Hi everyone! This piece was originally posted on my personal blog, Sapanraggo, as the beginning of, hopefully, a long series. It's a goal of mine to really love our home and not just live in it. What small or large changes have you made, or will you make, to make your house/condo/bat-cave feel like home?
So I don't remember if I've ever really discussed our living situation. J, Archer, Maddox, Nala, Bling, Voltron, Jobin, Bish, Turtle, and I all live in a two bedroom, two point five bathroom condo. We love our home and are very fortunate to be able to live here comfortably, on one income. However, it does present many challenges. For example, getting the kids into the car is extreemly difficult. I have to carry one or both of them down two long hallways, down an elevator, and through two heavy doors that swing shut and lock. It's seriously some Indiana Jones stuff up in here. Then, I have to safely get them both into my car without Archer running onto the parking lot. He's two, guys. Enough said. What really puts this whole she-bang over the top is that I can only make ONE TRIP. That is so hard. Especially, if Archer is asleep and I have to carry something heavy, in addition to Maddox's infant car seat. Not to mention the fact that I'm also wearing a stuffed-to- the- gills diaper-bag backpack... sigh. First world problems, y'all.
Also: I dream about just being able to open the door and let the dog pee.
Also/and: I grew up in a fairly rural, safe area. Most of my childhood memories involve me playing outside with all the neighborhood kids street toughs. J grew up in the 'burbs running amok in the neighborhood, with this besties. Most of whom he is still friends with to this day. Having a yard to run free in and a neighborhood full of friends is something we desperately wish we could give our kids.
We may not be able to.
Our mortgage is backed by state bonds which makes it very inflexable. No part of it is federally funded (FHA). Our mortgage company cannot and will not refinance home loans. We do not qualify for a loan modification because we are not struggling financially. We filled out all that paperwork and tried anyway. We were denied the modification. We cannot sell the condo because we are currently underwater. We cannot rent the condo because we would have to eat almost $800 a month. Even if we could afford it, that is simply a very bad idea. Our loan officer (who is actually really nice and just doing the best he can), suggested we short sell. We can't. A short sale is regarded the same as a foreclosure, in many ways. Both would majorly jeopardize J's career and most likely cost him his current job. So that's a no.
We cannot sell. We cannot rent. We cannot walk away.
So! It's time to make some effing lemonade out of these lemons!
Last week, J and I decided to grab the bull by the horns and start working on little annoyances around the ole' homestead that we CAN fix. First up! The condo's main living area.
We're not the first people to raise a family in a small space. In fact, this place really isn't that small. I'm not sure how big it is square footage wise, but it's a good size and has an open floor plan. Win! We also live in a safe city and are walking distance to many cool things. Win! We don't have to worry about maintaining a yard. Win! But back to the task at hand...
Sorry for the terrible lighting, but here's a before shot. I didn't clean up first, either Just keeping it real, guys! The first thing we did was put that HUGE coffee table in storage. It's beautiful, but way too big for the condo.
Now we can easily have play-dates! In fact, Archer's already had two. We even have a place to sit together and relax as a family! J and I couldn't stop looking at each other all starry-eyed and saying, THERE'S SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES!
So much room.
There's still a lot to be done, but I think this is a great first step!
Make it work, y'all. Get creative. If you're not happy then fix it. It's really that simple. Life lesson.
Pssst: I plan on posting more tips/tricks about thriving in small spaces. Stay tuned! Yay!