The Stay Gold Project- How our family went from 1900sqft to 900sqft
I’ve been thinking so much lately about how much to share with you all and the direction of the blog these days. We originally started the blog as a way to share our travel stories and photographs but as we’ve dived in deeper to the online community that has built up around us we have found ourselves wanting to share more. We want to share more of our personal stories, family life and how we are living it.
The last few months have been a time of transition and deep soul searching for us. 6 months ago we were in much need of a change and decided to sell our 1900 square foot house and look for something closer to the kids school and Bryan’s work at Apple. We thought we had it all figured out. When we got back from New York last year we put in an offer on a property in the Santa Cruz mountains, but something didn’t feel right and we backed out of it within the week. Our house was taking a lot longer to sell than we had anticipated and we saw that as a sign to take our time until the right thing came along. In March we finally got a solid offer on our house and once we signed the paperwork, we had 25 days to look for our next home. We teetered on so many ideas but ultimately landed on renting a place temporarily as we looked to buy another house in our area or somewhere fun as a rental/investment property.
We started to think about what going back to life as a renter would be like. The more we talked, the more it just seemed to fit in to our lifestyle right now. We could rent anywhere near school or work, we would be less tied down if we saw a different path we wanted to take, we would be financially stable with money in the bank from the sale of our house and also saving money every month with rent being less than our mortgage payment. Less stress and more money to put away seemed like a no brainer. We looked at rental houses and townhouses and when we went to look at a 900 square foot 2 bed 2 bath apartment, I thought for sure we would hate it. The funny thing was though, we both walked in and had the exact same feeling, it was perfect. We came back an hour later to sign the rental application. When you know, you know. We’ve always lived by this.
It’s been a month of “living small” and heres what we have accomplished and learned so far:
Less really is so much more. We had way too much stuff in our old house. We didn’t realize how in just under 3 years we had accumulated so much stuff. It was like because we had the space we had to fill it. During our move we made every effort to either sell or donate more than half of our stuff. We took all the money we made and put it toward some credit card debt we had. In fact in this first month we were able to pay almost all of our credit card debt down WITHOUT touching any of the earnings from the sale of the house. We don’t miss a single thing we got rid of. Also, its so much easier to organize less stuff, everything has a place and this makes everyone happy.
Owning, is a choice. We loved owning our home and went through a lot to get it. The housing market in our area is settling down a bit (great news for us!) and the plan is to eventually take the earnings from our old house and buy a place somewhere we can see ourselves long term. For now, we are just taking our time and giving ourselves a break from the selling and buying process.
Our kids are so resilient and adaptable to change. They have such a sweet bond and don’t need much to be happy. In our big house they each had a bedroom and for most of the time we lived there they still chose to share a room with bunkbeds and the other bedroom went mostly unused unless we had guests sleeping over. They are happy with pens and notebooks, video games, a park to play at or a road trip with a fun destination to look forward to.
We don’t sweat the little things as much. Without long commutes and a big mortgage payment, our stress levels are way down. It’s like we were always on edge back then and stretching ourselves so thin and now things are just easier and fun.
Right as we moved in, I started referring to the move as “The stay gold project”. It was created as a way to share our transition from home ownership in a big house to renting in a small space, but it’s really become about staying true to who we are, our values and sticking to our guts. To adjusting to change and keeping the big picture in our minds. To peeling back all the layers down to the root, investing time and energy back into ourselves and finding what truly makes us happy.