Monday, August 13, 2012

A Cure for Big House Envy

We were at my parents' place again last weekend.  As I've mentioned before, they're trying to downsize, and plan on moving to a smaller place sometime soon.  Meanwhile, they're cleaning house, and even doing some updates to make the place more marketable. 

Now, I grew up in this house, and until I went to college and started my life as an apartment-dweller, I was very used to having space.  It's been some umpteen years since I've lived in a house, and I have to say, there are times I really miss having that room.  I miss it even more when Mr. Minimalist and I watch House Hunters on Saturday mornings when the little one is napping.  I see these people in random cities complaining that the walk-in closet is too small, or their California King bed won't fit in the enormous master suite, or that there's no place to put the pool table they just can't live without.  I want to (and often do) shout at the screen-- get over it!  These houses are HUGE!  Come to New York and see how you can fit an entire nursery in that "too small" closet! 

But, then I take a deep breath and realize that, at least for now, I like living in a smaller space.  I don't mind not having all that room because the things we surround ourselves here are very dear, carefully curated and lovingly placed.  To be honest, I might be scared to suddenly upgrade to a 4 bedroom house.  I don't think I could handle that much furniture shopping!

Hip Hip Hooray!  Three Reasons to Cheer for Small Spaces

Here are some of the things I realized are wonderful about small space living.  Be my guest and add to the list-- let's be our own small space cheerleaders!

  • Small space, big budget.   When Mr. Minimalist and I were redoing our one and only bathroom, we were able to find really beautiful things to put in it.  When you're only covering a small area, you can use more expensive materials without breaking the bank.  We still had to bargain hunt, but if we had had, let's say, 48 inches of counter top to fill, we would never be able to afford things like granite or marble. 
  • Small space, less stress.   I read somewhere that the average American spends 55 minutes a day looking for lost objects. Well, I bet you anything that the most pitiful of these folk are those that live in big houses. Living in a small home forces you to get organized.   This means not having that constant stress that nothing is at hand. Do you know what it's like trying to pack up a one year old and get her into a car while your husband searches room after room of your parents' house looking for his rimless (and therefore almost invisible) glasses?  This would never have happened in Brooklyn.  Assuming you're growing into your space and not out of it, after a few months of small space living you will have found a place for everything, and not waste precious time looking for often lost items like remotes, phone chargers and rimless glasses.
  • Small space, tight family. Although I grew up in a house, my favorite memories of that house occupied less than 100 square feet of it.  I was happiest when we all cuddled under blankets to watch a movie, or plopped onto the sofas around the coffee table, my sister drawing, my father reading, and my mother and I chit chatting about the day.  For me, one room living brought us closer together as a family.  And one room living you can do pretty much anywhere.

What advantages have you found to living in a small space?


  1. Smaller home = less to clean = WIN! Can you imagine having to clean one of those 4000 sq ft monstrosities? Besides, most of us don't really need all of the "stuff" we accumulate. If you don't have room for the stuff, you won't buy it, and you can spend that money on other things, like nicer furniture, travel, or savings so you can quit working earlier.


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