Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Benefits to Basement Living

Nearly five months ago, my husband and I did something most people thought was crazy. We put the upstairs portion of our house for rent, and we moved our family of seven down to our basement. Now, I'll admit from the outside, this probably does seem like an insane idea, but the truth is, we had prayed for an answer as to how to pay off the debt we incurred through adopting our newest baby, and this was the solution that we felt inspired to try.

From the onset, I was determined to have a positive attitude. We found a great little family to rent the upstairs and signed a one-year contract with them. One year. I figured I could live through anything for one year. So, we sold half of what we owned, and the other half we strategically nestled somewhere in new living space. Truthfully, it felt great. I couldn't believe how much we had accumulated that we simply didn't need. We worked extremely hard all summer to get the house ready. Now came the hard part--actually living together in a more confined space. I totally expected us to go somewhat crazy; I expected to get depressed from the lack of sunshine; I expected more fighting from getting on each other's nerves; I expected it to be a tough year. What I didn't expect was to love it!

That's right. I know I sound even crazier now, but I truly love basement living. Here are a few reasons why:

1-If we have a week of cloudy, yucky weather, I really can't tell. I mean, we have good windows downstairs and they are even pretty high above the ground, but it's not the same as having big upstairs windows that let in the sunshine. Of a truth, I do miss the sun a little, but overall, it's nothing like I expected.

2-No solicitors!!!! None! Ever!! I love it!!! Major perk!!

3-Half a house to clean. I mean, seriously. Half the house work. It takes us, well . . . half the time to get the work done. Less work, more play. What can I say?

4-More family togetherness. Okay, so this is not always a positive thing. There are days we want to choke each other, but overall, I truly think we are growing closer as a family. For one thing, there's no place to hide. We are pretty much all together all the time. Because of this, we are learning patience, tolerance, unselfishness, and much, much more. I firmly believe we will look back on this experience one day and realize it was one of the best times in our lives.

5-Free educational "experiences." What do I mean? Well, one day we walked outside to find a baby frog on our front steps. Another day it was covered with worms. We woke up one morning to a strange sound and noticed a frog climbing up our window screen outside our bedroom. The frog could climb up to the top of the screen, but then he couldn't figure out how to jump to the ground to safety. My boys were all over this. They ran outside to try to help the frog; the only problem was they were both too scared to touch it. Another morning we woke up to find a mouse in the window well. A praying mantis made its way up and down the screen on our bedroom window for weeks as well. It was like a different Discovery channel episode every day, and it was right outside our windows. Can't have that experience living upstairs.

6-Better temperature control. Sounds crazy, I know, because I honestly thought we would freeze down here. But without vaulted ceilings, it's much easier to get the house warm or cool. Lower ceilings do have their advantage. Another is that my kids can't jump rope, play catch, or do other inappropriate indoor activities they used to do upstairs, even though I told them not to. It's not an issue down here because it's simply not possible.

7-I'll probably get in trouble for saying this, but if I'm completely honest . . . another perk is that we have less overnight company. That's actually a very ironic statement coming from me because one reason I wanted to have a bigger home with a finished basement is so that our regular company would have a place to stay when they come. The truth is I love visitors, especially our families. But I have to admit it's been nice to have a small reprieve from constant company. Since we have no extra room, we seem to have no extra guests. I know the day will come when I will be ready for more room and more guests and I will welcome that day, but as for now, it's one tiny stress I'm enjoying living without.( I still love you, dear family and friends--honest I do! Please keep visiting.)

8-I guess what it all really boils down to is that life is more simple. Yes, that's it. In getting rid of stuff and space and a lot of extras I was living with, I now have more time with my family. I am happier than I think I've ever been. Life continues to be so good to me--to us. I'm learning we can be just as happy, just as grateful, just as fulfilled living in the basement as we ever were living in the entire house, and that's the best benefit of all!


Julie Thurgood Summerhays said...

AWESOME post!!! We did the basement thing while we were building and I honestly can say I didn't miss all of our stuff either - and cleaning was SO MUCH BETTER:)