Living Small Forces Means Thinking Different About Saving Money

When I lived in a house (or really a multi-room dwelling). I was a big fan of money saving practices like buying in bulk, making food ahead of time, and holding onto things for future use.

Moving from 1,500ish square feet to a new space that’s 220 square feet was quite a reality check. (To those of you who doubt my fifth grade math skills of figuring this out, ask anyone who has visited. It’s that small.)

I have some limited basement access where I can put things like my bike and skis but most everything I own is within twenty paces of where I sit writing this now.

The biggest change for me was my galley-style kitchen that has a half fridge (aka a dorm fridge). That means either the whole thing can be a freezer or a fridge. Guess what I picked? Though having all my food encased in ice may cut down on the amount of food I eat…Hmmm…

What my new apartment means is a few things:

1) I can’t buy things in bulk; there is no place to store them.
2) I need to choose carefully what stuff I surround myself with as I will be looking at it a lot of the time.
3) I have to go to the grocery store more often then once a week.
4) No more composting.
5) Less space to craft and otherwise spread projects out.
6) I have to store a gallon of ice cream at each of my friend’s houses that I frequently visit; it is the only time I can eat ice cream or anything frozen. (This is probably a good development.)

A few things I am doing now to save time, space, and money in my new place include:

1) Underbuying food at the grocery store. I’ll have to go back later in the week anyway and throwing away food is wasteful.
2) Sticking to the list at the grocery store has taken on a whole new importance.
3) Getting rid of a lot of stuff. Charities and friends as recipients made more sense then slowly selling stuff, not to mention gave me more satisfaction then, say, selling a nice shirt for $5 on eBay.
4) Setting up my apartment for me. Example: I have sweaters on the bookshelf near my door and books in the cupboards above my bed. It probably would look way cooler to my guests if I put out my “thinky” books near the door but I access my sweaters often and only look at books when I’m done reading my latest one. In short, I’ve set up my life for me, not for potential visitors.
5) Recyclables are stored in a basket in the backseat of my car and emptied weekly. This keeps bulky stuff like newspapers and cans out of my living space.
6) Too Cute Tuesday crafting has moved to a larger location most of the time: my friend Dorrie’s house. She has a large table, good ideas, and is super-enthused about it all. Perfect!
7) I have to leave my house to eat ice cream, among many other things. This forces me to get out of my little space, be social, and try new things.

So a different approach but an equally valid one I think. Living smaller is definitely something I can live with.

Some other articles about living small/living with less:
Some Thoughts on the Small House Movement: Is It Something Worth Considering?
Book Review: The Power of Less
Sell or Donate? From Unclutterer

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