What exactly, does living small really mean? Is it limited to the size of your home; or does it extend beyond four walls and a ceiling? Can you live in a large house and still live small?
“But you know, love grows best in little houses
With fewer walls to separate
Where you eat and sleep so close together
You can’t help but communicate
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss
Love grows best, in houses just like this”-Mickey Cates & Donald Ewing II (songwriters)
Living Small: What It Means
Living small means choosing to live in a smaller home when you can afford a much larger one. You don’t have to live in a tiny house on wheels in order to live small. Simply deciding to stay in what would normally be considered a “starter home” demonstrates a desire to live small. When someone makes the choice to live small, square footage is no longer important to them. It’s making the most of a smaller space for you and your family.
Living small means choosing not to be house-poor. If the Recession of 2008 taught us anything, it’s that bigger is not always better. During the housing boom, many of us chose to invest in larger homes because we thought we could one day sell them for a profit. Some of us even took out loans for more than we could comfortably afford in order to buy those bigger houses. Then, the banks and mortgage companies started failing, people lost their jobs, and the economy tanked. Taking our equity with it. Now, we choose to live small so we can afford our mortgage payment no matter what happens on Wall Street.
Living small means being in close proximity to our loved ones. When you live in a small space with little ones, you know where they are at all times. This is important for your peace of mind as well as their safety. The same goes for living in a small space with teenagers. It’s also easier for spouses to stay intimate with each other. From the snuggles on the small living room couch to brushing past each other in the narrow hallway, living in a small space is good for your marriage. Also, when living small with a family, you argue less and communicate more because there are fewer doors to slam.
Living small means less time on home maintenance and more time pursuing your passions. If you live in a small house, you won’t be spending your time cleaning, decluttering, and organizing everything that goes along with living in a large home. Therefore, you can use the extra time to travel, read, sleep, visit, pray, and laugh more. You, not your house, will dictate which activities you fill your day with.
Living Small: Why We Do It
We choose to live small because we realize just how small we are in comparison to the vastness of the universe. The world doesn’t exist to serve us, we exist to serve the world. We have shifted our mindset of building bigger and buying more to smaller spaces and consuming less. We’ve discovered that four walls and a ceiling do not define us, our actions do.
Some choose to ditch the suburbs in favor of living in a small apartment in the city so they can be closer to art, culture and other people. They want to experience the noise of the busy streets, the taste of various cuisines, and the walkability a city provides.
Others decide they would rather live small in the country, at the end of a winding lane. They crave simplicity, quiet, and nature. They would rather surround themselves with animals than people.
Many people choose living small because it puts extra cash in their pockets. They refuse to give their money away to the utility companies and mortgage brokers. They prefer to save their hard-earned money for the things that matter in life, not on where they lay their head at night.
Whatever your reason for living small, know that you are not alone. People all over the world live small because it’s all they have ever known, and they are very happy. In fact, if someone from Europe or China were to visit a “small” American home, they would most likely think it’s quite huge! Living small is a matter of perspective.
Is it possible to live small in a large house?
If you are currently living in a large home, yet the idea of living small still resonates with you, it is possible to live small right where you are. Living small does not (only) depend upon the size of your home. There are a lot of people who live in small spaces who fill those spaces with stuff until they practically burst. Not all people who live in small homes believe in living small. They bemoan the fact that they do not live in a larger house, make more money, or cannot “escape” their families. By choosing to live in a house you can easily afford, refusing to upgrade, and spending quality time with the people you love, you are already reaping the rewards of living small.
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