Small brick ranches and huge, mature trees line the street where I live. We’re low on square footage, our kitchen is outdated, and we mostly share the same bathroom. My house isn’t huge, but I can easily keep track of my kids from a few rooms away even without the coveted open floor plan.
A great steal…or so we thought!
Six months before we married, my husband and I decided that we’d take advantage of what we thought was a great real estate market by purchasing our house for $20K less than the previous owners paid. We bought what we thought would be a great “starter house,” and then the market kept tanking. Seven years later, we’re still here with no plans to move anytime soon. Based on comparable homes, we’d probably be able to break even if we sold now. But we’ve decided that financially, logistically, and emotionally, it makes sense to stay put for the time being. We might move down the road, but for now, I’m embracing living in a smaller home, similar in size to the one where I grew up.
I truly believe that a key factor to happiness is being content and thankful for what you have. As I thought about it, a big motivation for wanting a bigger house is not that I really care about having more room but instead want what others have. After a lot of personal reflection, this isn’t the right reason for a move. When I look around my house, I’m so thankful for the cozy home where my husband spent our first years of marriage and where we’ve welcomed two babies into our lives.
There are plenty of perks to having a smaller home.
I can literally hear almost every sound in my house; with teenagers this might not be great, but with little feet running around, it’s a blessing. Generally, my motto for letting my son play in other rooms without supervision is, “If I can hear him, I know he’s not getting into too much trouble.” It also makes it easy to quickly respond to a crying baby or the occasional toddler nightmare. We’re all on one floor within a few feet of each other.
A small house demands to be kept clean. I’m not the best housekeeper but hate clutter. Having a small house means you have to prioritize your stuff, and you don’t hang on to too much extra. You prioritize and pare down, keeping what is most precious to you. You buy and keep less because you simply don’t have space!
While not a characteristic of my house, we also lucked out and have some fantastic neighbors. That, alone, is a huge benefit. My son absolutely adores our next-door neighbors particularly, and I always joke (or maybe I’m not joking?) that we can’t move until or unless our neighbors move first!
While we didn’t get the “steal” we thought we were getting, having a small house also means a smaller mortgage than we’d have if we bought big. This has allowed us to stay clear of debt other than a mortgage and also allowed me to work part-time. Less financial burden has helped simplify my financial life and means less strain on my marriage, and for that, I’m extremely thankful.
I know I still have SO much more than many others not only in other countries but even in my own city. I say that not to brag, but to say that I recognize I’m coming from a place of privilege to even consider my house “small.”
I grew up in a house about this size, and my grandparents raised four and five children in similar-sized homes. There were no master suites, no walk-in closets, and potentially little privacy. While I can envision a time where we might long for extra space in the future, for now, I’m happy to raise my little family in a small home.