Soon we will be ready for the next phase in our minimalist journey - moving to a tiny home. But where that tiny home is located is a huge unknown for us. I see us going in one of two directions - which one will we pick?
My husband and I have been on our minimalist journey for about 2 years or so. We started with decluttering items of furniture, then creating completely empty rooms, and then experimenting with living in part of our home (pretending to live in less square footage).
As of right now the only pieces of furniture we are using include: one futon, one rocking chair, one TV, a folding table, a foldable desk, and 5 folding chairs.
As far as square footage, we are using around 700 of our 1800 square feet. We are living in two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, dining room (which doubles as our living room), entry, and our basement for a little storage and washer/dryer. We are left with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a lower level living room we are not using.
Beyond our decluttering, we’ve also been remodeling our home for the past 3 years. We started with demolishing our entry closet and having a custom bench and hooks built in. Then we started painting everything - walls, woodwork, doors, cabinets. It’s been a huge labor of love.
This last year we had our main floor ceiling paneled/painted white and installed new flooring, kitchen countertop and sink. My mission is to show the full potential of this home. To turn this house from a basic build into a beautiful one of a kind home for another family to enjoy.
I only have a few small things left to declutter and our remodeling list is getting smaller, but before we put our house up for sale, I want to finish all the remodeling projects stirring around in my creative mind. This includes the kitchen backsplash, molding to install around the new flooring, new carpet to install, bathroom floors and vanities to update, replace roof and a few windows, a little update in landscaping, and a little painting left. After that, we will be ready to move on - but where?
My husband and I have talked a lot about our ideals. On the one hand, I love walkability. Living in close proximity to our girls’ school, church, and grocery store would be awesome. We also love being out in nature. Hiking is one of our favorite activities, so being close to a wooded area we can hike in would also be ideal.
Beyond location, we would like to downsize - preferably build our tiny home. This means we would need to find an open lot at a low price and without minimum size building restrictions. This would help us reach financial freedom, one of our major goals.
Fork In The Road
The hard part is that ideals are just that - not reality. Eventually we will have to pick our top priorities and leave behind some of our ideals. I see a fork in the road up head.
We currently live in the suburbs. We have limited walkability, no hike-ability, expensive lots, and lots of building restrictions. So the way I see it, we either move more into the Madison area for greater walkability, but higher cost of living, and little hike-ability. Or we move out into the country near the woods, losing our walkability, gaining hike-ability, and being free to build our tiny home.
One of our goals in going tiny, is gaining financial freedom. If we move into the city for better walkability and near a nature preserve such as the UW Arboretum, cost of homes get high. If we move into the country, most lots for sale are so large that the cost ends up being a wash or more expensive than our current home. Both lead us backwards in our financial journey. To make country living more tricky - most of the lots are farmland - no hiking available.
Moving within city limits also brings into question what we are walkable to. Right now we can walk to school, church, and our favorite pizza place. If we move we would like to be able to walk to the kids’ school, a natural foods grocery store, church, and a nature preserve. That’s a tall order. We probably have to pick and choose there as well.
Also, if we go into the country, how far into the country are we willing to go? Most lots around us change to a different school district, which isn’t ideal. Today we drove past a 40 acre farmland lot for sale in our school district. It was two miles out from Main Street - it seemed far, maybe too far!
No path is going to be perfect, but it’s a lot to weigh out. We probably have a year or two left in our current home. Between the amount of remodeling left and our walkability to the school the girls are in (which only goes up to first grade), this is currently the best place for us.
After 2 years, we lose our walkability to school, so it seems like a no brainer to plan our move with this change. I’m hoping that the right opportunity presents itself at the right time, making the fork in the road an easier decision - city life or country life!?