The Monday Post, Vol. 34 — Not So Small, Please…

I’ve been interested in the minimalist/small housing movement for quite some time. I’ve envisioned myself in one of these tiny homes, all cozy and knowing I have all I need, and feeling a bit proud of myself for reducing my footprint on the world. I avidly follow the Tiny House Blog on the web and on Facebook. But lately I’ve been re-examining how small I’m really willing to go with my living quarters.

The rental housing market in Portland is very tight at the moment with a less than 3% vacancy rate, so I’ve been keeping my eye on possible new abodes for awhile, but now with only a few weeks left before moving I’m starting to intensify my search. Although I know the building where I want to live, there is no guarantee there’ll be a vacancy when I need it, so I’m exploring other options as backup.

As I’ve probably mentioned on this blog before, I’m planning to downsize to a studio apartment from the townhouse my daughter and I have shared the past few years. I don’t have a lot of “stuff” and I’m willing to part with even more of what I have when I move. I’ve always liked traveling “light” through life and prefer to collect ideas as opposed to “things.” So when I saw an ad for a very small studio for a very nice price in a very good location, I felt I had to jump at it and replied to the ad. But then I started thinking…

This studio apartment was 250 square feet. That’s one-fourth the size of the townhouse I live in now. That’s about the size of an average master bedroom. That’s, well…very tiny. I had to think whether this size would work for me. I know the trend is micro-apartments and micro-lofts, oftentimes with shared kitchens (maybe a tiny kitchenette) and sometimes no private bath. But on thinking it over, no, that’s not for me.

What would bother me most about going TOO small is the lack of a proper kitchen. I would be very unhappy with a pint-sized refrigerator, small microwave oven and possibly the equivalent of a hot plate on which to cook. I don’t need a dishwasher, but I do need a bit of a freezer. The stove doesn’t have to be large, but I want four burners. I plan to cook regularly.

The micro-apartments work best, I’ve read, for those who are busy and just need a place to sleep, don’t cook and are seldom home. I telecommute for my job, so I’m home a fair amount of the time. I have my little dog. I cook. I need enough room in a studio to divvy it up into areas that will provide me with a pleasant home and a good quality of life. So I’ve decided that 400 square feet is as small as I’m willing to go.

The building I am most interested in has studios that are 400-425 square feet. I’ve studied the photos over and over and I already have a studio there completely furnished and decorated in my mind. Now all I need is for one to be available at the right time, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m still willing to go small, just not so small, please…

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