RenoTransformation: Week 2 – Minimalist Living Experiment Begins

The house is barely recognizable!

To transform first you must strip out what was. Then change a few things structurally; changes that will never be seen on the outside, but make for a sound foundation and also minimise future issues. The renovation is becoming such a metaphor for the transformation I’ve been going through in real life. My house and me, together on a journey.

Due to the extensive nature of the renovation (bathrooms and kitchen), we’ve had to move out of our house for the duration of the project. We don’t have Airbnb in Singapore and real estate agents don’t entertain short term rentals. Fortunately a friend has allowed us the use of her apartment for the duration. So grateful!

The apartment is roughly 1/3rd the size of the our house. We have moved with only the bare minimum clothes, toiletries, shoes, pots and pans, tableware, stationery, books, etc. We bought some basic IKEA beds and mattresses that we plan to donate once we move back. Our living room furniture consists of a small 2-seater sofa, a bean bag, a chair, and a workspace for my husband and me to share.

Our house is on a quiet street, on the northern edges of the country, basically suburbia. The apartment we have moved to is about 20kms and a world away from our house. We are living on the 16th floor in a high-density residential area close to the heart of the city. The streets around the apartment are clogged with cars, delivery vans, trucks. The noise of construction is a constant soundtrack to the activity around us. In this relatively small space, with only minimal material possessions, I’ve realised we truly don’t need too much to be happy.

The couple of weeks we have lived in this apartment have been a enlightening experience.

I was worried about the size of the apartment and the absence of individual space to work and rest. But we are liking being in hearing and talking distance of each other and sharing comes easy.

I was worried we would feel frustrated with having so little of our stuff. I’ve realised we don’t need a lot of stuff. I’m enjoying my capsule wardrobe tremendously. Shockingly, I only need 4 pairs of shoes – my comfy avarcas sandals for daily wear, flip flops for the pool or beach, sneakers for long walks, and a nice pair wedges that match everything.

I was worried about fitting all our foods in the tiny fridge. But now I’m enjoying shopping for fresh produce and dairy every other day instead of stocking up. I have also realised that I don’t need 7 types of vinegar and 8 types of chili powder. I only buy what I need during the week. My menu planning is lot more efficient and food waste is reduced.

We didn’t bring our TV. But we have learnt we love playing card games after dinner or on Sunday evenings instead of watching a movie together or watching/reading on our devices in separate corners of the house.

The kids have adapted without missing a beat. And wondrously enough so have the adults. I hope never to lose this child-like spirit of adventure and taking things in stride. I expected discomfort and resistance, I’m experiencing an easy to manage, and light lifestyle. I’m going to hold on to that.

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