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Small Houses- Smart Living
If you live in the United States, you know the quote,
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of a BIG HOUSE.."
The pursuit of more...
Somewhere the pursuit of happiness became the pursuit of MORE. Bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger hamburgers. The problem is that most Americans can't afford the "more" they have. Where I live, there are streets and streets filled with gigantic houses holding three plus bathrooms, a bedroom for each person, plus multiple sitting rooms, dining room, eat-in kitchen, and a plethora of other rooms that I am not even sure what they should be called.
What happened to small houses? Surprisingly, with the turn of the economy, people are looking more at the advantages of a small house. If you are not convinced your family could handle the transition, think again. Here are 14 reasons why you should make the smart move to small house living.
1. Small houses hold less
Well this is rather obvious no? It is the number one reason people go big. "Oh I can't fit all my stuff in such a small house." Exactly. How much stuff do you really have that you use on a daily basis? Less stuff means less to clean, less to go through, and less to buy. Less stuff is a good reason to go small, not an excuse.
Here is a myth: People with bigger houses have more ability to organize. It simply isn't true. Organized homes are organized because the people in them know how to keep the "stuff" disease at bay. If you struggle to keep a small house orderly, it will not change when you go big. It'll just be more mess scattered about.
2. Small houses are easy to heat up and cool down
Electric bills go through the roof in the summer when the A/C goes on. If you have a smaller house, one unit can cool an entire downstairs, verses the cost of central air in a large open house with high ceilings. The same goes for oil or gas in the winter. Smaller homes mean smaller bills.
3. Repairs on a small house are cheaper
So you've found out your roof needs replacing? A small roof will run you $5000.00. It's a lot of money, but not when you consider what it would cost to replace a large roof. Then you are looking at $10,000 dollars or more. The same goes for heating repairs, plumbing repairs, and electrical repairs. There is less to go wrong, and when it does- it doesn't break the bank.
4. Small houses have fewer bathrooms
This is another classic reason why people say they need a bigger home. "I can't imagine all of us sharing one bathroom!" I challenge that statement. If you have kids, there is no reason why one can't shower and the other can't wash their face and brush their teeth. Just make sure you have a curtain that isn't see through.
Fewer bathrooms means less water is consumed and there is less to clean. Who wouldn't want fewer house chores? As a family of five, we easily manage one bathroom by staggering showers between the mornings and evenings.
5. You need less furniture for a small home
Think about the cost of furnishing a room? Imagine if you only had one sitting room to decorate? Two couches, one television, and a couple other pieces. But with the addition of formal rooms, basement rooms, and other relaxation areas, the bill for furnishing these rooms goes up and up and up. Plus, it is more to clean.
If you hire a housekeeper, you might not care. However, a cleaning bill for a small home could run you $80.00 a week. For a large house, double it.
6. The taxes are less
Big homes usually have a lot of land, which means more taxes. Many people forget about tax costs when they house hunt, and while a large house might be in your price range, as soon as you add the taxes and insurance, now the payment is unreachable.
7. Less yard to maintain
A small yard needs a mower. A large yard needs a tractor. A small yard can be mowed in an hour. A large yard needs 2 1/2. All of a sudden, you decide to hire a gardener to help you and that is a monthly expense you have not factored in.
8. Smaller houses have less "unforeseen" costs
A big house is beautiful. A big house is magical. A big house has more opportunity to provide you with costs you didn't anticipate. "Oh well, I'll just do the maintenance on the pool myself," or "I love this huge basement, it'll be perfect for a home fitness center!" The more space you have, the more ideas that enter your mind. While you wouldn't even consider an elliptical in a small house, a bigger home now gives you the option to buy and spend.
9. You will automatically collect less
A small house forces you to evaluate what you need and use, verses what you want. When and if it is time to move, the cost of going through rooms and rooms of stuff is twice the cost of going through a few. Collecting less may not sound fun, but it invariably gives you more time to "experience" life, rather than wade through crap to get to your free time.
How Big is Your House?
10. You will leave a smaller carbon footprint on the planet
It is no secret that we are destroying the Earth. Large houses do not help this problem. Smaller ones do. Even if you can't go green with all your habits, just the fact that you lose less electricity, less oil, and less water, means you are saving precious resources for someone else.
11. Small houses teach families how to cooperate
When each child has their own bedroom and bathroom, it is feasible they could go through the whole day without interacting with their siblings or parents. Sharing a room forces children to learn how to share, how to cooperate, and how to compromise. It will be a shock when he or she goes to college and has to share a small dorm room with another student.
Giving your child too much individual space can set them up to be unprepared for real life. Think office cubicles.
You also are better able to monitor your kid's computer habits, cell phone habits, and homework habits when they are sitting at the kitchen table or in the living room. Large houses give mischievous kids a lot of places to hide.
Need Organization Tips?
- How to Stay Organized in a Small Kitchen
Keep your small kitchen organized and running smoothly. Learn how to utilize wall space and keep only the most used items in prime locations. Your kitchen will be easier to keep clean when it's organized well.
12. Small houses force you to keep up
If you don't have a 400 square foot laundry room, you will be forced to keep up with the clothes. It may sound depressing, but motivation to not drag behind ultimately makes you more organized and flexible. The same goes for kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms. Without a whole lot of space, you learn to get into the day to day rhythm of picking up after yourself. Your kids learn it too.
13. Smaller houses are easier to sell
The rapid production of large homes coupled with the failing economy, has led to a glut in the market. Big homes are for sale everywhere and smaller homes are the commodity. Reselling a smaller home is easier simply because of population statistics. There are a lot of retiring couples who want to downsize, and far fewer families looking to upgrade. You will most likely make back what you paid on a smaller home.
14. Smaller houses are easier to redecorate
If you decide you want to redo a room, you will need less paint, knick knacks, pictures, and throw rugs. Everything is smaller and so the little touches will make a bigger impact. You might be able to afford the smaller dining room table rather than the enormous 12 seater meant for a giant room.
- The Dream Continues: Considering Alternative Housing Ideas
Choosing the right home to live in on our future farm has been an interesting undertaking but well-worth the effort.
Are you convinced yet?
Have you thought about the reasons behind wanting a big house? Are there ways to make a smaller home work for your family?
Oftentimes, we forget that we must re-evaluate what we think we can live with. Tragedy and financial hardship can force these issues upon us, and the lessons learned are usually quite valuable. Rather than waiting for hard times to hit, consider preventing hardship by buying a home that is under your budget. Think of all the ways you can spend the extra money on vacations, family experiences, and education.
About the author
Julie DeNeen is a freelance writer and mom of three. She lives in a 1200 square foot home in CT with her husband, kids, and animals. Her yard is .14 of an acre. She knows small!
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