Well, this has been an interesting experience.
My family has officially moved to a northern state (yay, we’ll see snow again.) Due to circumstances, we’re renting the only available house in about a hundred mile radius, and we’re doing it practically sight unseen (there was a Skype walkthrough. It was the best we could manage.)
Last week we watched our stuff get loaded onto a truck, then packed up the cars, and headed out with a Bilbo Baggins attitude of “I’m going on an adventure!”
Three days later, we arrived at our new house and, like Bilbo, we immediately wanted to go back to the comforts of home. The new place was supposed to be ready for us but, because of extenuating circumstances, the cleaners were not overseen and, judging by the filthy state of the house, they didn’t clean a thing.
Not. A. Thing. The last resident was a single man who also didn’t clean. I won’t even describe the details but imagine going to summer camp after it’s been closed up for ten months or so and realizing no one cleaned up before shutting it down for the year.
It even had that musty, camp smell.
Discouraging, to say the least. I admit, that first night, all I did was drag bedding inside and go to sleep. After three days in the car, my brain couldn’t handle anything else. The next day I took a good look at the house. Like Bilbo, I realized “Go back? No good at all. Go sideways? Impossible. Go forward? Only thing to do. On we go.”
So I cleaned and swept and scrubbed (with a little help from the apologetic couple who were supposed to have taken care of this already) and finally, finally, the house began to resemble something I would be willing to live in. Though until I get my vacuum cleaner and mop back, there are still certain places where I tread lightly.
With the cleaning part done-ish, it was time to evaluate the house for what it was, instead of for the layers of dirt and dead insects covering it.
Now, realize as you read the rest of this, I’m not complaining.
Alright, I might be complaining a little bit, but mostly I’m trying to explain the awful hilarity of our situation.
The house is tiny.
I mean, it’s not tiny-house-on-wheels tiny, but compared to our previous house, it’s tiny.
We knew it was small but…well, it’s an old house and, apparently, a hundred years ago, people didn’t think about space the same way we do now so the space is divided up in awkward, occasionally useless ways with sharp angles and narrow staircases…you get the idea. I mean, they could have taken half the bathroom and given me a pantry. Instead, I have a postage stamp-sized kitchen and a bathroom with unnecessary space.
I’m pretty sure some of our larger furniture won’t even make it through the skinny front door much less up the twisting staircases. Which might be better in the long run, because we’re going to run out of space fast.
But, overall, I have only two real complaints. Well, sort of three.
One: There’s no dining room. No breakfast nook. No anything where civilized people would eat. We have a tiny kitchen and a tiny living room. We can’t eat in the kitchen and given the choice between a couch and a table, we’re probably going to take the couch.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that, but once we have internet or I get myself over to the library (I’m sitting on the floor of our home right now, but I’ll probably post this from the library) I’m going to research space saving tables and hopefully find something we can stash somewhere (probably the living room).
Two: Parking. The house is built into a hill and a tiny spot was dug out for parking. It’s so small that when our two cars are squeezed inside my husband often climbs out through the passenger side. My car barely makes it off the street and only by a couple inches, my husband’s car is longer and sticks out. We’re both glad he never bought that truck he keeps talking about. It’s not a big deal right now as it’s not a busy road, but I’m a little worried about winter, especially since learning that the snow plow tends to knock over our very battered mailbox which sits at about the same distance.
I don’t think there’s anything we can do about that, so I’ll just let you know if a plow ever takes out our cars.
Sort of three: I have no place for my books. I know, I talk about minimalism, and I really have worked on downsizing my books. I got rid of hundreds actually. But I still have hundreds left.
I’m sorry. My Kindle is great, but I like holding a real book. And (unlike a bunch of these crazies I’ve been reading about) if it’s a good book, I’ll probably read it again, and again, and maybe again.
Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever truly minimize this area or if I even want to, but I’m going to have to do something because, as we wait on the truck to arrive with our things, I’m trying to mentally place furniture and it looks like I’m going to have to split my bookcases between several different rooms/hallways.
I think God’s chuckling at me. “You wanted minimalism? Here you go. Have fun.”
Thanks, God. I really appreciate it.
Alright. That was my list of major
complaints challenges. The rest is just quirky stuff like the room where the light switch is upside-down or the bedroom with a three foot hole in the wall instead of a closet.
It’s the kind of stuff that’s so odd it makes me laugh instead of cringe.
So here’s my new goal for the next…however long. Even though our (musty) basement and (unheated) attic give us lots of storage space, I want to make our stuff fit this house. By that I mean, anything that doesn’t fit comfortably in the livable areas of this home has to go. Since our stuff hasn’t arrived yet, I can still be really optimistic about this. I’m sure once that truck rolls up and they start bringing boxes in I’m going to want to curl up in a corner and cry and then probably give up.
But I’m not going to do it.
Okay, there might be some crying. But no giving up.
The stuff fits the house.
Comfortably. I feel like that needs to be a key word. Not crammed into every corner. Comfortably.
You guys will keep me honest, right? 🙂
Exceptions: There are a few things I will store, like my gorgeous china dishes that I really, really love but definitely won’t be able to fit in the kitchen, or our awesome coffee tables that can function either as large end tables or be pushed together for a single coffee table. I have a feeling once we get our couch and table into the living/dining room they’re not going to make it.
So, yeah, a few things will go in the attic, along with the usual Christmas decorations and off-season clothes, but I promise it won’t be too much. I’m totally committed to making this work, and I’m sure my family will be all the better for it by the time we’re done here.
I have a feeling the next several months are going to be messy. I don’t think I’m walking down a path to minimalism so much as I’ve been shoved off a mountain of stuff and am hurtling toward the jagged, minimalist rocks at the bottom. Still, one way or another, I’ll get there and I’ll keep you posted along the way.