Unpacking and organizing one livable room in our unfinished fixer upper cottage was a challenge to say the least!
Since we finally moved into our unfinished fixer upper, we worked to get it organized and somehow figured out how to get a bit settled in.
There was no hiding the fact that we would be living in a construction zone for a while. Yet we still needed to make it feel a little homey in the process. Or, at least set up in a way where we could functionally access things for daily living. Like a place to sleep, clean up, prep food, and also work from home.
WORKING FROM HOME IN AN UNFINISHED COTTAGE
Two months before we moved into our house, my work sent us home to work from home right at the beginning of the pandemic. At the time of writing this blog, I’m still pretty much working from home for the most part.
My co-workers made comments about how it might have been better to actually come into the office. They said it was a good way to get away from all the construction dust, noise, and distractions. My answer to that was, no way! To have to get ready in a place like this by doing my hair, makeup, and putting on nice clothes, as well as packing a lunch and snacks; would’ve been awful and probably even more stressful.
The timing to be able to work from home during that season was a God send! Plus, I was able to be around to help Nate figure out things. And I had more time to work on the house and gardening later on. If I had to prep food and commute back and forth to work, that would’ve taken up way too much precious time. I felt like I needed to be dedicated to the house and all the work we had to do or wanted to do.
UNPACKING AND ORGANIZING IN UNFINISHED COTTAGE
Nate worked on several projects all over the house while I tried my best to figure out how to organize all our stuff into one bedroom and bathroom. It was very stressful to say the least. Nate was glad that I was capturing footage of the house so that we could see our before and after progress.
Unpacking and organizing a livable room in our unfinished cottage helped us to be mindful of everything we had!
WHY WE LIVE IN AN UNFINISHED COTTAGE
If you have been following our journey, you may be wondering why we are doing this. Like why would anyone choose to live in a fixer upper while they are renovating it!
For us, the answer is very simple, to ultimately be free! One way we planned to accomplish this was to be debt free! A wise man once said, or continues to say, “Live like no one else so that you can live and give like no one else!” Oh yea, that would be Dave Ramsey, right? Yea Dave, we’re hopefully coming to visit your studio soon to do our debt free scream!
In one of our prior videos, I talked about how we intended to pay off our mortgage in only three years!
We would have definitely missed out on all of these adventures if we had just been paying on a 15 or 30 year mortgage for a move-in ready house. And that’s why we have budgeted to pay off this house in only three years. Yes, I can’t wait to go and do my debt free scream, for real though!
So this is how we live like no one else.. by living in a fixer upper, while we’re fixing it up! Oh, and we’re doing it all without loans! Yep, we plan to pay for all our renovations from what we currently earn each month. This is mainly why it has been taking SO long. Plus, we are learning as we go!
DEBT AND STEWARDSHIP OF RESOURCES
We are also very influenced by what the Bible says about debt, finances, and our resources. We’re just trying our best to live this type of lifestyle. Hopefully in the end it will ultimately lead to financial freedom for us!
A part of that stewardship was to buy something small that we could actually afford and have less to renovate and maintain. That’s why we bought the cheapest little house in our neighborhood. But, the blessing is that it’s in a really great location!
ORGANIZING ONE LIVABLE ROOM IN UNFINISHED COTTAGE
Now getting back to how we started to organize. We stacked as many boxes as we could in our bedroom in the corners – all the way up to the ceiling! The suitcases and large bins were placed under our high loft bed frame to hide out of the way.
Unpacking and organizing one livable room in our unfinished fixer upper cottage made us aware of how much stuff we really had.
I took my shoes off on our temporary vinyl flooring like we did in Korea. Growing up with an Asian mother, we always had to take off our shoes in the house. And we both committed to doing the same when we got married. However, living in a construction zone, of course, changes things. It was really nice to have one little space in the house to remove our shoes and feel a little sense of normalcy.
I also set up a little breakfast bar area for us with a kettle, instant coffee, bananas, and granola bars. We would not normally have instant coffee or packaged granola bars. But, we had to create simple ways to eat without a kitchen, stove, fridge, pantry, and such. Our temporary refrigerator at the time became two coolers!
GETTING SETTLED INTO UNFINISHED FIXER UPPER
When the pandemic forced us home in March 2020, Nate built me a stand up desk. I was used to standing a lot of the day in the office. He made it with butcher block and motorized frame. We set my workstation in one corner of the room.
The living room sofa went in another corner and the bed was in the center of the room.
As we organized more stuff into the bedroom, the living room and kitchen areas that were full of everything we dumped in from our move, slowly began to be cleared out and it was looking better and better.
Oh, and we figured out a way to take a bath! We bought a little kiddie pool and it was amazing how a little water and splashing could get the job done. But, gross that my husband left his toothbrush in our “sink” (black plastic container) in the kiddie pool overnight! We used that black container to brush our teeth and spit into. Yuck!
LIVING SIMPLY TO HAVE FREEDOM TO TRAVEL
We never set out to buy a fixer upper or thought that we’d have a blog and YouTube channel where we talk about our DIY home renovation projects. We are really travelers at heart and are pretty nomadic and adventurous as we have lived and traveled to many places all over the globe.
Yet in order to be free to continue to travel, we had to be very mindful of how we lived. By living very simply, we have been able to be more flexible with our lives, especially when we have no debt and minimal bills. Then we have nothing to tie us down and can freely travel and go anywhere!
Buying this fixer upper was Nate’s idea of having stability for our future. So when we would run around traveling somewhere, we would always have a home to come back to and an asset to possibly rent out and earn income from while we’re traveling.
That is why we were determined to pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible. Although at first, I never even wanted to get a mortgage.
We are totally minimalistic living and no debt type of people. That’s why I didn’t even want to get a mortgage!
Well, the honeymoon stage started to wear on us about the fourth day we were living in our construction zone. We had to move boxes in and out of the room to organize them in that one room, which was also our office at the time. Nate jokingly said it was like living in paradise! Um, yea, definitely not!
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS
Thanks for joining us on this journey! We hope that you will find inspiration watching us learn as we go while we’re attempting to renovate and rebuild this old small historic home mostly on our own. Stay tuned for more progress updates ahead!
You can also watch a video about this here.
To see more adventures of our tiny fixer upper journey, click on the links below.
📦 MOVING INTO AN UNFINISHED SMALL COTTAGE 🏚
I love to follow your journey and see you making progress!
Thanks, Nadine! We sure have made some progress! 💕
Nikki Ruskofsky says
I love reading about your journey. You two are doing great, building a house of your own with no debt. You got this!
Awe, thank you Nikki! Really appreciate the encouragement! We do got this! 🥰
You’re living like no one else… so you can LIVE like no one else! It’s worth it!
I know! It really is worth it! So excited.. almost there! 😍
Kim Bensing says
Great blog. Wow…the pool was a shock, I must say, but good for you both. Living the dream debt-free. We live the same way only with one debt, a mortgage. Family of 5, and at least we recycled a nineteenth-century farmhouse. That counts for something, I hope. No college debt for all 3 kids, no car loans, we pay off “our one credit card” every single month and we use the points to travel. So almost there. Best of luck with your further renovation.
Thank you, Kim! 💕 I can see how a lot of what we’ve done may be shocking! Since we both have done missions work in third world countries, we’ve really learned a lot about how simply we can truly live. But then again, we realize this is not for everyone! I love how you describe how you live and your farmhouse sounds so lovely! 🥰