Frugal Friday: Use Your Space

This past week we looked into moving. We want more kids in the future and when baby number 3 comes along, whenever that may be, we are going to need more space. We found a great ground level suite (more natural light!!) in Ocean Park that we absolutely loved. It was about 500 square feet bigger and would put us more in the middle of both of our families. We were so stoked about it, we emailed right away and asked if we could come and look at the place. Later that night, we stopped and actually thought rationally about the situation.

What were we getting that we didn’t already have? About 500 extra square feet of living space, which would be great as we currently have to eat dinner at the coffee table or the counter so we would actually have room for a dining table. We would get more natural light which is always a good thing. Currently, we have 4 windows in our whole place and only one of them brings light into our living space. We would get a backyard and a patio that we could use whenever we wanted. We would get to setup a barbecue and not have to walk to the park to go outside. All these things would be great and are things we desire, but ultimately we were being greedy.

What we are going to need is more bedrooms. All that other stuff I just mentioned above is a bonus but its not necessary like an extra bedroom is. Vanek is currently three and a half months old and he is still in his bassinet in our bedroom. He will start to share a room with Nixon this weekend. So, when baby number 3 comes along, if we follow the same timeline that would mean at 3-4 months we would need to move into a space with another bedroom. Baby 3 could stay in our room until he outgrows his bassinet though, say 6 months.

So, if we moved we would get some extra things that are great but not necessary and be paying $600 more for them. Why not save that extra $600 a month and put it away into savings so that when we do need a space with an extra bedroom we already have money saved for the extra rent? This was the logical conclusion we came to and ultimately the reason we have decided to stay in our 1,000 square foot basement suite with 4 windows. We love this place; it has all that we need.

We did do some rearranging, though. We have 2 bedrooms. One massive one and one little one. The massive one, naturally, was where we setup our bedroom when we moved in. It is 16 feet x 14 feet, or exactly 224 square feet. It also has a walk in closet that fits all of our clothes and our stuff that would be in storage, if we had storage. The other bedroom is 10 feet x 11.5 feet, or 115 square feet. As you can see, our bedroom was double the size of the kids’ bedroom. Between the bedrooms was the living space where the kids toys would be and a small floor area for them to play with the toys. The little bedroom had a carpet in the middle where we could also play with the kids.

Instead of having the kids’ toys in our living space and having to play in a small space, we decided we would swap rooms with the kids and turn our room into their bedroom/playroom. This was our Saturday last weekend. Nixon napped in the playpen in the bathroom and Vanek’s bassinet stretched over the washer/dryer in the laundry room. We turned the fan on and that is where they napped while we moved the rooms around. It took the two of us 4 hours to complete the swap.

This has been the best decision we ever made. The kids now have a ton of space to play and sleep and their toys are out of our living space. This has done a few things for us: we no longer play with the kids in front of a TV that can easily be a distraction rather than actually playing with the kids. The kids’ toys are out of our living space which means the messes are also gone from our living space. We play with the kids way more now as it is easy to spend lots of time with them when there is lots of room to do different things. Lastly, it forced us to admit to ourselves that we didn’t need more space we just needed to be smarter with the space we had.

The two of us don’t need much space. Our room now has a bed, two dressers, a nightstand and a laundry hamper. Unfortunately, we also sleep in the room where our freezer is. Everything about the situation isn’t ideal. Nobody wants to sleep with their freezer, but it’s a minor sacrifice for a much greater reward. It also sucks having your closet in the opposite corner of the house, but again, that’s nothing to complain about; our legs work, we can walk.

This was a great experience for us as it gave us more space, not by adding space but by being smarter with the space we had and humble enough to admit we could just move things around rather than spend more money for more space.