Growing up I remember wanting to have it all. I remember thinking there was this perfect scenario if you worked hard, you would get it all. I was convinced I would have a big house with a pretty garden, and he perfect spot to sit and read.
When I went looking for our house, just months before getting married, I left the pressure to get something we would be happy enough with because we were running out of time. We had agreed that neither of us wanted to rent, it seemed so wasteful as you could easily be paying the same as you would on a mortgage.
We found a house that I had fallen in love with, a nice starter home we said. A three bedroom, one bathroom, just over 1000 square feet. With just two of us, it seemed so perfect. We had the spare bedroom I wanted to have, a room for miscellaneous things, and eventually an office, plus a partially finished basement area we could make a TV room or something.
Reality hit slowly on all these ideals. At the time my husband and I pretty much worked opposite schedules so there was no need to have the basement build to be anything, it became a random storage area. If we needed to move something out of the way, to the basement it went.
In just over a year of living in this home, we had to rearrange all of what we structured, the office moved to the basement catch-all area and the small bedroom became a nursery. We still had our spare bedroom, which was much needed to help us transition to new live with a baby.
Fast forward again and we have completely re-vamped the design of our home with two children. The spare bedroom has been long gone and the basement area, now a playroom (toy catch-all). It has been nearly eight years in this ‘starter’ home and as much as I get frustrated with somethings, did I mention there is only one bathroom, I can’t really imagine leaving this home just yet.
My ideals on our home have changed over the years and I now better understand the work involved in owning a home. This home is manageable. I can always tell where someone is in the house and we can still find our own spaces when needed.
I recently read Erin Odom’s new book, More Than Just Making It and the chapter on Redefining the American Dream really struck me for what we have done. We thought for the first few years that this was a stepping stone that we would just deal with for a few years but life has shown us there is more inside these walls that we should be paying attention to.
Here are three things I learned or was able to reaffirm after reading More Than Just Making It.
- Times have changed, and ‘all’ isn’t the same anymore. There are choices.
We would have had to sacrifice on some of the adventures we take the boys on if we had a bigger home. Our budget would be completely turned upside down from where we are now. We may have not been able to afford our home during the tighter financial times if it were bigger.
- Cutting back and living smaller is more sustainable, not just for your wallet, but also the earth.
Having more possessions isn’t going to make me happier. It might actually make me grumpier as I would have to care for that much more. Buying used reduces waste and saves money.
- Convenience is really not as convenient in the long run.
Buying things in bigger containers rather than individual servings is not only cheaper but you are saving on the extra packaging waste. It is not much more difficult to buy the larger container of yogurt and divide into reusable containers for our lunches. Most often I am able to save a bit on groceries by doing a little bit of extra work myself.
I was so blessed to receive and Advanced Reader Copy of Erin Odom’s More Than Just Making It in exchange for providing my honest review.
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