As my husband and I prepare to move our family of four out of our three-bedroom, 1,070 square foot home, the comment we often hear is, “Oh, you’re looking for a bigger place?” And to be perfectly honest, that is one of the items on our wish list. But there is much to be said for life in a small home.
I could easily write a post titled, “Where do you store your stockpile when you are having a hard time just finding a place for your visiting mother-in-law to sleep?” That seemed a bit long-winded, so I decided to focus on the benefits of downsized living instead. Actually, the whole downsizing trend is hot in the real estate market right now, both for buyers and builders. Leave it to good ol’ green Portland to take that to the next level.
Living in a small space can be challenging. It forces you to think outside of the box, to sort out your belongings, and to be creative when hosting guests. There are harder challenges in life, though, right?
Whether you find yourself in a tight living situation by choice or by circumstances, I hope this encourages you to see the benefits. (Note: This post is not a criticism of those of you who live in larger homes. I am just sharing my own personal perspective/preference.)
FIVE REASONS I LIKE SMALL HOUSES:
- We live in every square inch. We use every shelf, cabinet, closet, and room in our home on a regular basis. Dust does not have a chance to settle. Which is good because I really, really hate dusting. This type of living feels efficient, with no wasted spaces. I like actually living in our living room. My son toddles around, my daughter does puzzles, my husband reads books, and I workout all in the same room. At times, it gets a bit cramped, but I like having my little family within reach. Literally.
- There is less to keep clean. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, and I know it is sounds obvious. Think about it, though. I spend less time vacuuming because I have less to vacuum. It frees up time for other things, like fishing chewed-up crayons out of my son’s mouth. If you feel like there are not enough hours in your day, consider how much time your home consumes. Is it possible to downsize your square footage or your possessions?
Last night, my husband and I walked through a 3600 square foot home with our realtor. 4 bathrooms! 5 bedrooms! Tons of space! To be perfectly honest, I was not excited about it. I felt totally unsettled and uninterested. I would either need to have six more children to fill the space or hire a live-in maid to keep it clean. I wouldn’t mind a little more elbow room, but I don’t want to lose my kids inside of our own home.
- Utility bills are lower. My husband is slightly fanatical about our energy bills. Okay, he is just plain nuts. He reads the fine print on the water bill and figures out our daily power usage as he scans the electric bill, calculator in hand. In the summertime, our electric bill is under $40/month; in the winter it’s around $70/month. We aren’t doing anything crazy to get it that low. There are just fewer rooms to heat and light.
- You get good at thinking creatively. For example, I created an office space at one end of our kitchen, maximized our storage spaces, and spend as much time outdoors as possible.
Hosting out-of-town guests takes the creative thinking skills up a notch. We have hosted up to 11 extra people overnight in our little house. One time it was for four days. Another for two weeks. Impossible? On paper, yes. In reality, we had a blast. People were packed in like sardines. Mealtimes were a zoo. The bathroom was never empty. I have no desire to live like that, but in small doses it is totally possible and can be a whole lot of fun.
- It helps me keep wants & needs in perspective. When I think of how the majority of the world’s population lives, I feel somewhat silly for wanting a guest room and a master bathroom. Do I want a bigger house? Yes. Do I need a bigger house? No. Our needs are abundantly met in our current home. We have a secure roof over our heads, good food on the table, and spaces to live and play together. Life is good, and I like to be reminded of that often.
I truly believe it is possible to live large in small spaces.
What about you? Agree? Disagree? Ready to join the Small House Society? Leave a comment!
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