Sear, Simmer & Stir

Life, style & food in the District

Living With Less

Living in this beautiful city means living with less. (Rachel Nania)

Living in this beautiful city means living with less. (Rachel Nania)

Effective last night – over vodka and accordions – we decided to downsize.

If you add up our time spent in Boston and D.C., we’ve been city dwellers for several years now – and we’ve really grown to love it.

For us, having a grocery store, a liquor store, a handful of (really good) restaurants, a few salons, some mom and pop shops and public transportation all within a few walking blocks is not just convenience, it’s sheer happiness.

Sure, we’ve had to give up some things that others consider necessities or ideal for living “the American dream,” but for us, the trade is all worth it. To make that dream continue, we are making another move (thankfully just around the corner) into a bit of a smaller apartment.

If your question is “How does 700 square feet get smaller?” the answer is, “500 square feet.” That’s right, people. Two full-size humans and a dog are going to be living in 500 square feet.

To many, this sounds crazy. My mother’s first response was, “You’re going to kill your husband.”

True, that might happen. But what many fail to realize is that people – families even – live in small spaces all over the world and they deal just fine.

Yes, New Yorkers get a shout-out for their incredibly small-sized efficiencies, but how about those living in Hong Kong – one of the world’s most expensive and densely populated cities? Yes, people do it. And yes, many (not all) are happy with small spaces.

Know What You Have

Living in a small space makes you fully aware of what you have. Scratch that. Living in a small space makes you fully aware of everything you have. Gone are the days when my sister accused me of stealing her sweater. I have room for approximately four sweaters, and hers is not one of them. And no, I did not accidently take home your dish at the potluck. I don’t have room for that either.

As someone who loves to throw things out (not literally – more like make massive donations to Goodwill), moving into an even smaller space is exciting. It gives me a chance to take stock of what we have and get rid of everything we don’t need.

The Great Outdoors

I would argue that, living in an urban environment, I spend more time outside than those who have backyards. True, we don’t have a backyard. (Actually, our soon-to-be apartment has a patio. I can’t wait for grilling season.) But there are a minimum of three beautiful parks all within a five minute walking distance from my house.

There are even more parks just a short Metro ride away, bike trails close by and plenty of green space (yes, there are tons of trees) right outside my front door. I don’t feel like living in a city had disconnected me from the outdoors, at all. In fact, I feel like urban living has made me take full advantage of being outside (even in those dreaded rainy walks to the bus).

Perfect Opportunity to Tech-Up

Kent’s first reaction to downsizing was, “We need a thinner, sleeker TV.”

While that will probably not happen (OK – I lied, I am totally on-board), preparing for the move is forcing me to reexamine my relationship with technology. Do we have room for all of these books, DVDs and CDs? Or would an iPad be a wise purchase to store (most) of our books, DVDs and music?

Do I really need a desktop and a laptop? Or should I just back-up everything on the desktop, wipe it and sell or donate it? Speakers? There’s no room. A sound bar is better (something we switched to during our last downsize move).

Finding a way to still maintain my day-to-day life with less “stuff” is the ultimate goal. Well, that and not killing my husband. Because finding that balance ensures that we will be able to continue to live our ultimate happy urban lifestyle. Who knows, maybe a DC “tiny house” is next – I am obsessed with them.

We have one month until the move. Please send boxes, creative ideas and good vibes – I’m going to need them.


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This entry was posted on February 13, 2013 by in Lifestyle and tagged , .

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