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Moving on Up: From 603 to 1800 Square Feet

August 21, 2017
From 603 to 1800 Square Feet | Tiny Ambitions

Yep, you read that right. When we relocate at the end of the month, we’ll be living in an apartment THREE TIMES the size of our current place. Obviously, this is the wrong direction for someone who is saving up to build a tiny house.

It wouldn’t have been my first choice to live in such a big space. In fact, I kind of freaked out when the initial excitement of finding a place had worn off.

But why?

Why did I react this way to scoring, what most people would consider, a pretty sweet apartment? Well, I have some ideas about that.

Moving on Up: From 603 to 1800 Square Feet | Tiny Ambitions

I’m a Minimalist

Scratch that. Mr. Tiny Ambitions and I are both self-proclaimed minimalists. We know we don’t need this much space. We were very comfortable in our one bedroom, 603 square foot apartment for the last two years. So how could we possibly need a THREE BEDROOM, 1800 square foot apartment?

I have very serious reservations about whether or not we’ll actually use all the extra/new space. But, I have no plans to ‘fill up’ the space with stuff (with the exception of buying myself a new desk because I recently sold my old one). In fact, I informed all of my family members that, if they want to visit, they will need to bring their own beds. This is why Airbnb was invented, people.

What it boils down to is, we don’t want to be wasteful in the space. Thankfully, our utility costs are included as part of our rent. That means we won’t be paying extra to heat or cool a space we might not use. And, it will be easier for us to not heat or cool the extra bedrooms in the first place. Keeping our consumption in check while living in this new space, is important to me.

Obviously, minimalists don’t have to live in small spaces to ‘qualify’ for the minimalist club. But, for us, this new apartment will be the biggest space we’ve ever lived in as adults. And that has caused some trepidation on our part.

All About the Benjamins

A big part of my hesitation about this new space is related to our finances. “Can we afford it?” was on a loop inside my brain. Tripling our living space obviously comes with a higher price tag – double, in fact, compared to what we are paying now. Once I started interrogating the “can we afford it” question, I realized that wasn’t actually what I was worried about. Yes, we can “afford it”. We’ve been spoiled the last two years with artificially low rent because we lived in a rural area. Realistically, there was no way we would have been able to find an apartment in a big Canadian city that met our list of requirements, for the same amount we had been paying. That apartment doesn’t exist.

No, what I was actually worried about was how the increase in our living expenses would affect my ability to save for the things that are important to me (namely, the tiny house, and retirement). Before I went down the spiral of “we can’t afford this” to “I’m never getting a tiny house” (ok, I went down that spiral a little bit), I got out my calculator (aka my phone), and did some math.

I won’t bore you with the actual numbers here. The long and short of it is, even with the increase in rent, I will still be able to contribute what I originally planned to, to my tiny house savings account and my retirement account. That realization alone brought down my stress level about the move by 1000%. Minimalism has also helped in this regard, because, I’m no longer a compulsive shopper, and we’ve got frugal eating in the bag.

How did we end up in 1800 square feet?

A couple of key factors went into our decision to sign a lease on a three-bedroom apartment. And I do want to emphasize that it was a choice. It’s a choice I am grateful I have the ability to make.

1) Timeline

We had two weeks to find a place to live. Two weeks! In a city we’d never lived in, while I was still 16 hours away. Did I mention that long-distance apartment hunting is stressful?

2) The Fuzz Bucket (aka our cat)

Having a pet seriously narrowed down our viable living options. There were quite a few spots we found that were cheaper than the one we settled on, and were just as nice – but pets were not allowed. You better enjoy all that extra space, Bacall! (If you listen closely, you will be able to hear the sound of Bacall not caring).

3) The Wow Factor

Over the last two years of living where we do, we realized we value two things in a living space:

  • Outdoor space (even just a balcony would do);
  • A view (preferably of nature).

We did not want to ‘settle on a living space just because of the other constraints on our search. We knew we wouldn’t get both on our budget. But, we wanted to at least try for one. And we did!


This brings me to the most important point of this post.

[bctt tweet=”It’s ok to spend money on what you value.” username=”tinyambitionsbb”]

I’d like to believe spending my money on experiences or travel would make me happy. But, I’m a homebody. I work from home and therefore spend an above average amount of time in our apartment. So, spending more on our rent makes sense for my day-to-day life (compared to other things I could choose to spend my money on). If you prefer a nomadic lifestyle, your housing may not be as much of a priority as it is for me.

And that’s ok.

That’s the whole point of this ‘minimalism’ thing after all: prioritizing what you value, regardless of what those values are.

Of course, this space won’t be forever. In fact, we’re hoping to snap up another smaller unit in the same building in a year.

But, for now, we’ll just have to be cozy in a, mostly empty, 1800 square foot apartment.

What’s the ‘right size’ space for you? Have your housing goals changed over time? Let me know in the comments.

Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions

  • genymoney99 September 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Wow 1800 square feet! That’s exciting, so much space! Right now my husband and I and our baby and my dog (LOL) live in 450 square feet (I have a post about it somewhere on my blog). We actually looked to rent a bigger space but there were such limited options with a pet (so I know what you mean about having a difficult time to rent a place that accepts cats). Enjoy the move and the increase in space!

    • Britt September 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Wow, that’s a lot of people in a small space! We are going to look for a smaller place next year because it’s just too much for us. But, it’s the best we could find in our limited time frame (plus the cat!). I hope you find something more to your needs in the future. Thanks for reading!

  • Ross August 24, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    That’s a huge apartment! Before reading the post I figured 1800sf to be a house. Congrats on the move though! For us we are very happy with around 900sf or so. Enough room for two people and a dog to have his own room. 🙂 you’re right that long distance apartment hunting is tough! You have to really rely on online reviews and just your gut.

    Since you’re working from home it makes sense to definitely get a space you really enjoy.

    • Britt August 24, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      It’s actually an apartment in a house! The whole house is four complete apartment. Aka it’s a pretty big house haha I think I’d feel more comfortable at your 900sqft, but we shall see! Thanks for reading Ross!!

  • Sharon @ A Journey of Steps August 22, 2017 at 7:08 am

    It’s great you were able to find a place within the 2 week time frame. I understand how stressful it can be. When I did Erasmus abroad in Spain we literally landed there and had to find a place for the 3 of us within a few days. Not an easy task when you don’t know the area or even the language! But we got by and was delighted that we could find a place. As Lisa mentioned above a dedicated yoga room would be amazing and perhaps an office room for yourself. When your day of work is done it’s nice to be able to close the door and leave it for the day. And once you get to know the place better you can figure out where is the ideal place for you both to live.

    • Britt August 22, 2017 at 7:13 am

      Wow, three days to find a place abroad- that’s impressive! And that’s the plan. I’m looking forward to having a dedicated work and yoga space! I agree with you, being able to close off work will be nice! Thanks for reading!

  • Lisa | Simple Life Experiment August 22, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Congrats on finding a place Britt! That must be a weight off your minds. I love the takeaway from this post, that it’s ok to spend money on what you value. I couldn’t agree more. I think sometimes minimalism can be associated with a dislike for spending money (and money in general). While the cliche that money can’t buy happiness is certainly true (don’t we minimalists know that better than anyone!), I think it’s important to not create a negative relationship with it because it can bring value, whether that’s by paying for an apartment, a holiday or even just a nice meal or a movie ticket from time to time. To answer one of your questions, though, our housing goals have definitely changed over time. We moved into this two-bedroom unit almost two years ago because we were feeling cramped in our teeny granny flat, and now, funnily enough, we can’t wait until our lease is up in October so we can downsize to a one bedroom! Who knows, maybe in the future we will want something larger again (since it really is great having an extra bedroom for relatives to stay in, even if they have to bring their own mattress, sheets and blankets – haha! My family has become accustomed to the BYO bedding thing around here!). I hope you guys enjoy settling into the new place when you get there. I’m sure you’ll find a way to make all that space work for you, especially since, as you say, it’s not forever. Dedicated yoga room perhaps?? 🙂

    • Britt August 22, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Oh my goodness! I agree so much! Money and spending is not inherently bad. If you spend according to your values, you can’t go wrong! And I’m glad you understand the BYOBedding- I knew I couldn’t be the only one! I’ve definitely going to turn one of the bedrooms into a dedicated yoga space, it will be interesting to see if I use it. Thanks for your thoughtful comment as always Lisa!

  • Joanna August 21, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I am not a numbers girl. It seems like in the minimalist world people feel they need to give digits of their home space. I live in a too big for me space but downsizing came second after buying our house. It will be interesting to see how you find the bigger space. But I love your major point and that is pay for what you value. I love that point you make. It’s such an important one.

    • Britt August 21, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks Joanna!

  • Lynne August 21, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    There are two of us, plus 2 dogs and 6 cats (all rescues) living in 1000sq ft. My ideal would be for another 2-to-300sq ft concentrated into the open plan living area because that can be a little tight (one of the dogs is very large and takes up a LOT of floor area when he lies down stretched out). But we like it here because we have a very good sized fully enclosed front and back section, so we make it work.

  • Amanda @ My Life, I Guess... August 21, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    When my now-husband I moved in together, he came from 1 bedroom in a shared apartment. I came from a small, 1 bedroom basement apartment. We moved into a 3 bedroom townhouse. At first, we used the master bedroom as our bedroom, and each took a bedroom for ourselves – mine was my office, his was his music studio. 3 years later, we’ve moved our bedroom to a smaller room, my office has become storage, and the master is now our office/studio combined. How we accumulated SO MUCH stuff to need an entire storage room still baffles me. And I hate it!

    Don’t be like us and fill the space just because it’s there!!

    • Britt August 21, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Start the decluttering process! You’ve already proven you can live in a smaller space by moving from a large to a smaller bedroom, now you just have to get rid of the excess! I know you can do it! Thanks for reading.

  • luxestrategist August 21, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I’m not sure the size of our apartment. I think 800 sq. feet or less for 2.5 people and 2 cats. With that small of a space, we still have an extra room that no one ever hangs out in! We all hang out in the living room for the most part. I feel like 1300 square feet would be perfect, with all that extra space going to the living room and the kitchen.

    I’m glad you recognized your homebody tendencies and stick to spending to your values. I personally love travel, but not everybody does, and that’s OK.

    And having pets seriously does impact your living choices.

    • Britt August 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      I agree! If a space is well planned (like adding to your living room or kitchen), you don’t necessarily need more (or less) space to be happy.

      And goodness, if it wasn’t for our cat this would have been a much easier exercise! She’s cute though, so I think I’ll keep her around. 😻 Thanks for reading Luxe!

  • AdventureRich August 21, 2017 at 9:06 am

    We moved from our tiny 660 sq ft one bedroom place in California to our house last year (approx. 2,100 sq ft including the unfinished basement area). It was a big jump, but in a lot of ways, appropriate. Our son slept in our living room in CA, so now he has his own room. And I work from home, so I have a dedicated office (no more working from the kitchen table!) and some space downstairs for at home workouts (key in the winter when I am basically snowbound!).

    With the increased space, we have tried to be very disciplined with only acquiring furniture/items that have a use in our home… not just random place-fillers that collect dust and waste money.

    I hope you enjoy settling into your new home!!!

    ~Mrs. Adventure Rich

    • Britt August 21, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Congrats on your move! It sounds like your new space is more appropriate for your reality. And I think that’s so important! There’s no point stuffing yourself into a small space just for the sake of it. I too want to be very intentional about the furniture we add into the new space. Beyond a new desk and perhaps a kitchen table, I can’t think of anything else we would need. Thanks for reading!

  • Lance @ My Strategic Dollar August 21, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I like your ending note. I too believe it’s important to spend money on the things that truly bring value to your life. If you never spending anything on yourself, then you’ll be unhappy.

    • Britt August 21, 2017 at 8:34 am

      I’m glad you agree Lance! I think it’s important to not deprive yourself of something you truly value. What’s the point of life if you don’t get to enjoy it once in a while? Thanks for reading!

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.

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