Everyone has their thing. You know, the thing that they are willing to spend more money on. Some are cars, many prefer vacations, while others will spend it on clothes. Mine is a house. The home is such an important place for me. A place I want my family to feel safe, loved, and cozy. A place for friends to gather and fellowship. A spot for our children’s friends to want to hang out. Ultimately, a place where people feel welcome and “at home.” Even though I’d spend more money on a home than other things, our home is just right for us in this season of life and it’s within our means.
Our home is considered “small” according to the average size of a house in America. The average size of a home in 2013 was 2600 square feet. Our house is around 1960 square feet. In most research I found, 2000 square feet or less was considered on the smaller side (which sounds a little crazy to me, but nonetheless). We are a family of 4 (2 adults + 2 kids). In my opinion, I think it’s plenty big. Even so, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a bigger home in the future. Personally, I’m more into the details and decor of a house vs. its size, but I sure would like a big kitchen and a big backyard (like really big).
Where I live, our house is considered small for sure. Sometimes it can be discouraging, but I have to remember the bigger picture (our life goals) and that this would be a house some would only wish for. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way…more in a “quit being ungrateful with what you have” way. Our house fits our needs right now, plus it’s incredibly affordable ;), freeing up money for more important things like college, adequate retirement, staying home with the kids, and even vacations (I value the intangible stuff that vacations can create). And I don’t have anything against bigger houses that are affordable…I hope to be in one someday.
With that said, I’ve realized some incredible things I love about living in a “smaller” home. These are particular to the area I live in. Here are 10 reasons I love living in our home.
1. It’s easier to clean
We don’t have a maid, so I do all the cleaning. Ryan and the boys definitely help out, but I consider that my role as a homemaker and I love doing it actually. I’m very particular with how I like it done too, so I prefer to do majority of it. When you have less square footage to clean, it takes much less time to clean. With two small children, cleaning is like breathing around here…it’s constant. So I’m grateful for a smaller home to clean. Another benefit is it costs less to clean – less money spent on cleaning products.
2. Lower bills
Pretty obvious with this one too, but smaller home, smaller bills. It takes a lot more electricity to run a 3,000 square foot house than ours.
3. Love grows best in little houses
I’m sure you’ve seen this quote all over Pinterest, but the full quote is as follows: “Love grows best in little houses with fewer walls to separate. Where you eat and sleep so close together, you can’t help but communicate. If we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss. Love grows best in little houses like this.” For the record, I think love can grow in all sorts of places, but this is a comforting quote for small home owners.
4. Lower mortgage/Lower taxes
In general, a smaller home costs less (there are obviously exceptions to this). There are many benefits of a lower mortgage, but one that I love is that you are able to pay it off faster, saving you SOOOOO much money in interest (inevitably, someone will argue the tax break you get with a house…it’s still not better, not even close). We haven’t had a mortgage payment in 6.5 years and I can’t tell you what that money has done for us over time. With a lower mortgage, comes lower taxes also.
5. More money for retirement and college
I mentioned this above, but if you’re saving money on your mortgage, you are able to better save for retirement and college. Did you know most people are not fully funding their retirement plans? Ryan and I could get a bigger house tomorrow, but we’d have to give up our retirement and college savings for the boys. Not happening.
6. Better for the environment
Smaller spaces require less energy, water, etc. There are many other ways a smaller house is better for the environment that you can read here.
7. No wasted space
I can honestly go through our house and point out the uses of each room/space. We could probably even take out our dining room (which we actually eat at every night) and still be okay (we have a small breakfast nook).
8. Good life lessons for our kids
I debated including this one, but it’s actually one of the more important reasons for us. This is strictly a personal reason. I like that my kids are growing up in a smaller than average home (according to America’s statistics). I want them to remember that mommy and daddy didn’t start off in a big home. I want them to see firsthand a successive build up to nicer things. I see too many kids graduating college (with tons of student loans as well) and purchase a house completely out of their means, resulting in financial catastrophe. I think even my generation (me included) expect nicer things at the start of our careers/marriages (even in our mid-30’s). Aside from my personal reasons, there is plenty of research that shows the correlation between an adult’s spending habits and how they were raised financially. You can read this book for more information. I grew up in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with 4 kids (3 girls, 1 boy) and my parents (5 kids at one time) that my parents still live in today. I shared a room until I was a sophomore in college…I knew no different. The memories in that house…oh the memories. Going back home is such a great feeling. My parents could have afforded a bigger house but chose to send us (yep, all 4) to a Christian school. I’ll be forever grateful for that. My childhood was awesome, my family was very close (and still is)…and we didn’t have a huge house.
9. Easier and more affordable to maintain
In addition to cleaning as I mentioned above, you have to furnish and decorate a house. It’s much more affordable to decorate a smaller home. I think about how much it would cost to furnish and redecorate a new home for us. I love decorating and I don’t feel so bad changing things up when I have’t spent thousands of dollars on furniture or decor. Additionally, maintenance on major appliances and units are more affordable.
10. Cozy and homey
There is something about a small space that is just cozy. I can’t even put it into words, but it’s just a feeling. I often think of the show Fixer Upper when I think of this. Almost every home they fix up is “small” and yet, with the right decorating, I’m in love with it. It’s like that feeling you get when you sit down in a small coffee shop with a friend. If I can make someone feel comfortable and “at home” when they’re in my house, then I’m happy.
Do you live in a small home? Can you relate to any of these? Or maybe you live in a bigger home. What do you love about a bigger space? I’d love to hear from anyone who’s moved from “small” to “big”…that’s our plan one day (well more on the average side :)), but we’ll see. I put those words in quotation because it’s technically all relative to each family.
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