Surviving Winter With Small Children In An Apartment

January 16, 2012 in My Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott

It was another beautiful day in Nebraska today and we took the kids to the park for some pictures.  I am loving the winter so far, hoping it will stay nice…


How’s it going?

I wanted to write up a post and update you with what is going on in our minimalist simple living.   For those of you who are new around here (I am so excited so many new people are coming!!) we started simplifying almost exactly a year ago.  We had a 2000 square foot house and it was ‘properly filled’.  Last January we decided to start getting rid of stuff, lots of stuff, and move into a smaller place so that we could spend our time and money on our priorities instead of on material upkeep.

Last May we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment and have been here ever since.  We are still cutting down materially and now have plenty of space in our little apartment.  This is our ninth month living here as a minimalist now, and it seems like the time has flown by.

Apartment living was one thing with children in the summer, but the winter is a bit different.  I wanted to share with you what we have learned so far.

Here is an interesting shot up Ian’s nose :).  I loved the lighting and colors.

Here are some challenges:

  1. We are far away from our car
  2. Our car is cold and frost covered
  3. My son has lots of energy that is not contained well in our small space
  4. The snow is pee covered within hours of falling, and the kids can’t play in it.
  5. The windows leak just as well as they did in our house
  6. The roof leaks in two rooms

But the perks of apartment living in the winter:

  1. No shoveling
  2. Warm floors (we are on third floor)
  3. Lower electrical bills (and a happy green feeling for making a smaller footprint)
  4. We have very patient neighbors around us
  5. I am really glad we are south facing, third floor and have no windows facing other colder directions. The sun is great!
  6. We have had lots of extra time in the last few months to work on photography and writing and we are having so much fun!

One morning last week Bryon reminded me, as he was leaving for work, that the maintenance guys were going to come over first thing and fix some stuff (not the roof as mentioned above :().  I don’t wake up well, and the several days before I had spent more time on writing and less time on cleaning.  The apartment was a disaster.  However, as a woman, it is way too embarrassing to have anyone show up to my ‘nest’, no matter who they are, and find it anything less than a beautiful picture of bliss.

I rolled out of bed and I cleaned, and I cleaned, and I cleaned.  Dishes, laundry, toys, books, and much more.  And about 30 minutes later it was all clean.   It hit me, as I sat down for breakfast, that this is a huge difference from our life a year ago. Back then, to clean the house from top to bottom and just pick up clutter would take hours.  I still feel overwhelmed by the messy apartment and procrastinate, but a half an hour or an hour to clean… really is amazing.  If I really get crazy I can throw in another 15 minutes and wash all 5 windows.

That, my friends, is a beautiful perk of minimalist living :)

He really wanted spiky hair like his friend Ryan, but then he really wanted me to take the spikes off. He hopped in the tub soon after we got home to get his soft hair back.  :)

Being in an apartment this year has both settled us down, less to do in the house, as well as gotten us out to explore more places and let the kids burn off energy.  Both have been nice.  Everything seems more settled.  Both my husband and I are happy about the changes we have made and the amount of time it has given us for working on our passions, and we do more intentional activities with the kids. Beyond that we have been learning to be content with what we have, and where we are.  We are practicing living in the present.

With these changes both materially and mentally our world has changed so much in the last year.  I am so happy to say that we made the changes we wanted to, even though it felt crazy at the time, and are doing what we want with our time.

Money doesn’t buy happiness.  Bigger houses, more stuff, and fancy vacations, don’t do it either.  Consumerism makes one a slave to money, and as a slave, no one can be happy.  Living on less, and needing less, gives so much more freedom.  And that freedom is empowering.

Happy Monday!