Small House

Natives to pastoral areas know what it looks like. What was once a pasture with cows now looks like a small village — only the homes are anything but small. These McMansions are often well over 4,000 square feet large with plenty of luxury amenities for the average sized family. Interestingly, these mega-homes may not be all the rage in our future suburban landscapes.

The Star Ledger, one of New Jersey’s leading papers, is reporting an emerging trend away from the huge-home-mindset and towards luxury apartment living. It turns out that life matters; when you have a huge home that requires lots of maintenance, some of the other important things in life can take a back seat. These might include: spending time with your spouse, your kids or investing in friendships that will last far longer than a house. The larger the home, the more it takes to keep it running in terms of financial resources and time spent keeping things up. One starts to wonder, “Do I own my house or does it own me?” This may be why more and more people are opting for small.

The other aspect of smaller living is the reality that small might actually add to your quality of life. I realize that a large family does require more space but for the rest of us, small just might do. Here are some benefits to owning a smaller home:

  • Less space forces you to make decisions more often. When you don’t have a walk-in closet, there’s very little space for procrastination. Rather than hide clothes in a pile in the large closet, your small storage spaces challenge you to make a decision: put it away, do the laundry, fold it, etc.
  • Less space allows you to know what you have. When you can see what you have, you’re less likely to buy something that you already have.
  • Less space promotes family communication. Living in closer proximity to your loved ones means that you’ll see them more often and share little interactions that a larger home might not afford.
  • Less space allows for simpler decorating. Since more “stuff” around the house makes it feel smaller, a streamlined home encourages simpler style. Avoid small items, breakables and tiny collectibles and opt for items which will last, are durable and are stylish in their own right.
  • Smaller spaces encourage contemplative living. I know — this is a bit of a stretch but my home (which I consider to be on the smaller side) is something which I know, inside and out. I know every corner of it, all of its idiosyncrasies and finer points. My kids and I also get to work around the house together which is great for family bonding. Whenever you get to appreciate and know something well, a spirit of contemplation gradually grows.

Living in a larger home is not something to scorn but opting to live in a smaller home certainly makes a statement. It teaches you to appreciate space, possessions and challenges you to make-do with what you have. Would you like to have more space? Probably. Can you grow in simplicity by living in a smaller space? Definitely.

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