Top 6 Reasons I Love Small Houses

I met a woman today who told me that her and her hubby recently downsized from a 3500 square foot home to a 900 square foot home. She was very happy with their decision and felt excited about what was in store for them now that they were free from a large home to maintain and the large mortgage payment that went with it. I was excited for her and felt inspired by her story! I do believe down-sizing is becoming more and more common as the shift in the economy has forced us to realize “bigger is not always better” and to focus on more sustainable lifestyle choices.

My hubby and I have always enjoyed living in smaller than average spaces. The smallest house we have ever lived in so far was a 100 year old, 400 square foot cabin in a quaint little Colorado mountain town. It was one square room containing a kitchen area (kitchen is a generous word to describe that area), sleeping area, and lounging area with a teeny tiny bathroom in a room no bigger than a coat closet. We furnished it with a $3 couch and $2 desk from a thrift store. We slept on an air mattress on the floor. Believe it or not we even hosted an overnight guest a few times. For example while living there one winter it snowed 83 inches in 4 days closing all local roads and businesses. A young city man passing through was stranded there and it was way too cold to sleep in his car.  We invited him to stay with us until the roads opened back up. For two nights he slept on the floor of our tiny cabin wrapped snug in a sleeping bag. We fed him warm chilly prepared in our little kitchen area and played scrabble together in our little lounging area. It was a lovely two days spent with a new friend! 🙂

I have many fond memories of our time together in that small cabin. We moved from that cabin to a 1 bedroom, 800 square feet home. While many people would consider an 800 square foot home for a family of 3 “small” to us it felt HUGE! We even had 4 guests stay with us for a week one time. There were sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, luggage, snowboard clothes and bodies all over the house, but it was a GOOD time with GOOD friends!

Then we moved to Arizona and lived in a 2 bedroom, 1000 square foot home. Again this felt HUGE to us and we lived in it comfortably as a family of 5 with a constant stream of out of town guests. In the past year we were in a position to move again. Not because we felt we needed a bigger space but because financially it made sense to do so.  We ended up in a 3 bedroom, 1600 square foot home. Now I know that how small or large you perceive 1600 square feet to be is relative to the geographic region you reside in, although here in AZ it’s definitely on the smaller side (especially for a family of 5, hoping to be 6 :)). However to us it feels ginormous!

I definitely like living in small spaces as the advantages are plentiful…such as:

1. Small Space = Less Stuff: Having limited space to store stuff means I am far less likely to collect stuff. When shopping (a rarity since I don’t enjoy shopping) I make purchasing decisions carefully because space in our home is coveted. Collecting less stuff fits well with my budget 😉 and my desire to be conscientious of the earth’s resources.

2. De-clutter Frequently: In a small space, clutter can erupt rapidly. On a fairly regular basis we go through and de-clutter; especially in the Fall right before Birthday season in our family and the holidays. It seems that is the time of year when several new things come into our home. The past few years I have talked with my kids about the process of exchanging something old for something new (to us). If there are things that we have outgrown use for, then we can recycle them by passing on to someone else, selling on Craigslist,or donating to a thrift store.

3. Less to Clean/Maintain: Less to clean and maintain means more time for leisure and recreation! It also equates to sinking less money into a home when something needs repair or replacement….fewer walls to paint, less carpet to lay, less cabinets to install, less windows to replace. All in all it saves money and time living in a smaller space!

4. Lower Utility Bills – I certainly appreciate getting my lower than average utility bills in the mail each month! Of course the ideal home for us would be completely off the grid all together but we’re not quite there…yet!

5. Lower Monthly Payments – While a smaller home doesn’t always mean a smaller monthly payment, for the most part this is the trend in real estate. I fully appreciate my small house and the small monthly payment that it comes with! 🙂

6. Overall Uses Less Resources – From the initial construction phase to day to day living, a smaller house means fewer resources consumed.

Conclusion? Less truly is MORE! So for all of you living in “small spaces” embrace and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of your space! 🙂

Do you live in a small space? Would love to hear details (# of bedrooms, square footage, number of people living in the home) and what you enjoy about your space.


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One Response to “Top 6 Reasons I Love Small Houses”

  1. Tamara Sz says:

    Our family of four (2 adults, 2 small children) lives in a 700 sq foot apartment with a small shared yard. At first, it was a struggle for me, but I’ve found that I enjoy it, for many of the same reasons you mentioned. We also regularly have guests, including a bi-weekly Bible study with as many as 10 people. There is a Hungarian saying (we live in Hungary): many good people fit in a small space, too. That just about sums it up. I also love that I can see or hear what my children are doing. Granted, sometimes I wish they could run off to another part of the house so I could have some peace and quiet, but for the most part, I like having my chicks right under my wings :).