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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Simple living

I was sitting in my bed tonight, looking around my tiny apartment, thinking to myself, why would I ever need to live in anything bigger than this?  Now, for those of you who knew me before I moved to Korea, you know that I lived here!  Yes, this was my house, all 2267 square feet of it!  Just me and a roomate!  And all I could think of was how the next house I bought should be even bigger!

Where I once had a front yard and a quiet street, I now have a busy alley with a restaurant below me, shady motels across from me, massage parlors down the street, and a karaeokee bar next door! Where I once had a 2 car garage with 2 cars, I now share a scooter with Aaron.  Where I once had 18 windows, I now have 2.  And believe it or not, I actually prefer it!  I love hearing people walking up and down my street all day and night, and the convenience of walking 30 seconds to the little corner mart when I've just noticed I'm out of milk in the mornings!  Having the smell of delicious Korean BBQ below me isn't all that bad either!

This was once my laundry room where I had more cabinets to store hoard stuff I didn't need!  I had a washer, dryer and even a stinkin' folding counter, as if the floor or bed weren't sufficient enough to do one's folding.  Don't get me wrong, it was convenient!

My old house had 3 bathrooms all with their own bathtubs and showers, and a total of 12 cabinets and 4 drawers. Yes, that equated to 1 more bathroom and shower than residents in the home and MORE cabinets filled with things I bought and thought I would use one day! 

Now, this is my 1 bathroom AND laundry room combination!  As you can see, I shower in the middle of my bathroom, the little white wall shelf is my only bathroom storage, and my washing machine and drying RACK are hidden, nicely behind that shower curtain.  And this was taken with a special lens to get everything in.  It's about a 4ft x 8ft bathroom (32 square feet).  It's not this big in real life... but it's sufficient and I like it!

I once had a kitchen with 21 cabinets and 7 drawers FILLED with cooking utensils that I used once a year, if that (but they were cute, so I bought them!), more flower vases then I ever needed (just incase I hosted a baby or wedding shower), more plates, bowls and silverware than I could ever use at one dinner party, and over 20 fancy glasses of different sorts (I apparently thought I would have that many people over for drinks one day... which did happen, but only twice)! I had enough pots and pans to run a small restaurant, and more baking pans and tins than I could ever need! I had a full size oven, a big microwave, a 4 burner stove, a huge fridge with an ice maker and filtered water coming out the door, a toaster, garbarge disposal, dishwasher, china cabinet for more unneeded fancy plates and dinnerware, and a huge table for 8!

Now I have 10 cabinets, 1 drawer, 1 toaster oven, a portable 1 burner stove, a table for 2, and a mini fridge!   And yes, that's an armoire filled with my clothes, in the kitchen... because you have to be creative when you're living in a box! 

This was once my bedroom / haven! 

... my family room!

...1 of 2 guest bedrooms (which was actually only used maybe 3 times) but was fully furnished...
you know, just in case!

... my office, filled to the brim with books to one day be read, and overflowing with craft supplies in all of the cabinets below!

... and a game room!  You know, for when I would host ALL those potential baby or wedding showers and we wanted to play a game of pool! haha (Which, instead ended up being 1 huge Christmas party, 1 surprise birthday party for a good friend, a Thanksgiving, and a weekend with 15 friends!) ...  Still, though, it was a room in my house, and I felt it should be furnished, so I spent my money on a pool table, armoire with ANOTHER TV, a game table, and a wine fridge... to be used 3 times!

NOW, this is my bedroom, family room, guest bedroom, office, and gameroom, all rolled into one 15ft x 12ft foot space! Yep, that's 180 square feet folks!  When my sister came to stay with me, we shared my bed.  When Jess and Carlos come, they sleep on my rug and use my decorative pillows and small blanket!   Since I don't have a couch, friends usually lounge on my bed, or on the floor, my office is now that little table on the bottom right of the picture where I have a tiny two drawer box for "junk" and a holder for files!  All those craft supplies I once had have been condensed into one shoe sized box that sits on my washing machine.  When I absolutely need a supply, I buy it!  No more of that "Oh that's cute, and it's on sale.  Maybe I'll use it one day."  You just can't do that when you live in a small space... and games are played on the rug.  It may not be pool, but what's wrong with dominoes, card games and dice games?! 
They're just as fun in my opinion!

My heater is built into my flooring (so awesome!) and it only takes 1 tiny air conditioning wall unit to cool of my entire place!  My electric bills in peak season are about $35 a month!

It's not just the low utility prices though that have made me fall in love with this simple style of living!  It's the fact that I can spend my money on travel, dinners out, and fun things that I want to... and then am able to save all the rest!  No huge mortgage... No high water bill for watering the front and backyard... No need to purchase hoards of framed art, fancy furnitue, flat screen TV's, or storage boxes for all the holiday decor that I once loved to have, but now am fine living without!  Living this way has cut down on my anxiety, my obsession with decorating and creating a perfect home, and has allowed me so much extra time!  Afterall, do you know how long it takes to clean a 250 sq foot apartment?!  I'll tell you.  About an hour, tops! 

I'd like to think that this has been a forever change in my views of house and home, but I'm afraid when I come back to the US I'll fall back into the American dream, and never feel content enough in the home I live.  I hope that when, and, if that day comes, I'll look back on this blog entry and remember how happy I was and content with having so little.  Here's hoping.


  1. Love this post Jill. I feel the same about my little house, not quite as extreme though!

  2. also..we stayed in that guest room haha!!

  3. I love this post, Jill. I too like the simple life. Here in the States, it's balance the simplicity with everything in our culture that screams excess. I need constant reminding to not spend all my mental energy trying to do more, be better, have more.

  4. one of your favorite posts for me. your house was beautiful but i am so glad that you are content with the simplicity that life now offers you! there is such freedom in knowing that things don't own us. i try to live simple and this is a good reminder for me to try even more to be content with what i have...thank you.

  5. I love this post, Jill. I can totally relate! Except that I'm going the opposite direction :( Question: What did you do with all of that STUFF?? Is it in storage, or did you get rid of it?


  6. Ryan and I have totally had the conversation about simple living and contrasted US homes to those in Korea. Definitely something to think about and remember that it's not about the size of the home, but who you share it with :)