There is downsizing and then there is tiny living. Going from a 7,000 square feet home with a 3 car garage and large yard to 900 square feet of apartment living is a huge adjustment to tiny living.
Grandma’s New House
My oldest daughter had her little ones help me move things into my new digs. This allowed them to understand that Grandma moved. After exploring every corner of my new apartment (which took only five minutes) my grandchildren went home.
When Daughter told her kidlets that they were going to see Grandma in her new house Grandson asked, “Grandma’s little house? It’s very, very little. It’s” tiny.” This conversation named my new place, “Grandma’s Tiny House.”
Because I signed the rental agreement only two days before I had to be out of our house, things were just thrown into my apartment. It looked more like a storage shed than an apartment. The only room that had the furniture placed properly was my youngest daughter’s room.
You know that parking lot game? The one where you have to move cars and trucks around to get your little car out? That was what it was like unpacking in my apartment. Move “A” over here. Move “B” there. Put “C” where I want it. Move “A” back so that I can move “D” so that I can put “B” where it belongs. That game lasted about a month as I organized my apartment.
My bedroom was the last to get organized. I did not have a bed so I slept on the floor in inside my bed frame next to the bottom half of my electric piano. I had to get my apartment arranged enough so that I could get the mattress through the front door and into my bedroom. It took me a month but I finally got a mattress.
This is where things got really interesting. At the house I had lots of storage space. In my new apartment I had NO storage space. Each bedroom had a decent sized closet. I have a small linen closet in the hall and a small coat closet in the family room. My kitchen has a total of four drawers and seven cupboards. Little cupboards.
It is a good thing that I learned basic carpentry skills because I had to build storage cabinets for my kitchen. Of course I ordered kits so that everything was already cut to size and finished. Now I could put away my dishes and some of my food stuffs. I still have two large boxes of canned goods and baking supplies under my kitchen table.
My washer and dryer are in my bathroom where I have a small cabinet over the dryer with a couple of shelves over the washer. I had to purchase over the toilet shelves for all my towels. I purchased a couple of wire shelves for the cupboard under the sink so I could put away my toiletries. I also had to purchase plastic drawers for other bathroom sundries.
Now it is time to start emptying the boxes stacked everywhere in my apartment. It is amazing how many boxes I had. As I emptied boxes I folded them up and stacked them near my front door. Now I am drowning in empty boxes. What to do with the empty boxes? A friend of mine was moving his office so he took them. I was very glad to get them out of my small space.
I cannot fit all I own in my apartment. I have to have space to store my camping gear and other odds and ends. Rented storage is expensive. It would be about $80-$120 a month that I don’t want to spend. What am I to do?
Buy a shed and “rent” space in my son’s backyard. The rent? He gets to keep the shed when I am done with it. For $600 I purchased a nice 7×7 shed and the paving stones to put under it. My son and I built it together over a few evenings enjoying the time together.
Here is where my superior tetras skills come in handy. My son-in-law and my son both told me my shed was too small to fit all my stuff in. I just smiled and began to pack the shed. What I don’t need in the back, camping gear front left, other odd boxes for occasional retrieval front right. When I was done I still had a three-foot square space in the shed that I could walk into and get to most of my things. My son bowed to me and told me that I had the ultimate tetras skills. Of course it is a 25 minute drive to my shed.
Making It Home
I have now hung paintings and pictures. I have put out a few of my nick knacks. It feels more like home every day. There are a few things that will be a challenge while we are here. My daughter’s harp is always in the way. Some walk through spaces are a bit narrow. All-in-all it is a comfortable space.
I must admit though, my daughter and I had some claustrophobia issues in the beginning. It really is a small space. The smallest space I’ve ever lived in. Of course it meets our needs. My daughter didn’t have to change neighborhoods or schools and it is under budget so that I can save 5-8% of my income every month. Also…it is only temporary. It is only for a year or two.