Fresh off of our report on Claudia and Garrett’s transition into a smaller home, I’m ripe with enthusiasm over the clear and convincing benefits of maintaining a much smaller dwelling than you might think you “need”.
Note: This article also appeared over on our companion blog, Power of 10.
With an average home size of over 2600 square feet, our homesteads are becoming monsters. Huge liabilities that need to be properly funded to maintain. Maybe there’s a better way.
As many of my readers know, my wife and I plan to move into a 200 square foot RV later this year, and I am convinced that a much smaller dwelling will flat out make us happier, and here is why.
Why a smaller home will make us happier
1. Smaller homes are less expensive to purchase – Clearly, the smaller the home, the less expensive it will be compared to an equally furnished home of a larger size in the same area. Cheaper homes help to minimize our debt, keeping more money in our own pockets rather than funneled towards the bank. Don’t forget a much lower tax and insurance burden, too.
2. Smaller homes force us to downsize – Let’s face it, getting rid of stuff can be tough – both physically and especially mentally (“But I might need this!”). Smaller homes have a way of forcing the process of becoming much more discriminating with the things we keep.
3. Smaller homes are much easier to maintain – Imagine spending 10 minutes cleaning your entire house. That’s it, 10 minutes. In our 200 sqft house, that’ll be about the time it’ll take every week to keep it clean. Our current home takes nearly 20 minutes just to clean the floors alone, and we live in a 1600 sqft house…far smaller than the average.
4. Smaller homes use less energy to heat and cool – Beyond the cost savings alone of heating and cooling smaller abodes, the environmental impact of smaller living is truly profound. Smaller homes take fewer resources to build (less wood and metal, etc) and are far simpler to heat and cool through smaller air conditioners and furnaces, less complex duct systems and generally more energy-efficient appliances.
5. Smaller homes are much easier to organize – My wife is a big-time organizer, but the bigger the house, the more difficult and time-consuming it is to find the right place for all of our things. Smaller homes store less stuff, and the less stuff we have to store, the easier it becomes to find the perfect place for everything around the house. It may also encourage us to be a little more creative with our storage options.
6. Smaller homes maximize our urban experience – Depending on the city, urban living can be expensive. Space is at a premium in metropolitan areas and grabbing our slice of property can be both tough and pricey. But, smaller living spaces enable cheaper living in busy communities, enabling many of us to live closer to work and live without a car. Check out some of these beautiful New York micro apartments.
7. Smaller homes improve work/life flexibility – Spending less money on your home improves your ability to pick and chose your work much more freely. While larger and more expensive homes may require more stressful and high paying jobs, maintaining a much less expensive dwelling allows many of us to live a more balanced work / life relationship by avoiding the trap created by high-income lifestyles.
8. Smaller homes are often smarter homes – The smaller the home, the less space that can be wasted. There are some incredibly ingenious techniques that smaller homes use to provide the same luxury as larger abodes while using a fraction of the energy and space. Think built-in storage units, fold-down beds, furniture that doubles as storage options and movable staircases. Check out this tiny house tour for an example.
9. Maintenance and renovations on smaller homes are less stressful – Replace your roof on the typical 2600 square foot home and you’re easily looking at several thousand dollars. For that matter, any exterior maintenance or home renovation will come with a much less expensive price tag with smaller homes, and a small enough home might even allow you to tackle the job yourself, even if you aren’t exactly a handyman!
10. Smaller homes improve quality of life – By definition, smaller homes bring people together by the way of their reduced square footage. We humans tend to gravitate towards cozy spaces. They bring a smile to our face as we enjoy our time spent enveloped in warm, small and well-designed rooms. Our brains want big, but our hearts appreciate the small.
What say you? Do you think a smaller home will make YOU happier?