Living Small

I was in the car with our granddaughter Kaiya the other day. Cole and Mylee were in the backseat, but they were busy playing some sort of Roblox game that involved a lot of chatter between two of them. Out of the blue, Kaiya asked me, “Nana, do you like where you’re living now?”

I thought it was sweet of her to ask, and I said that we were happy.

“Does it feel too small for you? It’s so much smaller than the house you lived in before,” she said. She was talking about moving from a house that was almost 3,000 square feet if you don’t include the basement to an apartment that is 1,200 square feet.

She was very surprised when I answered enthusiastically, “We really love the size of the apartment.”

“You do?” she said. “Why do you like it so much?”

“Because let’s say I accidentally leave my reading glasses next to my bed and I want to check my emails in the living room,” I said. “I only have to take 20 steps or so to get to my glasses instead of having to walk up a flight of stairs, and take many more steps.”

Bill and I would not have been as content if we had lived in a 1,200 square foot apartment when we first got married. Court was still a kid, and Bill’s kids were still a busy part of our lives. We relished the four bedrooms, the big kitchen (at least it felt big to us at that time), and a basement to store things. (Yes, all of those things that made us crazy as we packed up our house 30 years later.)

Apartments of 1,200 square feet are ideally for young people or old people. I am fully aware that many people with families live in small spaces, especially as housing becomes increasingly unaffordable. Still, I’m talking perfect worlds.

Our contentment was very apparent when we walked into our apartment on Friday, following a long day of travel. (Sure, it’s only an hour-and-a-half flight, but we are old and arrive early. You never know.) Anyhoo, despite the fact that I was greeted by three Christmas trees still fully decorated, and an empty refrigerator, it felt good to return to our new little home. It also felt good to walk over to a nearby restaurant (without having to go outside) where they would serve me a glass of wine and a good meal.

Living in a small space requires small possessions. We have downsized most everything. We have become very aware of where things will be stored. Definitely not doing as much Costco shopping. However, I purchased a twelve-pack of toilet paper at the grocery store when we first moved here, I purposely bought the most expensive brand. Nevertheless, the toilet paper rolls are about three inches wide. We’ll use what we have, but it’s Costco toilet paper from here on out. I’ll find a place to store it rather than see those sad little rolls on my toilet paper holder.