Why We Went SMALL, Instead Of BIGGER | Life By The Sea

Before we show our new home in an upcoming blog post, we wanted to share WHY we seem to be going backwards compared to the masses.

It would seem, for most, you have more kids.. you get a bigger house. More rooms, more bathrooms. More SPACE.

Some people are completely adamant on their kids having their own rooms, having guest rooms, having a play room, etc.. every family is DIFFERENT and has different “requirements” for their standard of living they are aiming to achieve to get wherever they want to be when it comes to their home.

Home for us is small, cozy, minimal and meaningful. 

We have “things” we love, but we don’t have so many things overflowing that it’s impossible to keep things generally tidy day in and out. We don’t hang on to things we don’t use or don’t love. We don’t collect too many things except sea glass and books 🙂 It’s so important for us to have our kids understand that just because we want something doesn’t mean we have to immediately go get it or spend money on it, it has to be saved for, earned AND carefully considered before bringing into a small space. If they want to add something to their “special boxes” (shallow tubs that fit under their bed individually labeled where they keep their favorite things) – they have to make room for it by getting rid of something else.

Some people will read this and cringe.. because they LOVE STUFF. They don’t see a problem with it! And if that is you, that is FINE!!! Truly! I know that messes, an abundance of toys and random items… it’s not a trigger for everyone. It’s not a problem for everyone. But.. Mike and I both function SO well and feel so emotionally healthy when we aren’t surrounded by clutter.

Clutter, to us, is a waste of time.
A waste of money.
A waste of space.
A waste of perfectly good energy.
Clutter is NOT a welcome friend in our house and simplifying and fighting clutter has blessed our marriage so beautifully and created one hell of a team dynamic between the two of us.

Clutter unknowingly causes so many family issues. You may be fighting over XYZ but the root could actually be the resentment of the clutter, the stuff, the overspending. That bill is being paid late again because no one saw it in the giant pile of junk on the counter or you can’t find something very important in the house and have to rebuy it and then you find it randomly later knowing you DIDN’T have to spend that money unnecessarily… that is draining and exhausting and who’s ACTUALLY to blame when it’s in the house with multiple people? Once we figured this out early on, we worked so hard every year to keep it down and NOW, living in 800 square feet, we have NO choice but to stay minimal and we are THE MOST minimal we have ever been.

Non-negotiable anti-clutter policies in our family that help keep us enjoying what matters most:

*NO papers/piles on counters... we have a drawer with an expandable file where we keep our most recent bills and that’s it, nothing else needs to get saved and if it’s important it gets filed away in the filing cabinet (People tend to keep FAR more paperwork than actually necessary! It may feel daunting to go through but it’s far more stressful for us to ‘maintain’ a junk drawer!)
*Minimal decorations on kitchen counters, if any, keep it as empty as possible that makes for quick and easy cleaning and gives us maximum space in our small kitchen
*Living room and kitchen (high traffic areas) have to be cleaned and tidied every night for a fresh, stress-free start the next day
*Laundry gets thrown in on a eco-friendly water cycle almost daily to avoid big buildups in laundry resulting in days where I’m conquering laundry mountain… it’s been easier for our family of five to tackle it as it comes
*Our car can NOT become a trashcan.. we clean it up at least every other time we use it and then clean it even better and more thoroughly once a week. This makes me SO much less stressed when I haul us around town and our car smells and looks NICE!
*No buying more clothes than can fit in our dressers/closets… if it’s getting full, something’s gotta go! And BONUS POINTS when you have room and space in a place that clothing is stored!

We probably have more things we could share that are so second nature to us that we don’t even realize it would be helpful advice.. but we are ALWAYS excited to answer questions and share about this topic because it’s just the biggest GIFT to our family of five to be able to live with less clutter and have that lifestyle be the thing that actually led us to being able to live right by the beach on Hatteras Island, where we always wanted to be!

We can’t wait to talk with y’all more on Instagram Lives and in our IGTVs, reels, stories, newsletters and more. Sending salt air love from Frisco NC! XOXO


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