Deer everywhere here. This one was enjoying the kitschy water feature that came with the house. The one we gave away the first week we were here to a neighbour that admired it.
Moving to the country and into a house has had us buying a lot of stuff lately. We own a lawnmower now and some basic furniture for a one bedroom suite. My brother has earmarked an inflatable slip ‘n’ slide for us that his kids have outgrown. We’ve all had to get outfitted in winter wear as the snow is soon to come. It’s been a stressful and strange couple of months of acquiring stuff for us minimalist-wannabes.
What do you do if you love simplicity and minimalism and yet, you move from a two bedroom condo to a house with a yard? At first I planned to not buy any new furniture. I thought we would get up there and then just see what we needed. But I looked at the second hand market for furniture in that area and it was frankly abysmal compared to what we could get secondhand in the city. And we thought about how we were going to use the space, that we’d have family over frequently, that the suite in our basement already had weeks booked with family staying in it, and decided to take the plunge and buy furniture for the house before moving up there. We actually rented a storage locker for a month to stash our Craigslist finds and some IKEA buys to get hauled up to our new house. It felt pretty uncomfortable to a) stockpile stuff and b) buy so much in such a short time. And I’m sharing all of this information here because I need to be brutally honest about this big life move. Both the good – more time, nature, less financial stress – and the not so good – the increase of stuff and increased work of owning a single family home.
Upsizing as a minimalist wanna-be feels wrong. Moving into a house has been both enjoyable and panic inducing. When we looked at houses to buy in this area all of them had basements and garages packed with stuff. Seeing those packed houses made it seem inevitable: you buy a house and then you fill with as much stuff as you can.
Note: it wasn’t on our radar to move into an apartment in this small town. My husband wanted to have a yard (and mow a lawn!) and I admit, I was curious about living in a house too. We have given up a lot of city amenities with this move so we plan to use our new home space more for activities with the kids.
I keep reminding myself: just because you have space doesn’t mean you need to fill it. There is so much storage in this house. So so so so much storage. Previous owners have put in shelving in the garage and basement and basically anywhere that would hold a shelf. There is far more storage than we have stuff for. And we won’t and don’t have to fill it.
Also: we don’t have that much stuff. The last few weeks in Vancouver people kept asking me about the packing and if I was stressed out. Not really. Sure, there was work to be done but it was really just a couple of evenings of packing after the kids went to bed and then we did the bulk of it the day before the movers arrived. Even with the extra furniture we brought up our movers were very happy with how much stuff we had (they were getting paid a flat rate). They unloaded everything into our new house in under two hours.
There are so many wonderful stories out there about downsizing for simplicity. Could we be a wonderful story about upsizing for simplicity? I know it sounds incongruous but we moved to this small town, and this house, to give ourselves more time and more financial freedom. We’re a few weeks in and already feeling the relaxed and unhurried vibe of this town and enjoying some wonderful surprises to us like how cyclist friendly it is here, and that, WOAH, kids are allowed to have peanut butter in their lunches at school and daycare.
Okay all house dwelling minimalist wannabes: how do you keep yourself from filling every last room and every last shelf? One thing I enjoyed about living a smaller home was that it was pretty easy to see if you need to pare down clothes or toys – there just wasn’t enough room to hold a lot of stuff. Now… this home has endless storage.