Small Houses are ‘in’:
If you are considering a small house, you are not alone as we see Americans downsize in record numbers. The McMansions’ glory days are gone.. becoming a distant memory as more people trade in their large, trophy homes for smaller, more modest dwellings.
Since 2007, the average square footage of new homes built has trended down.
There is an important distinction to be made however with the smaller homes. We might be ready to dump the over sized showplace of yesterday but we certainly are not willing to forgo the conveniences and amenities to which we have grown accustomed.
Going ‘small’ does not mean doing without!! I repeat, downsizing (or rightsizing as we like to call it) is NOT about doing without.. Far from it actually, because living in a small house can be liberating. It can even be a chance to redefine our lives if we are so inclined.
Let’s face it, living in a small house can be much less expensive than a larger one. Not just in the price of the home or the taxes, but utilities and upkeep as well. It might even be possible to pay cash for a smaller home or at least get it paid off much faster, or to have a smaller mortgage to start with.
If you cut your mortgage financial responsibility down by half, what would that mean to you?
Could one spouse afford to be a stay at home mom/dad? Maybe, retirement could come earlier. Or maybe the reduced financial burden would mean you’d travel more, or pursue a dream that’s been shelved for far too long. We American’s have a tendency to get ourselves strapped with debt, living our lives from paycheck to paycheck. Downsizing can break that cycle.
Oftentimes, when we make the decision to have a Small House Life, we open up a variety of location options. A three thousand square foot home in the city might be unattainable, but a small bungalow? Now that might be doable. Odd little ‘throw away’ lots (read cheap) can become the ideal spot for a small house. You can go more ‘urban’ and your small home can be a condo or small townhouse in a highly desirable neighborhood within walking distance to restaurants, shops, cultural events and concerts.
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Downsizing into a small home can even be the perfect opportunity to move to a completely different town or state.. heck even another country if you’re truly adventurous.
Small house living is an opportunity to simplify our lives. We can take a good, hard look at where we are and where we want to be. Do we really need all the clutter? Are three sets of dinnerware that important? Or all our gadgets, tons of Holiday decorations, items we no longer use, clothes we don’t wear, books we don’t read.. you get the idea.
The day I noticed Kindle, and decided to clean out an overabundance of books, was a happy day. Now of course I kept the books most near and dear, but to go from 1000+ books to approximately one hundred treasured books was a day for celebration.
When you get rid of that furniture you no longer need, give it to someone who will really appreciate it. I remember giving away an oversized dryer to someone who had never had a dryer. Never! They were thrilled to get mine, and so happy not to have to time their laundry with hang drying.
Our footprint on God’s green earth matters. We don’t have control over what our neighbors do but we can certainly make a personal decision to be a good steward of the land by living greener.
A small house life means our mark on earth is less invasive. We use less fuel to heat our homes, less electricity, fewer materials used in building which includes less trees felled for lumber, less furniture to buy, less cleaning products… you get the picture. This is a perfect example of when ‘less,’ is really ‘more.’
Small House Big Life:
With less financial burdens and less clutter, we have an opportunity to look at our lives and go big in the areas that matter to us. Create a different lifestyle.
That might be to give more, travel more.. have money to go back to school (or put our kids or grand kids through school.) Maybe we build up our savings account, or make some investments that we didn’t have the means before.