Twenty Days of Thankful #8

Day #8: A Humble Abode

This is not the first post expressing a backwards sort of gratitude for downsizing to an apartment. A couple years ago I bought a house, and a year later I moved out. Circumstances aside, “the house and the yard and the dog” are things that almost every person wants, and I most certainly was one of those people. But I was drowning in an unmanageable schedule, with an unmanageable commute, and an impossible financial situation. Taking a step backward (according to the writers of The American Dream), was actually a huge step forward for me personally. In downsizing to an apartment, I’ve managed to pay off two credit cards in the course of a year and get all my expenses under control. My bank account is black all of the time. My responsibilities have returned to a reasonable load. Everything is just – better.

I do hope that there will be a time when the house and the yard and the dog make sense for me, but right now is not that time. I’ve learned to value things that matter over, just, things. I love the courtyard view out our living room window. I love the sunshine pouring into our dining room each morning. I love my little kitchen and how I have everything I need. I LOVE that this is a space that can realistically be clean and organized *most* of the time.

It’s not fancy, and I don’t own it, but this is my home. And that, as they say, is where the heart is.

IMG_2997 IMG_2908 IMG_2841

Learning to Live With, and Eventually Love, my Tiny Kitchen

It’s been nearly 18 months since I downsized from house to apartment. Downsizing can be difficult, and at first I felt like the biggest sacrifice was in the kitchen.  I love to cook (duh), and in the 12 years since dorm life I’ve accumulated, and accumulated, and accumulated some more. Each kitchen I’ve cooked in was bursting at the seams (literally… I’ve spilled over into dining rooms, coat closets, you name it).  So you can bet I was concerned when faced with the approximately 7 x 15 foot space that was to be my kitchen.  Where do I put the canning supplies? The stand mixer?!? The worms?!?!?

Apparently, I was being dramatic. 18 months later, what once felt crowded is now cozy, organized, and remarkably easy to keep clean.

As it turns out, I don’t need 2 blenders, 3 crockpots, a juicer, 2 coffee grinders, or 18 feet of counter space. As I moved in, settled in, and hunkered down in the apartment I realized that there were a lot of things I could part with – things that I hadn’t used in months to a year – things I sometimes didn’t want or need to begin with – things I would have rather done without anyway.

IMG_2020

As it turns out, all that stuff didn’t matter, and it didn’t make me a better cook. In evaluating what I wanted to keep, I discovered the things that were most precious to me, and most useful.

As it turns out, the food that comes out of my little kitchen tastes better, because this is a kitchen that only contains things that I love.

This is a kitchen that’s processed a hundred pounds of tomatoes (not all at the same time), pumpkin purees, and salsas galore. It’s frozen enough fresh vegetables to last for the winter, canned cranberry juice, and made pot after pot after pot of morning coffee. It’s churned out pies, frittatas, and an 18-pound turkey.  Everything has a place – even the worms

I can do anything in my kitchen you can do in yours – mine just takes less time to clean.