By Brenda Tadych
Home ownership sure has its benefits, especially when it comes to square footage. Our home includes a two-car garage and deck, plus the basement. Our dining room is large enough that we’ve been able to host Christmas dinners for twenty guests. Our house has three bedrooms, but only one is used as a bedroom; the others serve as an office and an exercise room.
We even have enough acreage for my partner, Farmer Jeff, to bring in a payload of veggies each year.
There isn’t much to complain about, but still I find myself sometimes longing for my first place. I loved my second-floor apartment with the balcony and the big tree in front. I was twenty-three, coming into my personal power and ready for a space of my own. I had a full-time job and a brand new car—a hot looking Daytona with pop-up lights.
My first two years of self-reliance was a time of introspection. I was learning how precious my independence was and I didn’t have to share it with anybody. I was perfectly happy to be home, snug as a bug in a rug in my fashionable sofa and loveseat.
It’s been twenty years, but I still remember every inch of that eight-hundred square foot homestead. I had a little kitchen with an apartment-sized refrigerator and microwave. There was even a dishwasher (that I didn’t use because I didn’t have enough dishes.)
My apartment had a fabulous dining room with jabot window treatments (swag curtains), a chandelier (okay – it was a hanging light), and a wicker showcase (a super cute shelving unit). I felt like I was living in the most beautiful apartment there ever was - from the puffy, comfortable furniture to the pale pink vertical blinds adorning the sliding glass doors - it was my castle.
And the walk-in closet...cue the hallelujah music! It was twelve feet deep, six feet wide with shelving over the hanging bars. Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex in the City” would die.
I never considered myself a neat freak, but I kept my little sanctuary spotless. It only took a few hours to clean the whole place. I shampooed the carpet regularly and even swept the outside utility closet once a year. Bathroom and kitchen cupboards never had any extra items that didn’t belong there.
How my habits have changed in twenty years!
Although we really should follow Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy, about not wasting space for storage of items that are no longer serving us, what if we need something in one of those basement bins?
Nowadays things are tucked away that we forgot we even had. I don’t mean stored in a bin in the basement, I mean right there in the cupboards. I bought a new pouf sponge and then found two still in the plastic wrap when I cleaned out the bathroom cupboards. After I replenished a box of nasal strips, I found a full box in the kitchen cupboard.
Even though I clean out the canned goods on the Lazy Susan shelves twice a year, why does it never fail I find cans that are expired? I don’t mean expired last month, but years ago. I chalk it up to the grocery store placing something they found rolling around the warehouse floor back on the shelf.
Yes, it’s nice to use that mortgage interest at tax time, and to actually own something instead of renting it, but I fondly remember the newness, that grand entrance into the world of being in my first, very own place. I’ll always be grateful that my cozy little apartment #203 was there for me as I shed my adolescent cocoon and turned into a grownup butterfly.