Small House for a Big Result │ Why a Small House Might be your Best Choice

A view of a dining room and living room
Dining Room and Living Room
Have you ever watched the HGTV show Tiny House Hunters? 

My husband and I have seen a few episodes. They're always challenging to watch. We love the idea of living in a smaller home, but a total of a couple of hundred square feet seems too small. And yet over and over, we watch families (with kids!) move into spaces that are 200 or 300 square feet.

And they're happy.

While our next move won't be a trailer, a refurbished bus, or even a houseboat, we want fewer rooms. We know we can't do a few hundred square feet, but we also know we don't even use what we have now. So something needs to change.

We live in a 2400-square-foot home. It's about twice the size of our last home. And it works perfectly for two oversized teenage/ adult sons who are in transition, alongside us two. 

While we've lived here for nearly 11 years, there are two rooms we don't use: the dining room gets used twice a year, and the living room is used as a music room.

There's a piano and guitar, banjo, and a music stand in the living room as well as a couch and all the furniture that comes with a living room. The music stuff has nothing to do with "living room" notions, and all of the instruments could easily be in a bedroom, family room, or office.

The living room is our "entertaining room" but we never entertain there. Even when it's Christmas, we utilize the family room for most of the day. I grew up in a very large, very segmented home, where there were plenty of rooms and plenty of space that wasn't in use. But because I was used to it, I wanted that in my home.

My husband questioned this, knowing full well that we probably wouldn't use it, but I persisted. Turns out, he was right. As he generally is most of the time. He's logical. He grew up in a home without a formal dining room. He knew what he was talking about. And I thought I knew what I was talking about growing up with a formal dining room.

My parents wanted to entertain in the dining room though. For me today, and our home, we want to entertain where it feels right. And that changes all the time. Our formal dining room is usually a forgotten space.

We don't use it. It's wasted space. The idea of having a dining room for guests and entertaining space is wonderful, but those rooms never get used when we entertain. The kitchen, the family room, and the dine-in kitchen space are our preferred choices.

Here's why we plan on moving to a home that's 1800 to 2000 square feet (or less) when we retire.

1. We only want space that we use.

As mentioned above, what's the point of heating and cooling space that isn't used? We're over it. The next home needs the necessary bedrooms and bathrooms, but if there is no living space or dining room, that's fine. We know that the dine-in kitchen - big enough to house a large table for guests - and a family room capable of entertaining are all we really need. There's zero point in owning space we don't use. If it's only to say we have the space, that's ridiculous. And vain. Less is more.

2. We don't want to take care of any more space than we have to.

So, you want to know who the housekeeper is for our house? Moi. After having lived in our first starter home of 1000 square feet, and then our second and third homes (1600 square feet and 1300 square feet respectively), I can tell you a small home is easy and fast to clean. It takes twice as long to clean our current home (or longer) and by the time I clean it, I feel like I need to start all over again.

Retirement is for focusing on what matters, whether it's family or activities. I don't want to spend it cleaning. I've done that for decades now. I'm good if that chore is condensed for the rest of my days here on God's earth.

3. Everything costs less.

Heating and cooling in California is astronomical. I'm sure it's bad in other areas of the states too, but here, when gas costs more, rent and food costs more than the rest of the nation, having to pay more on everything gets old, frustrating, and downright angering. If we stay in California when we retire or not, we definitely want to reduce our costs. Having a smaller home will do that. I can't wait to save money. I can't wait to spend the money we're saving on people or experiences we want or need to spend it on.

While everyone varies on their "tiny home" requirements, watching the Tiny Home shows allows us a glimpse into what it looks like to sacrifice and what it looks like to sacrifice for a result that brings in more peace. I want more peace in everything I do. Slow living and intentional living look like a life that is intent on pursuing peace rather than pursuing empty goals that only, in the long run, leave us more broke, more in deficit, and more chaotic.

While a 200-square-foot home isn't quite on the radar for us, a home that only allows for what we need sounds like a future I can live with. While it'll be a smaller home, our result will be big in terms of peace and stability. And that's all I want.


Reference Book:

There is a great book (and a beautiful one) called Small Spaces, Big Appeal. It covers homes 1200 square feet or less, but it really gives an idea of what a smaller space can do for those of us who are interested in downsizing.

Here's another one, Cozy Cottage & Cabin Design. A beautiful compilation of cottage-style homes perfect for those who want to see what smaller spaces look like that pack a cozy and gorgeous punch.

No comments:

Post a Comment