Different Places, Different Spaces

House hunting. I’m not personally involved in purchasing a house, but I got to tag along with my sister and her husband while they looked at one yesterday. I would be lying if I said I did not have all sorts of conflicting thoughts and feelings as we walked through this 3-story, 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom house with a 3-car garage that was, approximately, the same square footage as my entire apartment. The garage, that is. The garage is the same size as my apartment.

On the one hand: wouldn’t it be nice to have all that space!

On the other: nobody needs that much space!

On the one hand: oh, be still my heart! A walk-in closet!

On the other: in New York, that is what we call a “half bedroom.” And also, it is at least the size of the room the boys’ sleep in.

On the one hand: look at all those closets! All those shelves in the garage! Think of all the things you could store there!

On the other: think of all that junk those closets are going to be filled up with, all that stuff that’ll never be used.

On the one hand: those granite counter tops are lovely. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to knead bread dough on those counter tops.

On the other: or you could knead bread dough on a cheap cutting board at a fraction of the cost.

I think it is safe to say that I love living in Brooklyn. I love that I know how unnecessary 4,000 square feet, a bathroom for every child, a separate game room actually is. I love talking with my friends about how we manage with the small spaces and limited resources we have. And, let it be known, I do sometimes roll my eyes at those who think they can’t get along without two cars or a craft room or a master suite with his-and-her closets.

But let it also be known that when the time comes for us to move from Brooklyn, I will be first in line for the house on a full acre of land with a Viking range, a home theatre, a heated pool, and a shed in the back where Micah and I have our writing/designing studio.

First in line.

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8 Comments

  1. Here in DC, as a family of 4 we live in a 2 bedroom apartment. No laundry room, no playroom, no office, no garage. Just small closets, little counter space in the kitchen, 1 TINY bathroom, but lots of love! I take pride in the fact that we make it work. I like that I HAVE TO evaluate everything that comes into our home because I must figure out where it will go. I like that we constantly clean out and keep clutter at bay out of necessity. However, if that 5 bedroom house ever comes our way too, I’d be happy to be your neighbor!

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    lizzie Reply:

    Let’s do it, Star. I’ll save you a place. 🙂 But I hope I can keep the habit of really evaluating everything that comes into our house, and keeping clutter at bay.

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  2. It’s amazing how easy it is to explode into any space you have. I live in a thoroughly normal 1600 sq/ft suburban home. But it took .5 seconds for our apartment stuff to expand to house proportions. It’s like the duplicating spell from Harry Potter.

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    lizzie Reply:

    I bet. All our stuff is hiding under beds and in closets right now. If we had the space to not do that . . . I’m sure we would realize how much stuff we actually have, and that would be a little crazy for us, I’m sure.

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  3. As always, well said Lizzie. Well said!

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    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks. 🙂

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  4. Yep, great comments. I just think it’ll be so great to move and get more space, and actually appreciate it because we make so much less work now. That’s a serious gift of urban living: perspective.

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    lizzie Reply:

    Honestly. I hope I can keep it when we leave and keep our possessions and such to a manageable degree, avoid the keeping up with the Joneses syndrome, or whatever. 🙂

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  5. I don’t necessarily need 4000sq ft, but having my own house again would be nice.

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    lizzie Reply:

    Ah, yes. Making a new place your own is a long row to hoe. Especially when your new place doesn’t really belong to you, and the former occupants’ habits hover in your apartment like ghosts.

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  6. Cagesjamtoo (aka Sam)

    August 31st, 2012 at 8:23 am

    You hit the nail right on the head. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I miss out small space, less cluttered living, but would have a hard time giving up a place for the kids to play that is not in front of my feet and a bedroom for my oldest daughter so she doesn’t have to hide and play in the only bathroom shower to have some privacy.

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    lizzie Reply:

    I wonder when we will get to that point when we realize that our kids are simply too old to be stacked in beds in the same room . . . and we can help them with that.

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  7. So well said. We’re moving to a smaller place, but on land this time (yay!!) and the stuff-shedding process has been going on for months. Finishing it today for a stoop sale tomorrow … and you know it feels SO good to get rid of stuff, so light, it helps that leap you talk about next to feel more possible, it really does. We looked at some big beautiful spaces, but they felt too big, to full of space to fill up, rather than space outdoors to enjoy. I love conveniences for sure, but at this point at least am not willing to scramble to pay for them either.

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    lizzie Reply:

    Oh, Bethany! It’s funny how even in small spaces you accumulate needlessly. I keep wanting to throw everything out and start over.

    I hope your stoop sale went well, and I’m sure you won’t regret having space to play outdoors. Good luck in your move and your coming adventures!

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  8. lizzie

    August 31st, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    A slippery slope indeed. How do you draw the lines? Where do you even begin?

    And it’s a sad day when you have to choose between basement storage and walking to your friend’s place.

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