Do We Stay or Do We Go?


Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using:

one ~ without ~ two ~ stretch ~ three ~ result
They were submitted by:   

So, as we complete our fourth year renting our apartment we have to make a decision. Do we stay in a small 950 square foot apartment or do we try to look for something bigger and more expensive?

Sure with only one child it is easier to live in a small space, but we are making due without a bigger kitchen, bathroom, and playroom for AJ. Yes, we have two bedrooms, but, but we have limited room to stretch out and really find our own personal space. With three people and a dog it can get crazy and cramped, as a result I often want to crawl through a hidden portal and get away for a few moments. Now I REALLY wish there was a hidden portal in the bathroom. Maybe there is and my son and dog are checking to make sure I don’t find and use it.

My brother in law helped hubby and I reorganize our finances and plan for the future. Knowing we can save more if we stay put is a big factor, but there are MANY negative and positives of living small. On the flip side more space is nice, but is it worth it? I listed all the positives and negatives of staying or going. What do you think?


The positives:

  • CLOSE TO TOWN – There is no need to drive to events happening on main street. nearby stores, library, or movie theater. We can just walk there.
  • LESS POWER OUTAGES: In our location we have few power outages than those neighborhoods further away from main street
  • BIGGER DRIVEWAY: Makes it easier for company, parking, just hanging out, and having a barbecue
  • LESS RENT: The bigger the place, the more the rent. So having a smaller places keeps us from paying too much…which means more money in our savings.
  • BACKYARD: While it’s not level or private, it’s still there. We can still do a few things in the yard…gardening, digging… (any other ideas?)
  • STORAGE: Lots of storage. Though this is bad for hubby as he has over done it. We are going to have to work on cleaning some of it out!
  • LOWER LEVEL ENTRANCE: No stairs to go up and down. I remember when we lived in a condo with stairs. I had to lug a new-born AJ into a carrier and lug him across a parking lot, just for Balboa go out. Most times Balboa had to go out at the worst times. Now we just take Bonus right out the door, so much easier.
  • CLOSE TO AFTER SCHOOL PLACE: Next year he’ll finally be able to join the after school place near our apartment and his school. He can walk from his school to the club, then on nice days I can walk to pick him up. The walk will be great for all of us, including Bonus. This place is also open on half days, teacher PD days, and when the school is off for both winter and spring recess-perfect for working parents.

The Negatives:

  • LOUD AND RUDE RESTAURANT ON THE CORNER: At least in the summer we have an AC to block out the noise. In the winter, now with their fire pit they plan on getting, they can make incredible amounts of noise. It was so loud New Years Eve I can hear what the band members are saying between songs. NOT FAIR AT ALL. YES we have called the police, though the restaurant seems to get away with it. Strange, don’t you think?
  • SUCKS IN THE SNOW – When there’s a lot of snow, the road plows block the spot where we put our garbage cans making the cans overflow into our driveway…making it tough to get in our driveway. We are on a busy street, so stopping to move them is impossible. PLUS, snow gets piled up in our driveway making it difficult to turn our cars around in the witter. I HATE IT.
  • VERY SMALL; Yes it’s small for three people and a dog. One of which is a loud boy who likes to jump, run, and scream. At only 950 square feet it’s a challenge to make sure everyone has their own space.
    • Our kitchen is TINY and the door opens right into the kitchen. There is no hallway, the door literally opens and you are standing in the middle of the kitchen. having a door poking you in the back makes it annoying when cooking. A small kitchen means no storage or counter space at all
    • No play room for AJ. While AJ will play in his room some times, I don’t want to banish him to his room all the time. He wants to be with us and hang out in the living room..which makes a small space even tiny when filled with toys.
  • OLD APPLIANCES: Our fridge was replaced with a new one about a year ago which is lovely. The stove is going to break down soon, I just know it. The washer had to be repaired and I’m sure in the next few years both the washer and dryer will need to be replaced or at least repaired again.
  • BUSY ROAD WITH A STOP SIGN; We are on the corner of a busy road, right next to a stop sign. Which means cars either zooming by after making a turn onto our road or waiting in a long line to stop then go. That means it’s impossible to get out of the driveway most times. Seriously, people will very rarely let us go even when they are just waiting to sit at a stop sign.
NEW kitchen collage

OUR TINY KITCHEN. Yes, that’s it. The fridge and door is out of the pic to the left. It looks messy, but I was getting ready for work and had everything all set to be prepped and bagged.

YES, I know the living room is messy, but at least it’s better than it usually is with AJ and all his toys.

living room collage 1

Now we have a long run from the kitchen to the living room. The round kitchen table is in front of the basement door (between the bedroom doors) and will only be taken out to a larger area if all three of us are eating.

living room collage 2

Having this long space now gives Anthony and Bonus to move around, run, and play…especially on cold winter days.


“We CAN try to find something bigger. I mean bigger is better, right?”

Positives of renting a BIGGER place:

  • MORE SPACE: AJ will have more room to play, spread out, and for privacy. Maybe even a second bathroom for guests and a spot for a pee pee pad for Bonus instead of taking her out in the middle of the night.
  • BIGGER KITCHEN: That would give me more counter space and a larger fridge. I could do more cooking, keep more fresh food on hand, and not feel cramped when cooking.
  • NO NOISY RESTAURANT: We could finally get away from that awful restaurant that makes too much noise.

Negatives of renting a BIGGER place:

  • MORE RENT: The rent will be higher, I mean what we are paying right now, is great and I don’t want to spend even more on rent (that goes into nothing) just for more space.
  • NEW SCHOOL???: Will AJ have to go to a new school? I rather stay put for four more years just so he can stay in the school he knows and loves. IF we have to move I rather wait till he starts middle school. Maybe by then we can find something we can afford and still stay in the same school zone…which will be bigger since there are only TWO middle schools as opposed to FIVE elementary schools.
    • On a note, two of those five middle schools are out of the questions. One Tony works in as a custodian and the other has the team who denied AJ any services while he was in day care as a three and four year old. I refuse to let them get their hands on him after the team at his current school is amazing.
  • TOO FAR FROM TOWN: We would have to start driving into town and parking in over-crowded lots. I know that doesn’t seem bad, but lately there are NO SPOTS anywhere.
  • UNKNOWNS: The evils you know are better than the evils you don’t know. We could have awful neighbors, more power outages, limited storage, terrible roads in the winter, or a horrible landlord.
  • MORE TO CLEAN: I hate cleaning as it is and feel like there’s too much even with our tiny place. Imagine how much there would be to clean in a bigger place?


“If we commit to staying, then we have to start living small instead of cramming big living into a small space.” 

IF we stay, we’ll need too…

  • REORGANIZE AJ’S ROOM AND CLOSET: I’m going to have to “lose” some of his toys he doesn’t play with or are broken or have missing pieces. I’m going to hang all his clothes in the closet (except for undergarments, socks and pjs). We’ll put that extra and now unused dresser in storage.
    • One less dresser means more room to play and spread out. Now that he is older, he can easily use a stool to get his clothes.
    • Down the road…when he starts middle school…I’d like to get him a bunk bed with a desk, chair, and dresser underneath. Right now, I can see him jumping off the bunk bed and breaking both his arms and legs.
  • KEEP FURNITURE OUT OF THE WAY WHEN NOT IN USE.  We have a basement and do use some of it for storage. Though it’s not furnished nor is it safe to hang out in for long periods of time. We use the back of the door and shelves at top for a makeshift pantry and catchall. I have moved the small round dining table that folds down on both sides near the door. We only move it out when we are eating. There is only one chair there, two are stacked up near another wall, and the fourth is in AJ’s room. We only move the table out when we need to eat or play board games. By having it against he wall, we now have a long path from the kitchen to the end of the living room.
  • TALLER ENTERTAINMENT STAND: The key to storage in a small apartment is building up not out. Therefore we will have to look into a taller entertainment stand. I don’t want to have more stuff, just know it will get everything up off the floor to give us more living space.
  • DOWNSIZE WARDROBE: Really downsize it.  I know there’s lots of tips on how to have a capsule wardrobe and I need to work on that when I’m on February break.

Any advice or suggestions?

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts

About karen

Karen is married to a big kid and mom to a head strong, only child. She is happy with her family of three, along with their spoiled fur baby. Karen works full time as a teacher and still finds time to blog, read, crochet, and cook. Follow along as she enjoys this life.


Do We Stay or Do We Go? — 19 Comments

  1. Tough!

    You made a very good list. It seems to me that some positive aspects automatically result in the negatives, and the other way round (more space – more cleaning, central location – more noise) so realistically you can’t have it all.

    AJ is getting older, meaning he will spend more time at school, activities, sports, friends’ places, etc. and less time at home, also a factor to consider.

    How about thinking of completely other towns? Make it a big change? Maybe even buying a place in a cheaper area?

    • the surrounding areas are either too expensive or too cheap with bad schools. I love this town and Anthony loves his school and the support team there is amazing. We might consider buying, but I still need to save up for the next four years.

  2. I don’t envy your choices here, tough decision! Your place looks like a home to me, and like you’ve made the most of the space you do have. I love that HGTV show, Small Spaces. We are wanting to downsize this year, and I’ve made a similar list of pros and cons. I completely empathize!

    • I really do like a smaller space, I just worry about Anthony. Yes, small spaces show gives great ideas! Just learned about the pasta bowls that can be used for everyday use! I love learning ways to take up less space.

  3. I think if you can get more space, get off the busy street and away from the restaurant but keep AJ in the same school and still save something, I’d move.
    Whatever decision you make, I know it’ll be the right one for you.

  4. I love making pro and con lists and do it for so many things. Your list was so detailed — the best kind. As Karen said, you will weigh it all and make the right choice. When you do, it will FEEL right

  5. That is a tough decision to make. I love that you have gone through though and really considered the pros and cons of moving.

    Yes, with 2 kids with lofts, your son would be jumping right now from it. (Mine do every day.) But it is a great way to save space for adding a desk later.

    • I can only imagine all the jumping they do. But I also know when the time comes for it he will love it. I think he’ll be so happy to have a “hidden space”.

  6. I’m a list maker and so each time we move I do this same thing. Right now we too have decided to stay in a smaller place. We are out in the country, less taxes, less electric, more driving, private, no neighbors, less space, old appliances, no closet space, cheap rent and for us right now, the cheap rent is the key that is keeping us here because we know in 6 months give or take we are relocating. So we stay put. Look at your pros and cons, well your cons, are they ones you are willing to live with another year? 1 year. 12 months? Can you do it? Maybe if you find an area you want to move to and can save with that as a goal staying won’t seem so bad. Good luck!

    • True, we really have to see if those cons are livable or out of the question. I think we can handle it except for the restaurant noise. Though, with unaffordable rentals I am scared when our lease is up that we won’t find anything.

  7. I’m curious what state you live in. It sounds like NY or somewhere close to me. When my husband and I first started out and the kids were little we lived in two rooms! One a kitchen/son’s bedroom, the other living/our bedroom & a crib. We couldn’t wait to get out of there it was so cramped. Now we talk about how much we miss the times when we lived in that little apartment. Our kids were babies and we had so much fun!

    • it does make us have to be close and spend time together. I will miss these times when he’s older. We live in CT. I think I would love a bigger kitchen, but also love the cozy feel, just feel bad for Anthony

  8. You’ve definitely thought all options through. Great job. We rent a TINY house. I feel like you have more space, than we do. Seriously. We have basically no storage at all. I wish we had more storage. It would really help. Our kitchen is unfinished, and our laundry is outside. Since our laundry room hasn’t been built, we just have our machines covered with tarps. I think you should stay a bit longer, and save up. Then move.

    • thanks, I hope we can make the next four years really work and save up. I would love to own a townhouse, even if it’s small. I hope your kitchen gets finished soon and you get the laundry inside. It’s amazing how we can make it work., right?

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