Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Home Small Home: Why I Love Living In a House That's Too Small For Us.

 (This picture is not my home, it's a random picture I found. But it's cute!)

Our home is "too small" for us, and that's just the way I like it! No, really, I'm not just saying that to make myself feel better about not having a larger space right now, I really mean it! It's a funny thing, but the larger our family has grown, the smaller our homes have gotten. We certainly didn't plan it that way, it's just how things worked out each time we moved.

We are currently in a time of transition and the house we are living in is a rental. I am eager to own again, but I am now realizing how grateful I am that we needed to wait, because if we were able to buy 6 months ago, we would have felt the need to buy way too much space. We are a family of 6, living in a modest, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with a great room and an eat-in kitchen. When we found this house I thought, "Yeah, this will be good for now." I use the words "for now" quite often. I really thought that we could do fine for a while here, but that when we eventually buy again, we would definitely need a dining room, office/homeschool room, and another bedroom. I wanted atleast another 500-1000sf more living space. Not anymore. In fact, I really think that I would turn down almost any house that was much bigger than this one. Here's why and what I have learned:

An Open Floor Plan is Key.
This is the factor that will often determine whether your home feels spacious or cramped. Living space that openly flows from room to room will make it feel much larger than it is. I may not have a formal living room or even a dining room, but our current home with the open concept is much more suited for day to day life and for entertaining than our previous one with multiple closed-off spaces.

Multiple bedrooms are not Absolutely Necessary.
Sure, if the right house came along and there were 4 bedrooms, instead of the 3 we have now, that would be a bonus. But honestly, when  it come to children, there are only 2 kinds: boys and girls. So as long as your bedrooms are large enough, 3 is all you really need; boy's room, girl's room, and Mom and Dad's room. Bunk beds are great, of course, as are trundle beds. Even if there are large age gaps between some of your children it can still work. While it is not ideal for a 12 year old to share a room with a 2 year old, big kid stuff can be put up high on shelves or in a closet, while little kid stuff can be kept more accessible. Siblings will develop great bonds and memories while sharing a bedroom, especially when there is a large age gap and the time while the oldest and the youngest are still both living in the house is short.

I don't need a homeschool room, it just gets messy!
The same can also be said even for a dining room. These are the kinds of rooms where it is too easy to walk away and leave a mess behind you. When all you have is an eat-in kitchen and that is also where your school work and crafts are taking place, you have no choice but to consistently be cleaning it up. There are no "extra" rooms to stash stuff either, letting clutter develop behind a door that you close when company comes over. Not that I have EVER done that ;)

Easier to clean all around!
I am amazed at how fast we can get this house cleaned up. Not only are there not many rooms that need cleaning, but since we are using all of the rooms all of the time, they are constantly getting picked up. The rooms are not given a chance to get too messy because all the space needs to be usable. I have many friends and family that live in much larger homes than I do and I used to hope for a home like theirs. Now whenever I visit (although I still think their homes are beautiful) all I can think is, "Who has the time to clean all of this?!"  Less time for clean-up = more time for fun. And sleep :)

The bigger the house, the bigger the bills.
I would rather live in a small house while enjoying more financial freedom, than have it the other way around.

You can't get away from each other!
I know that some would consider this a negative, but I consider it a plus..... most of the time ;) When you are living in closer quarters, it's inevitable that you are going to spend much more quality time together.

I recently read this wonderful blog post about a family of 11 living in an 1100sf home! That's smaller than what we are living in now and there are only 6 of us! The author brings us inside her beautiful home and shows us how they make it work! Her home organization is very inspiring.

Do you live in a home that yourself or others view as too small for your family? What are some ways that you have made the space work for you?