Our family has always lived in pretty small spaces, including a one-bedroom, 700-square-foot apartment when my two oldest were little…. I have to admit, I have not always loved small house living. Maybe you can relate? When we had way too much stuff in such a small space, the kids could literally annihilate the whole house in about ten minutes. When our life was lived at a near-frantic pace, a destroyed house meant anxiety through the roof, and no time to clean up. It was so bad, I sometimes felt I was at the point of despair over the messy, exhausting condition we lived in.
We have lived several different places, and each time we moved, we simplified a little bit. It always helped for a little while, until the dreaded “stuff” started to creep back in and overtake things. The turning point for me was reading a book called Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. That was when I realized the extent of the damage our kids’ toys were causing to all of our stress levels, and I also had hope when I read about solutions that we could all be happy with. Shortly after that, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I finally started to be able to let go of so many of my own things I had held onto, and I saw a dramatic shift in my own life as I minimized my belongings.
Clearing out belongings made space in our lives for things that were so much more important than stuff. If you have ever felt you need a dramatic decrease in your stress level, and you can never find enough time for the important things, I suggest starting with decluttering. There is something that brings so much clarity when you take the time to prioritize your life, and let go of the things that don’t help you reach your life’s most important goals. Putting in the work to reduce your amount of possessions can really save your sanity in the long run.
We have been in our current 900-square-foot house for three years, and now have a family of five. We regularly have people over, and I am so content in our space. Of course there are days when I wish for a little more counter space, or dream about adding on a sunny office (or a second bathroom)! But in reality, I am so thankful for what we have, and I am so glad we live in our cozy, little house.
Here are 8 reasons why I love small house living:
It forces me to consider what is important.
- We have minimized to a reasonable amount of “stuff” for our space, so when things start to get a little crowded again, I have to consider whether something is really worth keeping. My husband and I have spent quite a bit of time over the years, praying for and talking about vision, priorities, and goals. Thinking about whether something fits with our family’s vision and goals is a great way to determine what stays and what goes.
- This doesn’t mean everything non-essential must go. I keep some things just because I love them, or they bring peace to our home, or my kids love them. The point is, we have a limited amount of space, so we put a lot more thought into what we keep around and why.
Our family spends time together.
- When there is only one main living area in the house, we see a lot of each other. We are not each isolated in a different room doing our own things. Sometimes, this can get old, but, more often than not, I love the memories we are making, and the deep relationships we are forging by spending time together.
We spend more time outside.
- When things start feeling a little cramped, we are motivated to get outside, even in the winter. Last winter, I organized some winter hikes with friends, and it was SO refreshing to get out and do something, rather than to be cooped up inside.
- When guests come over, we set up tables and grill outside if the weather is nice. I have some great memories of barbecues with family and friends in the short time we’ve been here.
Cleaning up is not a huge chore.
- If everything is picked up (which takes a lot less time now that we have less stuff), I can clean the whole house in a couple of hours. Or I can do a quick clean in an hour or so if needed. It is SO nice to be able to do this if we are short on time and want to have people over.
- Since it is not a huge chore, our whole house gets cleaned more often. As a result, our house stays cleaner overall. It is so relaxing to live in a clean space, and our house is by no means perfect, but when people stop by, I don’t feel the urge to close all the curtains and pretend we are not home to keep them from seeing our mess.
It is easier to take care of what we have.
- I am not overwhelmed by the amount of things we have, and it is easier to keep up with maintaining our belongings and our home.
- Home repairs are less expensive. Flooring for a 25-square foot bathroom is much less expensive than a larger bathroom. Less rooms and less windows mean we spend less money on window treatments, rugs, and furniture too.
We save a lot of money on our house payment and taxes.
- Our house is not only small, but it is also in a very inexpensive suburban area. Money saved on housing can be used to pay down debt, save for the future, or enjoy experiences together.
- When my husband’s hours were cut at work, we were so grateful not to have a HUGE house payment that we were unable to pay.
My kids do not equate a large house with success (or feel entitled to a large house).
- We live well in the small space we have, and most of the time, my kids say they LOVE our home. We are very open and honest about this being a choice we have made to simplify our lives.
- I hope to be an example of being “content in all circumstances,” (though I do not at all claim to be perfect at it), and I hope my kids grow up to value this as well.
I know our family and friends come to spend time with us and build relationships, not because they love our huge, fancy house.
- We are not out to impress anyone with a huge house, new cars, or the fancy things we own. We place enormous value on relationships and experiences, and have a lot of friends with similar priorities. I have to admit, I sometimes find myself worrying about what others think. But I realize, if someone looks down on us because of where we live or how small our house is, they probably are not the kind of people we would enjoy having in our lives anyway!
If you live in a small home, what do you like or dislike about it? I would love to hear from you!
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