I read this article this morning. In it, Greg, a man living in San Fransisco, tells-all about how he and his wife lived in his bachelor pad of 400 sq ft until their second child came along. It’s an interesting read, though a tiny bit more holier-than-thou than I typically like. I mean, I’m glad he was able to make it work – and I wish I could – but really, what woman can breastfeed from a loft bed? Or did she camp out on the couch? Or did she simply formula feed and hope her baby slept through the night? I don’t care what she did – all I know is that if I was pregnant and my husband began building a loft bed, I would have kicked him in the head. What the hell are you thinking?! I would shout, lunging to keep our already-toddling child from testing his climbing abilities on the steep bookcase-staircase. I mean, yeah, it’s great in theory, but really now. Come on.
And how the heck can anyone have any hobbies living like this? I live in roughly double the square footage that Greg does, and we can barely make it work. Though we have no garage, and no walk-in closet to turn into a nursery (if only! to both of those things!). Our apartment, though, is saturated in our hobbies. I like books (Greg snoots that all media is digital and books are useless. To him I say boo! A child, all children, should grow up around books. And that’s what I tell my husband as he is crushed by the weight of the 30 boxes they are packed in while we move), and I read books. My husband is a fabulous chef – so of course we have a blender, and a MagicBullet, and a hand blender and and immersion blender and a pasta maker and a food processor and a crockpot… I could go on. I’m short a yogurt maker, but if you’re selling one, I’ll take it. Our collection is quite the menagerie. But we use it all at some point during the year. Each year. Even if it’s only to remind ourselves how freaking hard and laborious pasta is to make. And with his passion for cooking, it’s worth keeping.
I also store art supplies and artwork. Artwork that will never see another sliver of light, sure – but it’s mine. How can I justify my degree without storing thousands of hours of work? And, on a more serious note, I am an art teacher and an art tutor, so all my supplies get used at some point. I think. Plus, I do art once in awhile, every now and then. So it’s necessary to keep that, too.
What about futureproofing? Now, I follow Dave Ramsey sometimes. And one of his budgetting secrets – any budgetting secret, really – is to stock up when the price is right. That’s what we do. We buy chicken 10 lbs at a time on clearance, and freeze it in our deepfreeze. We buy pasta, canned goods, all that good stuff, in bulk when we can, because hey. We’re poor and we like to eat. So if we can buy it for .50/lb but have to store it for a few months, we’ll take on that burden. Because food.
Also, God forbid you buy toilet paper or diapers from Amazon (or Sam’s). We occasionally have to sit on the huge boxes they come in. They don’t make great seats, if you’re wondering.
This guy, though, seems to think it’s okay to buy something, use it, sell it, and buy it again when you need it. Dave Ramsey would not approve. And neither would any poor person living on a variable income knowing that, when it came around to needing that item again, chances are you won’t have the money for it. Because that’s life. It sucks, but it’s life. So the sensible part of those of us living nearer to the poverty line than we’d like use the things we have until they turn into dust. Like my car, for example It is literally held together at this point by motor oil and dirt. Soon, it’s just going to dissolve. But not today! So we keep using it until it does. Same goes with anything, unless we’re absolutely sure we won’t use it again. We just don’t have the luxury of a reliable and (fairly high, it seems) income to support a carefree attitude about items that are necessary for anything we do.
And really, we’d be fine living in our 700 sq ft if we had a garage, and an extra room (or closet). My son sleeps in what’s designated a “sitting area” by our fine apartment proprietors. It’s an extra room off the master bedroom open to a staircase leading downstairs and sandwiched between said staircase and the only room with a door (minus the bathrooms). And of course, our Monkey is the finickiest sleeper in the world. Sure, he goes down easy enough, but God forbid there is one toe slid into the room as he slumbers: he will shoot up as though he was just laying there, waiting for a sound. That also goes for light. Any light touching anything in the room and he will not sleep. He will wake up with the sun angry. Crying angry, angsty, cranky tears at 5 AM because the pale blue washing the sky made it slightly less black, and that woke him up.
And, like Greg, one was easy enough to navigate. But now there’s two, which translates into: I don’t know what the hell is going on with naptime, but it sure ain’t washing dishes anymore. Baby Z is looking like another finicky sleeper, which, go us. But we have no room for them. And of course they don’t nap together, because of course. That’s babies for ya.
Probably, if I were a more organized person, this wouldn’t even be a problem (I like to tell myself, anyway). I certainly wouldn’t be writing this post from the floor of my bathroom (previously the tub, but I had to charge my laptop) in an attempt to not wake my daughter with clicks of the keyboard.
So, despite my love affair with tiny houses, I don’t think I’m built to live this way. While not a studio, our apartment comes pretty darn close, with its open floorplan and ridiculous excuses for space. I haven’t figured how to maximize storage because for us, almost everything is storage. I don’t like chotchskis, but my husband does. I like things to be useful, but useful things are very often not pretty. They go in a closet, or a drawer. And I have neither of these things in which to put them (case in point: our kitchen has one drawer. That’s right. One.). Hopefully we’ll be moving somewhere that has a space we can better utilize.
I’m still left wondering how anyone cares for an infant from a loft bed. Seriously, I can’t even.