Do you feel like your house is too big? I live in Texas and there are some seriously huge houses here. I have couple friends with no children that live in 4500 square feet and single friends that live in 2500 square feet.
We chose to move into a smaller house a year ago. I wanted to report what I like about living in a smaller home and why I think everyone should try it. Obviously I know you aren’t going to run out and sell your house, but the next time you think about moving, maybe you should think smaller.
I heard on a podcast I like called Decorating Tips and Tricks that “McMansions” are trending out. Maybe this is more of a regional trend in places where housing prices so high that people can’t afford to go big. I still see lots of huge homes going up around me.
I’m not going to get hung up on the numbers because “small” can mean different things to different people. Small in New York may be 500 square feet, whereas that would be a closet in other places. Small is a relative term. For our family, small is 1800 square feet.
Benefits of Living In a Small Home
There are so many benefits of living in a smaller home, but these are just a few that are at the top of my list.
Financial benefits of small home
There are many financial benefits to living in a smaller house. The biggest is lower property taxes (which are obscene in Texas). Utility bills are also lower because it costs a lot less to heat and air condition a small home.
The cost to furnish or re-furnish a smaller home is less. There are fewer windows to cover, floors to buy rugs for. This allows me to spend more and get things I love, like one large wool rug for the living room.
There’s also the smaller yard that tends to go with a smaller home. If you don’t mow your own yard, this saves on lawn care. We can almost mow our grass with a weed eater.
If you are looking for more financial reasons to take the leap, check out this article.
No wasted space
If you live in a smaller home, and small may mean different things to different people, you tend to use all the rooms every day. Some people have dining rooms they just walk through but don’t use, or guest rooms that are empty most of the time.
Living in a smaller space allows you to live in all the parts of your home every day. For example, we use our dining room as a dining room when we have lots of people and the rest of the time it’s an office. There is no room in our house that doesn’t get used for hours every day.
In these days of electronics, being physically close together isn’t a bad thing. My teenage son plays a lot of video games in his very small computer room off the kitchen. I can hear him yelling back and forth to his friends. I hear him calling out their names, which gives me comfort that he isn’t playing with random people.
He is close enough to the kitchen where I an eavesdrop on his conversations a little, which I like. If I had a large house with a second story I don’t think I would be that aware of what is happening in his room.
smaller homes are naturally more cozy
Have you ever walked into a home and felt like no one lived there? I’ve been in great rooms so gigantic that your voice echoes. These types of homes are beautiful to look at but they just don’t feel as homey as a smaller house. It’s hard to make really large rooms feel cozy and warm. You can break up the seating with rugs, but it can still be hard to make them feel inviting.
easier to maintain
If your home is smaller there is less space to keep clean. It’s far more quick to clean two bathrooms than four. Do I have a separate guest bathroom? No I don’t, but I have two nice bathrooms that I can clean quickly.
Beyond cleaning, there are also fewer square feet to maintain. I have fewer feet to paint if I want to play with my home’s color palette. I can paint any room in my house in a day if I choose.
Minimalism is required
Having a smaller home can really force you to be more of a minimalist because you just don’t have the space to store as much stuff. I don’t have three sets of dishes, I just have one plus some fun accent plates. If you have less space, you are forced to be more of a minimalist with you belongings.
Here’s a great post about how downsizing can change your life and make it less about all of the stuff.
disadvantages of living in a small home
While I don’t view these as being as important, there are disadvantages that can’t be overlooked to living in a small space.
It’s harder to host guests
My husband probably views this as an advantage, but if you don’t have a guest room it’s hard to have friends and family stay with you. You could argue (as my husband does) that with all of the money we save we can pay to put our guests up in a nice hotel nearby.
It sends a message
This is an unintended disadvantage, but still a disadvantage. The message our small house sends to our son is that we can’t afford to have a big house like his friends. I can only guess that his friends have the same thoughts, but what can you do?
Is downsizing your home a good idea?
Only you can know if this makes sense in your situation. However, I think if you switch from living in a very large home to a smaller one you won’t regret it. You can save money, pair down on your stuff and live in a more cozy home.
Living in a smaller home is also a great way to simplify your life. This is a subject for another post, but when I read this post about 3 Easy ways to Simplify Your Life by my friend Pam, it got me thinking. Downsizing IS about simplifying your life. In Pam’s more eloquent way of explaining it, a smaller home can create a physical boundary. It gives you limits on how much “stuff” you accumulate and have to manage.