We live in a society where success, wealth, and status are associated with size. The more you have of something, the more people assume success and meaning.
The idea of size being important isn’t new, but it’s certainly become more predominant over the past couple of decades. Houses are the perfect example of this.
In the 1970’s, the average American home size was right around 1,660 square feet. Today, the average size of a newly built home is north of 2,679 feet. In other words, today’s homes are nearly 1,000 square feet bigger! (Despite the fact that the average family size has decreased from 3.58 people in 1970 to 3.14 people in 2017.)
While some families need big homes – and there’s nothing inherently bad about having a lot of square footage – there’s a case to be made that living in a small house is more beneficial to you and your family.
The Biggest Benefits of Living in a Small House
If you’ve thought about downsizing to a smaller home, you’ve probably developed a mental list of pros and cons. But what are the biggest tangible benefits that come with living in a small house? Here are a few:
For starters, smaller houses are cheaper. Not only does the house itself cost less, but it also costs less to heat, cool, clean, repair, and maintain. This could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of ownership – money that could be put towards bettering your life and enjoying new experiences.
2. Less Work
When you have a small house, you don’t have to devote so much time to busy work – especially cleaning.
“Let me tell you, ‘cleaning the house’ in my 300 square foot basement apartment took about 7 minutes. Cleaning the house in my 900 square foot townhouse took about 2 hours. Cleaning the house in my 3000 square foot home took about 5 hours,” says Ruth Soukup, who has recently downsized.
3. Bigger Yard
Because smaller houses cost less, you can afford to buy a higher quality house and put it on some land (as opposed to being so close to your neighbors that you could touch their house by reaching out your window).
Many people choose to buy high quality log cabins and have them built on mountain properties where they can raise their kids to enjoy the great outdoors. Sure beats an expensive, high-rise apartment in the middle of the city!
4. Fewer Possessions
Owning a big house requires you to buy more stuff to fill up all the space. When you downsize, you have no choice but to get rid of possessions you’ve accumulated throughout the years.
As you’re probably aware, fewer possessions mean less stress. So, in essence, living in a smaller house provides stress relief that can’t otherwise be enjoyed.
5. More Family Time
“You can’t help but be closer to your family in a smaller house. You are literally close to them, all the time. You can’t escape. So you just have to learn to like them,” one minimalist blogger jokingly says.
While she’s joking, she’s also telling the truth. When your family lives in a smaller house, there’s less room for everyone to run off and claim their own space. You’re forced to be in the presence of one another and have a greater opportunity to forge strong, healthy relationships.
6. More Free Time
At the end of the day, a smaller house leads to more free time to do the things you enjoy. You don’t have to spend so much time on household chores. You don’t have to work overtime at your job just to pay off the mortgage. You can relax and enjoy what you do have, rather than stressing out about losing it all.
Small House, Bigger Heart
Size doesn’t dictate success, wealth, or happiness. The reality is that having a smaller home allows you to have a bigger heart. You spend less time focused on bills and upkeep and have more energy to dedicate to loving others.
If you’ve never thought about living in a smaller house, now may be the time to consider making a countercultural move.