Is bigger really better? (COM0011 – Blog post #6)

Lately I’ve been so intrigued by people who have decided that home square footage is unimportant. I came across some of these ideas on Pinterest and now I’m addicted to learning more!

Since the recession, many folks have found themselves in a financial bind. They lost their jobs, homes, money, material assets. In lieu of giving up, they decided to “live small”. They purchased camper trailers and converted them into homes. They built small/efficient homes in lieu of traditional larger houses. I think it’s brilliant!

How much space does one really need? I read that in 1950, the average size of a home was 983 square feet; whereas in 2004, the average size was 2,340 square feet. Our family has a modest 1,200 square foot bungalow and four of us manage just fine – we finished the basement a couple of years ago to include a home office, laundry room and extra bedroom which all get used, but also finished space for a playroom and family room that are rarely used. What a waste of space and money!

I think that folks that have decided to “live small” whether by choice or circumstance are really on to something! The space is smaller, resulting in fewer costs for heating/cooling, hydro, taxes, cleaning etc. There is little space for “stuff”– just the necessities. I love the idea of living more simply.

Granted, most of these homes are built in warmer climates (think southern states) and may not be suitable for families that live through Canadian winters – the idea being that you can also use outdoor space as living space.

In my next life, I would love to take on building a small smart-house as a project. In particular, I would build this house – isn’t it just adorable?!

Some of the space saving ideas I came across to allow small spaces to work include: shelves on wheels for dry-goods beside the fridge (pantry), hanging kitchen utensils on the sides of cupboards, drawers under stairs, Murphy beds, and a lot of shelving.

For some people, down-sizing means that your lifestyle is freed up to focus on what really matters: time with family (less home maintenance), vacations and excursions, and living debt-free (the psychological benefits of being debt-free far outweigh bragging rights of living in “such and such a neighbourhood”, don’t you think?).

Imagine for a moment that you have a beautiful (small) home that offers you all of the comforts you require, along with money in the bank to do/buy whatever you want… isn’t that the purpose of tirelessly putting in 40+ hours a week at work? Isn’t work just a means to an end? But, if the majority of your paycheque is going to the bank to pay off your mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc., then I guess some folks must like their houses  a lot because it looks like that’s where they’ll have to spend the majority of their time.

Love Grows Best in Little Houses Just Like This, Home Decor, Vinyl Sign, Small Houses, Wood Sign, Customize

What are you thoughts on living more simply? Do you think you could downsize and still enjoy your home-life? Do you think that social media plays a role in educating us on how to live better/smarter/simpler?

2 thoughts on “Is bigger really better? (COM0011 – Blog post #6)

  1. Hello, first up thank you for this blog. In my opinion, In answer to your last question about social media playing a role in educating…clearly the answer is yes. Personally I have never been draw to the notion of a “Monster Home” , even if I could afford one, You did a good job encapsulating the features and benefits of smaller homes. This may also speak to the benefits of Condo’s. the entire movement keys into the notion of mitigating “Climate change” Less square footage= less carbon footprint on a number of levels
    Thank you again for this.
    Cheers

  2. My partner, son and I live in a three bedroom (condo-townhome). It isn’t bigger than any of my son’s friends homes but each time we throw a birthday party or have a playdate, I get asked if we live in a mansion (keep in mind they are under the age of eight). It makes me laugh but I think it’s because we use our space well. The house has six floors, each one opening onto the next. We sleep in the two smaller bedrooms on the top and we use the master bedroom (on its own floor) as a play room. The basement is technically a laundry room but I cut the washer and dryer off with two really funky thick curtains and transformed the rest into an awesome music studio. I’m not a fan of clutter so everything has its place (somewhat, I’m not crazy:)). We maximise the space we have and in turn it seems much bigger than it is. I can’t imagine having a huge house. Especially with just the three of us, I think I would feel lonely and besides, way too much cleaning!

    I think yes, absolutely, social media has been educating us that living simpler is better. We can manage our own data better so we don’t need an “office” in the traditional sense in our homes. I also see so many fabulous living ideas such as “how to live in under 800 square feet” daily on my FB page. We may use more than that but we can integrate the thought behind it into our homes and daily life. The less space the more time. That’s the way I see it!

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