10 ways a smaller home will make us happier

29 thoughts on “10 ways a smaller home will make us happier”

  1. Yes! This is such a timely post. I absolutely love real estate and must continue to remind myself that our small home is the best home. Oftentimes I get dazzled by the grandiose abode on the wooded lot, until I start running the numbers. Then the anxiety sets in and I remember that it just isn’t worth it. The freedoms that come with small homes (as you mentioned) are incredible!
    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    1. Thanks Mrs. MMM – I agree, those small house freedoms are just amazing, and our big homes very often just become lost in the weeds as we lose an appreciation for them over the months and years of living in them and maintaining them.

  2. I would LOVE a smaller home…especially because of reasons #3, #4, and #9…but my family and I aren’t at a point where we can consider a move. Perhaps someday.

  3. Back when I started my career I would plug in how much money I figured I’d make at say 35, and see what a mortgage calculator would spit out for how much house I could buy. Those days are long gone now that I’m on the FI journey. Plus I’ve realized how much time, effort, and money people have to put in to maintaining their homes, and big ones even more. I’m all for smaller!

    1. Yup, big homes can be an amazing waste of time and money, no doubt. The loans that people qualify for are very, very misleading. As you know, just because you qualify for a certain loan amount doesn’t mean you need to spend that amount. 🙂

  4. Yay, smaller homes! I’m in a bit of a different position since I rent and have housemates, but the general principle still applies, I think. My bedroom is *barely* big enough to fit my queen-size bed, with just enough room left over to open and shut the door (and the rest of the house is not huge either). When I first moved in I was thinking, yikes, but now I actually think it’s great. Definitely easier to organize and clean. 🙂

    1. Exactly, Sarah – easier to organize and clean, and you are getting used to living in a smaller space, which means you probably won’t feel like you NEED to “upgrade” to something bigger in the future. It’s perfect. 🙂

  5. We’re home all day every day, so we need a little more space. Also, we both collect items. Still, 2,600 square feet?! We’re in a house with about 1,500 square feet, and that’d be plenty if we could a little better about tidying up/organizing.

    Even if we had a kid, I doubt we’d feel much of a pinch. I can’t imagine having so much space to clean and traverse. The thought alone is exhausting!

    1. I agree, Abigail – the thought of cleaning huge homes really is exhausting. There is no way I ever want to clean and maintain anything bigger than, say, 1,000 sqft…ever again! 🙂

  6. We will downsize once we leave Texas. It is true though, that everything is bigger here, and well our home is fairly large, way more than we were wanting to get when we were looking for. Granted, we also saved $150k from what we would’ve spent for an older house, probably just under half the size, and the repairs would have been as much or more as this house, so what situation is better? i’ll take big/cheaper house, because we haven’t spent $150k extra on it yet. 🙂
    To go along with that though, are the higher costs to heat and cool, and maintain in general. I still would rather have a small house and large lot than the other way around, but since we’ll be renting when we move, I won’t get as much choice. Also, we’ll most likely be back to a 3BR place and figure out how to deal with guests at that point. I’ll be looking forward to way less space to keep cleaning up after – putting things away, etc…

  7. Most importantly, love grows biggest in the smallest spaces.

    2 children in a small 2BR means more together time to share with each other. Wouldn’t want to have the family spread out in a huge McMansion, growing further apart by the square foot…

  8. We will definitely look for homes that are only big enough. Our big issue is the fact that we have three kids and want another one in the next year or two. Our current home works for now, because the kids are little. We will need something a bit bigger as they grow. I definitely like the way it forces us to minimize our collection of stuff.

  9. I hope you guys will share lots of details about your downsize into the Airstream — what you save and what you get ride of, what modifications you make to it to make it function better, what things you have to let go of that are hard to part with, etc. And then what it’s like to live in it day-to-day (and cook in it!). It’s such a big leap you’re making — can’t wait to hear how it all goes!

    1. Oh we will – both on this blog as well as another one that my wife will be starting. Every step of the way we intend to document. That means you guys will get to laugh at all of our mistakes. 🙂

  10. We live in a smaller home – about 850 square feet, and are very happy with this choice for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. By not overextending ourselves, we were able to weather my several-year leave from work, due to an unexpected illness. And we still managed to pay off the mortgage on our downtown Ottawa home within 12 years. We have great access to amenities downtown, and were relatively unaffected by a long, wintertime bus strike several years ago.

    That said, I have to disagree on a few of your points: I question the logic of your idea that smaller homes are easier to organize, because you automatically collect less stuff. Rather, when you exercise discipline, a house is easier to organize, whether it’s large or small. And large houses still give you more flexibility in terms of storage space. Also, smaller homes are not necessarily smarter ones. Many of the smaller homes available on the market are older ones, designed to support different needs and technologies in different times. For example, installations in my basement are incredibly challenging in my WW1-era home, because the doorway and cellar stairs to the unfinished basement are incredibly narrow and steep.

    So… yes to smaller homes, but they are not the answer to all problems!

  11. I totally agree with you Steve, having a smaller home is awesome in many ways. I would love to live in a smaller home but because of the family size, and everything else that is going on, let me just set that for another day. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Cindy

  12. “Our brains want big, but our hearts appreciate the small.” – I love how you ended with this line. So true! I used to live in a big house (well there were a lot of living inside it to be fair) but there are times when I find myself home alone and it really feels so dark and lonely. Transferring to a smaller location with my hubby was such a delight considering that everything felt so in reach and cozy. Anyway, good read!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Larisse. I completely agree, smaller homes can definitely feel a lot more cozy. Cozy in a GOOD way, though…not in a “small” way. 🙂

  13. I have experience in both living in a big house and a small house and I admit that living in a small house is awesome. You can save a bunch of money in monthly energy cost and also save lots of time in doing house chore and many more benefits. If you have never been living in a small house, then you should try it and i believe that you will love it like i do. Thanks Steve for an honest post!

    Regards,
    Edward

    1. Thanks Edward. It’s true, the energy savings can be absolutely significant. Fewer chores, and the chores that you still need to do typically take far less time to complete. It’s a win-win, I tell you. 🙂

  14. A small home can be good for person who leaves on their own or for a small family then it would be all worth it. A big home can be good for a big family, depends actually. I love your tips anyway because I leave on my own but in the long run you will be looking for a bigger home. Thank you for sharing this its a big help. You really have an informative blog, its really helpful! Keep it up!

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