Guest post from Rachael of Mumbling Mommy
I had a strange dream after my husband and I signed paperwork to buy our first house. I dreamed I was standing in our new master bathroom and the walls began closing in on me. In reality, it IS a small bathroom — my dream only exaggerated that fact.
When my mom came to visit and first saw the bathroom, she wondered if it had originally been a closet (it hadn’t.) However, despite its diminutive dimensions, our master bathroom works for us.
The rest of our house isn’t big either. At approximately 1,050 square feet, some people might consider our house to be on the small side, but we don’t plan to upsize. Our house served us well when we were a young couple with no children, and it has accommodated our growing family, with adequate space for our two daughters. We are happy at the prospect of spending our retirement years here, too.
I like my house so much that I sometimes feel sorry for friends who live in larger houses.
Here are the top reasons why I like small houses:
1. Smaller houses cost less to own and operate.
Everything about smaller houses is smaller, like mortgages, heating and cooling bills, electric bills, and taxes.
We were able to pay ahead on our mortgage and refinanced so our home will be paid off in 15 years, which wouldn’t be possible if we lived in a larger, more expensive home.
We also only need one furnace to heat our home, compared to larger homes that function most efficiently when they have separate furnaces for lower and upper floors.
2. Smaller houses are more environmentally friendly.
I recycle, compost, and try to leave a small carbon footprint. I like smaller houses because they are built with fewer natural resources like wood, and they require less electricity and gas to heat, cool, and cook with.
3. Smaller houses can make remodeling projects more affordable.
You need less paint and carpet and fewer wall cabinets in smaller houses. When we had ceramic tile floors installed in our bathrooms, we saved on labor costs because the rooms were small. I can paint a bedroom with only one gallon of paint and still have paint left over.
4. Smaller houses help keep clutter to a minimum.
We need less furniture and fewer things like decorations and curtains to fill our space.
Small houses also are motivation to pare down excess belongings. We keep only what we need and are less tempted to buy toys or gadgets that would clutter our home.
I feel less pressure to “keep up with the Joneses.”
5. Smaller houses are easier for families with young children.
Our open floor plan, which makes our house seem bigger than it really is, allows me to stand in my dining room and see almost every room in our house. I can cook in the kitchen and keep tabs on my children playing in the living room or their bedrooms.
If my children wake at night, I don’t have to walk down a long hall or up or down stairs to their bedrooms.
The bathroom is never far away during potty training, and when accidents happen, the laundry room is nearby, too.
6. Smaller houses take less time and effort to clean.
This is my favorite part about my small home! Less square footage means less space to clean.
Our bathrooms are so small my children frequently stand in the hall while brushing their teeth, but that also means I can clean our bathrooms in a short time.
We have friends who have two or three times as much house to clean, and some of them hire house cleaners, which brings us back to my first point about all the ways smaller houses save money.
For our family, having less space is a good tradeoff if it means we save money and sanity.
What do you like about smaller houses? On the other end of the spectrum, have you experienced benefits from living in a large house?
Rachael is a wife, mom of two daughters, and associate editor for Mumbling Mommy, a blog about the challenges, pitfalls, and triumphs of parenting. In her spare time, she can be found gardening, cooking, singing with ladies from church, or reading Charlotte Bronte novels.