When I moved to the US, I dreamed of living in a large home. Mansions as seen on TV, represented my American dream.
When Scott and I bought our first house, we indulged my aspirations. But after seven years of living large, varied circumstances led us to move into a house half the size. The move presented logistical challenges and I worried about "status", but I was excited about change.
Today, I have completely embraced small living, and could not even envision going back to big (I actually dream of smaller).
I have come to learn that bigger is not necessarily better.
Here are areas that I have found our small house has improved:
- Family bonds: We brush our teeth together, eat together, watch movies together, and even bump into each other ;), which sometimes turns into a wrestle (my fave).
- Housekeeping efficiency: Five minutes to pick up, two hours to deep clean. Cleaning used to take all day, now it takes a morning.
- Home maintenance cost: Although everything gets used more, there is less in quantity to break, and therefore less to repair. We can also easily stay on top of repairs.
- Community exchange: We reach out to friends or community for seldomly used items. Today I sent out an email for a pair of hiking boots size 6, by the end of the day, I had located two pairs (Thanks Tina and Mary!)
- Utilities cost: A smaller house is evidently cheaper to heat and light, but also cheaper to retrofit (e.g., insulation, windows, and solar).
- Space optimization: We use all the available space. I used to have a guest bedroom in my previous home. It required year round cleaning and heating, for only a couple of uses per year. Today, we simply offer the kids' bedroom to guests, and the kids get excited about camping in their playroom!
- Home security: I definitely feel safer in a small home. I know every nook and cranny of the house. A monster cannot hide in the closet:)
- Ecological impact: It makes Zero Waste manageable. "Less space, less stuff, less waste", Leo once said.
- Residency options: For us, downsizing has afforded a spot within walking distance of great schools and an active downtown - after we were told that there was no availability in our price range.
- Parental awareness: We used intercoms (baby monitors) in the old house. Now we can hear each other sneeze across the house. We might have to move when the kids become sexually active;)
- Health: For two reasons...1) A smaller space is easier to clean, which means that dust does not linger in hard to reach places; and, 2) A small house encourages outdoor activity - in the summer, my deck becomes my office.
- Stuff management: Stuff has been easier to manage in a small home for 3 reasons
- Consumption: Small spaces control the amount of stuff coming into the house. In my old house, I bought furniture just to fill large rooms. Now, we focus on double duty and functional items.
- Organization (once you have decluttered): It's easy to put things away, easy to find things.
- Access: It's even easy to get to things (closer distances).
And that would make One Proud Mama.