5 Surprisingly Big Benefits of a Smaller Home

Downsizing Your Home

Could you live in a small(er) home?

It’s hardly news that downsizing your home will save you money.

In addition to the lowered mortgage payment and taxes, you’ll also spend less on utilities and maintenance.

But living in a smaller house isn’t just a smart financial decision.

Deciding to downsize can also improve your quality of life.

Here are five ways that living in a small house has made my life better:

1. You have less to clean. I’m not known for my housekeeping abilities, but living in a 1,400 square foot house means my lack of a clean gene doesn’t show so much.

I grew up in a 2,500 square foot house, and cleaning was an all-day, all-family affair. It was exhausting even just thinking about it and we didn’t do it as often as my mother would have liked.

Now, I do my cleaning in 15-minute bursts throughout the day, and cleaning the house rarely becomes an overwhelming horror that I avoid. If we had more house, that would mean more rooms to clean and more places for clutter to gather.

2. You have more family time. One of the selling points for big houses is that everyone gets to have his own space. And while I would never want to give up my me-time, I don’t think I need an enormous separate room to have it.

Families in very large houses don’t have to spend time together, because each person has a space to retreat to. When everyone is all thrown together into a small living area, that allows for more fun family time. (It also allows for more squabbles, but isn’t that what family is also about—learning how to handle conflicts?)

3. You’re more likely to know your neighbors. Big houses are often on big lots. You can easily wave at your neighbor while you’re both getting in the car in the morning, but it takes a little more effort to actually spend time with them.

Small houses are often set closer together. Spend an afternoon sitting on your porch, and you’ll have the chance to see children playing on the sidewalk, neighbors doing yard work, and the nice couple down the street walking their dog.

It really is easy to be a good neighbor when you don’t have to walk a quarter mile to get there.

4. You become less focused on stuff. Just as a goldfish will grow to fill the size of a bowl it lives in, a regular family’s need for stuff will grow to fit the space it has to fill.

Average Square Feet of Homes in US

Average Square Feet of Homes in the U.S. - Source: Journalstar.com

Living in a large house means more rooms to furnish and decorate. But it’s more than that. When you live in a small house, it’s easy browse at stores without buying because you don’t have room for new stuff.

Small living changes how you view making new purchases. In a large house, there’s always room for more, so you might as well indulge.

5. You’re reducing your environmental footprint. Small houses consume less energy and use less materials in the building process.

But in addition to these environmental benefits, small houses are also generally built in more walkable areas, which means you don’t have to jump in the car just to get a gallon of milk. And since buying a small house will often mean buying an older home, you will be preserving the environment by not building new—which is the ultimate in recycling.

Downsizing isn’t just for empty-nesters or those who bought more house than they can afford. If you live in a big house, think about how downsizing to a small one could improve your life, your relationships, and your bottom line.

Do you ever have the desire to live in a smaller (or bigger) home? Why?

Image by mrkumm

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Last Edited: April 16, 2014 @ 12:05 pm
About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher, and an excellent freelance writer. She's also a stay-at-home-mom. She resides in Lafayette, IN, with her engineer husband and son. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.