Have you ever considered downsizing your living space?
What if I told you there are a lot of benefits in making this decision? Imagine more time to do what you want and less time cleaning? How about getting out from under all that clutter you have accumulated? We did this two years ago and it was one of the best decisions we ever made!
In 1970 the average square footage of a house in America was 1400 square feet and in 2009 that had grown to 2700 square feet. It seems like Americans in the last year or so are finally catching on to the fact that consumer debt and bigger houses are not buying them happiness. After the housing market crash of 2007-2008, a lot people have decided to downsize and we are one of those families.
We started our life together in a ranch style, 1500 square foot, house we lived in from 1996-2011. When we moved to Kentucky in May of 2011, we purchased a beautiful, almost, brand new 2600 square foot house. After a year in this house, I was feeling unsettled and overwhelmed by the size of it. We are a one child family due to unexplained infertility and we were living in a four bedroom, two and a half bathroom home. It seemed excessive and a waste of our resources. I told my husband I wanted land and a smaller house. We found one hundred acres, put a down payment on it, and sold the house we were living in.
In May of 2012, we started building our little house in an existing tractor shed on the property we bought. I absolutely love my little home. It is approximately 1100 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom. We do have a tiny basement that is used as storage and a tornado shelter during storm season.
These are my top five reasons for downsizing your living space:
1. Lower monthly expenses.
Our monthly expenses have dropped drastically since living in our little house.
We decided to dig a well instead of pay for county water which eliminated a water bill.
Our electric is much cheaper with less lights and less space to heat.We installed mini-split units that both heat and cool our home. We have three of them, one in each bedroom, and one in the main area of the house. Plus, we installed a woodstove in our garage to blow hot air under our house to keeps pipes from freezing.
Insuring a smaller, less expensive, house is cheaper than a larger, more expensive home.
2. It takes you less time to clean a small house.
I used to spend so much time cleaning. I spent time cleaning rooms we never even used. It’s amazing how a space that’s not even used can collect so much dust! On average, it probably takes me a total of two hours to clean my entire house. That includes vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and cleaning the bathroom.
I don’t know about you, but I could think of a million things I would rather be doing than cleaning. And this is coming from a person who likes to clean and organize.
3. You accumulate less clutter.
I have clutter phobia so this has never been a problem for me.
I used to decorate with more knick-knacks and pictures but now I keep it to a minimum. I do save some sentimental things, mostly from my son, but there are not very many. I just don’t want to have to move five things out of my way to dust a surface.
You cannot collect things while living in a small space, unless you want to feel suffocated by it all. I am forced to clean out closets and drawers more frequently because we just don’t have the room to keep buying things without getting rid of things.
4. You are literally forced to be closer as a family.
In a small house you cannot escape each other as easily. You are forced to spend time together because you have no other place to go! This is a good things, friends! There is a popular country song that says “Love grows best in little houses with few walls to separate” and I believe this to be true. I love how close we are as a family.
It forces you to go outside more. We may have a smaller house but we have one hundred acres to explore and roam around on. If you’re getting on each other’s nerves, just head outside.
5. The cost of building and financing is much less with a smaller house.
A rough guess estimate of how much it cost to build and furnish our house was less than $100,000. That was with doing the majority of the work ourselves. The house we previously lived in cost over twice that much. Most of the money in our mortgage now goes to pay for the land it sits on. The land is a much better investment than a house that deteriorates over time. We will be able to pay our mortgage off much quicker living in this house because our cost of living is much less.
Now, before you tell me that “You only have one child so it’s easy to live in smaller space,” I will tell you that my grandparents raised five children in a three bedroom home that is about the size of ours now. In fact, most people of that generation did, and the last time I checked my mom and her brothers and sisters all turned out fine. Besides, let’s be honest with each other, the extra space in a house is usually just used as storage anyway. That’s a pretty expensive storage unit to pay for if you ask me.
These are just a few of the reasons I love the choice we made to live in a smaller home. It has been well worth it for our family.