Be Small And You Can Have It All

I gave up the BIG life in 2001. It’s called downsizing. I learned that if I went small, I could have it all. If I lived in a small house, drove a small car, vacationed in a small RV and did little things vs larger things, I could have everything I ever wanted in life.

Apparently, the rest of the world is catching on to me. Not that I’m a trend setter. It just made more financial and social sense to me to go smaller. Not tiny, mind you. A girl has to have some space. Just not a lot of it. When you calculate how little we really need in life, life starts to make a bit more sense.

I figured out that I could live quite comfortably well in a 1000 square foot house, arrive safely to any travel destination in a compact car, dress fashionably chic in only 7 (or less) changes of clothes, own only 6 towels, one set of sheets and dish service for six people. If I have a dinner party for more, my mom’s handed-down, neatly tucked away Lenox dinner ware works brilliantly.

In a recent article in The Wall Street real estate section (click here) entitled: A Growing Problem in Real Estate: Too Many Too Big Houses, hundreds of big house homeowners in the Sun Belt are finding it exceedingly difficult to dump sell their large homes in favor of more appropriate-sized digs. Nobody wants to buy them. People have come to realize that downsizing in retirement is a good thing. Not a bad thing. What were they thinking back then? Fifteen years ago having 5 or 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, just in case the grandkids or unexpected guests arrived was all the rage. Today? Not so much. Reality has a way of sneaking up on all of us.

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What were they thinking when this couple custom-built this home?

Want to be happier in life? Bonnie Kristian, who wrote this article (click here) knows the answer. Especially when it comes to housing: live in a small house!

And remember, you’ll be paying all the time for a lot of space you only use some of the time. Does your home have a formal dining room and an eat-in kitchen and a breakfast bar or nook? How often do you use all those spaces? (Let’s be real: How often do you ignore all of them and eat on the couch instead?) Yes, it’s nice to have these extra rooms for special occasions, for all the entertaining we’re so sure we’re going to do. But it’s not realistic, and it’s certainly not financially sound. A study by the Center on Everyday Lives of Families at the University of California found that having spare rooms almost always means having empty rooms, which don’t come free.

Kristian couldn’t have summed it up any better than I could:

If you own an American home built in the last three decades, your house is probably too big for your life, sucking away your money, energy, time, and relationships, and adding only to your accumulation of stuff. It won’t be an easy problem to fix, for you or for the American real estate market more broadly. But as a happy owner of a small home, I can assure you it’s a problem worth fixing. Next time you buy a house, consider shopping small.

Want it all? Go small and you can have everything!

 

11 comments

  1. We bought our 2300 square foot house 11 years ago when we still had 2 kids at home. Now we rattle around in it. More than enough space for 2 of us or even 4 of us back in 2008. When the kids all visit, I am glad for the space but when spring rolls around and it’s time for spring cleaning…not so much. I imagine we will downsize once my husband retires…7 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are days when I think our house is too big, and other days I think it is just right in size. Until I’m traveling like you are, it’ll do for us. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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  3. We’ve been living for decades in a studio apartment in NYC. It keeps us from buying too much, and because it’s rent-stabilized, having it will allow us to actually retire. Small is good!

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    • Wow! Congrats. How fabulous. You rock! You are so so fortunate. Small is great! Take great care. Thank you for sharing. You guys will have a fab retirement. But enjoy life now too. 👍

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  4. Great read and hit so many important points on our consumerism lifestyle. The more space you have the more you can fill with things, that you want not need. We downsized in 2016 to an apartment and then in 2018 into an Airstream. We’ve not regretted or decision one bit.

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