Monday, February 3, 2014

Benefits of a Small Home


There are more and more people who are joining the Tiny House Movement.  It's not really an official movement but there are many people who are leaving their current lifestyles behind to live in a tiny house.  Some of those houses are as small as 100 square feet!  Now I am not saying we should all live in that small of a house, but there are benefits to living in a smaller home.

Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to live in a small house.  A lot of people are trying to get out of debt so they sell their large homes and live in a tiny house on wheels parked at a friend's house or on family land.  Without a house payment or rent, they are able to save money to build their own house with cash later on.  Some people live in a tiny house to get away from the "norm" and get closer to nature.  Most "normal" people in America live in larger homes than ever before, but have to work so much to pay for them that they miss out on some of the quality things in life.

According to a US Census, the average size of an American home in 2010 was 2392 square feet.  In 1973, it was 1660 square feet.  Around 1900, the average new home only had 700-1200 square feet according to this article.  Our homes have more than doubled in size, yet the size of the family has decreased. According to the CDC, in the 1800's the average size of a family included seven children.  In the 1900's, the average family had 3-4 children.  In a census from the year 2000, the average family only had 1-2 children.

So why have our homes, on average, more than doubled in size if we don't have as many people to house?!  It's crazy when you think about it!  I know some people want bigger spaces, more privacy, and even the status symbol that a big home seems to be; BUT what about family closeness, saving money, and having extra time to do what you love?  I prefer a smaller house and this is why:

A small home saves you money!

Smaller houses are cheaper to build.  The cheaper it is to build, the more likely you are to be able to pay cash for it or at least pay off your mortgage faster.  My goal is to get out of debt and stay out of debt, so having a small home makes so much sense to me.  Maintenance costs are lower because you don't have as much of an area to fix or replace if something happens.  It is cheaper to operate your home because you don't have as large of an area to heat or cool.

Smaller houses also mean cheaper property taxes.  Smaller houses mean you don't have to buy a lot to furnish your home.  You also have to really consider a purchase before making it because you only have so much room.  In a larger home with more storage space, it is easy to accumulate junk that you don't even care to have.  That brings me to my next reason...

A small home saves you time!

Clutter creates a mental prison.  When you are surrounded with stuff, it is harder to process things and complete your day-to-day activities.  When you aren't organized, you waste time looking for items you need within the junk that you don't need or even want most of the time.  Having a small home forces you to stay tidy.  It makes you put things back where they belong or else it becomes a jungle of madness very quickly!

I have lived in a 600 square foot apartment and though I lived alone, it was the perfect space and plenty of room for a couple, if not a small family.  I now live in a larger home and dread it all the time because I accumulate so much stuff and can't find the time to clean it out.  It takes forever to clean a larger home, but when I lived in my apartment, it only took 30 minutes to clean from top to bottom.  Smaller homes are easier to care for, therefore it saves you time...time you could spend doing something else you love instead!

A small home encourages family togetherness!

In this day and age of modern technology, it is so easy to lose that close family bond.  Kids are in their rooms listening to music, playing video games, on cell phones, or surfing the internet.  Families rarely even eat dinner together anymore.  Living in a small home encourages you to spend more time together because you will most likely be in the same room for most of the time you are all home together.

It is also easier to find your kids and call them to the table for dinner.  If you have small children, having them close by when napping is a big peace of mind.  Even though your family is only two seconds away, you can still have personal space and privacy away from your family when needed.  Living in a small home helps you prioritize your life.  You are less likely to be working in the evenings when your family is home because you would all be together.

A small home simplifies life!

A small home helps to simplify your life because you have to declutter, but also because when you do need space, you would be encouraged to spend time outdoors.  Most kids today are stuck inside all day long at school and then stay inside when they get home.  Being outside is so freeing though.  It opens up the imagination.  Most of my day dreaming as a child was done walking barefoot in our backyard wearing a long skirt and pretending to be Laura Ingalls Wilder from The Little House on the Prairie books. Being outside is also healthier for us.

I don't know about you but I also like small spaces because I feel more secure.  When I can see every corner of the house or room that I am in, I feel safer knowing that no one is hiding in the shadows, waiting to attack.  I grew up in a modest sized home but it still felt large when I had to walk down a long, dark hallway in the evenings to get to the bathroom.  I prefer smaller spaces without the hallways.

Knowing where everything is in a small house makes life more simple as well.  Having things organized and ready at your fingertips is much more simple than digging through storage boxes in a spare room trying to find something that you may or may not even have anymore!  Living in a small space just feels so cozy, especially in cold weather.  I love the feeling of snuggling up by the fireplace in a small room on a cold night and reading a good book.  It's easier to enjoy the simple things when you live a more simple life.

So what do you think about small homes?  Would you rather live simply in a smaller house or have a larger home for the extra space? 

This post is linked up to the Homestead Barn Hop!

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