Guest post from Alicia of Turquoise Grace
My parents have been married for 36 years. For 30 of them, they’ve been living in their “starter home” – the very first home they ever purchased.
I can tell you from watching, it hasn’t always been easy for them to be content with staying there for this many years. But I know without a doubt they did the best thing for their family, and I’m thankful for their example.
Fast forward 25 years or so, and here I am with my own family, five and a half years into our “starter home of 1-2 years”.
I love our starter home. It’s not huge, it’s not extravagant, but it’s ours.
It’s cozy, treasured, and filled with the people that matter the most; but I will be the first to admit that I was not always so lovey-dovey about my home. There was a time when I wanted more, and contentment with regard to my home was something I had to learn.
Maybe you can relate?
Maybe your grand plan has been greatly impacted by an uncomfortable dose of reality.
Maybe life has hit you with one hurdle after another and your ideal plan of living for 1-2 years in your starter home ended 5, 10, or even 15 years ago.
Maybe you’ve simply decided that your budget is more important than your square footage.
Whatever your reason, there is always a way to make peace with your current living situation.
Starting right now!
If you are discouraged about living in your starter home – take heart from these suggestions below.
1. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Comparing ourselves (and our homes) to others is SO easy to do… and gets us absolutely nowhere.
Comparison is the thief of joy. By comparing what you don’t have to what others do have, you are not only allowing, but inviting yourself to dwell on only the negative aspects of your circumstances.
If you’re too busy trying to keep up with your peers, you will quickly lose sight of what you DO have! Stop focusing on what other people have and start focusing on what you can do with your starter home and your smaller space.
Think of some things that you can do to maximize and make the most of your space, and then make a list of them. Then make a plan to tackle your list and turn it into a reality.
2. Remember your WHY.
Why did you decide to stick with your starter home – either for the time being or for the long haul? Focus on the bigger picture of WHY you’re staying put.
There are many practical reasons why you might want to make peace with your starter home.
- To save more money by maintaining a smaller mortgage
- To make a larger down payment on a future home, or even to pay cash for the entire purchase.
- To avoid relocating. Maybe you like your kids’ current school district, or maybe moving is just not something you’re willing to tackle right now.
- To avoid a larger mortgage. Not to state the obvious here, but maybe you just plain can’t afford to take on a larger mortgage. That’s a totally respectable and responsible reason to stay put.
- To free up more of your money to spend in other areas like travel, hobbies, or giving.
- To pay down debt (student loans, credit cards, car payments, or other outstanding debt you may have accrued over the years)
Whatever YOUR reasons may be, make a list of them and position them front and center where you will be reminded of what your larger goals are. And WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
3. Change your mindset.
Make the best of what you have. Focus on the positives, be thankful, and own it.
You are blessed more greatly than you realize. When you change your mindset to choose positivity, it is so much easier and obvious to see where your true blessings lie. Realize that owning a home in and of itself is an enormous blessing.
And then… do something about it! If you’re unhappy with something, change it. Begin the changes within your home to make it as comfortable, welcoming, and homey-feeling as possible for you and your family.
Do what you can to create more space – or simply create the illusion of more space. Clear out the clutter, deep clean the entire house from top to bottom, and reorganize. There is much that can be done to make the most of your home, no matter how small it may be.
After 30 years, my parents are still living in their starter home. It’s filled with love and tons of memories. And you know what? I could not imagine growing up anywhere else. It’s still home to me.
At the end of the day, it’s not the size of your house, it’s not the amount of money in your bank account, it’s not even the quality of your things. See, you, your husband, or your kids won’t remember any of that. I know this first hand.
It’s the memories you make in your home that will never be forgotten.
Have you come to a place of peace with your starter home? What did that look like for you?
Alicia is a Jesus follower, coffee lover, avid reader, chocolate addict, self-proclaimed health enthusiast, wife to one amazing husband, boymom of three. She writes about all things faith, motherhood, and making the most of her home over at Turquoise Grace, where she offers up a little dose of grace for the mommed-out heart.
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