Thinking Outside the (Apartment) Box

I recently found Tiny House Hunters on Netflix. Boy was I excited! I’d watched an episode on vacation once and thought it was fun. Now here was my chance to watch an entire season (all 5 episodes). I’ve loved looking at tiny house photos since they appeared on the internet several years back and long before our attempt at RV living last year, we’d toyed with the idea of putting a tiny house in my mom’s backyard. It still crosses my mind from time to time, especially when I look out my front door and see this:


I was reluctant to post that photo.

The mattress and box spring have been sitting there for a week now. The tenants in the apartment moved out – quite suddenly – after a disagreement with the landlord (or so I heard). One day they were putting flowers in front of their door and the next, they were gone. The practical part of me thinks about the implications of such a rash move. Breaking a lease makes it really hard to get another apartment. Another part – the bigger part of me – envies their carefree attitude. To hell with the things that bother us, we’ll just pack up and move!

When I look out our one unobstructed window to the railroad tracks below, the thought of running away in the middle of the night like our neighbors crosses my mind too. I guess you might say, when it comes to our living situation, I’m at odds with myself.

The things I love about our apartment:

  • It’s size – only 475 square feet.
  • Water and trash pickup (though obviously not of mattresses) is included in the rent.
  • It’s centrally located – we’re 4 miles from my mom & 3/10 mile from the center of town.
  • The rent is $200 less than market value for the area.
  • The building is 50 years old – it has character and history – yet all of the flooring and fixtures are new. We’re the first to live here since the remodel.
  • It’s a non-smoking building (inside).

The things I hate about our apartment:

  • It’s hot! The window air conditioner only cools the room that it’s in.
  • The view is awful!
  • There’s no outdoor space specific to our apartment.
  • I’ve had to call the office or the police too many times to count – for repairs, noise complaints, and now this fire hazard of a mattress.
  • Everyone smokes outside and no one knows what an ashtray looks like.

We are committed minimalists, and therein lies our biggest problem. This tiny apartment fulfills our living requirements. It’s basic shelter without too many modern conveniences and it fits the budget we set to allow ourselves freedom to pursue a life outside of work. To want more than that seems…well, almost like our priorities are in the wrong place.

Can this misery be mitigated?

Angie and I decided that the best way to think outside of the structure in which we live is to go outside of the structure in which we live. We want to turn our problems into opportunities. No outdoor space. No problem. We’ll just go to the park.

20160424_123238With that in mind, last Thursday evening we sat down and made a list of all the things that we want to do this summer. These are things that will take us outside of our little box and reacquaint us with the reasons we chose it in the first place. By Friday morning we were super excited. We went to our first Tai Chi class at the rec center, rode our bicycles to the grocery store, and went for a swim. Saturday we went for a longer bike ride and took a second Tai Chi class. On Sunday, we spent the day reading in the woods.

We have four months left on our lease. It is my sincere hope that we can learn to live both inside and outside of our home, but if at the end of that time we still feel like the bad outweighs the good, we’ll definitely move to a different box.

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