In life things change, and as my husband and I talk about growing our family some more we also consider if another home is on the horizon for us. As I sit in my humble living room, crowded with my overstuffed furniture and small children underfoot, I think of our home. Our small, wonderful home. I am reminded of what its tiny walls have imparted to my heart.
Anyone who knows us knows we have undergone many changes over the years, and our habits, lifestyles, and priorities have drastically been altered. I think for the better. While our personalities have matured, and our love for one another has grown, our house actually got smaller. Most growing families upgrade their home as babies arrive, but I suppose my husband and I have always done things differently.
When we first married we enjoyed our newlywed life in a large, newer-built home. My walk-in closet was every woman’s dream, and my large spa bathtub ran a close second. I loved the hallway so wide I could almost drive my smart car through it, and the high ceilings made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. While it was no mansion, it was the nicest home I had ever owned personally, and it made me proud to say it was mine.
I would go so far as to say that my house was my priced possession, my most favorite thing. I loved that house! But then everything changed.
Then I became a mother, and if I thought I knew love before, well, I had no idea! When I held that fat baby against my chest I suddenly knew what love really was, and I was certain I would burst. She became my favorite thing.
Not only did my heart change and grow towards motherhood, but I also fell deeper in love with the father of my daughter, my husband. My best friend. Our hearts merged on the idea of what we wanted for our marriage and for our family, and what seemed important before suddenly didn’t mean as much.
As it stood then we decided we wanted more children, we wanted more time with them and each other, and we would do what we must to make those things happen. So we moved.
Even as we planned another pregnancy we took our square footage and cut it in half. We went from a large space to a small space, but added more people under one roof. I can tell you that going small after living large is really a challenge. Some might call us crazy, but I think it’s been brilliantly enlightening.
I never knew that I would, but I’ve learned some valuable lessons living little, and the vast importance of it all is beyond the largest square footage imaginable.
The old adage is true. Home is not what house you reside in, but where your heart finds rest. And I’ve discovered my heart can overflow with abundance in even the most cramped of spaces. Indeed I’ve never felt more fulfilled than I have in the past three years, and even if I’ve felt crowded or cluttered at times, my spirit has always felt untethered regardless of any spacial constraints.
Deciding to live in a small space allowed my family the opportunity to enlarge other aspects of our life. We’ve been able financially to increase the size of our family and increase the time we have off together. And when you look at time with the ones you love against the size of your closet, there really is no comparison.
If downsizing has taught me anything it has taught me what is really important in life. Family. Time together. Less financial stress. More financial freedom. But more than anything I’ve learned that if all is right with my family life, then everything else just falls into place.
You can handle a small kitchen when you’re allowed the opportunity and time to cook more frequently for the ones you hold dear. There’s nothing wrong with a humble-sized living room when it allows you to be close to your husband and children while you watch a movie together.
Our family is still growing, and we might just move to the next home out there for us, but the plan will be the same. The house won’t be what’s important. We could be happy in a cardboard box. It’s what we build within its walls that really matter. Even if the walls happen to be small. Elevated ceilings mean little if your spirit is deflated, and a state of the art kitchen is pointless if you can’t afford to ever have the time and joy of cooking there.
Living in a small space has taught me how to live and love big. It’s taught me how to sacrifice the trivial things in favor of the important ones. And though I’ve honestly had moments where I felt rather cramped, I wouldn’t trade my extraordinary, little life for the biggest mansion in the world.