We live in a pretty big house. I don’t know exactly what the square footage is, but the house has four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, two living rooms, two stories, and a two-car garage. It’s bigger than we need, but the story behind how we came to live here is rather remarkable. Long story short, the owner called us and offered us the house for a very reasonable price. We jumped on it for two reasons. First, we’d just had Small Fry less than six months before, and we were living in a 2 bedroom apartment. We weren’t feeling crowded yet, but he hadn’t started moving yet, either. Second, the house is way closer to the places we go frequently (namely Will’s book signings and our church) by about half an hour.
It would have been easy to look at the bigger house and say, “We need a bunch of new stuff to fill this place.” But we didn’t. Living in a big house wasn’t an excuse to lose our minds – and our convictions. We have only two pieces of furniture in the house that we didn’t have in the apartment: a coffee table that was left by the previous tenants (they asked us if we wanted it) and a chair for Will. We got rid of our old couch, though, so we’re still ahead in the “keeping stuff limited” game. (Not by numbers, but by volume/annoyance factor next time we move.)
I know I mentioned before that simplicity is not the same as minimalism, and I still believe that to be true. However, I do find – at last for my family – that mostly-minimalism helps us. This concept goes well with last week’s post, now that I think of it. What’s the point of minimalism? To be able to live a less stressful life because you’re not burdened by stuff. What’s the point of simplicity? To live a saner, less stressful life.
Just because we moved into a house that roughly doubled our square footage, that doesn’t mean we suddenly had to give up our lifestyle. So I guess that’s my advice on this topic: Decide (or realize) why you want to live a simplicity oriented lifestyle, and make your decisions based around that goal. If you wind up living somewhere that is perfect in the moment but could easily detract you from your desire to live simply, don’t let it. It’s okay to have a sparsely furnished home. Use things like colored walls and paintings and bedspreads and curtains to make it warm and inviting. Keep the things you need and little to nothing more. Another good trick is to use consumable things to make your home cozy. A few well placed candles all around the house and a nice bar if soap in your bathroom are lovely.
How do you keep your big house running simply?
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