Sunday, December 5, 2021


 I knew one thousand square feet was small. 

So I thought I was prepared when I sold almost all my furniture and got rid of (at least) half my 'things' in advance of this move. 

But what I wasn't prepared for was the lack of "I'll-Just-Put-It-Here-Til-I-Can-Deal-With-It-Space." It's the rainy season, (understatment of the year) and I don't have a covered deck (well, I do. It's a tiny section right outside my living room. But the rain still comes in, due to winds and overflowing gutters from the unit above) ... and I don't have a storage room in my unit (well I do, but it's inaccessible because of the washer and dryer. The opening is 11" wide. So I can't get rubbermaid containers or even my garbage can in there. I have a locker in the parking garage (not the same level as my parking spots - I have to go down another level to access it) but they're a little behind in finishing/assigning them. I was desperate for a place to keep my 5+2 (homeless) dinner supplies, so I just chose one that suited my needs. I can't put a lock on it as the door doesn't work properly, so I'm trusting no one wants to steal my empty yogurt containers or double mattress. 

I thought I'd organize my bathroom this evening. Storage space is under the sink; I put extra toilet paper rolls in there, my blowdryer and curling iron, and a basket that holds my medical stuff (Tylenol, bandaids, vitamins, cancer meds). Space under sink is now full. Make up? Shampoo? Towels? Handcream? Hairbrush? Handheld mirrror? Sunscreen? Tweezers? Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss? I couldn't find a place to put the rest of the things. So I put the box back into the bathtub and took a nap. 

It's 2:30 am and I just woke up. Bathroom shasn't sorted itself out. The bathtub is narrow and deep, with slim-line edges, so there's no room to keep essentials on there. And the toilet has two buttony-type things on the top of the tank as it's flusher, so I can't even put a box of kleenex there. 

My kids tell me this is how Millenials live. Minimally. I'm to get used to it. And I guess I will; but the adjustment is going to be huge. 

And yes, I KNOW. This is a First World Problem. 

For those of you contemplating downsizing here are some realities to consider as you anticipate a new style of living:

  • Downsizing means DOWN SIZING. Smaller living area, but also (almost) no private outdoor area. Things you would keep in your garage, or shed, or beside the house, or in the attic/crawlspace will need to be kept inside your apartment. 

  • Taking out the garbage/recyclables is an event. I left my unit at 2:47 pm, with Red (my trusty wagon) filled with bags and flattened boxes and walked down my long hallway. Waited 4 minutes for the elevator to arrive. (There are two elevators, but the second one has been broken since I moved in.) I shared the ride down with 2 workmen on their way to the 3rd floor to ready it for it's owners. I got to P1, maneuvered Red out through the fire door (I am not great at holding open those heavy doors which slam shut while you're only partway through with a wagon teetering with assorted items piled high) walk across the parking garage to the sorting room, meet some neighbours also getting rid of their packing papers, flattened boxes, cleaned containers... I walk back to the elevator, pulling Red behind me, and push the UP button. It doesn't work. A young Asian couple is standing beside me with all their newly purchased IKEA furniture, still in boxes. I explain to them that the elevator isn't working; someone must be moving and they've turned it off while they load it. I asked them to watch Red and I walk up a couple flights of stairs, find which floor the elevator is parked at, see that the new owners have unloaded it, hop in, override the system, go down to P1 to pick up Red and the Asians, then return to the 5th floor. Taking out the garbage, when you live in a house, is usually a one minute task, and you don't need to put on make-up to do it. I got back to my unit at 3:16 pm. ALMOST HALF AN HOUR. 

And yes, I have no place to store Red, so she's parked right inside my door. When you come visit, you will have to move her in order to get to my couch.

  • 9' x 9' is a small bedroom. Especially if you are used to sleeping in a room that contains both your bed and a piece of furniture for your clothes. I've been here 4 nights and still haven't gotten around to dealing with my bedroom other than getting the TV working. All of my clothes are still in my suitcases; I can't get into my closet because I have a wicker bench beside my bed with all my lamps stored on it for now. The wicker bench is gonna have to go but I don't know where. Thrift? The lake? I turned my bed sides ways and am sleeping on it from side-to-side wrapped, burrito-style in a duvet because the new bedding I've ordered hasn't arrived yet. 

Haha, What a MESS. I just don't know where to put a laundry basket, spare bedding, shoes, (yes that's my wedding dress, and my mom's wedding dress in a box. Thought I'd keep them in my wicker trunk for dress-up for my (eventual) granddaughters. But I have to get rid of my wicker trunk; I have no room for it.

(And yes, a TV in my bedroom is essential.)

  • Five hundred square feet of space dedicated to kitchen, dining area, living room is probably perfectly adequate if you haven't spent a lifetime living in spacious houses. I miscalculated how much I could cram into those rooms. There is two feet between my living room couch and my table. 

(Under that rolled up white shag carpet, which I've given away, is my wicker trunk. You can see it has no business using up the walk-through space between the living and dining "rooms". So it's gonna have to go too.) 

On a good day, I'll see this all as a great puzzle to be solved. A decorating challenge to be accepted with enthusiasm. However on THIS day, it feels like I have to change who I AM in order to fit into this place where I live. This condo is the boss of me; telling me what I can and cannot have. And maybe I'm a little resentful at 3:45 am. 

  • I am 5'4" and too short for my kitchen. The microwave and dryer knobs/buttons are WAY up there. Newly-built condo kitchens have upper cabinets placed high on the wall, in order to have open vertical counter space. . I can only reach the bottom shelf. I keep a ladder handy, and need to go up 4 rungs to reach the third shelf. Two rungs for the second shelf. I knew this was going to be an issue when I went through the show suite, so it's not a surprise, but does make me wish I had a 6' tall roommate.

Yikes, right? 
Craft supplies? 
Desk stuff? 
Seasonal decor items?
End tables?
Spare blankets?

I got rid of MOST of those things, but I thought I'd find room for at least a few of them. Max reminded me that I'm not a house-person anymore. I have to stop thinking like one. 

On the positive side though:

  • I've done my big downsizing. When I die my kids won't have much to deal with.
  • I live across the street from where I work. Also half-way between Drew and Dani in Abby and Clint and Max in Vancouver. 
  • I can afford this lifestyle. 
  • I believe this is where God wants me to live; this place, with it's beautiful south-western facing deck is a gift from Him because He loves me. 
  • So far all my neighbours seem friendly. It's still early days, but I appear to be the oldest owner. Also the only Caucasian. 
  • Sunsets are spectacular:

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Friends who popped in on 'Getting My Keys' Day to set up and decorate my Christmas tree. As well as leave post-it notes on my walls with blessings and prayers:

'May this home be a resting place for the soul ...'

'May your new home be filled with light and love from above ...'

'God bless this home with Himself ...'

'May your home always be too small to hold all your friends...'

'May this home be where you come back to feel alive, not a place to store your worries but to thrive. May any darkness be graced with light and may you find comfort and rest each night. May this home be more than a collection of rooms; may this be a space to let love bloom.'



 2. Grateful for all the help this week, getting the Surrey house emptied and cleaned. SO much work.


3. So glad I have friends who made soup for me and my mom this week:



Stay safe, wash your hands, feel your boobs, 

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