy, but I'm sure that they will remember the feeling of adventure that can be had just stepping outside and putting one foot in front of the other.  I hope they can walk with a sense of possibility for their whole lives.

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"Twenty!"

This is what I say whenever I start feeling like the six hundred forty-four foot home wasn't the wisest choice.  Twenty is the maximum number of minutes it takes to walk to any one of the places in these photos.  The diverse range of experience is incredible.

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Twenty makes six hundred forty-four not just livable, but home.

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17 comments:

  1. I know how you feel we are in 793 but we are in the process of cutting back and decluttering. One of my issues is BEGGING my parents and family to stop buying so much for the kids. It is hard getting rid of enough each birthday and Christmas.

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  2. Wow!!! Well said. We had 900 but with a husband, wife, and 4 growing children. We also homeschool so that brings in extra. I love that you remember that the whole world is your home and stuff...well, it's just stuff!!!

    Thanks,
    this was such an encouraging read for me!

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  3. Not sure of our square footage but we're in a two bedroom apartment so it's not a lot, that's sure. I really appreciate small-space living, though, and gravitate to people and blogs who feel similarly. It would be great to see how you've embraced your small space: a house tour post, perhaps? :)

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  4. Our house is around 1000 sqft and I keep wishing I could get rid of everything we have and get a smaller space. I love the idea of living a minimalist life, but am not sure if I could actually swing that. We will be moving in about 7 months or so, and I plan to look for smaller, not bigger.

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  5. I feel your pain!!! I'm not sure of the square footage of our house, but it consists of 2 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen (barely big enough for a table), and a living room. And that tiny apartment had to contain 2 adults, 2 children, the children's toys (which I am heartless about throwing in the goodwill bag as they are constantly dragging home new ones), Hubby's HUGE wardrobe (seriously, 2 LARGE bureaus, 2 hanging rods, and 4 shelves full consisting of 1 wardrobe of clothes for work, 1 for farm, 1 for church, and 1 for everyday wear), and my children's clothing boutique business. My boutique supplies are stored in the kids' closet, stacked up to the ceiling in my room, and stuffed in the narrow area right behind the couch where I do all my sewing. I would kill for a little more space. Incidently, our landlady, who lives in the upstairs of the house, is going to add that statement to her will. You know. Just in case her demise is ahem, untimely.

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  6. I love you. Truly. You remind me of who I aspire to be. thanks

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  7. A timely reminder
    thanks for sharing
    martine

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  8. I'm feeling ya. We've got 750, two kids and a cat! It's tough, but doable (and totally worth the whopping $325 we pay in mortgage, insurance and tax!).

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  9. Looks like 644 for 20 is a great exchange rate! Mine is about 1 for 100...one hour commute each direction to be about 100 yards from the water. ;-)

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  10. I wish we had that ratio! It's definitely worthwhile.

    But thank you also for the picture of a beautiful painted piano. We have one that we acquired through Freecycle. Whilst perfectly playable and in reasonable tune...it looks awful and I've been trying to convince my family that I've not finally lost my last marble by threatening to paint it.

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  11. Hmmm, according to the internet, my house has over 2,000 square feet, which is comparatively huge (although small when compared to the McMansions they're building all over the place, which tend to clock in at double that or more). Also, as it was built in the early 19th century, its square feet come in the form of many tiny rooms with small doorways (we laugh at modern furniture - we use antiques out of necessity). On top of which we're collectors (mostly of books) with currently one child and eight cats; we're working on decluttering and we're both very conscious of what we bring into the house these days (primarily just food), but we'll almost certainly never be able to live a completely minimalist lifestyle . . . and I'm fine with that! I don't think I could feel comfortable in a house that didn't have stacks of books sitting around and pictures all over the walls - I'm a little too Victorian for minimalism. However, for years after we bought this house, my husband and I talked about building an addition: "wouldn't it be nice to have more than one toilet?" "wouldn't it be nice to have a back parlor so that the best parlor could actually be the 'best parlor'?" etc. A month or so ago, my husband suddenly said, "you know, the house that I grew up in was small . . . I don't think you actually need that much space to live in." And I thought about the houses that I grew up in and the one that my mum grew up in and I agreed: we don't actually need a bigger house in order to have a happy life. The upshot of which is that I really enjoyed reading this entry and I especially appreciated your attitude (it doesn't sound to me like you have a "stone cold heart" - just a heart that's in the right place)! "Two-thousand!" isn't as impressive a reason as "Six hundred forty-four," when it comes to not buying more unnecessary stuff . . . but I think that I'll use it anyway!

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  12. It is hard when everyone else seems to live in huge spaces and yours is smaller. I'll add something to the mix: we live in 360.

    Two adults, two teens an 8 year old and a 5 year old. We love the outdoors and our garden and the field across the road and the river and the town that is 5 minutes away on a cycle path. Winter is harder but the more you know, the better you plan.

    The battle against stuff is never ending and I would love to be paper free; we seem to be drowning in paper most days or slipping up on it at least!

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  13. i love this.

    we left a 2200 square foot home in floria for a teeny apartment in the portland oregon for the very reason you mention here. we wanted to live. we wanted things to do. we wanted to experience life. we've done more living in the last 2 years in oregon than we ever did in florida.

    it was totally worth it. my only regret is that i didnt do it sooner.

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  14. Thank you! Such a lovely post, and you achieve your wish - you inspire no matter the topic....now back to my decluttering...

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  15. So, we will be moving in the next 7 months or so and I really would like a smaller house. I love the idea of having a smaller mortgage (or rent) payment and more reason to get out and about. Any tips on how to plan to down size, organizing, etc? What are some must have items that are not to be lived without?

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  16. Tina, I've been reading blogs written by minimalists that that has helped me gain some perspective on what amoung my things are less needed than others. To get started, I suggest:

    Zen Habits

    Cat's Meow at http://lifeshouldbethecatsmeow.blogspot.com/

    missminimalist.com

    Good luck!

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  17. I feel with you. Reading your blog I was always wandering where you put all the things you make:D. I like making and doing stuff but right now I only make things that are absolutely necessary to us.

    We live on 409 sq. feet ant it's 5 of us... We plan to move as soon as we find something appropriate but the location here is just wonderful. I'm lucky to live in a small city where we can move anywhere and still be able to get a variety of things in 20 minutes but I know I will miss this place once we find a new one (though I know this is too crowded now with the 5th member starting to crawl;).
    So 644 for 4 people now seems to me like a lot, haha:D.

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