Today I am sharing about a somewhat unpopular opinion here in America – The Blessings of a Smaller Home, When we were pregnant with our first we decided we needed a new house. The value of our 3 bedroom condo had risen significantly in the three years since we purchased it and we decided it was a good time to sell. Our condo was really far from work and we thought it was time for a house. Why we felt we needed a four bedroom house when we were only having one tiny baby I will never quite understand, but we felt we needed it. Honestly, we just wanted a new house and it was pretty much a standard ‘starter house’ in the little development we bought in. We bought in a development with larger homes on very small lots in an ‘up and coming’ neighborhood. We didn’t mind the small lots since our little one wouldn’t need a yard for quite some time. We also didn’t mind that our surrounding areas were a wee bit scary – our condo was in a similar environment, this place had a big fancy gate, and we were told of all the plans to help refurbish. We were getting in early – oh how smart we were! We put 20% down on the cheapest house in the development and got excited, moved ourselves in, and basked in our big giant house that we planned on growing our family in for the next 5 years. And then 2006 happened.
Long and humbling story very short, that house didn’t end well. After several years of trying to make it work, losing some income, and the housing market being so upside down that even our down payment couldn’t save us, we sold at a loss, packed up our three kids and moved on. It was embarrassing. It was humbling. While we had become debt free in every other area and even used some of our savings to make double payments on our house for a while it was drowning us.
The house we moved from was not a ‘huge’ house by SoCal standards, it was the smallest in the development at just under 2100 square feet, but we found that even once we had three kids it was a lot more space than we needed. We decided we really didn’t need an office the size of our old house, in fact, we probably didn’t need an office at all. Our master bedroom was really big in our last house, so was our bathroom and closet. We had three full bathrooms, one we literally never used the tub or shower even once in the entire 8 years we lived there. The loft was nice, but probably not necessary either.
Financially our only option was to downsize, we simply didn’t have the money to move into something comparable in size. We knew we needed to downsize, but we found out The Blessings of a Smaller Home very quickly! We thought we were compromising and settling but it was actually a benefit! So much of that ‘standard’ space was such a waste! Our new home is smaller by about 400 square feet. We don’t have an office anymore, but our kids each have their own small room, and that works out great!
I wanted to share some of my new favorite things about having a smaller house……..
- No Stairs! Oh how I hated those carpeted stairs in our old house! Up and down the stairs with the baby was a huge pain in the booty. Vacuuming was always difficult and they never really seemed clean. Stairs aren’t really liveable space, but they eat up square footage. Our new house was smaller, but no stairs, so it doesn’t seem much smaller. I know this isn’t a concern for everyone, but we are happy that our house is now much more ‘accessible’ than our last, if we choose to foster or adopt a child with limited mobility we don’t have to worry about stairs.
- Lower ceilings and smaller square footage means it is much less expensive to heat and cool!
- Cleaning is WAY faster! We have two small bathrooms and a really nice flow throughout the house. I can vacuum the entire house faster than just the downstairs took before! We have less space so we have less stuff and surfaces to clean too.
- Every time we have moved to a new place we have fixed it up to our liking! Even our last house that was new onstruction we painted, put in baseboards and crown moldings, etc. The new house was a major fixer so we needed to put in new flooring, we needed to paint and prime, we chose to scrape the popcorn ceiling, and a few other things. We were pleasantly surprised by how much less supplies were than we were used to!
- We are closer as a family geographically. Even if kids are spending time in their own rooms, we are all closer. We have all noticed there is less “Where are you?!” yelling going on in our home. We don’t have to raise our voice or go on a hunt to find people anymore. Even when the yelling isn’t in a ‘you are in trouble’ tone, it still sets a tone that we had just kinda gotten used to. Being closer geographically has made us closer in other ways too – and that is priceless!
- Less to decorate! It was kinda cool to move out of our old house and have a little garage sale – we moved a lot of our old stuff over to the new house, but we really didn’t need as many towels and curtains and office equipment as we did in the last house. We also donated a bunch of stuff – it was awesome to clear out a bit!
- This one is obvious, and the original reason we needed a smaller home – the mortgage is less! We had applied this principal to everything else in our lives – we drive fairly modest, “below our means” cars, we all wear a lot of hand me downs, most of our furniture is from garage sales….. but we felt a big mortgage was just necessary. Silly us! We have breathing room we didn’t have financially before and that feels so much better than a big spacious home office, a third bathroom, a fun loft, and a big master bathroom!
If you are considering downsizing your home, don’t fret! You may find The Blessings of a Smaller Home are a great benefit to your family too!!
If you have downsized your home and you found a surprising benefit – can you share it with us in the comment section below?
Wanna follow along as we fix up our new smaller but mightier house? Check out our Fixer Upper articles! More to come!