My Daily Roadtrip

Why every family should live in a small home

Ok, ok – maybe not every family, and maybe not even for all that long but seriously, living in small spaces, both before as well as after having kids, has been a great thing for our family. We have encountered situations and learned things we never expected to, and at times, one or both of us (mostly me) has wondered if our sanity was being lost, but overall – it’s been highly beneficial.

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a cabin similar to the one we currently call “home”

We currently live in a 500 square home and I wanted to share my top 7 benefits of living in a smaller place (in no particular order):

  1. Cleaning and “tidying up” takes less time. Minutes before Shun-Luoi came home from work the other day, I realized our place was a wreck and that I needed to at least do a quick tidy-up job of the entire house. It took about 5-7 minutes. Yes!
  2. We have less stuff because we don’t have room for much. I’m learning that, as a general “rule,” more stuff = more cleaning/organizing/and caring for said stuff. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a ton of extra time or emotional energy in each day, so I don’t want to give much of what I do have to inanimate objects.
  3. We get outside more often, because … well, it’s a matter of sanity. My children (ages 2 and almost 4) are very active and if we’re not outside going on a walk by around 10 am, we begin going a bit crazy. We often get out for even 2 walks each day – I don’t have them running laps or anything; just walking around, exploring, saying “hi” to our neighbors, petting any dogs that walk by, that kind of thing.
  4. I get up from the table less often during meals. I’m not kidding! Some meals, I feel I am always getting up to get someone’s water, more of this, more of that, etc.  Now, I can basically open the fridge and reach most other things right from my seat at the table because of the size of the kitchen! Hey, it’s called looking at the glass as half-full, people.
  5. We have been reminded how little room we actually need. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not judging anyone who lives in more than 500 square feet. 😉 In fact, up until 1.5 months ago, we were in a house just over twice the size of our current home. We enjoyed the space. However, we are now being reminded how we can also do just fine with less. I have a friend with 4 kids under the age of 4 living nearby in the same amount of space we are – this friend consistently makes it work for her family (with a good attitude) and watching her always challenges me that I can do the same. This particular lesson is helpful in light of our upcoming move. Due to the difference in the cost of living between here and Thailand, we could afford a larger home there than here. However, we’ve now been reminded that just because we can afford something doesn’t mean we need it.
  6. The kids get into less trouble because I can hear what’s going on in the entire house from basically anywhere else in the house!  Note that I said, “less” trouble, not “no” trouble. 😉
  7. Living in close quarters brings an intimacy that at times, can be lost by living in more space. At times, I miss having the opportunity to be in a room where I cannot hear anyone else in the house. However, living in our current space means that we live life more closely together. Even if my kids did enjoy playing in the room for hours by themselves, I would still be able to hear them, converse with them easily, and generally not feel like they were off in a different wing of the house separated from the rest of the family. I am not against people having space to be alone in a house, but the family unit has enough challenges these days without encouraging each member to live somewhat separately in different parts of the house.

Let’s be real here. There are times I wish we had more space. There are real drawbacks to living in a small space, especially with small children. But the benefits have been great, particularly in the areas of learning to be creative, living with less stuff, and relationships. These things alone mean it’s been incredibly worth it.

If you live in a small space, what are some of your favorite things about doing so? If you live in a larger home, are there any things that appeal to you about living in a smaller space? Do you think I’m/we’re crazy? (it’s ok – you can say it)

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4 thoughts on “Why every family should live in a small home

  1. dana sue on said:

    Smaller space does make you be creative and use the space you have. I would have never thought to do the baskets for all our kids’ clothes, except we didn’t have room for a dresser, let alone 3 of them. Now that we have more room, we still use the basket method. Everything is labeled, no dresser to set more “stuff” on, more space in the room for kids to play, and probably more importantly, I didn’t have to move another piece of bulky furniture, just collapsible baskets. 🙂 Thanks Dawn! Good reminders! 🙂

    • Great idea on the clothes – I love the creativity! The cool thing is that it accomplishes more than 1 thing for you/your kids (all the things you listed) … hopefully we both continue with those ideas no matter how much space we have. 🙂

  2. Before we bought our house 2 summers ago, we lived in a 500 sq ft place as well. We loved being there while we were there, and one thing we noticed when we moved into a larger home, is that we never knew where each other was!!! Haha! In our tiny little place you are always in eye sight of one another, and with the house you could call out to hubby and still not get a response because of the two levels and larger space! The tightness can be fun…I am glad you are looking at the bright things about it! Have fun! It is only a season…

    • The interesting thing about this particular post (or not so interesting – God knows what He’s doing in regards to the timing of things! ;)) is that, within a day or 2 after posting it, Abigail developed croup and she, Elijah, and I spent quite a bit of time within our small walls. WOW – such a challenge, so it was good to remember all the benefits of living in a small space during a time I didn’t feel particularly grateful to be doing so! In my opinion, every newly-married couple should live in a small space when they are first married – it’s great in so many ways and teaches valuable lessons that life in a bigger home can be built upon. Glad you 2 had that experience!

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