Starting Now

Hello there! Welcome to my blog, The Cozy Condo. I’ve blogged about home design and DIY in the past, but I am starting over here with what I hope will be a fresh and fun space. I have a lot of complicated feelings about home, all of which I hope to explore in this blog. I’m also just beginning to journey into a simpler, more minimalist life when it comes to everything – our house, our schedules, our jobs, etc., so I plan to write about minimalism and simple living as well.

But before I get in to all of that, I thought I’d start with a little bit of background about me and my home. A lot of times people ask me where I am from, and I honestly don’t have an answer for them. I’m not really from anywhere. I don’t have a “hometown” or a place where I grew up. I lived in 11 different dwellings and eight different cities by the time I graduated high school. My transient childhood is no doubt what leads me to have, let’s say, a little obsession with all things relating to the home. In grade school, I wanted nothing more to have matching furniture and powder pink walls like my best friend, instead of the white walls and avocado green carpet in our scraggly rental. Now that I’m a parent myself, I know that my parents were just doing what they thought was best, so I try not to hold any of the moving around against them. But my experiences growing up have definitely been instrumental in guiding the decisions and choices I’ve made as an adult. One of my top priorities for my family has been stability. We have lived in the same house for nearly 10 years now, and even if we were to move somewhere else (and that’s complicated, which I’ll get to in a moment), we’d stay in the same school district. Moving and changing schools was really hard on me as a kid, both socially and intellectually. Not that I necessarily would have been a popular cheerleader or a math whiz had we stayed in one place, but switching schools so much definitely caused some gaps in my education and made making friends really hard.

When my husband and I were newly married 26 year olds living in a crappy little apartment next to the neighbors from hell, we wanted nothing more than a home of our own. And surprisingly, when we went to meet with a mortgage broker, we qualified to buy one, despite having no money to put down and marginally good credit. Of course, that was because little did we know it was the top of the housing bubble, and basically everyone qualified to buy a house. Still, we were starry eyed and excited about our future. Given that it was the top of the bubble, and we were just starting out in our adult lives, we couldn’t afford very much. It came down to either a townhome or condo in a good neighborhood, or a single family home in an iffy one. We chose the former, a decision that still weighs on me. It probably was the right choice given those two options, but had we known what would happen with the housing market, the real right decision would have been to wait a couple of years, let the market tank, and buy a single family home in our good neighborhood for less than what we paid for the condo.

But, of course, we didn’t know any of that. So we signed the mortgage papers on a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in a great little neighborhood right across from a beautiful nature center. And we still are living in it, 9 years and two kids later. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t shed tears over our situation. For a really long time I felt stuck. That we were supposed to have moved on by now, and been able to buy something that fits our family better. Something with an extra bedroom, a private yard, and no neighbors downstairs.

We’re still underwater on the property, so we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. I have mostly made peace with it, especially as I delve more into minimalism. Part of the reason I want a bigger house is because I feel sort of embarrassed and ashamed about raising my kids in a condo. I get jealous of others who have bigger, more beautiful homes than mine. But when I stop and think about it, I have everything I need in my home and more – a nicely appointed kitchen, a cozy fireplace, plenty of space for our kids to grow, play, and learn, and there are so many bonuses to living in a smaller space. It’s better for the environment, cheaper to heat and cool, easier to keep clean, and keeps our family more connected (nowhere to go to hide from each other!) I’m slowly learning that spending a lot of mental energy trying to keep up with the Joneses is doing nothing for my well-being, or my family’s.

Instead of moaning and groaning about what I don’t have, I am going to make the best of what I do. I’m looking forward to documenting my process of decluttering, improving, and loving on my little condo, and I hope you enjoy it as well!

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