We moved to the country after having our new baby. We were in a 1280sqft town home with 3 bedrooms, one and a half bath, and a full basement, and we downsized to 800sqft, 2 bedrooms, one level, and one bathroom.
What possessed us to downsize AFTER having a baby?
It’s simple really. Less cleaning, less bills, less stuff to organize, less errands from shopping, and MORE company and help. My gram and mom live next door which is ultra convenient when my baby won’t let me put her down and I’m trying to cook.
But I don’t want this post to be about size. This post is about living with less.
See, apart from moving to the country, a lot has changed. I have far less time, like so many of my readers. I also have far more aches and pains. I am, after all, disabled, and some days, it’s very hard for me to maintain the household. This has caused us to make some very difficult choices.
Cloth diapering had to go. I realize this is shocking, but what happened is that the math didn’t add up. Not only is it a myth that cloth diapers are more economical, it’s also a myth that they’re more environmentally friendly. New, most cloth diapers cost about $12-26 each. Even if you’re able to use them for subsequent children, unless you have a large stash, you will usually end up buying at least some new diapers. The nature of cloth diapers is that they require stretch and absorbancy, which are things that don’t stand the test of time well. Add to that the cost of washing at least every other day, and perhaps even drying in a dryer, and you’ve added $20 to your electric bill every month if you’re lucky- also organic laundry soap or the ingredients to make it. We went through about 5 gallons every two months. Then of course there’s the materials- most cloth diapers have some synthetic component. MOST people do not use cotton or bamboo inserts with wool diaper covers. I mean, it’s definitely possible, but most people just don’t do it. Now, was I going to make or buy used a bunch of cloth or bamboo diapers and wool covers, make organic laundry soap, and run up my electric bill? The answer is no. I’ll take the $100 a month in biodegradable diapers under the chin and spend more time with my children. Maybe that’s selfish or environmentally irresponsible- but the way I see it, is that I’m actually saving environmental resources. (and my sanity)
I’m still breastfeeding, but baby is adding in some solids for fun, and the likelihood that I will be pureeing food will be slim. This is especially true because I don’t eat crap and I can just hand my baby food out of my own plate.
I also stopped canning so much. Our meals have gotten substantially simpler, meal planning has become for every couple of days, and we’re just eating more fresh food. Canned food doesn’t have optimal nutrition, and it takes up a lot of time and storage space. I don’t have either right now.
That also means I won’t be baking bread. It’s fun to make a loaf every now and again, but I gave up baking our daily bread because it too costs more to bake than to buy. Why spend more time and money on something when you can get something equally palatable and healthy at the store?
I switched to commercial products too. Once I stopped using fels naptha in my soap due to the endocrine disruptors, the cost of my homemade soap became such that it was more economical to buy organic soap to do my laundry. That also means I don’t have to dedicate more time to soap making, or space for supplies. I’m still making my own toothpaste because it works better, but I buy my shampoo and lotion now. Not only is that cheaper as well, but my autoimmune conditions are making me increasingly sensitive to herbal products and I have to use hypoallergenic chemical based products. That’s right- I had to choose between suffering and decreasing my health by using herbal products, or suffering less and depleting my health using chemical products. Talk about difficult decisions. Don’t get me wrong- I haven’t given up, and I’ll talk more about that at length later.
Because of this, Katesapartmentsteading will be more focused on natural living, natural parenting, Waldorf education, minimalism/tiny house living, healthy homemade meals, and crafting. I’ll still keep my homesteading archives, and if anyone has any feedback on what they’d like to see more of, I’m always open to suggestions and LOVE reader feedback.
So let’s take a look at our new space.
This is our kitchen and dining space. My partner is currently working on switching to a gluten free diet, so we still have doubles of a few things to prevent cross contamination. I also keep pork-free dishes due to my religious beliefs. When I first moved here, we kept two separate kitchen spaces and shared a stove and sink, but this way is much easier. We’ve got a lovely gas stove and a double sized farm sink. I have tried tirelessly to not stick so much to our refrigerator, but it occurred to me that I like it covered in crap. It feels homey.
Why do we have non-matching candle sticks? Because we have jam toast, warm cinnamon milk, and candle light for bedtime. Bee covered candlesticks are only the beginning of the evidence that children live here.
To the right of our sink is a small entryway into our livingroom, which is where the main entrance is. We have maintained our “family couch” aka the large flat futon mattress, but since my son has been struggling with allergies and we have hardwood floors now, we’ve wrapped it like we would a mattress with an allergen cover, and put it up off the floor on a futon. My son went from having life-threatening asthma to not even needing medication due to the hardwood floors and our ability to clean for dust. Behind this hutch here is our rabbit’s cage, but he’s free-roaming and house broken, so as long as we’re awake and home, he isn’t really in there. Ironically, we haven’t had the destruction that most people experience with house rabbits, but we also don’t have stuff everywhere for him to destroy. To the left of this photo you’ll see our daily rhythm charts, a tool used in Waldorf education.
This is our homeschool hutch and home office. YES, ALL of it fits in there! This is our storage closet where we keep holiday decorations, extra clothing for the next size up for the kids, and our outdoor gear. The drawing board is behind the rabbit’s cage to protect him from the outlet.
Oh yes, we not only own a television, we own a Playstation! Daddy is a fun guy and occasionally mommy likes to watch Netflix. You’ll see this chair in a variety of photos from our home because the little man likes to plunk beside me when I’m doing handwork, blogging, or in his own space to read.
The first door to our left is the bathroom, and we have a shower stall so the baby has her own tubby that we set down inside it and shower her with a detachable shower head. The little man takes showers. Space is limited, but I’m not a real powder puff, so our bathroom isn’t loaded with stuff. Our commode is behind the shower stall, and there are a couple shelves there where we keep personal supplies.
Daddy likes big fluffy towels, but we prefer turkish towels because they’re easier to wrap up in. We’re still in the process of problem solving how to store all of our bins of things, which are mostly things like washcloths, cleaning towels (rags we use for the CONSTANT water cleanup from little people bathing), baby and kid supplies like lotions and impossibly small wash cloths and booger suckers…. I was thinking of one of those fancy Ikea carts.
Behold our children’s bedroom. They share a room. It has changed a little since this photo, but not much. We don’t have room for Waldorf play stands but this overhang created the perfect place to hang our rainbow cloth.
True confessions here- the baby almost NEVER sleeps in her cradle, and that is why this is here. We put the cradle in her room for her to have nap space in, but she’s not stupid, and she knows that sleep happens in the adult bedroom, and therefore it makes no sense for her to sleep in a different location during the day.
Sometimes sharing a bedroom space with a guy is complicated. I got lucky because the way Daddy likes his space is with his personal things as decoration, and though it’s not how *I* would decorate, I actually LIKE it because it’s like an extension of him. I look up when I wake up in the morning, and it’s like Daddy isn’t gone to work.
If I had to choose a picture to sum up our odd partnership, it would be this one. Daddy is from the city and likes black stuff and hip hop. Mommy is from the country and likes blue grass. And that mirror behind the vanity? I haven’t had the heart to move it because it was put there for my late Aunt Ellen who used to live here.
That completes this tour. Hopefully the weather clears up and there can be some photos of our gigantic fenced in back yard and our lovely little deck!