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“Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

In today’s post, we will consider shelter in a continuation of our feature on amassing well-being.

When we first arrived in New Zealand, we stayed with family and then moved into a 16 square metre (172 sq ft) (yes, you read correctly!) “corporate crash pad” for two months, while we searched for permanent accommodation.  It was an interesting and surprisingly enjoyable experience of “living in a small space.”

The unit included a kitchen with a two element cook top, microwave, small refrigerator, pots/pans, cooking utensils, crockery, cutlery, glassware, storage cabinet; bed with built-in drawer storage for linens, towels, etc and side units; television, sound system, internet access, telephone; clothing storage cupboards and drawers; ensuite toilet/shower/laundry; small balcony; shared iron/ironing board; parking in an adjacent municipal lot, and all amenities on our doorstep.  It had everything we needed and made us realize we didn’t need a lot of space to be happy.

So, when it came time to purchase a property, we decided on a small home by North American standards. There were many larger homes for sale in the same area, but we decided not to “live large” in order to reduce our costs not only in the purchase price, but in future heating, maintenance, etc.  Our home is solidly built, relatively new, single storey, detached, north-facing (in New Zealand you want north not south-facing) with an internal access garage. It allows family and friends to stay with us and plenty of room for entertaining.  The property is fully fenced and has low maintenance landscaping.  We are within easy walking distance of all amenities – shopping, entertainment, restaurants, doctors, after hours clinic, bus access to neighbouring suburbs and the city centre and a short commute to our work, the beach and countryside.

We chose our appliances based on energy star ratings e.g., our washer is a front loading machine, which uses less water.  We did purchase a dryer, but use it sparingly because we have a clothesline just outside our laundry area.  There’s nothing better than the fresh smell of laundry dried outdoors! We extended the existing landscaping by planting New Zealand hardy native shrubs and trees to avoid the need for pesticides.

Because we saved on the purchase price, we have had money to upgrade our home to make it healthier.  We have installed a Moisture Master home ventilation system to decrease humidity, an LG heat pump heating/cooling system, and new porcelain tile flooring in the dining area and kitchen (for a less slippery, easier maintenance option).

Photo courtesy of Tammy Manet

Since we were moving from Canada to New Zealand, it provided an excellent opportunity to choose a home, which suited our current and future life stages. But for many boomers, remaining in their existing home is the right decision, possibly renovating to better suit their needs.  We’ve seen homes, which have needed only minimal updating to one, which had it’s entire second storey removed to permit “living on one level”. Within the coming months, we’ll look at ways to future-proof your home, so stay tuned!

Whether you are planning to remain in your home, renovate or purchase a new home – make it a healthy choice!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Postscript: If you would like to know more about our corporate crash pad experience, see the Columbard.

Disclosure: Products, services and websites mentioned in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by companies in New Zealand or abroad.