No, not outer space (sorry sci-fi fans). Storage space. Living space. I’ll explain.
I recently discovered, thanks to our yearly property assessment, the actual square footage of our house. We bought this house in 2005 and somehow never knew the exact square footage. That information, along with the year the house was built, had been “lost” according to the previous owners. So we were given estimations – 800 square feet and built sometime in the 70s. The figures were not far off, but still not quite right.
According to the property assessment information I found online, the actual square footage of our home is 768 square feet. The house was built in 1970. The date doesn’t matter much to me, but I was quite surprised to find that I am living in 32 less square feet than I thought I was.
But 32 square feet isn’t really much, right? What difference could it possibly make to live in an actual 800 square feet instead of 768?
Well, 32 square feet is 4×8 feet. A four foot by eight foot room would be quite narrow, but would make a great storage space. Or, we could split that space up and make four small closets. How about an extra bathroom? From my rough measurements, our bathroom is around 5×8 feet. Maybe we couldn’t fit a full sized bathtub in a second bathroom, but we could certainly fit a shower stall, toilet and pedestal sink in four by eight feet.
Honestly, I feel a little bit ripped off – here I thought I had more space than I actually have! On the other hand, I’ve been receiving all sorts of comments about it from friends who live in more space but still feel cramped. This makes me feel pretty good about managing to live in such a small space with four children.
What I keep explaining to people is that the problem with a small house and lots of kids is not the amount of people in the home, but the amount of stuff. If we could just get rid of all our stuff (okay, most of our stuff? some of our stuff?), we would have far more space, less clutter and no issues with storage problems.
So what kind of stuff is taking up all this precious space? Well, here are just a few things we have a LOT of:
Games, movies, clothes, craft supplies, books, blankets, sheet sets, towels, small appliances, toys, gadgets (cameras, computer related items, etc), keepsakes.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. My house is full of junk. Some of this junk I want to keep. The books, games and craft supplies will stay, although it would be great to move some of them to a shed outside where we could have easy access to them. The games are kept in a six and a half foot tall bookcase that eats up a good piece of my living room, and while I don’t want to get rid of them, it would be nice to reclaim the space. I know for a fact that we have more clothing than we need and more movies than we even watch – those could easily be picked through and slimmed down.
While I long for a larger house and all the trimmings (can you say “play room”? craft space? two bathrooms? sigh…), I also wish to enjoy the time I have left in the space I currently have. I constantly look around and let out heavy sighs at the clutter and mess in this house, and when it comes down to it, the mess comes from too much stuff. I’ve also been wondering if we couldn’t last another year in this house, which would give us time over the summer to take care of landscaping issues and possibly give the house a new paint job on the outside. It would also allow us to save more money to help with the costs of a new house being built. This is still a new idea, and while it is a little bit scary, it’s also exciting. What if we could weed out some of the stuff and make more living space available in this house? Something to think about anyway….