Home Wants/Needs

My theme for my goals this year is re-evaluation, and one thing that led to my choosing this theme was a constant battle in our minds: whether to stay in this house or move.

Our house is old, like 1910’s old. That means we a) have a tiny kitchen, b) very little storage, c) a creepy basement we’ll never use for more than laundry/workshop/dumping grounds, and d) have tiny bathrooms (we’re lucky we had space to put a 1/2-bath  on the main floor – a hot commodity around this neighbourhood).

When I get in one of those “GOD, I HATE THIS HOUSE!!!” moods, the things I dream about are:

  • a more open floor plan on the first floor
  • a kitchen with more cupboard space and an island between it and the dining room
  • a large mudroom/laundry combo off the front (MORE SPACE for all our clothes/bags/gear/etc)
  • a MUCH bigger upstairs bathroom
  • a finished attic, so we can have a second living area (and a place to move all the kids toys so they’re not the first thing we see coming in) — which could house a THIRD bathroom!
  • being on a much quieter street (I know I can’t change this, but I’m DREAMING here!)

During and after these moments, we often start perusing through the MLS listings, searching for houses. We talk for hours  about whether it’s worth it to stay here and do the renovations, or would it be better to try and find a house that hits all our “must-have’s”. It’s our own personal “Love It or List It”, without any help from professionals.

Sure, we can easily find homes that have everything we want…for a much heftier price tag than what we paid for this house.

And, just like Cloud wrote about recently, these things are much more WANTS than NEEDS. When I really thing about it, we’re pretty darn lucky with our life (and house) as it is now. Why do we feel like we NEED more room, or NEED a bigger bathroom, or NEED to have main floor laundry?

We look at bigger, newer, more “fancy” houses – with their huge kitchens, giant walls of windows, massive master suites, and living room/family room/game rooms – as though that is what we NEED.

Yes, we could afford to go with either of these options, but then it hits us: what are our priorities in life? Do we want to spend money for years on making or getting a bigger/”better” house, or could we spend that in a way that could really make a difference in our lives in other ways. Like,  being able to do more of the things we enjoy like golfing, going to baseball games, going on family vacations, or taking art or music classes.

We get so tied up in what we WANT in a house, as though having an island in our kitchen or a walk-in closet would make us happy.

So, we are trying to keep these things in mind and we move forward with these types of decisions. We will constantly be re-evaluating our goals and aligning them with what our priorities really are.

How do you reconcile between what you WANT and what you NEED.

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Comments on: "Home Wants/Needs" (4)

  1. I know what you mean. I’ve currently got swimming pool envy. I walk the dog around our neighbourhood imagining buying one of the old (crappy) houses and building a new one and having a pool… But it’s probably not going to happen. I try to remind myself that a pool comes with a lot work (and a bigger house would mean more cleaning)

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  2. late to the party but this strikes a cord what I’ve been forced to think about just now. I have to buy a new car. I’ve known about this for quite some time since I drive a very old car and it’s a little finnicky. My coworkers are all about buying “what you deserve” and tbh, I’d love a NEW car. I’ve never had a new car. And I do drive everyday… I could technically afford a new car – that is, I would have to take a loan and pay it off, but so do lots of people – and I can easily afford the car payments. However, I don’t see myself being able to BOTH have a nice new car AND travel/go out for dinner/purchase books without caring of the price tag/savingforarainyday etc. Classical “either or” scenario. And when push comes to shove, I’m more NEEDing of my “independent travel indulgance/savings account” than driving a new shiny car to and from work. The last is a WANT. (i just need a car) If I’m weighing them against one another, it’s clear to me.

    Although, I’ve also spoken to friends and family and the (mainly) younger part of these don’t see the issue of either or. They mention credit cards or loans or – which made me annoyed – “you have savings so you can use that”. Well, the point of savings (imho) is that they are there as a buffer-help, not for everyday expenses… needless to say, the ppl suggesting this don’t have too many savings either.

    TLDR: I can’t have it all, have to decide which is most important to me and then make boring sensible decisions based on “what I cherish the most”. not get caught up in “you deserve shiny new toy AND living expensively” 😉

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  3. I think as your family changes, your needs change too. The house that worked for you pre-kids, may not work as well now. Eventually it becomes frustrating and stressful when your home is no longer working for you, when you start falling over things and don’t have enough space to store the things you need, and are “existing” rather than “living”. Granted, baby stuff takes up a LOT of space! Having just made a move, due to needing more space (although we could have managed for a while longer in our old place), I have to say it makes a difference. Sounds like the attic conversion may be a good place to start for you 🙂

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    • Frania – thank you for your comment and for your perspective! I think you’re right – our lives are changes, and so our needs in our home will as well. We have to figure out how to fit them together.

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