5 Tips for Living in a Small Space {Embrace your space!}

The following is a guest post from Emily of Our Frugal Happy Life:

This summer, we (suddenly) downsized from a four-bedroom, one-bathroom house to a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo. We simplified everything, reexamined what we really need on a regular basis, and reorganized our home to fit us better.

However, living in a small space can be challenging at times. As I am learning to focus more on being intentional in my homemaking endeavors, I have five tips for those of you who live in smaller homes.

1. Don’t compare your home to other homes.

You will only be jealous if you want what other people have! Concentrate on what you have, not what others have. Don’t let the green envy monster get the best of you!

2. Embrace the space you do have.

Be grateful that God has given you a home! Even if you feel like you’re cramped for space, many people would give anything to have the space you have. Embrace your space — and find creative ways to use it!

3. Be creative with your space!

Use traditional spaces for non-traditional storage.

  • What can you store in the bathroom vanities? I store paper products and other bathroom odds and ends.
  • How can you maximize your closet space? We have a walk-in closet in our master bedroom and we don’t just use our closet for clothes! All of our plastic storage totes are stacked on one side of our closet and we store boxes on the top shelves.
  • Utilize under-the-bed plastic storage totes. These can be great space-savers!

4. Organize your space to work efficiently.

Working in a small space is so much easier if the area is organized in a way that benefits you. Here’s how I do this in our kitchen:

  • Keep the kitchen clutter-free. One of my nightly goals is to clear off the kitchen island.
  • Leave often-used appliances on the counters. This may go against what others suggest, but I find that it works so well for me. I simply don’t have the space to store all of my appliances. And I’m more inclined to use them when they are right there on my counter.
  • Utilize the space on top of the cabinets, if you have it. We store quite a few items on top of our cabinets.
  • Use the cabinet and drawer space wisely. Organize your cabinets and drawers in a way that works well for you; group like items together.

5. Keep a handle on your stockpile.

My health and beauty stockpile is stored in a few boxes in our bathroom closet. And like I’ve said before, not having a pantry is a good thing for me: my food stockpile is controlled!

What tips do you have for living in a small space? How do you “embrace your space,” no matter the size?

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Comments

  1. Bonnie says

    Good article, especially the parts about clutter.

    I’m looking at your pictures, trying to figure out where the small space is. ;)

    Bonnie, in our 5th wheel trailer

    • Candice says

      haha that’s exactly what I was thinking! We have 1200sq ft 3 room 1.5 bath with 6 ppl living in it 4 of them kids 6 and under. No above cabinet space , or counter space hardly, no walk in closets teeny tiny bathrooms and bedrooms. I’ve been trying to purge things but I knit and I have a small stockpile since I was knitting to sell (and will again soon hopefully) and it can’t be stored outside the house. I feel so cluttered! But I’m thankful for a house payment we can afford ;) If the housing market wasn’t so bad and a tornado hadn’t messed up our city we may have been able to move by now.

      • says

        I crochet and I can’t tell you the amount of yarn I have….at least you have the excuse of a side business! LOL!

        I have a tiny house, around 900 square feet. When I got divorced 7 years ago, I had to find a smaller place. Sometimes things are jammed into tiny spaces and when I’m wrestling something out of a cabinet and I feel my stress level rising, I just take a deep breath and thank God that I have a cozy house and count my blessings.

    • says

      I think space is relative…given our situation, this space is small for us, considering what we did have (we rent…). We rented a LARGE house last year simply because it was our ONLY option when we moved here. Moving out of that (we were forced out) meant we would downsize. Overall, it’s been a blessing, though!

      Also – we arrange our furniture in ways that make the room appear larger and more spacious. We choose to have less furniture to make that happen.

      It’s all about what works for you!

      • says

        Emily–I totally agree about the furniture! Placement can make such a big difference! When we first moved to our two bed/one bath duplex, we only had one child. When another came along, we had to rearrange the room to fit another bed. The crazy thing is, creative rearranging made the room *feel* more spacious–even with two beds instead of one!

    • Ashley M says

      My husband and I live in a 5th wheel trailer with our one year old. To us… a two bedroom home is HUGE. To each their own. We find that making sure you don’t have items you don’t use. If we haven’t used the item in a year, it’s gone. It’s the only way to stay clutter free (and sane!) :)

      • Ashley M says

        Oops… meant to say “We find that making sure you don’t have items you don’t use is the most helpful”

  2. says

    Great tips! One thing that helped me with my kitchen space was to decide which appliances I really didn’t have to have and get rid of them. For instance, we don’t eat toast that often, so we got rid of the toaster and when we do need to make some, we heat up a skillet.
    Also, I give a hearty second to using the tops of cupboards!

  3. says

    My husband and our 4 children (ages 5 and down) lived in a travel camper trailer for 2 yrs as we traveled for our ministry. I must say that, despite the challenges, I loved it. Embrace the fact that you have less things and space to clean and more time for your children. If it doesn’t have a place to be “put away” then get rid of it. Clutter is very overwhelming in a smaller space. Know that children THRIVE with less toys. My children had 2 small bins for toys and puzzles. They learned to be creative and to use their imaginations. It does not hurt them to have “less” than their friends!

    • says

      “Children THRIVE with less toys.” – Absolutely. We actually moved into a larger space than we’ve ever had before, more than doubling our previous square footage if you include basement space. But we still decided to move a large majority of our kids toys downstairs into storage and rotate them out, because they would just go from one thing to another and leave a mess behind them every five minutes.

    • says

      I store baking pans and other kitchen type items that I use infrequently on top of our cabinets. You could also store canned goods if you have a stockpile of them. Some appliances may even fit up there (like a smaller size toaster oven or a blender). If you store pans like I do, you will probably have to wash them again before using just because they will get dusty up there. But it’s a good space to utilize if you can!

    • says

      I use all the space on top of my cabinets. Some kitchen cabinets are installed right up to the ceiling, but our kitchen cabinets have a little over a foot between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. We use this space for our crock pot, a large stock pot, an extra blender, canning jars and supplies, a wok, some large casserole dishes, serving trays and a few other odds and ends we don’t use very much but don’t want to get rid of.

      Our cabinets might not look the prettiest, but our kitchen is so tiny that this is the only way to make it work.

    • says

      I store extra groceries (larger items, jars of peanut butter, extra canned goods, boxes of cereal, etc.) up top. I also keep our large skillet up there, my cake holder, an extra cooler, extra pitchers, my large crockpot/roaster.

      That’s just what is up there now…it does change periodically.

      I would have included more details in the post, but there’s a limit (which obviously makes it much easier to read, so it’s a good thing!). I’d be happy to answer more questions about details, though. :)

    • Natalie says

      I store the alcohol bottles (away from the kids!) & my stand mixer because that’s the only space in the house it will fit besides on the floor. I have a shelf above the fridge that has my flour, rice, brown sugar, baking stuff in glass jars or plastic jars with sealing lids.

  4. says

    This may seem silly to some but don’t overlook an unused 2nd shower! If it’s rarely used consider putting a board over tub area and placing stackable drawers on top. Add a second tension rod inside shower for another “closet” area for hanging clothes. Keep the shower curtain up like normal and no one visiting your home will see a difference! But you will def love having used the “unused” space for another closet!

    • says

      We only have one bathroom, but the washing machine is in our kitchen and there is no room to keep dirty clothes. (There’s hardly enough room for the table and three chairs!) SO, we keep the dirty laundry basket in the bathtub. It’s slightly inconvenient to move it in and out, but hey, it’s a little bit of exercise. ;)

    • cathy S. says

      LOVE this idea. Three of us live in a 360 sq. ft. mini house and two live in 8 x 36 ft. travel trailer. Thank you!

  5. Koree says

    I live in 700 square feet. Even with just me there is no room for anything else! I try to limit my purchases-like if I find a book at Goodwill I want to read, then another one must be sold at the used bookstore. Same with clothes. I store cat litter by the washer and pitchers/chips on top of the fridge. Luckily I have a small shed on the deck for odds/ends.

  6. Amanda says

    I know this is weird, because most people WANT to live in large houses, but I actually LOVE tiny homes. In fact, it is my goal to someday build a mini-house. Your living room seems huge to me, especially the way it’s decorated with your furniture being all around the perimeter. My suggestion for living in small spaces are to look at photos of how other tiny spaces are deocorated; some are absolutely gorgeous! I get most of my ideas from magazines; they occasionally feature small-space deocorating… and they usually have pretty good ideas for maximizing storage space (utilizing EVERY corner… for example, build a reading bench with storage underneath, etc.). But then, I am secretly an interior deocorator at heart!

    • says

      I agree with you, Amanda – I think we like our small home more! It’s been a very positive change.

      We currently are only able to rent and the house we rented last year was HUGE – we only rented it because it was our ONLY option (we moved here for my husband’s call as a pastor). This summer, we were forced out of that home (buy it now or move out- situation), so we downsized.

      Our living room isn’t tiny, but it’s also not huge. Our kitchen, living room and eating area are all one space. We intentionally laid out the furniture the way we did in order to make it feel like it’s more spacious. :)

      And when we host a large group of people, we move the kitchen table to the living room and eat there! We fed a dozen people at Christmas that way. ;)

    • says

      Wow Nancy! I give you a lot of credit! :)

      I definitely think we could have several children in this home and be fine, but it would certainly take some creativity, and probably some sacrifices.

      Kudos to you for making it work – I bet you’re doing fine! :)

    • Candice says

      I completely understand where you are :) 6 ppl, 1200 sq ft and DH has devoted a whole wall of the bowling alley living room to a huge tv and stand >_<

      • says

        we have 5 of us in a 900 sq ft home(plus 3 dogs, 3 cats and a bearded dragon). me an hubby share our bedroom with the the 5 year old(her toys are in bub and sis’s room) but hopefully, we are getting bunk beds soon so she can move in with the other 2. we have 2 closets in the entire house which stinks, and the kitchen is tiny but we would feel strange if we had a gigantic house

        • Amanda says

          We live in a two-bedroom house also, and have had four kids at some point over the years. My stepdaughter just graduated high school, so that freed up some space. But anyhoo, we put (made) a triple-bunk in the kids room when she still lived with us, while the baby slept in a crib in our room. The baby is now four, and long ago moved into the bedroom with the others. We took one of those bunks that had a desk in the middle of it, ripped the desk part out, and stuck a board in the middle to make the triple-bunk bed. It was very cool. But also, you could look on Pinterest- it shows many ways of creating double bunks in one room… like “hanging” two sets of bunks from the ceiling. There are definitely ways to do it.

    • Kristine says

      I have a hard time with it, too. We live in an 875-square-foot townhome with three bedrooms and one bathroom. It’s so difficult for me to deal with the clutter with three young children and a husband who isn’t very organized.

  7. Pamela says

    We are a family of 4 living in a small 2B/1B house. For us, the key to making this work well is simply owning less. In other words, it’s not about organizing the excess clutter that you have, but instead getting rid of the clutter and organizing only the essentials.

    My biggest challenge is in our kitchen. I have only 3 small drawers: one for silverware, one for all other cooking utensils, and one for towels/cloths/pot holders/oven mitts.

    • says

      I totally feel your pain (or should I squashedness.) We moved into our tiny 2 bed/1 bath duplex when we had one child. Now we have three in the same duplex (we were spending as little as possible to make it through school.)

      The kitchen has been my greatest challenge too. One thing that made a huge difference was adding a few shelves. I’m not sure if your landlord will let you, but if he/she does, I would definitely consider it.

      Also, you might try putting your other cooking utensils in a tall round holder on the counter or stove. That’s where I keep mine. That would free one up for something else.

      • Amanda says

        Or hang them from hooks on the wall… you can also hang hooks/chains from the ceiling to make a homemade pot “rack” thing.

      • Kristine says

        We have only one drawer in our kitchen, one cabinet for food, and one cabinet for dishes. We rent and can’t add built-in shelves, but I bought a couple of metal utility shelves for the kitchen. It doesn’t look as nice as having everything put away in cabinets, and things get dusty, but that was really our only option. I also get rid of any small appliances that I didn’t use regularly in the kitchen.

  8. Christy says

    We live in 1300 square feet with 2 kids and 2 large dogs. While not quite as small as some of your places, it always feels cramped to us. It is a townhome so we do not have a garage or a yard or an attic–there is a small space at the entrance to the “attic”–really crawl space that we do keep a few things. Our biggest challenges are storing outdoor toys/strollers/bikes and storing things the kids outgrow. Our screen porch that we used to enjoy for hanging out and eating meals has become storage for outdoor toys. We did get a garage cabinet and put it in the corner for balls, bubbles, golf, t-ball items, etc. Our recycling bin sits on top of it. Our hitch-haul for our SUV stands up in the corner next to it. Plus riding toys, bike, jogging stroller. Even without a garage, if we had a yard, we could put a shed in it. I walk 2 miles almost every day with the 1 year old in the stroller and the 4 year old on his bike so we really do use the big things!

    Also storing everything my 4 year old outgrows for the 1 year old (both boys). I just cannot get rid of it all and buy it all again. It is so nice to not have to buy any clothes for the younger boy. And now storing everything the 1 year old out grows in case we have another. We are leaning more and more towards not having another and I am so tempted to just get rid of it all, but I’m not sure yet!! I have outgrown clothing in the tiny attic space,under our bed, in both boy’s closets, in the linen closets… We would be in a bigger (not huge, but slightly bigger) “real house”–as opposed to a townhome if the market hadn’t tanked. I really think I could happily live in the same square footage if I had a garage or yard for a shed and an attic.

    Also we constantly get rid of stuff (not the kid’s clothes obviously) but our stuff. I don’t know where it all comes from! We are blessed to have a very large kitchen so no storage problems there. One thing I do hate is not really being able to have more than one family over at a time. We are in a supper club right now and I am stressed about our turn to host because there are 10 adults and a few kids. Our table does have a leaf, but we only have 4 chairs and 4 folding chairs (how tacky) and 2 bar stools in the kitchen. Guess I didn’t really think about this when we agreed to be in the supper club–woops! The first family that hosted set up their dining room all nice and kind of set the bar. I came home and realized we don’t even have enough silverware or glasses for our turn to host! Guess we will be borrowing!

    But all in all I try to be positive. We really do have a nice house. We have just outgrown it, but we can make it work for a while longer!

    • Amanda says

      I am of the camp that smaller is cozier (and I love it!). We have an itty-bitty house, but we still invite tons of people over for birthday parties (with lots of kids!), etc. Nobody minds sitting on the couch to eat, or even on the floor, or standing around in the kitchen… but then again, we are very easy-going people. And I know the waste will offend some people, but we use paper plates/plastic “silverware” for parties… then you always have enough. I think if you make it more of an informal vibe, as opposed to formal, it will work. I think your company will enjoy the food and the companionship, and that’s all that really matters. Don’t stress it too much!

  9. Ashley says

    My husband and I normally pick one room a month and have a purge fest. We are able to get rid of a lot of unneeded items that way. Then we bundle items and sell on Craigslist or Facebook. We use this money for Christmas money. It helps that we both do this because we can keep the other in check.

    • Krysten says

      I like that idea, Ashley! An organized way to declutter! =) I try to go through my stuff and my son’s stuff periodically to weed out the things that we don’t need/use. I haven’t had tons of luck selling on Craigslist, so I stash my stuff in boxes and have a garage sale in the early summer, then donate many of the leftovers to our school’s rummage sale in the late summer. Now if I could only get my husband on the decluttering bandwagon!

  10. Rachael says

    We’ve also recently downsized as we are trying to sell our home and currently living in a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment. There are many advantages, including way less to clean and way less yard maintenance.

    • Becky says

      We too downsized from 1400 SF to 875 SF three months ago. We now do not have a mortgage! We are in our 50′s and we are soooo much more happier. It only takes me 1 hour to clean from top to bottom.

  11. Candice says

    I noticed you kept the free Target zipper make-up bag. I did too since it’s too cute and useful to throw away ;)

      • :) says

        Throw away? You’d have to be crazy to throw such a cute little thing away. I still have that one and the blue Sonja Kashunk one that they did from the first promotion. They’re perfect to hold unmentionables inside your purse. :) I was considering re-purpousing the pink one to keep crayons and a small notebook for my girls in my purse as well.

  12. Nikki Eddy says

    Great tips! I do a lot of what you suggest. I wish we could have pretty decoratives on top of our kitchen cabinets, but we need somewhere to put your appliances, serving trays, bigger pots, etc. Our house is very small, a family of 5 and 2 dogs. We’ve re-arranged our livingroom furniture about 5 times in the last 4 years, always trying to maximize the space. I suggest MIRRORS MIRRORS and more MIRRORS!! Especially a big honkin’ one. I love ours from Kirklands. They allow your eyes to focus farther than the room allows. And Multi-functional furniture. A coffee table with storage underneath. Someone suggested a reading bench with storage. Storage is key in a small space.

    • says

      Those are great suggestions, Nikki!

      I have always thought that the decorations on top of kitchen cabinets are pointless, so I like being forced to use that space for storage!

      Then again, I despise knick-knacks and can’t stand useless items in my home…so that may have something to do with it! To each his own, right?

  13. Heather says

    Love this post–especially #1! It’s so easy to look at my friends’ homes and feel such jealousy. But I really do enjoy my home and its smaller payment! The comments have given me some inspiration for decluttering; I like the idea about 1 room a month. Currently, it’s just my teenager and I in a 900 sq. ft. home with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath, but we’ve had 2 more adults for much of the last 14 years. Fortunately, I have good storage. I have cupboards with space at the top in my classroom (not at home, though), and I store tubs of items on them. Keeps them free of dusty and organized. Cookie cutters hang from nails as decorations in my kitchen, and a computer armoire keeps the mess from being visible to company while taking up much less space.

  14. Leah says

    One thing we did when we moved to our 2 bedroom 1,100 sq. foot apartment was to get rid of the toaster. We just use our toaster oven to toast bread.

  15. says

    We don’t have a very small space, but sometimes we feel like we do with 8 people living here. We have to get creative with where our pantry is. I currently keep some of my canned goods in the living room end tables. Works great!

  16. says

    Our space just got bigger as we just converted our garage into bedrooms, but having 6 kids, we still sometimes have to get creative with our space, especially our pantry space. I currently have part of my pantry in my living room end table. I store some of the canned goods in there. These are some end tables I got for $1 at an auction. ;)

  17. says

    We live in 1200 sq. feet with 6 members in our household. My biggest tips are use your vertical space! When you can’t go out, you must go UP! We have a couple wall/cube/shelves that go to the ceiling. They are a God-send. Also, you must be a purger! You will find out your wants vs. needs when living in a small quarters. Truly, we are happy where we are. People comment on how we *need* more room, and truth is, we could buy a bigger house if we wanted to but we don’t thinkt he added financial burden would be worth it because this honestly works for us.

  18. says

    Great article! I live in a 510 sq, ft. apartment–which is fine for me. However, it’s not fine for all of my Operation Christmas Child stockpile! And my waaay too much other stuff. I do have a small storage space downstairs, but I don’t make the best use of it all. I purged a lot about 1.5 years ago (with a friend’s help), but am purging again. I’m working on my kitchen right now. I have too many containers and other things and just not enough space.

    As to using the top of cabinets–I keep extra cereal and boxes of crackers up there. I just pull one down as I need it. Works well for me!

  19. Grace says

    We are 5 ppl in a 1100 sq fr apartment and I have always been frustrated w lack of space. This last month we decided to start selling stuff we don’t use. We have almost 800 dollars in mostly small stuff. My stockpile way too much for the room we have example always falling off the shelves. Now who would have thought their was a market for that on eBay? Not me for sure. :)

  20. says

    We used to live in a much smaller space than we do now – we started off in a 1 BR, 600 square foot basement apartment that we paid $1050 a month in rent for (yes, welcome to the San Francisco Bay area!) The way that we maximized our space was to use storage under the bed, shop for only what we could store in terms of food, and keep our possessions pared down. We are now blessed with a 3 BR, 2 BA house with a huge yard and basement, but those years of small spaces left an imprint on me – I still try to make the most of each and every space, and to not bring in more than we need.

  21. says

    Keep posting ideas, our family is in a 3br/2ba 1500 sq. feet and we are downsizing to a 27′ travel trailer there are two adults and 6 children…so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  22. says

    This post is such a blessing and practical encouragement! When my fiance’ and I are married in May, I will be joining him in a 1 bedroom apartment (it’s over a 2 car garage) that has the kitchen & livingroom combined. And. . .it has no closet in the bedroom, only one tiny closet in the hall! So my fiance is building bookshelves to line the hall, and I am plotting ways to best utilize the kitchen space. . .it has plenty of room to turn around in, but little counter space, so I am planning on getting a tall kitchen cart to provide a movable counter/storage space. Any other ideas and tips would be welcome! :-)

    • cheryl says

      You can elevate bed legs and store items under it, Bed Bath and Beyond sells the risers. Also adding shelves anywhere you can would help. You can stain them and make them look nice.

  23. says

    Clutter definitely makes a space feel more cramped. Clutter-free spaces is a must for small places (and my sanity) haha
    And I think not comparing yourself to others (especially magazines) is huge!
    Once I stopped feeling like I had to make my house looks like the front of a magazine 24/7 I felt so free to be ME and make my space what I wanted and organize things how they work best for my family :)
    Great article. Thanks for sharing.

  24. says

    I have a tiny little laundry room, and spent the last five years just thinking there was no hope to make it better since it was so small, so I just lived with a ugly disaster.

    Last week I finally decided that even if it was small it could still be better, and with a little paint, tidying, and organizing, it just became perfect! It’s so easy to think we can’t do anything with what we have, but even small things can be just perfect! (I showed pictures of it in the link below, and I’m so happy with the results! And amazed at what five hours of work can do to make for a happier home.) :)

    http://passionatepennypincher.com/2012/01/the-friday-fluff-up-frugal-laundry-room-re-do/

    • says

      I love your “new” laundry room! We currently only have a closet in the hallway where our washer and dryer are. But, I do prefer that over the basement (which is where they’ve been in all of our previous rentals)!

  25. Barbara says

    Wow! So many good ideas! All I know what to say is, BE THANKFUL if you have more than one bedroom. :) My husband & I moved in this small 1 bd/1 bath 600 sq ft mobile home when we got married & over 4 yrs later we’re still in here. :) We have 2 children now & expecting another one by April. And they are all in the bedroom with us. It’s HARD but so far we’ve made it doable. Daughter 3 yr old is in toddler bed, son 2 yr old is in pack n play & still haven’t figured out where new baby will sleep. Will have another pack n play in Living Room for the baby & once it’s older, that may be where it’ll sleep.
    We didn’t expect to be in here so long but soon after we got married my husband got unemployed & he hasn’t had much steady work since.
    I don’t have any closets but we put up a rod in the bedroom & we’ve put up wire shelves where ever we could in the house. Declutter & downsize is the best advice I’ve had so far. I don’t have no place to store clothes, so after kids out grow them, I sell what I can at consignment sales (bi annual) and usually get there what I need for the next season.
    I actually don’t mind living in small quarters… the only thing that I have the hardest time dealing with is the kids growing up & not knowing where to have them sleep. And there’s not much privacy either! :) Where there is a will there is a way.

  26. says

    My husband and I live in a 1600 square foot home with 3 kids (ages 9, 4 and 6 weeks). When I was pregnant with our third, we wondered (more like worried) if we’d have enough space for 3 children. After some reorganization (and lots of nesting!), we have found we can make it work. And still all be happy. And thankful. The hardest part for us is learning to be okay with living differently than the rest of society. You know the whole “more, more, more!” mentality. It’s easy to get caught up in that and wish we had one more room or a little more square footage or even have pity on ourselves that we have to live this way. But, we don’t have to live this way. We are choosing to live this way. We can afford our house payment every month. I can stay home with our kids. We can give money to church and other organizations. We can sponsor a child in need. We can live simply and be more intentional. We can be grateful for every little thing God has given us. (Plus, it’s much easier to clean!) I’m not sure we would be as grateful or enjoy life as much if we had all the distractions of a larger home and more “stuff” that might get in the way. Thank you for posting these great tips and showing it’s possible to go against the norm. :)

  27. says

    I am grateful for these tips! We’re a family of four living in a 1200 square foot house with almost no closet space, no pantry, and far from enough cabinet space. We are making it work (have been for about six years now), but it is challenging at times, especially considering that I have a husband who is a serious pack rat and doesn’t want to part with anything.

    But what you said about appreciating what you have and how no matter how much you don’t like it, there are others who would want it, really struck a chord with me. There are many days that I wish and wish for a larger house, but honestly I think I need to be grateful for this space we do have and make the absolute best of it. Great post!

    • says

      Like you, Anna, our recent move has really made me appreciate what we have. It’s so much than what so many other people in our world have!

      Just today, I spoke with a friend who lives out East in a 1BR apartment with her husband. They pay almost double what we pay, and have a much smaller space! That definitely puts it into perspective for me!

  28. katrina says

    My husband and i have raised our two sons, now 16 and 18, in a small two bedroom apartment/ duplex. We have always stressed that it is not the size of the home, but the family inside it that matters. They have friends with million dollar homes and those who share motel rooms with whole families. We have also downplayed the amassing of materiel items, stressing the quality of family bonding. My sons are as diffrent in personality as night and day, but are close in a way that is seldom seen in siblings of their age. We believe that sharing the same room and space all their lives has contributed to this.

    • Amanda says

      Yes! I love it! My older daughter (almost 13) and my younger (4) have CHOSEN to actually share a bed! We pushed their two twins together to make a “California King” (sort of), and put Cal King sheets on it. The younger one always ends up sleeping right against her sister, even with all that space. And it warms my heart to know what kind of girls I have; all that love for each other. In this society where everyone seems to think they need so much space, I have been intentional in making our family as close as possible. Wouldn’t have it any other way…

  29. Kristin says

    This post could not have come at a better time for me. Our church is in a more prosperous area and a different town. I think every single member there owns a much nicer and bigger home than we do – even our Pastor and his family. And we’re the only family I know of that has a drug dealer livig next door. Because of this, it’s very tempting to feel poor and sorry for myself quite a bit – especially after there was a drive-by shooting at next.door a couple of weeks ago.

    Right now we have five people living in 1348 s.f. We’ve made it work by getting rid of useless stuff (clutter) and building UP!! :) I built some simple.shelves.a few years ago and my hubs liked them so much, he built a desk for our kids using the.same idea. The shelves are at the.end wall of our “bowling alley”and are the length of.the wall (12 ft) and one foot.deep. T o make the desk, my.husband simply bought a 2 x12 ft. board at desk.ht.

    Last week, I measured and nailed nails.inside my cabinets for my.measuring spoons and cups. Then I realized my 2cutting boards would.also fit.the same.way on another door.

    Family Handyman has a great “decluttering” issue out right now that has.tons of.great ideas in it.

    Just out of curiosity, are you and your husband part of WELS?

    TY so much for this post and all the comments. No more feeling sorry for.myself! :)

  30. says

    Especially with the addition of little one #3 this past year, we’ve started to feel cramped in our little home. At times I’m tempted to envy – other folks with our income have bigger/better homes, etc, etc…and then I find it helps to remind myself…sure, I want a garage, but we do have a carport. And if/when we get a garage, then there’s a garage door to maintain. And the garage door opener. The more I have to maintain, the more “stuff” tends to have a hold on me. Just remembering this helps me IMMENSELY in my quest for contentment with our small house.

    In addition, I know that so many families around the world have MUCH smaller living quarters than we do. It seems to be a phenomenon in the States that we think we need huge houses, and a relatively new phenomenon at that! A couple of generations ago, people in our area were raising families much larger than ours in tiny houses. Such a good reminder that I don’t NEED a bigger space!

    • says

      I totally agree with you that it’s a phenomenon in the US that we “need” large homes. That thought has definitely become more prominent in recent years.

      Having a small house means my husband and I spend more time in the same room – simply because there’s no where else to go! And that is a wonderful things, IMO. :) In the past, those large families living in small homes were much closer, I imagine.

  31. Laurie says

    The 3of us mom,dd4&dd7 live in a 1200 sq ft home. 3bdrms/1.5 baths. Just today I purged all the clothes from the girls closets and drawers. I have a huge laundry basket full of clothes to be consigned this next wk. I have used every inch of space in my home. I installed built in’s in all the bedroom closets, in our garage we have built in’s east wall from ceiling to floor and they fit all my rubber maids. In the furnace closet I had my carpenter build shelves for me to store my stockpile. With an $800/mos mortgage I will be here for ever. As many have said I love our small home and the 3 of us are happy.
    Laurie

  32. Andrea says

    We have 3 kids, and live in a 675 sq. ft home. Which is. 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, a living room kitchen combo room. We have a garage and are thinking about making it into more of a bigger living area or adding a second story…one day. I am continually thinking of space saving ways to get us just a teeny bit mor space here and there. I am always having to get rid of stuff too!

  33. Debra says

    I am working on less things over all. Keeping a clean home is easier in a small place with less things. However any other combination seems to complicate the matter. Certainly a home is better when suited for the amount of people and animals in the home, but once it becomes a place for stuff, it seems more stress is invited in, at least for me.

  34. CJ says

    The house in the above photo is so cute! I love small houses. Since I’ve been on my own I’ve always lived in small spaces, from a 300 sq ft studio to now in a 850 sq ft house. Just enough room for me and what I need. I dont have to spend a lot of time cleaning and it only takes a few seconds to walk through the whole house so no wasted time either! I’m not much for decorating and with a small house I dont feel the need to fill it up with furniture so that saves me money. My monthly payments have always been low and by the end of this summer I’ll have the house paid off, 10 years early :)

  35. Nicole says

    I live in a fairly small 2 bd 1.5 ba condo with my hubby and kids 5,4,3 and one due in June. To top it off we have my brother, his wife and 2 children 5 and 2 moving in for a couple of months until they find a new place to rent, so as if we weren’t cramped enough before..
    This is what I have planned: all the kids will be sharing the larger bedroom. We have a bunk bed, one twin and two toddler mattresses that luckly are able to fit in there, one toddler mattress can fit under the bunk bed during the day and I want to get risers for the twin to fit the other toddler mattress under, but during the night it will look like a slumber party in there with the toddler beds in the middle of the floor lol oh well it works.
    My hubby and I will be keeping our room but have taken the couch out of the kids room and put it in ours to make a bed/living room for us, so my brother and his wife will have a queen airmattress in the living room.
    I do like my privacy so it will be different for us but we will survive this!! Thank you all for the space saving tips!

  36. Sarah T. says

    Haha… Our family of 6 lives in a huge house (to me anyway- it’s around 2500 sq. ft.) and I just despise it. I dream of small and cozy, of selling off our stuff, being able to clean in a timely manner, and not having a mortgage payment. Funny how the grass is always greener, huh? I treat it like a small house though with no nick-knacks, very few decorations, few toys, books, etc. I figure if I can keep my counters bare now, it’ll be easier when the time comes to downsize (which I’m praying comes soon!).

  37. Robin says

    I love to see this topic addressed. We live in a <900 sq ft., 2 br, 1 bath house. It's just the three of us, but we homeschool, which adds another dimension of clutter. I made a resolution this year to find at least one thing each day to either give away, throw away, sell, re-purpose or reorganize. Finding several things in one day doesn't count for several days, either. So far, I've made two trips to the Goodwill, and I've gotten a basket full of stuff ready to go tomorrow. It's amazing how much stuff can pile up, even in a tiny house. I've had to decide that clutter is a sign of too much stuff instead of too little space and I feel great about de-cluttering! Robin

  38. shauna says

    Great article! We’re having our 2nd child in june and still are in one bedroom apartment, so I’m trying to think of ways to maximize the space and all be comfy at the same time. Right now the living room is more like my 3 yr olds play room. I bought a wooden cat litter cabinet so it looks nicer. The bedroom will be cramped I guess when we add a twin size bed to the mix. Every now and then the green envy monster comes around but I know someday we will have a nice home too.

  39. Ashley says

    This is so what I needed to hear this week. In my effort to complete the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover, hubby and I are moving into a small 1 bedroom apartment to save as much as we can to throw at our debt. (1 car payment, 1 timeshare mortgage, and the mortgage on my disabled father’s house) I was starting to panic because I figured there was NO WAY to fit all of my stuff in a 1 bedroom. We’re currently in a 2/2, and I have one bedroom full of nothing but my books! This, however, has given me a few creative ideas on where I can stash all my stuff. Plus, we’ll be utilizing my dad’s garage for some of the bigger, less-used stuff. We figure it’s the least he can do since we’re paying for his mortgage AND taxes.

    Thanks again!

  40. Natalie says

    My husband and I downsized 8 years ago from a 3 bdrm, 2 bath, approx. 1400 sq. ft. house w/a detached 2 car garage to a 2 bdrm, 1 bath 900 sq. ft. 3 story house (our basement is above ground so it’s considered a level) with a 9 month old. We have since been able to add on a master suite and bath, mud room and entry way, but it’s still a small house. We went up where ever we could – my cast iron skillets hang on the beams in the kitchen, we have books on the beams in the living room. DH enclosed the stair case to give us a pantry. Our kitchen is a 10×10 with one wall that slants in (we are in a modified A-frame house). When we moved in the kitchen had 4 lower cabinets & 4 upper cabinets plus a storage cabinet the previous owners used for dishes. Our house in town had tons of storage & since we were basically still newlyweds we had all those wedding presents to store. I downsized a bunch of stuff, put things in storage boxes in the basement and eventually weeded out things we didn’t use.
    The boys bedrooms do not have room for dresser drawers so they have captains beds with storage underneath & anything they do not wear or play with in 6 months gets donated.
    Though we don’t have the closet space & garage space that our other house did, we have a huge yard for the boys to play safely, in the mountains away from traffic & pollution & noise – so that’s more than enough space for us to live happily ever after!