As part of my Families in Small Home Series I asked Britt Reints, freelance writer and blogger, to tell us about simplifying and downsizing as a family of four. They have pared down, moved and reimagined their lifestyle, city and living situation several times over several years and currently call Pittsburgh home. Enjoy and be sure to check out Britt’s blog, In Pursuit of Happiness.
Just a few years ago you lived in a house and now you’ve moved from an RV to an apartment. How have your children adjusted to all of this change and downsizing?
My son, who has never been one to have an attachment to stuff, has adjusted seamlessly. My daughter, who loves stuff of all kinds, has adjusted kicking and screaming. She fills every inch of personal space she’s given, whether that’s a canvas box or a small room. She recently planted pumpkins in a pot in our kitchen. We’re told they will need about 25 feet of space and should produce fruit sometime in January. We still have no idea how we’re going to cope with this new space issue she’s created.
One thing you are currently living without: a microwave. Do you have any rules around what or how many things can be brought into your living space?
I know that some people have rules about “one in, one out”, but we haven’t really finished figuring out what we need yet. The only “rule” is that we stop and consider each item before we bring it into the house. We ask if we already have something that can fulfill the intended purpose. We also look for the most environmentally solution possible, meaning we try to find items that are both used and that can be reused in the future.
One of your goals for your year of seeing America by RV was finding a city you wanted to live in. Tell us why Pittsburgh came out on top.
I’ve always wanted to experience true urban living, and Pittsburgh offered us an affordable place to do just that. We have only one car and I walk or take the bus almost everywhere. I love having restaurants and shopping right in my own neighborhood, as well as museums, sports, theater and SO MUCH TO DO just a few minutes away. I just love this city. I love that it reinvented itself after the steel mills close. I love that it’s a mix of blue-collar, hipster, crunchy, academia – you name it, we have it – and all in an affordable package.
Your blog is titled In Pursuit of Happiness – what are three things that make you and your family happy?
Quality time together – we are four funny people and it’s just really, really fun to hang out with one another.
Being outside – we all enjoy hiking, biking, going to the beach and doing just about anything outside.
Good food – we spend an embarrassing percentage of our income on food, either in grocery stores or restaurants.
All photos courtesy of Britt Reints on Flickr.