Three Ways to Make Your Starter Home Last

I have a confession, I check realtor sites daily for the newest listings in my little city. I like my home, I do. I love our neighborhood, the location and easy access to highways and shopping. It is in a good school district. But, when we bought our house, we figured it would just be our starter home and we would upgrade to our “forever” home within five years.
In year number seven now, the update list on our starter home continues to grow. The pandemic and my husband’s continued work from home status has changed how we truly look at our home. I get wishful to take the plunge into the home buying market to find a house that will cover all our needs.

The Central Ohio real estate market is booming. The inventory can’t meet demand, and the listing price is now the starting price for the best homes. My husband and I have had so many conversations about our house and the current market. This time we are going to get creative and we are going to make our starter home work for the next few years. Here are three things that I am doing to make it last.

3 Ways to Make Your Starter Home Last


So simple, right? So exhausting more like it, and with small children next to impossible. I have gone through boxes after bedtime and when grandparents have offered to babysit. It is a marathon. I found myself drawn to the minimalist mind set. I know that our family will never be able to be true minimalists. I just want a “home” for our belongings. I’m currently tackling a whole house declutter, which has taken months for two reasons: small children and the amount of stuff we have accumulated over years such as childhood belongings, combining two adults apartments, and things for both kids. Some weeks I am able to make progress and donate, sell, or trash. Then other weeks, the clutter and boxes wait. My goal is realistically a year. I’m at about half way through at the six month mark.

Toy/Baby Purge

Kids grow so fast. Now that babyhood is fully behind us, I saw our starter house in a whole new light. While the bouncer and pack-n-play are now gone, the toy collection continued to grow at lighting speed and with tiny pieces that seemed to find their way into every room. I knew it was time to declutter the toys. It wasn’t until this year that I was able to spend time watching my kids to see what they played with- building, arts/crafts and large motor. I realized it could be overwhelming to pick a toy to play with out of all their toys. So, I got rid of some. Never once have they asked for a toy that has been donated or sold. Also when I put toys away, they would forget they had them.

Space Redesign

As I tackled each room, I thought to myself. Is there a space that could use an update? Are the closet spaces truly being maximized? Could the family room furniture be reconfigured or changed for new furniture? Our front room is now a home office and the dog room. The corner that once housed our high chair is a perfect space for a cabinet and family command center. A non-traditional room space or that formal dining room collecting dust, could be used for as a personal space for the kids to hangout!

Each little update and refresh has made our home more functional. It has been a process. I still long to find that “forever” home one day. But, for right now, home is home.

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Nicole Fluty
Nicole was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. She graduated with her bachelors in nursing from the University of Toledo in 2009. In 2012, she moved to Columbus for a big city, single girl life, but as life would have it, started dating her husband six months later and the rest is history. She joined the motherhood club in May 2016 with the birth of son Austin and welcomed daughter Madelyn in July 2019. When not keeping up with her two kids, she works full time. On weekends, a favorite activity is getting together with friends that have multiple kids and enjoying the chaos of three year olds and babies, while attempting to watch a whole football game without tears or reminding a kid to share. Nicole’s top three ways for self-care are a quick run in her neighborhood, a glass of wine, and retail therapy. She considers brunch the best meal of the day with a mission to find the best places for french toast in Columbus.